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The Beatles was an American animated television series featuring the fanciful and musical misadventures of the popular British rock band of the same name. It ran from 1965 to 1969 on ABC in the USA (only 1965 to 1967 was first run; later transmissions were reruns). The series debuted on September 25, 1965 and ended on September 7, 1969. A total of 39 episodes were produced. The series was shown on Saturday mornings at 10:30 AM until the fall of 1968, when it was moved to Sunday mornings. Each episode has a name of a Beatles song, so the story is based on its lyrics and it is also played at some time in the episode.
Production overviewEditThe series consisted of short animated stories that essentially were intended to set up the visual illustration of Beatles songs that are played in their entirety. In addition, there were sing along sequences with simpler imagery complementing the full lyrics of particular songs.
The series became notorious for its static depiction of the band in their early moptop and suit look as depicted in the live action film, A Hard Day's Night, even though the band moved beyond it during the series' run. The producers did attempt to acknowledge the band members' contemporary appearances with photographs of them in the series' title sequences during its production run.
The band members themselves had nothing to do with the series' production beyond the use of their music recordings. American actor Paul Frees did the voices of John and George while Lance Percival (of the Carry On series) did the voices of Paul and Ringo. In fact, the band disdained the series (it is reported, however, that the band members enjoyed the cartoons in later years), which discouraged them from participating significantly in the later animated feature film, Yellow Submarine. Only when the band saw and were impressed by the Yellow Submarine's finished footage did they realize the film was a more ambitious creation. As a result, they agreed to appear in a short live action epilogue for it. In fact, Yellow Submarine producer Al Brodax and director George Dunning were involved in the production both of the animated series and of Yellow Submarine.
Initially the open credits theme was a guitar riff from A Hard Day's Night segueing into Can't Buy Me Love, over a cartoon sequence of the lads running down a fire escape, echoing a scene in A Hard Day's Night. The second season's opening theme was Help!, while the third season's theme was And Your Bird Can Sing, over a different cartoon sequence.
Most of the episodes of the series were produced by Astransa Park Studios in Sydney, Australia and George Dunning's company TVC Animation in London, with a handful of episodes made in Hollywood, with a crew supervised by veteran cartoon writer John W. Dunn.
Depiction of The Beatles Edit
Each Beatles figure was a loose, rough, exaggerated description of them with John and Paul wearing a blue collar-less suit and tie while George and Ringo wore navy blue shirts and light blue, blue blazer jackets, all of them wearing matching drainpipe trousers and Beatle Boots.
John Lennon Edit
John is described as being the leader. His mop-top is slightly shorter than that of the rest of the band. He has his chin up, looking down his nose, feet apart and hands on hips, and points and poses with his hands with a queer 'showbiz' expression with a mocking gesture, especially when giving orders (showing John doesn't take his job as leader seriously), and is often malicious — especially towards George and Ringo. He slouches rather than sits. He will often pull funny faces and immediately wipe it off. John's movements are described as being short and slightly aggressive. His chin is rather large, chubby and rounded and his eyes are rather small. Whenever he looks to the front he uses a queer sideways look to talk to somebody and looks away after giving an order.
He tends to use sarcastic, dry, cheeky humour. He is extremely lazy and overly laid-back. Yet he truly cares about the band members and will do anything for them.
Paul McCartney Edit
Paul is shown as second-in-command or his "follower". Paul is the most poised and stylish Beatle. His mop-top is the neatest of the four of them.
He uses his hands, with his fingers spread apart, to express himself when talking. He is the one to get excited whenever John suggests something. He always looks straight at whoever he's talking to. His face is very fine, with his eyebrows wide and far apart and his eyes partly closed almost in a mock-sad expression and they will only open fully when he is excited. Paul sits like he's about to jump out and get on with whatever is happening. He doesn't really walk, he skips. When he is making his own suggestions or comments, especially ones suggesting mischief, he covers up by assuming a mock innocent look, eyes wide and head tilted to one side. Whenever he gets excited he will put his hand in his mouth.
Being John's "follower", he, like John, is often malicious and cynical especially towards George and Ringo. Also like John, Paul uses dry sarcastic humour and is extremely lazy and overly laid-back. In spite of that he will always help somebody when needed. Paul, along with Ringo, are the only Beatles who sound closest to their real-life counterparts. He is the group's lefty.
