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Comic Book Legends Revealed #382

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.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Wendy from Super Friends was originally going to be Batman’s niece.

STATUS: True

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.

STATUS: True

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.

STATUS: False

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!

Thanks to the Grand Comics Database for this week’s covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!

Here’s my new book, Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? It came out this week! The cover is by Kevin Hopgood (the fellow who designed War Machine’s armor).

If you want to order a copy, ordering it here gives me a referral fee.

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter and on Facebook (also, feel free to share Comic Book Legends Revealed on our Facebook page!). If we hit 3,000 likes on Facebook you’ll get a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends the week after we hit 3,000 likes! So go like us on Facebook to get that extra Comic Book Legends Revealed! Not only will you get updates when new blog posts show up on both Twitter and Facebook, but you’ll get original content from me, as well!

Also, be sure to check out my website, Urban Legends Revealed, where I look into urban legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can find here, at urbanlegendsrevealed.com.

Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends – half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).

The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…(click to enlarge)…

If you’d like to order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…

Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed

See you all next week!

53 Comments

Your opening, where you list the three legends, just en

I’m pretty sure the Wonder Twins were actually twins. Although, looking at your phrasing again, maybe you aren’t making a list including Wendy and Marvin, and the Wonder Twins. You seem to be identifying Wendy and Marvin as the Wonder Twins. They aren’t. The Wonder Twins are Zann and Janna, alien siblings with shapeshifting powers who replaced Wendy and Marvin in later seasons.

Riverdale CSI?

“Looks like blunt force trauma to the head … had to be somebody strong. There’s a hamburger wrapper next to the body. And this diamond bracelet was found nearby. What do you think, Archie?”

“I THINK … Moose, Jughead and Veronica … are probably having a threeway right now …”

YEEEEEEAAAAAAHHHHH!

Man, that was the fastest edit I ever saw.

Thanks, captainswift, poor phrasing on my part! I fixed it!

Your opening, where you list the three legends, just en

Thanks, I correc

Were Wendy and Marvin ever actually called the “Wonder Twins”? I don’t remember them being called anything except just Wendy and Marvin; and that the later replacement by Zan and Jayna were the only “Wonder Twins.”

I’m certainly not a Super Friends expert, but that doesn’t sound right to me.

They weren’t. It was just a poor phrasing on my part that I’ve since fixed.

Tom Fitzpatrick

August 31, 2012 at 10:02 am

I’m a David Caruso fan, terrific run on CSI: MIAMI and SESSION 9 was downright awesome.

BUT, he would’ve made a lousy Archie Andrews if that had occurred. ;-)

Were they aware that one must have siblings in order to be an uncle?

that girl playing Betty is super pretty

Were they aware that one must have siblings in order to be an uncle?

Maybe that’s why Bob Haney introduced Batman’s brother in 1974. :)

They should do a special issue of Archie where he and the gang go to Miami and solve a crime. Archie wears sunglasses and whips them off whenever he needs to be dramatic and make a point of how awesome he is.

“Swearing an oath of vengeance on his parents’ grave, Bruce Wayne vowed to become a creature of the night in order to strike fear into the hearts of all who would do evil. Meanwhile, his lesser known and less motivated brother, Kippy Wayne, got married and had a daughter named Wendy.”

It’s not quite accurate to say it ever went to series Brian. They made a pilot (in fact two pilots) and put one of them on the air as a special. Caruso was replaced by Dennis Bowen I think before the first pilot was even made.

Gordon Jump, Arthur Carlson from WKRP was cast as Mr. Weatherbee but ended up playing Archie’s father. Now that to me is still a real disappointment: Jump would have made a perfect Mr. Weatherbee.

It’s not quite accurate to say it ever went to series

Agreed, which is why I wrote “although it was not picked up for series.”

Brian Cronin wrote: They weren’t. It was just a poor phrasing on my part that I’ve since fixed.

