Thursday, September 29, 2022

Mickey Rooney = KJ Apa

 I had to explain to someone the other day that, from a comic book perspective, this person

Even through this 40-year-old screen cap, you can sense how terrible he is.

is the same as this person.

Even through this five-year-old screen cap, you can sense how confused he is.

If you don't understand, you will soon. If you do, sit back and enjoy the ride anyway.

The bottle ginger is, of course, Keneti James Fitzgerald Apa, a.k.a. KJ Apa (see below auditioning for the role of "Flower" in DC's Sgt. Rock's Easy Company).

Don't get confused; the "a.k.a" is not part of his name. If it were, it wouldn't have periods. For some reason.

Like Dwayne Johnson, Apa is half-Samoan. Unlike Johnson, his name reflects this much more strongly than his appearance, but the fact that his hair's been dyed cartoon-red for most of the last five years hasn't helped.

A Samoan village Savae (chief), in fact, with all its epic highs and lows.

It's been dyed cartoon-red, of course, because he's been playing literature's greatest monster, Archie Andrews.


KJ Apa is, by all accounts, a nice (if a bit odd) young person who tries hard to maintain his dignity while starring in, how do we put this, not the most respected show on television.  

Oh, sure, it's easy to make fun of it when Archie gets attacked by a bear, but when twee pretentious Leonardo DiCaprio does it, HE gets an Oscar.

You go, KJ; all the best to you.

This, on the other hand, is Mickey Rooney.  

Even for Mickey, he was unusually upset on this occasion.

Talk about epic highs and lows. Mickey Rooney had a very long career as a character actor (at 5'2", he wasn't going to be a leading man in oldtime Hollywood), living to be 93 (despite a truly tumultuous personal life).

The earlier pic is from his 1981 sitcom when he was only, um, 87? 72? 63? 52? 44?
Who can tell, he always looked like that.

It co-starred Dana Carvey, as his grandson, when Dana Carvey was still hot.

And Nathan Lane, as Carvey's roommate, when Nathan Lane still looked ....
exactly like Nathan Lane always looks.

All articles about Rooney will quote Hollywood royalty saying he was One of Hollywood's Greatest Actors.

"Least Cautious", certainly.

Um. Okay, Hollywood; you're entitled to your opinion, although I've never met a regular person who shares it. He seemed like a shouting, scenery-chewing vaudevillian in everything I ever saw him in, and I don't mean that as a compliment.

I don't mean to deny the man his due, mind you.

He was a main player in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, after all, and that always counts for something.

If nothing else, he made possible the line: 
"What could go wrong with an Old Fashioned?"

And he was in Pete's Dragon, which was fun.

Why not just hire an actor who naturally hallucinates dragons already?

But his real impact was his early work as a child star when he starred in sixteen (!) films as Andy Hardy, the personification of American teenage wholesomeness and good intentioned earnestness. And Andy Hardy...

As personified by young(ish) Mickey Rooney

Archie Andrews (first appearance). Or 'Chick", as his friends never ever call him, not even once, in 80 years.

So KJ Apa is playing Archie Andrews who is based on Andy Hardy as played by Mickey Rooney. Now you know.

P.S. There is one other odd fact I noticed while writing this.  I refuse to let it creep me out. 


Among his many roles, in the Rankin-Bass's stop-motion special "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town",  Mickey Rooney played Kris Kringle who, impossible though it is, appears to have been based exactly

"No, really... a bear!"
on KJ Apa.

Pictured: end game.


Anonymous said...

Uh, have you actually read any Archie comics made by that company before the darker and edgier overhaul happened?

Scipio said...

Uh, I have. I have read Li'l Archie. I read Archie Meets Jesus... when it first came out. I remember The U.S. of Archie. I have Archie's first year's worth of appearances in Pep over 75 years ago. I remember when Chuck Clayton was introduced.

What's your point?

Anonymous said...

Oh lord, you know of Li'l Archie. He was a monster. He was the template for Damian Wayne.

Anonymous said...

(That second comment was by a different Anonymous than the first one. Sorry. We Anonymii look the same, like raccoons rummaging around in a dumpster.)

Scipio said...

Li'l Atchie, man.
Li'l Archie was ****ed up. There's really no other way I can put it.