George Harrison Edit
George has a more angular, loose-limbed and wry figure, especially when he walks, his legs are long and thin (emphasis on the knees keeps his angular appearance). His mop-top is rather longer in the back of the four of them. He always leans against something, shoulders hunched, hands in pocket, legs crossed. He is also the same height as Paul. His shoulders are hunched when he is in a standing or a leaning pose which can indicate direction and his head tilted forward. He has a crooked smile and almost always gives the impression of frowning due to his eyebrows getting thicker as they reached his nose. His chin is long and thin, with sunken cheeks, and his nose is tall and thin. He never looks at who he's speaking to and will close his eyes for short periods when talking. Notice the distance between his nose and his mouth; his mouth is lopsided. He uses facial expressions to express himself.
He often uses dry, witty humour and succumbs to peer pressure. George is the only Beatle with a diverse accent that doesn't really fit with any accent in particular. George has been shown to be fascinated with various cultures and is occasionally superstitious. He and Ringo are almost always made to do the work for John and Paul, such as in the episode Do You Want to Know a Secret they were the only ones carrying in the bands' extensive luggage into their vacation cottage. He cares a lot about the group members and will help them when they need him.
Ringo Starr Edit
Ringo is the most sympathetic, naive, dimwitted and unfortunate Beatle. His mop-top is the longest and shaggiest (sometimes almost completely covering his eyes) of the four of them. He is the more calm, gentle, least aggressive, innocent, and more lovable Beatle. Ringo's nose and sad, goofy, expressive eyes are among his most prominent features along with his trademark, rather deep, goofy laugh. His face usually has a sad or goofy expression with his upper lip protruding in a wavy line. He does smile a lot, but when he doesn't he has a look of curiosity or sadness on his face. Ringo's expressions and humour are usually deadpan, but when expression is required, his eye position (eyes arched) are used to make his goofy expression whenever he laughs. Whenever he laughs, having made a funny remark, he squints.
He is the smallest Beatle with a disjointed Groucho Marx figure. His neck is thin and gets smaller as it reaches the base of his neck, with his small chin sticking out a little which is evidence of his disjointed figure. When he walks his feet, legs, and knees, arms and hands move loosely. Being responsible for the show's light-hearted humorous or slapstick comical relief, after having bodily harm of any kind his figure is crooked, bent or twisted into a sometimes unusual position. His clothes also often look a bit too big, especially his Beatle Boots and Blue Blazer Jacket.
During the song portions of the episodes (not the sing-along segments), he often shakes his head and mop-top around with a goofy expression when drumming. He gets along best with George, and he, like George, shows interest in various cultures. He often makes bad puns and jokes (usually he's the only one laughing) and during the sing-along segment he is the substitute prop-man (the real prop-man is, in every episode, out sick, on vacation or just not there, so Ringo, in every episode, fills in for him) and sets the stage literally to John, Paul, or George's description, and more often than not, to their surprise or chagrin.
He is often the butt of the joke, victim of a prank, or just simply has bad luck. Ringo tends to have bad luck, often because of his naivety, curiosity and being unaware of the danger, mistake or threat. In the episode "Good Day Sunshine", he becomes depressed and upset, thinking he is a jinx for misfortunes such as that it rained at Carny Island on The Beatles weekends, (i. e. it rained at the peers fair every time RINGO arrived) and was described in that episode as being a "sourpuss". He felt better after John, Paul, and George sang Good Day Sunshine for him and showed him how to have fun again.
It is revealed in "Money" that Ringo's mother dropped him as a baby.
Ringo like Paul is also left-handed, although in 'I'll Be Back' Ringo plays a guitar right-handed.