I don’t know what it said before, but the site currently says: …the addition of Wendy and Marvin, the Wonder Twins (who were not actually twins) and their dog, Wonder Dog…

Marvin and Wendy are not the Wonder Twins (Zan and Jayna). The Wonder Twins did not have a dog; they had a space monkey, Gleek. If you just take out any reference to the Wonder Twins, this would be okay. And the Wonder Twins (Zan and Jayna) actually *were* twins; their species (the Exxorians) only had the weird sort of powers they had with actual twins.

Yeah, that was the phrasing that was meant to be deleted. But it looks like a code error left it up, though. It is gone now.

Oh, and if anyone cares about Marvin and Wendy, when they “graduated” from the Superfriends, Wendy went to study on Paradise Island, while Marvin went off to Ivy University (where the Atom hangs out).

And just another random comment: isn’t it weird that they were called the SUPER Friends and not the WONDER Friends?

After all, there was only one super character (Superman) among their number, but there was a WONDER Woman, a Boy WONDER, a WONDER Dog, and eventually even some WONDER Twins.

Agreed, which is why I wrote “although it was not picked up for series.”

And then followed it up with, “However, Caruso did NOT make it to the series” which makes it sound like it did. He got bumped midway in making the first of two pilots, as I understand it.

QUICK, SOMEONE DON’T SHOW THIS TO GRANT MORRISON, or Leviathan will end up being Thomas Wayne Jr.’s daughter, Wendy.

As an addendum, E. Nelson Bridwell explains the comic book origins of Wendy and Marvin in a text piece in Superfriends #1 [1976]…. check out the full piece here:
http://www.titanstower.com/wendy-marvin-harris/

And the Wonder Twins reference is forgivable, since fans and pros alternately began to refer to Wendy & Marvin as “The Wonder Twins” when Geoff Johns introduced them into the TEEN TITANS in 2006…. even though they were NEVER related until the Geoff Johns incarnation of the characters.

More recently, in the YOUNG JUSTICE cartoon, they are Wendy Harris & Marvin White (unrelated classmates, not siblings). I wonder if the YJ toon version picks up their original backstory?

Thanks, Bill! I went by a text piece that Bridwell did in their last appearance (also the first appearance of Icemaiden), I didn’t know he also laid it out in the first issue. Neat!

Batman had a brother?

The Archie show looks like it might have been influenced by DOBIE GILLIS, which went off the air around that time. Which means, at least judging by those stills, the Archie show was already a little dated for ’64.

Ha! Good point, Jesse.

I’m guessing, then, in that “Archie Comes To Life!” promo pic it’s Bowen playing Archie (although I can’t be 100% as it’s an old B/W photo. Caruso MAY have looked like that 35yrs ago, but it sure don’t look like him).
Are there any pix of Caruso in the role? From what Graeme said they may have started filming the show with Caruso.

Dude, the “super pretty” (agreed) girl playing Betty is original Mouseketeer Cheryl:

http://www.originalmmc.com/images/Cheryl/CherylHoldridge1957.jpg

Squashua, you’re probably kidding, but we already know who Leviathan is.

“Batman had a brother?” Scott Snyder’s obviously read World’s Finest 223/227 based on Night of the Owls…

I use to call older cousins the same age and generation as my parents uncle and aunt, and also close family friends though this might not have been the intent. I have seen the first Archie pilot it was alright It does seem lie multiple failed opportunities and I m also shocked they never tried to spin an Archie series off of the live action Sabrina.

Also, though he has the right hair for Archie, Caruso seemed more like the Reggie type to me as a teen.

A buddy of mine worked (in some capacity) on the first Archie pilot with Caruso and told me that even then Caruso was… difficult to work with.

SimonMoon5:

THANK YOU! I always felt bad for Wendy, Marvin, and Wonder Dog (especially Wonder Dog) because I assumed they got kicked out of the Hall of Justice when Zan and Jayna and Gleek showed up from wherever they came from. I pictured Marvin flipping burgers in a greasy spoon and Wendy waiting tables, muttering under their breaths, “We had it made until those stupid Wonder Twins showed up.”

