Countdown to Halloween: Archie’s Weird Mysteries

Once again I am going to try to be a part of the Countdown to Halloween. This collection of blogs celebrating the month of October has been going on for many years. As with most years, I start strong and never make it to the end of the month with posts. This year I was looking for something new, something to really dive into, something fresh to keep my interest. While searching the many streaming services I have on my Roku I stumbled across the complete collection of Archie’s Weird Mysteries. All forty episodes. Which is about 40 more than I expected. 

Nothing against Archie. I have great respect for the franchise and how adaptable the entire Riverdale gang has been shown to be over the decades. No, I’m just shocked there was a cartoon series for the show that I had never heard of before. If I really had to think about it, I do have a fleeting memory of a clamshell VHS for this show, but I thought it was a direct to DVD movie. Turns out that does exist, and it is an edited collection of some of the 40 episodes. Cut and trimmed into a movie. So I guess we’re both right. 

Archie’s Weird Mysteries debuted October 1999 on PAX. Oh, I forgot all about PAX. PAX was created by Lowell Paxon, one of the co-founders of Home Shopping Network. He wanted a family friendly and safe channel, but also something named after himself too. PAX took wholesome shows and movies, and if they weren’t wholesome enough, added their own edits for violence, intimacy, and/or language. PAX still exists today as ION and I don’t think I’ve ever watched that channel. PAX had a children’s programming block on Saturday mornings called Cloud Nine. Archie was part of that block, and I think I do remember watching some shows when this channel debuted. I was always excited by new channels and loved to see what content they were going to debut or found in the archives of some other studio. PAX had access to some cartoons from the DIC collection. There’s a good chance I watched Super Mario Bros. or Starcom episodes on this channel when I couldn’t find something else. Apparently the Cloud Nine block had three angels as hosts for the morning. I need to find these bumpers. 

Archie and the gang have half hour adventures against some sort of safe scary threat. I haven’t watched that many episodes at this point in the month but from what I’ve seen they are over the top and I can’t imagine it would scare any child. However, I also can’t imagine how they are considered educational and informative. After the initial run of this show on PAX (from October to February of 2000) the show was picked up by other channels as part of their E/I content. Channels need to provide three hours of E/I shows for kids per week. This is part of the death of Saturday morning cartoons. So far I do not understand how Riverdale versus the monster of the week counts as educating anyone about anything. I’ll be paying attention to all of the episodes to see if I can figure out the lesson. 

So that’s my October plans. Stick around. Stay tuned. Check out other fun blogs that are also doing the Countdown to Halloween.

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