List of episodes and sing-alongsEdit
Season 1 (1965-3/1966)Edit
1. A Hard Day's Night/I Want To Hold Your Hand: The Beatles are in Transylvania rehearsing in a haunted house with "monstrous" visitors; To hide from their fans, The Beatles run inside a diving bell which drops them into the ocean with a lovesick octopus. Sing Along: Not A Second Time/Devil In Her Heart
2. Do You Want To Know A Secret/If I Fell: The Beatles go to Dublin, Ireland for the weekend where they meet a leprechaun named Willomena Morris; John is kidnapped by Dr. Dora Florahyde and Igor, both of whom want John's brain for their monster. Sing Along: A Hard Day's Night/I Want To Hold Your Hand
3. Please Mr. Postman/Devil In Her Heart: Ringo loses 15 rings he bought with all of the Beatles' spendings and they're expecting a telegram from their manager Brian Epstein for more money; Ringo wanders into the woods in Transylvania where he meets a witch who wants Ringo for a husband. Sing Along: If I Fell/Do You Want To Know A Secret
4. Not A Second Time/Slow Down: The Beatles abandon their flight and land in Africa while trying to get away from their fans, but three girls keep tracking them down. They later encounter a few crocodiles; The Beatles are on the way to the town Ringo Ravene (named after Ringo) until they encounter a donkey that smells gold named "Gold Nose". Sing Along: Baby's In Black/Misery
5. Baby's In Black/Misery: Paul gets kidnapped by Professor Psycho who wants Paul to marry his creation Vampiress, half girl and half bat; The Beatles go to a wax museum where a vampire follows them. Sing Along: I'll Get You/Chains
6. You've Really Got A Hold On Me/Chains: In Africa, Ringo asks a medicine maker named Jack to help fix the Beatles' flat tire. He then turns a worm into a snake and it lusts for Ringo; After getting knocked out, Ringo dreams about himself as Captain Bligh from the movie "Mutiny On The Bounty". Sing Along: Slow Down/Honey Don't
7. I'll Get You/Honey Don't: The Beatles run into Alan Watermain in Africa after escaping from their fans and go out hunting for a lion; Ringo is mistaken as a bull rider, and the cowboys send him to ride on a toughest bull named Honey. Sing Along: You've Really Got A Hold On Me/Any Time At All
8. Anytime At All/Twist And Shout: The Beatles imagine themselves as the Three Musketeers (Plus One) while they are on a tour at a museum in France; The Beatles attend an art show where a girl tries to be like other artists. They inspire her with music. Sing Along: I'll Be Back/Little Child
9. Little Child/I'll Be Back: A little girl Indian wants to prove that girls are as good at trapping as boys are by trapping the Beatles; The mayor of Texas gives Ringo a golden guitar as a gift, only to be stolen by three men, prompting the Fab Four to hunt for the thieves and get the guitar back. Sing Along: Long Tall Sally/Twist And Shout
10. Long Tall Sally/I'll Cry Instead: The Beatles stay at a castle for the night during a fog. John and Ringo try on a couple of cursed armor suits and start to fight each other; After signing too many autographs in Japan, George's hand gets swollen and suffers "autographitis". His mates take him to a hand doctor but end up in a karate class by mistake. Sing Along: I'll Follow The Sun/When I Get Home
11. I'll Follow The Sun/When I Get Home: The Beatles' car breaks down and they are captured by a highwayman who happens to be a car repair man; The Beatles explore the Notre Dame in France where they later meet its famous hunchback Quasimoto. Sing Along: I'll Cry Instead/Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby
12. Everybody's Trying To be My Baby/I Should Have Known Better: The Beatles, spending the night at a temple in Japan during a rainstorm, are mistaken for Japanese ancestors of four girls; The Beatles are in Rome trying to find a theatre to rehearse. Their last choice is the Coliseum. Sing Along: I'm A Loser/I Wanna Be Your Man
13. I'm A Loser/I Wanna Be Your Man: In Hollywood, Ringo gets hired as a stuntman and ends up in the hospital after getting pulverized in many scenes; In Rome, The Beatles buy a statue of the Goddess of Musica made from stolen gold coins melted down and sculptured. Sing Along: No Reply/I'm Happy Just To Dance With You
14. Don't Bother Me/No Reply: The Beatles are being followed by a couple of spies, all of whom are after their songbook; In Japan, The Beatles are warned about a jewel thief named Anyface who comes in disguised as Paul, which causes double trouble. Sing Along: It Won't Be Long/I Should Have Known Better
15. I'm Happy Just To Dance With You/Mr. Moonlight: The Beatles are in a Roman Street Festival where Paul wins a dancing bear named Bonnie; The Beatles meet Professor Ludwig Von Brilliant who is on a mission to view an eclipse. Sing Along: Don't Bother Me/Can't Buy Me Love
16. Can't Buy Me Love/It Won't Be Long: John is given a friendship ring from the tribe chief, which means he has to marry the chief's daughter; While picnicing in Japan, John goes for a swim in a pond with shrinking potion in it and gets shrunk. The other Beatles think John is a doll and chase after him. Sing Along: Anna/Mr. Moonlight
17. Anna/I Don't Want To Spoil The Party: In Japan, Paul gets lured into a ghost ship called "Anna". The other Beatles dash off to the rescue before they might lose Paul for good; Paul, George and Ringo sneak away from John and go to Greenwich Village for some fun time rather than going to a museum. Sing Along: Matchbox/Thank You Girl
18. Matchbox/Thank You Girl: John buys a trailer for the group to stay in rather than staying at a hotel so many times. They later encounter a group of natives who are evacuating from a volcano; The Beatles sneak away from their manager to get something to eat at a French bakery. Sing Along: I Don't Want To Spoil The Party/Help!
