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Beatles cartoon

THE BEATLES CARTOON

(Excerpted from The Encyclopedia Of Animated Cartoons by Jeff Lenburg)

Produced in 1965, THE BEATLES animated series came about through the efforts of producer Al Brodax at King Features after he was approached by an ABC executive with the idea of producing a Beatles cartoon.

The real Beatles didn't have much to do with the series, apart from the fact that their original music was used for the soundtrack, which usually gave the episode its title. Each cartoon ran approx. 8-10 min, followed by a two-song sing-along, followed by another cartoon.

Beatles cartoon

Premiering on ABC on Saturday, September 25, 1965 at 10:30 am, the show was an instant ratings hit. The first episodes aired were "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and "A Hard Day's Night." They racked up a rating which, up to that time, was unheard of in daytime television.

The cartoons got many of the Beatles' mannerisms down pat. For example, Paul's left-handed bass-playing, George's Gretch guitar and foot-tapping, and John's legs-apart, guitar-playing/singing stance.

Beatles cartoon

Besides two weekly cartoons, the Beatles cartoon show was famous for clever short skits between episodes and commercials. These included dry, comic vignettes, such as Ringo buying a newspaper from a street vendor and getting hit by a car, only to complain afterwards, "There's not a word in here about me accident!"

The voices of the Beatles' cartoon look-a-likes were supplied by two voice actors, Paul Frees (John and George) and Lance Percival (Paul and Ringo). Frees recorded his voices in America, while Percival recorded the voices of Paul and Ringo in England. Animation was sent overseas to TVC of London, which Beatles cartoonproduced the Beatles cult feature, The Yellow Submarine, while an Australian company did the bulk of the animation. Scripts were turned out rather easily since episodes were based on popular Beatles songs.

"It took about four weeks to animate each film and I enjoyed it immensely," recalled Chris Cuddington, a series animator. "The characters were easy to draw, and the stories were simple and uncomplicated."

In the fall of 1967, seven more weeks of new episodes were made for the Beatles series which now aired on ABC at 12 noon (Eastern time) opposite "Top Cat" on NBC and the second half of the "Superman/Aquaman" hour on CBS. The 1967 Beatles episodes were more surreal, meant to reach more than just kids as an audience.

The Beatles cartoon's last telecast came on Sunday, September 7, 1969. Regarding the cancellation of the animated Beatles, Fred Silverman (then of CBS) told TV Guide, "Kids get tired of shows quickly. They would rather watch new shows than repeats of old ones."


Beatles cartoon
 
Beatles cartoon

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