Growing up I used to watch the Electric Company regularly. One of the regular skits was Spider-Man, so when I saw the skits with Blue Beetle, I assumed he was a comic character as well. This was true enough, though in hindsight I’m not sure that the TV show people knew about the comic book version or, if they did, they got the proper licensing. As a kid, though, this question never entered my mind.
This was during a time when the Blue Beetle was not being published. But then one day the first issue of a new Charlton Bullseye series came out, and the first issue teamed the Blue Beetle with another Charlton hero, the Question, Again, having assumed this was basically the same character from the Electric Company, I had to pick it up. As I recall the story was pretty bland (it was from Charlton; most of their output was pretty bland), but, no matter. I finally read a comic book story featuring that other Electric Company superhero. Somehow I never really picked up on the differences between the TV and comic versions of the hero at the time, even though they were far greater than the show’s Spider-Man and the comics’. I did notice that the Question, who appeared to be faceless, was visually more intriguing than the Beetle.
Later I was excited to learn the news that DC had purchased the Charlton heroes including the Blue Beetle. I was anxious to see what DC would do with them. For a while, the answer turned out to be nothing. Finally DC introduced them into their universe during the history-changing Crisis on Infinite Earths. This lead to an ongoing DC series, which was also pretty bland overall, but not without its moments. Eventually the Blue Beetle inspired the Watchmen character Nite Owl and the Blue Beetle, at least as a concept continues to appear in comics.
That was my experience with the character at least, though I came in late, not having been born yet, and thus missed the earlier Fox and Charlton incarnations. Unlikely as it seems, Twomorrows has actually published a Blue Beetle Companion.