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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturday Morning - Ri¢hie Ri¢h

Have you ever heard the phrase 'poor little rich boy' before?

Today's edition of the Saturday Morning blog post (which returns back to normal after the September switcheroo) features one young boy who could easily be described as being exactly that.

Do any of you remember the comic book character of Richie Rich? Richie Rich became one of the most well known mascots of the now defunct comic book company Harvey Comics.

By all accounts, Richie Rich looked like your typical, run-of-the-mill seven year old boy. He had two parents who loved him, as well as a pet dog, and lived a fairly happy childhood.

Did I mention that he happens to be the richest kid in the whole world?

I'm serious. His wealth could probably put all the Trump children, the Kardashian sisters, and Paris Hilton to shame.

His parents, Richard and Regina Rich are incredibly wealthy industrialists who ended up using all of their money to build a gigantic mansion. The mansion includes both human servants (with Cadbury being the butler that we see the most often) and robot servants (as in the case with Irona). Richie's dog is a rare breed of a dog called a 'Dollar-matian', appropriately named 'Dollar'.

Richie Rich has almost everything in the world that money could buy, and he could have almost any luxury he wanted. If he wanted an ice cream sundae, all of the ingredients would be freshly made. There was no need for him to go to an amusement park because he could have one built in his backyard. He had everything that most boys his age could only dream of having.

So, why would he then be called the 'poor little rich boy'?

The 1994 live action movie based on the comic and cartoon series does a better job at explaining Richie's plight than the comic books and show did, but to briefly summarize it, Richie's vast wealth has made him kind of a lonely kid.

I don't really like using the term lonely. With hundreds of servants and staff members at Rich mansion on any given day, Richie was certainly not a child that could be considered isolated. He was what you could consider a sort of latchkey child though.

In case some of you haven't heard of the term latchkey kid before, basically it's a child who more often than not is left to his/her own devices because they have parents who work so much that they are hardly ever home. In Richie's case, his parents worked almost around the clock in order to keep up their massive estate, and to make sure that Richie was provided for financially.

Unfortunately, what Richie really needed was to have his family there for him for emotional support, and to be there for him when he needed them. Sometimes, his parents got caught up in their work, whether it be for charitable purposes, or expanding their already rich empire. Sometimes, they had to fly out on a moment's notice to other cities and countries, leaving Richie behind with Cadbury and Irona.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the 1994 movie also showed that Richie had great difficulty making friends. Sure, in the comic book and cartoon series, Richie was great friends with Gloria, Pee-Wee, and Freckles, but on the movie, he really had to prove himself to them. Mainly because the kids weren't used to hanging out with someone who had as much money as Richie. Once they got to know him though, they saw him as being a great friend.

A lot of people stereotype rich kids as being spoiled rotten, or lazy, who feel a great sense of entitlement just because they have a lot of money, gold, silver, and gems.

That simply just was not Richie Rich.

Richie Rich was kind, trustworthy, and extremely generous. In fact, he would often attempt to buy Gloria luxurious presents (which she almost always refuses as she doesn't feel the need to be lavished upon). Compare that to his bratty cousin Reggie, who often played pranks on Richie and his friends. He also would treat his servants terribly, and acted as if he were better than everyone else. Something that Richie would never think of doing.

Richie Rich first appeared in Harvey Comics in September 1953, in a Little Dot comic book. It would take about seven years for Richie to get his own title. Yet, once Richie did, it soon became a huge hit. The original title ran for 254 issues between 1960 and 1991 (with a four year hiatus beginning in 1982 with restructuring in the Harvey Comics company being the main cause). But there were several other spin-offs from the original title starring Richie. Some of the more successful spin-offs were named after various units of money and assets, including Richie Rich Relics, Richie Rich's Dollars and Cents, Richie Rich Millions, and Richie Rich Success Stories, and most of these titles ran for at least two decades. Although Richie Rich comics have been published largely sporadically since the main title ended in 1991, a new version of the title is slated to be released in late 2011 or early 2012.

I'll admit that I read the odd Richie Rich title growing up, but for some reason, the comic book serial was one that I never really actively collected (unlike Archie Comics, which if you have read other blog postings over the past few months, I have a bit of an obsession with). Still, it was a decent comic book with some cute stories.

Even if Richie Rich DID sort of resemble Casper The Friendly Ghost. One of the rumours that went around my elementary school was that Casper was the ghost of Richie Rich (a rumour that was proven false when you consider that Casper was created back in the 1930s and the fact that his name in the Casper movie was Casper McFadden).

But I'll save that for the Casper entry (if I do a Casper The Friendly Ghost entry).

I did love watching the cartoon series of Richie Rich though. And to end this entry, I'm going to share the opening of the 1980 cartoon series with all of you.

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