19. From Me To You/Boys:
In Hawaii, a surfer named Surf Wolf challenges George to a surfing
duel; The Beatles participate in a Mr. Hollywood Contest in California.
Sing Along: Please Mr. Postman/I Saw Her Standing There
Note: The opening title erroneously shows "With Love From Me To You"
20. Dizzy Miss Lizzy/I Saw Her Standing There: John and Paul secretly sign George up to an ice boat race, and he partners up with a girl named Lizzy; In Madrid, John and Paul visit a restaurant where John develops a hot foot with ashes in his boot. Rosita falls for John, and her boyfriend Jose challenges John to a duel. Sing Along: Ticket To Ride/From Me To You
21. What You're Doing/Money: The Beatles are on a fishing trip, and Ringo runs into gypsies. One of them falls for Ringo and wants to marry him. George comes in as a woman claiming he's engaged to Ringo to get him back; John puts Ringo in charge to keep their money safe in his jacket pocket. Later Ringo is being followed by a mystery man who is after the money. Sing Along: Dizzy Miss Lizzy/All My Loving
22. Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand/She Loves You: The Beatles' mission is to climb up a mountain with the dog Gunthar to put up their own flag on top; The Beatles are about to rescue a girl who they think is held as a prisoner on a ship. As a result, her boyfriend comes to her defense...with knives. Sing Along: Bad Boy/Tell Me Why
23. Bad Boy/Tell Me Why: A little boy named Hans plans to run away from home and be a Beatle. The Fab Four run after Hans to bring him back with their music (Paul is for some reason is playing right-handed); In Spain, Ringo is the jockey of a donkey that can run like a horse whenever she hears loud music. Sing Along: Please Please Me/Hold Me Tight
24. I Feel Fine/Hold Me Tight: Paul thinks Hollywood's a phony. Actor Dick Dashing wants to prove Paul he is wrong by putting him in some different movie scenes; George and Ringo visit the Statue Of Liberty until they've spotted a man with a package which they think is a bomb. Sing Along: What You're Doing/There's A Place
25. Please Please Me/There's A Place: In Madrid, a bull named El Taco gets knocked out, and the Beatles decide to help out with the bullfight with Ringo as the matador, and John and Paul as the bull; John's sympathy helps an educated ape named Mr. Marvelous escape from the television studio and go out to explore the outside world. Sing Along: Roll Over Beethoven/Rock And Roll Music
26. Roll Over Beethoven/Rock And Roll Music: The Beatles are on their way home after visiting New York City until Paul got grabbed by an elephant named Beethoven; The Beatles are invited to play at the Duke's Palace, but they're mistaken for a string quartet. Sing Along: I Feel Fine/She Loves You
Season 2 (9-10/1966)Edit
27. Eight Days A Week/I'm Looking Through You: A great movie lover named Lips Lovelace loses his ability to kiss. Paul decides to take his place in the studio with a leading lady who falls for him; The Beatles are in Egypt. They are wandering around in the pyramid until Ringo encounters a ghost who wants a body, and he chooses Ringo's. Sing Along: Run For Your Life/Girl
28. Help!/We Can Work It Out: Paul and Ringo go to a fashion show in Paris. Later the designs are stolen by Jaque Le Zipper. Paul chases Jaque to the Eiffel Tower, and has trouble with heights; George becomes superstitious. The Beatles encounter the Lucky Wizard who is really a crook trying to give them bad luck and rob their money. Sing Along: The Night Before/Day Tripper
29. I'm Down/Run For Your Life: The Beatles are on a tour at a wine factory where Ringo accidentally knocks down a vat of wine. If it doesn't get fixed in two hours, the factory will go out of business; The Beatles are on a tour at the Palace of Versailles. Ringo gets knocked out by a statue, and dreams about the days of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI becomes jealous of Ringo and the peasants revolting the revolution. Sing Along: Eight Days A Week/Paperback Writer
