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SECRET ORIGINS OF SWING WITH SCOOTER - PART 3 of 8
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THE FIFTH BEATLE!

Scooter, a character often dismissed as an "Archie" knock-off, was actually nothing of the kind. In this issue, we'll explode the "Archie" myth once and for all, as we reveal the TRUE origins of Scooter. We begin in England, because that's where Scooter really began. His greatest inspiration was those lads from Liverpool, the Beatles, and his name itself, Scooter, is a product of British youth culture.

In mid-1960s England, the Mods were a loosely affiliated group of teenagers based in London. With a name derived from their love of .modern American jazz, rhythm and blues, the “Modernists,” later called “Mods,” were also famous for their tailored fashion sense and love of Italian motor scooters, such as the Vespa Grand Sport (pictured left.)

Scooters such as the Vespa were a standard part of a Mod’s hip lifestyle, and they rode them to clubs and parties all over London. Mods who were obsessed with their Vespa scooters were known as “Scooter Boys,” and they even had their own magazine (seen above right). This nickname eventually found its way back to “The Colonies” (as Brits sometimes refer to America), where it became the inspiration for the titular character in DC’s “Swing With Scooter.”

When the Vespa ridden by London’s “Scooter Boys” is seen side by side with the bike used by DC’s Scooter character, it becomes obvious that DC’s Scooter was not only a “Scooter Boy” himself, but that he rode a very SPECIFIC Vespa -- namely, the 1963 Zundapp Bella 200 model, pictured below.
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PAUL McCARTNEY and SCOOTER

FROM WIKIPEDIA: "James Paul McCartney was born in northern Liverpool, where his mother had worked as a nurse. His father, James McCartney, was a self-taught pianist, and dance-band leader who encouraged his son to be musical. McCartney's mother died from breast cancer when he was just 14, just as John Lennon's mother had passed away when Lennon was 17. Recognized as an icon of the 20th century, McCartney is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most successful composer in the history of popular music. He has a record 29 number-one singles, twenty of them with the Beatles, the rest with Wings and as a solo artist. McCartney has written or has co-writing credit on over 50 top ten hits, more than any other songwriter in history."
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.Take a look above, at Paul circa 1965 -- side by side with his animated incarnation, next to Joe Orlando's iconic portrait of our man Scooter. It proves McCartney also holds one OTHER high mark of distinction, one shared by precious few living mortals.

Seeing is believing! Scooter was NOT based on Archie. Scooter looks, talks, and acts NOTHING like Archie... and EVERYTHING like the one and only Sir Paul McCartney!
Although he is probably not aware of it, Paul McCartney was the inspiration for Scooter!

Pretty groovy, gear and ginchy, eh? Now let's take a look at some of the numerous Beatle themes and references found in early issues of "Swing With Scooter!" We'll start at the beginning, with issue #1...

SWING WITH SCOOTER #1: "BEATLES ARRIVE IN AMERICA!"
.The Scooter character IS based on McCartney, and what's more, the premise of the entire Scooter series was: What if Paul McCartney had quit the Beatles at the height of their fame, and come to America to live a "normal" teenager's life?

Below are the opening pages of "Here Comes Scooter," the first-ever Scooter story from (gasp) Swing With Scooter #1, June 1964.

As you'll see, the story opens with our boy Scooter arriving from England, just as the Beatles arrived in America to spearhead the "British Invasion" of English pop music.

Like it did with the Fab Four, news of Scooter's arrival has leaked out, and the airport is swarmed with teenage girls desperate to get a look at their idols, John, Paul, George, Ringo and Scooter... the FIFTH Beatle! Here we go...
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SWING WITH SCOOTER #2: "CAN'T BUY ME LOVE!"
While the first Scooter story was based on the Beatles arrival in America, a running theme in the second issue was the Beatles hit song "Can't Buy Me Love" (Original 45 RPM record jacket seen left).

The song was written by Paul McCartney and recorded on February 25, 1964. It's one of the first pop songs that begins with its chorus, and one of the first Beatles songs not to feature the voices of any other Beatle besides lead vocalist McCartney. It was the groups' third consecutive #1 hit, following "I Want to Hold Your Hand," and "She Loves You."

