Lumpy Rutherford was almost Archie Andrews

He had to take his lumps!

Before the CW had Riverdale, there were more than a handful of television ideas for a television series based around the Archie comics that made it to production. These include animated series like The Archie Show and Archie's Weird Mysteries, while the live-action side of television mainly prefers to depict Archie and the gang's adventures in the form of a television movie, like Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again.

Meanwhile, there had been multiple attempts at turning the Archie comics into a long-running television series, with one of the earliest tries in 1962, when Desilu created a pilot for Archie that would never see the light of day.

Desilu, founded by Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, was home to a series of wildly successful television shows like I Love Lucy and Star Trek. These are shows that were not only well-loved during the time they aired, they still maintain a healthy audience even today.

However, originally, the company aimed to create a television series for the Riverdale gang, and was so confident in the series that they'd shot a pilot. Strangely enough, the ideal actor to play hero Archie Andrews was Frank Bank, perhaps best known as Leave It to Beaver antagonist, Lumpy Rutherford.

While Lumpy's offenses were mainly of the juvenile variety and therefore not particularly villainous, he played the character well enough that people tended to associate the actor with the character, an assumption that wasn't limited to viewers.

According to a People Magazine interview, Bank claimed that the project was refused by network executives because of his Leave It to Beaver reputation. Bank recalled that a sponsor once said, "That's not Archie, that's Lumpy."

However, he was neither Archie, nor Lumpy, he was Frank Bank, and to those who worked with him, he was a man worth knowing, and nothing like the characters he played.

In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, Jerry Mathers said, "Lumpy was the ultimate bully, but Frank was a very, very kind and gentle person and a very good actor to play it so well."

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14 Comments

LalaLucy 4 months ago
Can't see him as Archie. Moose maybe.
joenic27 4 months ago
Hard to imagine, not because of his Lumpy persona so much as his girth. He would have had to go on a massive diet for the role of Archie. If the late Frank Bank is the source for this story, I would take it with a grain of salt.
MrsPhilHarris 4 months ago
The one I’ve seen as someone named John Stephenson as Archie. It’s from 1964. It’s on YouTube.
harlow1313 4 months ago
I would say that "Happy Days" capitalized on a setup greatly resembling "Archie."
Bapa1 4 months ago
Lumpy started off as a bully, but as the series went on, he wasn't such a bad guy.
cperrynaples 4 months ago
It should be noted there was a radio Archie in the '40's!
I listened to an episode the other evening.
Runeshaper 4 months ago
I would have watched the show, or at least would have given it a chance.
justjeff 4 months ago
However, Frank bore little resemblance to the Archie character... a lanky redheaded teen...
harlow1313 justjeff 4 months ago
Ralph Malph (Donald Most), while not perfect, would have come closer to a physical match. Maybe even Danny Bonaduce. Carrot Top?
justjeff harlow1313 4 months ago
Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhh.. I dunno... Neither of them strike me as having the looks or personality Archie (the character) would have...
harlow1313 justjeff 4 months ago
They're known character roles aren't right, but they are actors. Maybe they really can act.
justjeff harlow1313 4 months ago
Makes you wonder...🙄
WGH justjeff 4 months ago
I thought the same thing until I recalled the pilot was shot in 1962, when TVs were all black and white.
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