Betty’s Hidden Past

From Archie at Riverdale High #48, September 1977.

Archie at Riverdale High #48

Oh, no! Betty’s missing and run off to the carnival! Whatever can she be doing there? You’ll NEVER guess!

She’s mud wrestling.

Riverdale High #48 splash page

The story opens with Betty showing how she’s one of the best on the girls’ high school wrestling team. (As the caption tells us, “good clean high school wrestling!”) During practice, Betty misses the mat and accidentally conks her head on the floor. After school, she wanders away, hitches a lift with a truck driver, and sees a wrestling poster that triggers a dim memory. She gets a job with a sleazy promoter, where she’s seen by random anonymous Riverdale High student (slumming, apparently) who tells Archie and Jughead where she is.

So many questions! What kind of coach sees a wrestler get a concussion and does nothing about it? How did Betty get changed and through the rest of the school day without someone noticing that she had amnesia? If she didn’t know who she was, why would she keep walking until she ended up outside of town? Just how long was she missing, anyway, since the promoter had to hire her and set up a new act with her, yet no one’s frantic about her disappearance?

Why are two teen boys so sanctimonious about mud wrestling? “What a sleazy outfit!” Archie says. “I sure wouldn’t take a date here! Mud wrestling? What a cruddy form of entertainment!” (I don’t think men who watch this kind of thing generally bring dates, Archie.) Jughead chimes in, “Betty would never be involved in anything like that!”

They’re willing to watch, though. “Of course, we came this far! We really should make sure!” says Archie. After a few minutes, he grabs a bucket of water and tosses it at the tussling tootsies, revealing Betty. She, not recognizing him, promptly throws him into the mud pit before the promoter kicks the boys out.

Archie’s steamed. “He’ll take all the money she brings in, and drop her like a hot rock! I’ve seen his kind before!” Oh, really? Where, pray tell? And why aren’t you more concerned about getting your girlfriend back home to medical attention instead of how secure her economic situation is?

Instead of calling her parents or the cops, the boys decide that the best way to get Betty out of the situation is to make her lose to an ugly girl. So Jughead dresses up in a wig and mask and gets hired. (I don’t even want to think about the padding required for THAT impersonation.) He beats her, but because he misjudges how much she weighs (!), he throws her too hard and she hits her head again. This restores her personality and memory, and the story ends with mud-covered swimsuitted Betty trying to hug Archie, who tells her to clean off the mud before she gets in his car.

Similar Posts: PR: What Not to Do: Archie Aiming at Marvel § Diary of a Girl Next Door: Betty § Betty’s Killer Teddy § Archie Comics for November 2007 § Archie Sales Figures for 2010


2 Responses to “Betty’s Hidden Past”

  1. James Schee Says:

    So DC wasn’t the only company back in that time with some…. odd ideas. Keep them coming!

  2. anks Says:

    Classic Betty, or “Betty with Edge” was always my favourite…

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