Shorts Illegal? An Archie Flashback
I love popular history and culture, so I’m always thrilled when they put a really old story in one of the Archie digests. (I would be even more thrilled if they bothered to cite when and where it first appeared and said who wrote and drew it.) This month, it was “Leg Work” in Betty & Veronica Double Digest #162.
It seems that Mr. Lodge (who for once drives himself, without a chauffeur) is scandalized and aghast that his daughter and her friend would wear such inappropriate garb on a city street!
What a different world, where you would actually have different clothes for hanging around home or appearing in “the business section of town”! The concept that shorts were not to be seen in public has got to stun today’s teen, who thinks nothing of wearing pajamas to school or bikini tops almost anywhere.
And Mr. Lodge is trying to make them actually illegal to preserve “dignity and decorum”?!? Talk about old-fashioned!
I bet you can guess where this story goes: Betty and Veronica are set to scrubbing the empty pool to “give them time to think over what [he] said.” (Again, where are the servants?) Dad puts on his Bermuda shorts to do chores, but then has to drive downtown for more supplies. The car dies, so Dad is seen in shorts in public, where he nearly dies of embarrassment as men (in suits and hats!) and women (in dresses, hats, heels and gloves!) laugh at him.
With that kind of wardrobe considered expected attire, no wonder shorts stand out so much. This is a real time capsule and all the more entertaining for it.
Thanks to a reader, Paul Duggan, I now know that this story originally appeared in Archie’s Girls Betty and Veronica #59 in November 1960.