For that reason I never really liked the Wonder Twins.

“(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).”

I’m almost certain this exact plot was used on Saved By The Bell.

interesting picks for i always heard and thought wendy was suppose to turn out to be the daughter of the diana prince wonder woman bought the identity from not marvin . instead now learning she was suppose to be batmans niece.

Paul, after Wendy and Marvin take down Grax in the Super-Friends comic, the JLA decides they’ve graduated and no longer need training–the rationale of the comic being that the Super-Friends functioned something like Avengers Academy (only with much fewer trainees, obviously).
Speaking of Archie pilots, there’s also 1990’s Archie: Riverdale and Back, which has the gang reuniting as adults. It’s memorable. But not in the good way.

Brian from Canada

August 31, 2012 at 2:39 pm

As a kid, I had a Superfriends prose book with illustrations that called Wendy Batman’s niece, and stated that her time in the Superfriends was to learn how to become a detective. Marvin was a friend of Wonder Woman’s but there’s no goal I can recall. I remember it had something to do with villains tricking the heroes but not remembering the heroes’ students, but not much more than that. (I’ve since lost the book.)

But the plot point must have been picked up by someone — even if it was a misinterpretation of the “uncle” monicker.

Likely, the prose book was based on the original scripts, like how novelizations won’t reflect changes made the film’s script late in the game.

Mouseketeer Cheryl made quite a few tv appearances once she dropped the ears. Bewitched and the Dick Van Dyke show for sure….

I remember back in the early days of cable TV before HBO came on the scene (I think it was called “Marquee” here in CA), that I saw late at night a live-action (and I mean ACTION!) softcore porno movie based on the Archie characters. I only vaguely remember it, but thanks to the miracle of the internet I was able to look it up a while back, it was called “Hot Times,” (1974) or according to IMDB it was also known as “A Hard Day For Archie,” a much better but legally more risky title (besides smutting up beloved and copyrighted children’s comics characters, “All In The Family” featuring Archie Bunker was huge at the time). While not a classic, it was memorable all right, and probably at least as good as the 1976 pilot. Finally Archie gets some!

Here’s the info for you, uh, completists out there (you know who you are!):
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071625/

I also thought Wendy was Batman’s niece, somehow.

“Thanks to the late Bridwell for the information (…)”
Now that’s what I call *dedication*, Mr Cronin even journeys to the *underworld* to get data for CSBG! I look forward to the Further Adventures of Brian Cronin, Clairvoyant ;-).
Those live action incarnations of Archie ans Mr Weatherbee surely do have uh “curious” expressions on their faces! As for Caruso, he was at his least annoying when he made brief appearances as a gang member in early episodes of Hill Street Blues. His later self-adoring performances in NYPD Blue and particularly the ludicrous CSI: Whyamu are *Beyond Parody*! The horror, the horror. One of the few representatives of male redheaded leads (not Red-Headed League!) and he’s… Ugh. Heh. Frickin’ Shades McBerk :-D. Interesting column, Brian, I’m impressed by your endurance and enthusiasm, oh and I enjoyed Shark Repellent too.

Did Bridwell, or anyone else, ever explain Marvin’s sometimes having superpowers?

Glad I’m not the only one that thought of that — he could leap like 10 feet from a standing start, right?

Heck, now that it turns out he’s related to Diana White — did he ever get chained to the stove? I could almost excuse it, as dumb as Marvin usually was…

I do recall there was one episode where Marvin floated in the air for a few minutes. One gets the impression that he was supposed to have powers, but seldom used them, likely because he was only a trainee.
I recall reading something by Mark Evanier about that Archie pilot from the 70’s (I don’t recall if he said he wrote it or not, but the actor who ended up playing Archie had apparently appeared on Welcome Back Kotter before, for which Evanier DID write). Gordon Jump (Mr.Carlson from WKRP in Cincinnati and the Maytag Man) played Archie’s dad. Anyone remember Return to Riverdale, with Lauren Holly as Betty and Grey (the voice of nearly ever major female character in animated cartoons today) DeLisle as Midge?