The song is mentioned three times in Swing With Scooter #2, first by spoiled rich teenager Penny, who for some reason attributes the song's lyrics to her father...

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As we'll see later in this series when we discuss the title issue by issue, Swing With Scooter #2 featured a sort of Hulk-parody character named "Zeakfreak." Scooter and company have a tough time figuring out how to deal with the huge but stupid creature, until they come up with an ingenious idea: See if the beast likes rock 'n' roll!

So, calling on his massive (ahem) "talents," Scooter composes a song on the spot and sings it to Zeakfreak. The lyrics of Scooter's song are a bizarre mushing together of lyrics from "She Loves Me" and "Can't But Me Love," plus a few new words added here and there just to make the song even more "hip." Oh, those wild and whacky DC editors, deluded middle aged men who thought they could talk like teens. Here's how the song went...
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In the panel below, also from issue #2, Scooter's pal Slyvester is seen holding up a copy of "House of Mystery," the first of many such .DC .Universe references to be found in this series (don't worry, we'll get to THOSE on Monday).

Below, Slyvester says of the comic, "It's about a crazy witch doctor who brews up some real crazy potions." This issue of Scooter is dated August 1966. Was Sly referring to the issue of House of Mystery #161 (cover seen left), which went on sale very soon after Scooter #2?

If he IS, then it means that I, Robby Reed, creator of this blog and author of this article, was mentioned in a Swing With Scooter comic! My life is now complete. Oh and by the way, note the SONG playing in the background of this panel... what else but "Can't Buy Me Love"!
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SWING WITH SCOOTER #4: "THE BEATLES, KING OF THE PLATTERS!"
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Swing With Scooter shared a common problem with many DC books. They were aimed at selling to kids and teenagers, but the people creating them were middle aged. What does a middle-aged person really know of teenage slang? If we're talking about DC editors of the 1960s, the answer is -- not much!

Early issues of Swing With Scooter were edited and co-written by Jack Miller, who apparently thought the dialogue he created with Barbara Friedlander reflected teen slang in current use by DC's readers.

Unfortunately, no one seems to have told Miller and Friedlander that very few comic- and record-buying teens in the 1960s still called records "platters." At any rate, here's Scooter's ginchy come-back to a bug-eyed green alien who announces he intends to conquer all earthlings...
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SWING WITH SCOOTER #4: "HELP!"
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"Help," lyrics by John Lennon, was also the title song of a film. The song's lyrics express Lennon's shock at the Beatles' early success, and his need for "help" in dealing with it. In a 1970 Rolling Stone interview, Lennon said it was one of his favorites among the Beatles songs he wrote, because of its honesty.

In Scooter #4, Scooter's sister Cynthia is seen listening to the song on a transistor radio (you know, a primitive iPod), as she thinks "Ringo, luv -- you're smasho-whacko." Uhhh... OK. Whatever. Entranced by the song, Cynthia ruins her lab experiment, then everything goes BOOM! Enraged, the teacher yells, "Cy nthia! You Beatlemanic!"

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SWING WITH SCOOTER #6: "RINGO STARR, SYMBOL OF GREATNESS!"
.Ringo Starr, real name Richard Starkey, had a wild sense of humor that made him one of the most popular Beatles. But was good old Ringo "a symbol of greatness"? That's what one of the student's in Scooter's High School assembly shouts out when asked to nominate great leaders to whom a statue should be erected. ("Zeakfreak?" another student suggests, referencing the Hulk-parody monster seen above.)
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SWING WITH SCOOTER: "YEAH, YEAH, YEAH!"
If there is one single phrase which stereotypifies the Beatles song lyrics, it has to be "YEAH YEAH YEAH," part of the chorus from the early Beatle hit "She Loves You." This phrase was a ubiquitous part of the "Swing With Scooter" series, so much so that we could actually do an entire issue of Scooter panels featuring "Yeah yeah yeah." Instead, I decided to use only the very FIRST one, from the end of Swing With Scooter #1, to close today's look at John, Paul, George, Ringo, and the FIFTH Beatle... Scooter!
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CLICK HERE FOR PART FOUR

SCOOTER -- PENNY -- SLYVESTER -- COOKIE -- MALIBU
MEET THE CAST OF SCOOTER!



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