What started out in 1958 as comic book artist Dan DeCarlo’s musing on his wife Josie turned into a 1960s Archie Comics series about good-natured Josie and her friends Pepper (the bookworm) and Melody (the blonde) just living their teen lives in a book called She’s Josie. Reception was lukewarm, and the comic fizzled until producers at Hanna-Barbera convinced Archie Comics to let them rejigger the concept and make Josie and her girls into a cartoon teen band, thus launching Josie and the Pussycatsin 1970. Pepper the bookworm became Valerie the cool bassist; Melody kept her ditzy charm; and by 1972, in a bizarre turn of events, the show spun off into a series about an all-girl rock band lost in space.
But wait … they’re not done yet. To go along with the launch of the first cartoon, Capitol Records recruited three real-life Pussycats, including one Cherie Moor (later known as Cheryl Ladd of Charlie’s Angels fame). The trio cut an album and six singles under the Josie franchise name. In 2001 yet another record was produced to accompany a live-action flick starring Rosario Dawson as Valerie, Tara Reid as Melody and Rachael Leigh Cook as Josie. The Pussycats’ crusade got an update — they fought against evil music industry executives — but some franchises are irretrievably dated. Those ears? Those tails? They look like they’re wearing their younger sisters’ Halloween costumes.
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