Sadly, Dennis Bowen, who played Archie in the 1970s Archie pilot, died earlier this year from cancer; he’s the third regular from Welcome Back Kotter to pass away this year (he played a snobbish nemesis of the Sweathogs who appeared frequently in the first few seasons). He was an extremely likeable and talented actor who made for a welcome presence wherever he showed up. Derrel Maury, who played Jughead, is best known as the star of the cult classic film Massacre at Central High, one of my own favorite films. In an excellent interview, he said that Caruso stuck around for the first two out of three rehearsals before Bowen replaced him, and that he sensed that Caruso hated being in the role. Otherwise Maury (who loved the experience of playing Jughead and working on the pilot) had nothing but nice words to say about Caruso.

I have a vague memory of that Archie show from the 70s. It wasjn’t horrible, as things go.

The girl who played Betty in the ’64 Archie pilot was the late Cheryl Holdridge, who was on the Mickey Mouse Club and, most notably, played two different characters on “Leave it to Beaver” (both of whom dated Wally Cleaver). According to the internet (we know how reliable THAT is), Frank Bank, who played Lumpy on “Beaver” played Archie in 1962 on a pilot (or tv movie depending on the source) called “Life with Archie.” As for the similarity between the Archie comics and Dobie Gillis, I remember an article in Krause Pub’s “Comic Collector” around 1984 about the similarities between the two (although the Dobie Gillis show is based on a Max Schulman book from the 1940s).
I also remember reading somewhere (maybe via Mark Evanier?) that the Scooby Doo cast was based on the Dobie Gillis show (Fred=Dobie, Shaggy=Maynard, Daphne=Zelda, Velma=Thalia). (And th come full circle in comics trivia, former Dobie cast member Warren Beatty was the director and star of “Dick Tracy.” More arcane trivia…
As for the Wonder Twins, was it here that revealed they were originally modeled on Donny and Marie Osmond? Read that somewhere too, but at the ripe old age of 44, my memory isn’t what it used to be!

In the comics, Marvin never showed any powers, so there was no need of an explanation.

However, unlike their cartoon counterparts, the comic version of Marvin and Wendy were actually useful, being intelligent and resourceful. Not only did they defeat Grax (as mentioned above), but they also used their intelligence to defeat The World Beater, a guy who had taken the powers of hundreds of villains and used them to defeat the entire Justice League (not just the Super Friends) as well as a bunch of superhero groups (off-panel), such as the Freedom Fighters and the Teen Titans. But Marvin remembered that one of the villains had a vulnerability to X-rays, while another villain could use X-ray Vision, so Marvin hid in a suit of armor and pretended to have many hidden gadgets that could defeat the World Beater. So, the World Beater used X-ray Vision to see what gadgets Marvin had… but this exposure to X-rays defeated the World Beater since he had the weaknesses as well as powers of the villains.

Zan and Jayna were also far more effective in the comics than in the cartoons. Jayna could become Kryptonian creatures, while Zan could become things like Jack Frost.

I would LOVE to get my hands on the 70’s Archie special… I have fond memories of watching it on tv… I particularly liked Jughead and his needle nose. Of course, I also loved the Challenge of the Super Heroes, and the SuperHero Roast… and I HAVE seen those since then… sheesh…

So, if anyone knows where I can see this thing, and crush my childhood memories, let me know!

Speaking of crushing childhood memories, anyone remember loving “KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park” as a kid and the utter embarrassment and crushing disappointment upon revisiting it later?

Let’s film the biggest rock band around at Six Flags Magic Mountain, throw in some bad special effects, and the kids will eat it up.
And we did!

@VanGoghX – Ha Ha! I own a DVD of that one… pretty sad, although I thought it was pretty boss as a kid. It was made by Hanna Barbera, one of their few live-action attempts. Thankfully.

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