Thursday, March 14, 2013

Archie Radio Review: Jokes At Mrs. Lodge's Red Cross Party

Archie Andrews Old-Time Radio Show

"Jokes At Mrs. Lodge's Red Cross Party"*

by Carl Jampel

Original Air Date: 03/15/1947*

Length: 27:59*

Review by Mark Moore

*Notes: The title and original air date come from Jerry Haendiges Vintage Radio Logs. They may or may not be accurate. The episode length is the length of the MP3 that I have. The scene lengths include the transitional music after the scene.

00:00 - 00:21

The show starts with a skit between Jughead and Archie that's done in a lot (if not all) of the Archie radio episodes. Here, it goes like this:

Jughead's phone rings.
Jughead: "Hello?"
Archie: "Hello, Jughead, this is Archie. Come over right away. It's a matter of life or death."
Jughead: "Oh, relax, Archie. Relax."

00:21 - 00:37

The announcer, Bob Sherry, introduces the characters (not by name) to a live audience of cheering kids.

00:37 - 05:19

It's Saturday afternoon. Fred Andrews is sitting in the living room, "happily" reading his newspaper. Archie comes over and asks for the comics. Fred refuses. Archie asks for the sports section. Fred angrily refuses to give Archie any section, because Fred is reading. Archie gets on the floor to read the newspaper, but Fred makes him get up. Fred suggests Archie call Veronica, but Archie has nothing to talk to her about. Archie expresses an interest in the movies, so Fred gives him a dollar to see it twice. Mary Andrews walks into the living room and tells Fred to run next door and borrow two onions, because she needs them for dinner. After a bit of arguing, Fred agrees to go. After he leaves, Mary starts to complain, and the phone rings. It's Genevieve Lodge, Veronica's mother. She invites Mary and Fred to her Red Cross benefit party tonight. She wants Fred to tell his funny stories. Mary agrees but worries about it after hanging up. Fred arrives with the onions. Mary tells him about the party, but Fred is upset and badmouthes the parties, the "stuffy" people, the bad food, and Mrs. Lodge herself. Fred says he's not going to the party, but he changes his mind when Mary mentions that Mrs. Lodge wants him to tell his jokes.

05:19 - 12:05

Mary is in the kitchen, chopping the onions. Fred comes into the kitchen and wants Mary to listen to his routine. Mary agrees, but the chopping distracts him, and he tells her to stop. He starts to tell his joke, but she finishes it, which upsets him, and she apologizes. Fred starts to tell his second joke, but Archie comes home, singing, which continuously interrupts Fred. Fred calls Archie into the kitchen. Archie comes in, singing. Archie explains that he's imitating an actor in the movie that he saw. Fred tells Archie to be quiet, Archie apologizes, and Mary is upset at Fred. Fred tries to guilt-trip Archie. Archie apologizes again. Archie starts crying. Mary thinks it's because of what Fred said and makes him apologize to Archie. Archie accepts but continues crying. Fred demands to know why. Archie says there must be onions around here. Mary reveals her onions. Fred complains to Mary. Mary apologizes. Fred tells Archie to go into the other room and be quiet. Archie leaves. Fred finishes his second joke. Mary laughs but then cries. Fred asks if she's crying at his joke. Mary says no; it's the onions. Fred decides to go someplace else to rehearse.

12:05 - 16:46

Archie is outside, enjoying the fresh air. Jughead comes by. Archie tells Jughead about the movie that he saw, which was all about Al Jolson. Archie, who claims to be better than the actor (Larry Parks), demonstrates his singing for Jughead. Jughead joins in, which upsets Archie. Archie sings another song. Jughead joins in again, which upsets Archie. Archie and Jughead gets into an argument. Betty, who sees them from her house, comes over and interrupts them. Betty asks what they're arguing about. Archie and Jughead get into an argument again, and Betty interrupts them, asking since when either of them could sing. Archie asks if Betty wants to hear him sing. Betty says she should know better but agrees. Archie sings. Betty finds it nice and asks if he meant it about being in love. Archie tells her to never mind the song and asks about his singing. Veronica arrives in her car and honks. She gets out and meets with the others. Veronica mentions her date with Archie tonight and badmouthes Betty. Betty, trying to get back at her, says Archie has been "serenading" him. Veronica angrily breaks their date and leaves. Archie is upset. Betty apologizes to him. Archie brushes it aside, saying he's been looking forward to playing gin rummy with Jughead for a long time.

16:46 - 17:21

Mary and Fred are ready to go to the party. Fred asks if Archie's going with them. Mary says Archie has a date with Veronica. Fred is surprised, and Mary guesses Veronica isn't going to her mother's party.

