Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Life with Archie at the New York World's Fair

The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair was indeed a popular destination, so much so that it even captured the imaginations of cartoon and comic book creators of that time period.   In an earlier post here at Boom-Pop! we showcased the adventures of the Flintstones at the Fair, both in four color format and also on their television program.  Another popular contingent of comics characters visited the Fair as well; Archie, Betty, Veronica, Reggie and Jughead made their way to Flushing Meadows in Life with Archie #31, published in the fall of 1964, just as the fair was winding down its first six-month season.

In "Rough, Tough--But Fair Enough," Archie and the gang win a trip to the Fair when Archie is chosen as "the symbol of American youth" in a contest sponsored by the First National Bank of Riverdale.  Veteran Archie artist Bob White then quickly transports the group to the Fair by way of a spectacular splash page that highlights the Swiss Sky Ride with numerous fair landmarks in the background.

White faithfully recreated the Fair in clean crisp renderings, minimizing details yet capturing the architectural flair of its many buildings and attractions.  The story prominently features the AMF Monorail across a number of panels.  But the centerpiece of the adventure is a crazy, pratfall-filled chase involving the Fair's unique cabs or "Escorters" as they were more popularly known.  It's up to Archie and Reggie to save the day when the girls are abducted by a speed-crazed Escorter driver.

Released simultaneously with Life with Archie #31 was issue #9 of She's Josie, another Archie Comics publication, which was also set at the Fair.  Josie and her friends (in their pre-Pussycats days) set out to win a trip to Flushing Meadows by collecting cereal box tops.  When their efforts fall through, wealthy Alexander Cabot finances their trip.  Artist Dan DeCarlo prominently featured numerous landmarks across the story, among them the U.S. Royal Tire ferris wheel and Sinclair's Dinoland.  DeCarlo also made use of the Escorters as well.  Both White and DeCarlo acknowledged the crossover nature of the two stories; Josie and Alex can be seen riding the Monorail in the Life with Archie story, while Archie makes a quick one-panel cameo in She's Josie.


Anonymous said...

This certainly hit home. The only two comics I still have from my childhood are the Archie and Flintstones N.Y. World's Fair editions.