Welcome to the three hundredth and eighty-second in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, it is an all-TV edition of Comic Book Legends! What Super Friends character was going to be related to BATMAN?!? Plus, did David Caruso really play Archie Andrews in a failed TV pilot? Finally, check out ANOTHER failed Archive live action pilot!
Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and eighty-one.
COMIC LEGEND: Wendy from Super Friends was originally going to be Batman's niece.
One of the odder aspects of the Super Friends animated TV series...
was the addition of Wendy and Marvin and their dog, Wonder Dog...
The amusing thing was watching DC Comics try to adapt the characters into the Super Friends comic book, which was ostensibly in continuity at the time.
What is amazing is that the continuity would have been a WHOLE lot different if the producers of the show had gotten their first wish, something that DC consultant E. Nelson Bridwell convinced them they could not do. You see, originally, Wendy was going to be Batman's niece!
According to a Bridwell text piece in Super Friends #1 (thanks to my pal, Bill Walko, for the text piece), Wendy even referred to Batman as "Uncle Bruce" in the original scripts - in front of people who didn't know Batman's secret identity!!!
So of course they didn't do that. And when Bridwell adapted her into the comics, he made her the niece of a detective that had taught Bruce Wayne some of his detective skills early on (Marvin was made the son of Diana Prince White, the woman that Wonder Woman took her Diana Prince identity from).
Imagine how many different comics we would have had had Batman had an in-continuity niece?!
Thanks to the late Bridwell for the information. And thanks to Bill Walko for the text piece!
Amusingly enough, soon after Super Friends debuted, Batman actually DID get a brother (check out the Comic Book Legends Revealed installment about it here).
COMIC LEGEND: There was an unaired live action Archie pilot in 1964.
Talk about a failed opportunity!
In 1964, there was an attempt to make a television series based on the Archie comic series, starring John Simpson as Archie Andrews...
Mr. Weatherbee was played by Roland Winters...
Veronica and Betty were played by Mikki Jamison and Cheryl Holdridge, respectively...
Jerry Brite played Jughead...
William Schallert, the dad from The Patty Duke Show, was Mr. Andrews and Jean Vanderpyl (the voice of Wilma Flinstone) was Mrs. Andrews.
Sadly, the show was not picked up.
You can check the pilot out, it involves some trippy robotic plot (Archie and Jughead, who in this series is girl-crazy for some reason, use a fake robotic brain to "match" people with their "perfect" dates, which of course are designed with their best interest in mind).
COMIC LEGEND: David Caruso appeared as Archie in a 1976 failed pilot.
Speaking of failed pilots for Archie series, while the above one never even made it to the television screen, another one DID at least make it to the air in 1976, although it was not picked up for series.
Is it true that before he was fighting crime in New York City in NYPD Blue...
or donning his sunglasses in CSI Miami...
that David Caruso played ARCHIE in the series?
Check out the TV Guide entry for the pilot of the series (now a "special" since it didn't get picked up)...
However, Caruso did NOT make it to the series. He was replaced right before the show started by an actor named Dennis Bowen. I guess it was too late for TV Guide to change their listing.
Thanks to Mark Evanier for talking about this story a few times over the years (Evanier did some uncredited writing for the pilot).
Okay, that's it for this week!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is email@example.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!
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See you all next week!