Beatles Cartoons

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An overview of the Fab Four's animated TV series.

The Beatles Cartoon Series

By 1965 The Beatles were a worldwide phenomenon with record breaking sales, sell out concerts and various bits of merchandising coming out of their ears - was there anything else to do to appease the growing demand for all things fab four?  Of course there was - immortalise them in animation!

In September 1965 US television station ABC-TV saw the debut of the Beatles cartoon series.  The show was produced by Al Brodax who would go on to make the far more superior cinematic Beatles animated feature Yellow Submarine.

The Beatles cartoons seem very twee by modern standards and it's hard to imagine them even being commissioned. Perhaps the most notable thing is the voices. The Beatles had neither the time nor inclination to voice the shows themselves so UK actor Lance Percival and US voice artist Paul Frees were brought in to provide the voices.  Fearing that the US audience wouldn't understand if authentic scouse accents were used, they Amercanised them with what can only be described, from a UK point of view, as hilarious results.  In fact this contributed to the series not being shown in the UK till many years later!

The shows themselves were inoffensive fun. There were 39 shows spanning three series, each featuring two adventures loosely based around a song lyric. With 78 stories to come up with most of the plots were understandably far from earth-shattering.  The two tales were bridged each week by the sing-a-long section where John, Paul or George with the help of Ringo standing in for the constantly absent propman would introduce a couple of Beatles songs for the audience to join in with.  The songs would be accompanied by a simple animation and the words on the screen - though occasionally the lyrics that appeared weren't quite correct and the songs were often edited too.

The cartoon extended beyond the "moptop" era and the change in style and music of the band didn't really fit in with the cartoon imagery. Also the influx of superhero cartoons influenced by the success of Batman and it's cartoon like qualities saw the eventual demise of the more innocent, non-super-powered Beatles animations.

The rights to the cartoons recently reverted to Apple Corps and we presume they will sit on these gems for some time despite being quite happy to merchandise the cartoon likenesses of the fabs on t-shirts and as action figures.  Mind you,  the fortieth anniversary of the series is looming so perhaps they will surprise us all with a nicely packaged release!

Episode List

Series 1
01 A Hard Day's Night & I Want To Hold Your Hand
02 Do You Want To Know A Secret & If I Fell
03 Please Mr. Postman & Devil In Her Heart
04 Not A Second Time & Slow Down
05 Baby's In Black & Misery
06 You've Really Got A Hold On Me & Chains
07 I'll Get You & Honey Don't
08 Any Time At All & Twist And Shout
09 Little Child & I'll Be Back
10 Long Tall Sally & I'll Cry Instead
11 I'll Follow The Sun & When I Get Home
12 Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby & I Should Have Known Better
13 I Wanna Be Your Man & I'm A Loser
14 Don't Bother Me & No Reply
15 I'm Happy Just To Dance With You & Mr. Moonlight
16 Can't Buy Me Love & It Won't Be Long
17 Anna(Go To Him) & I Don't Want To Spoil The Party
18 Matchbox & Thank You Girl
19 From Me To You & Boys
20 Dizzy Miss Lizzy & I Saw Her Standing There
21 What You're Doing & Money
22 Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand & She Loves You
23 Bad Boy & Tell Me Why
24 I Feel Fine & Hold Me Tight
25 Please Please Me & There's A Place
26 Roll Over Beethoven & Rock And Roll Music

Series 2
27 Eight Days A Week & I'm Looking Through You
28 Help! & We Can Work It Out
29 I'm Down & Run For Your Life
30 Drive My Car & Tell Me What You See
31 I Call Your Name & The Word
32 All My Loving & Day Tripper
33 Nowhere Man & Paperback Writer

Series 3
34 Penny Lane & Strawberry Fields
35 And Your Bird Can Sing & Got To Get You Into My Life
36 Good Day Sunshine & Ticket To Ride
37 Taxman & Eleanor Rigby
38 Tomorrow Never Knows & I've Just Seen A Face
39 Wait & I'm Only Sleeping

Anne-Marie Trace

Page Last Updated Sunday, February 13, 2005 at 12:26:28