17:21 - 27:26

Mrs. Lodge greets Fred and Mary and mentions that "Mrs. Hastings" is playing the piano. Fred complains about the music, and Mary admonishes him. Mrs. Lodge seats them. Fred fidgets. Mary tells him to stop. Fred applaudes prematurely when he thinks Mrs. Hastings is done but then apologizes. Mary shushes him. Mrs. Hastings finishes playing. Everyone except Fred applaudes. Mary gets him to applaud. Mrs. Lodge addresses the guests and compliments Mrs. Hastings on the music. She walks over to Fred and Mary. Fred compliments Mrs. Lodge on the music. Mrs. Lodge says she'd heard better. Veronica comes over to them and says some of the guests are leaving. Mrs. Lodge says she was afraid of that and introduces the guests to Fred. Fred goes over, makes some introductory comments, and starts to tell his first joke, but Archie starts singing. When he stops, Fred tries to tell his joke again, but Archie starts singing again. Fred goes over to the garden and demands that Archie come into the house. Archie is embarrassed when he sees the crowd. Jughead comes in, too. Mrs. Lodge is upset at Archie, but Veronica sticks up for him and convinces her mother to let Archie sing for the party, which upsets Fred. Mrs. Lodge moves his jokes to later. Fred says he and Archie are going to have "a long, long talk". Archie sings "Sonny Boy" by Al Jolson while Mrs. Hastings plays the piano. It receives thunderous applause and cheers. Mrs. Lodge, Veronica, Mary, and Fred praise Archie's singing. Veronica apologizes for thinking Archie couldn't sing and offers Archie "a great, big kiss", which causes the crowd to cheer. Fred apologizes to Archie. Mary says she's proud of Archie. Mrs. Lodge uses the moment to take up another Red Cross collection. Fred asks Archie why he didn't tell them about this secret talent, but Archie says that wasn't talent; he was standing next to a table with onions.

27:26 - 27:59

Bob Sherry gives the closing remarks. Only the writer, Archie and Jughead's actors, and the director are credited.

As you can tell, I decided to review an episode of the old Archie radio show this time. Why? I must hate myself.

Seriously, this is one of the most banal Archie stories that I've come across. It's filled with a lot of small talk and moments of confusion among the characters that fills up the time. I didn't even bother summarizing everything, because it's so trivial. The writer seemed to be lazy and just threw in a bunch of filler to ssstttrrreeetttccchhh things out. Look at those scene lengths! Every episode that I have is like this. This plot could have been told as a 6-page comic book story with no important losses. Hey, Archie Comics! Why not do that? Adapt the old radio episodes as "new" comic stories.

This episode is odd in that there are no commercial breaks, which means the story is a bit longer than usual.

Here is the main voice cast:

Archie Andrews - Bob Hastings
Jughead Jones - Harlan Stone
Fred Andrews - Arthur Kohl
Mary Andrews - Alice Yourman
Betty Cooper - Rosemary Rice
Veronica Lodge - Gloria Mann

This isn't the original cast. The show ran for a long time. These are the NBC actors.

Bob Hastings is annoying and wimpy as Archie. Interestingly, he'd voice another comic book character, Commissioner James Gordon, decades later on "Batman: The Animated Series", where he'd do a much better job.

Harlan Stone is atrocious as Jughead. Enough said.

The rest of the cast is fine.


Archie and Jughead are annoying.

Fred is the world's most impatient and inconsiderate person.

Veronica has a Southern accent. I can't picture that.

Mrs. Lodge is stuffy and arrogant.

Random thoughts:

Genevieve was one of Mrs. Lodge's first names before they settled on Hermione.

Archie's singing is annoying - except for the final song.

The movie that Archie sees is "The Al Jolson Story" (10/10/1946), which seems a bit old for this episode.

Jughead has an annoying joke whenever he shows up. It goes like this:

Person: "Oh, good grief, Jughead."
Jughead: "Who'd you expect? [names someone]?" *laughs annoyingly*

It happens twice in this episode. It's annoying.

Archie is speechless and makes "funny" noises whenever he hears Veronica's voice for the first time in an episode. The audience of kids finds it hysterical. I don't.

Was Mrs. Hastings Bob's wife? She doesn't speak, but is it her playing the piano?

What was Archie actually doing in the Lodges' garden? We never find out.

Does Veronica actually kiss Archie or not?

That's all that I have to say about this episode. It has some nice lines, but it's mostly painful.

Would you like me to review more of these radio shows? Let me know!

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