30. Drive My Car/Tell Me What You See: The Beatles help a young man and his girlfriend get their old jalopy running in a car race; While visiting "the man of a thousand faces", The Beatles fool around with his makeup machine and change into different characters. (Look for Jimmy Durante and Swee'Pea from "Popeye" in it) Sing Along: Yesterday/We Can Work It Out
31. I Call Your Name/The Word: Ringo is convinced to let go his pet frog Bartholomew in the swamp. Later a movie producer offers a filming deal to Ringo and the frog, and the fabs have dashed off to find Bartholomew (George Harrison is briefly seen playing left-handed in one scene); The Beatles are being punished after gazing at the girls' unveiled faces. The only way to get out of the situation is to say the password: love. Sing Along: I Feel Fine/Wait
32. All My Loving/Day Tripper: The Beatles are in India where they learn how to charm an animal. When the animal is revealed to be a tiger, they use music to tame it when it's about to claw John and Ringo; The Beatles take a trip out into space with a beautiful woman who is actually an alien taking them on a one-way trip from Earth. Sing Along: I'm Looking Through You/Nowhere Man
33. Nowhere Man/Paperback Writer: The Beatles walk into a cave for some exploring which is a home of a hermit who wants to be alone. He tries to get rid of them, but no luck; Each of The Beatles write fictional stories of how they met with Ringo as a theatre actor, Paul as a scientist, George as a secret agent, and John as a war pilot. Sing Along: And I Love Her/Michelle
Season 3 (9-10/1967)Edit
34. Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields: The Beatles are jealous of a detective named James Blonde who gets more attention from many women, so the Fabs plan to stop some thieves from robbing Penny Lane so they can be heroes; The Beatles use music to add some color and happiness to the children at an orphanage. Sing Along: Good Day Sunshine/Rain
35. And Your Bird Can Sing/Got To Get You Into My Life: The Beatles and a couple of hunters hunt for a rare bird called a green double-breasted tropical woosted that can sing anything; The Beatles are in India, learning how to escape from their bodies. It works, but the problem is that the souls' bodies are moving by themselves, and they must get them before it's too late. Sing Along: Penny Lane/Eleanor Rigby
36. Good Day Sunshine/Ticket To Ride: Ringo thinks he's a jinx. When the Beatles arrive at Carney Island, it starts to rain. Their music turns a rainy day into a sunny day again, and makes Ringo happy; The Beatles each have their own hobby. Ringo's is catching birds: an English term for girls. Paul releases the only one Ringo caught, and he runs after her. Sing Along: Strawberry Fields Forever/And Your Bird Can Sing
37. Taxman/Eleanor Rigby: The Beatles get knocked out while carrying tons of money to bank, and dream about the days of Robin Hood; A bunch of kids claim that an elderly lady named Eleanor Rigby is a witch, the fabs tell them the true story about Eleanor as a song. Sing Along: Got To Get You Into My Life/Here, There And Everywhere
38. Tomorrow Never Knows/I've Just Seen A Face: The Beatles fall into a well and end up in the inner world with foreign natives. The chief wants the Fabs to marry his daughters, and they began to run away; Ringo loses his singing voice. For treatment, his three mates send Ringo to a haunted house to scare his voice back. Sing Along: She Said She Said/Long Tall Sally
39. Wait/I'm Only Sleeping: The Prince of Krapotkin's girlfriend is in grave danger. The Beatles help him to save her from the Prime Minister who wants to marry her; John falls asleep while telling a story to a couple of children. In his dream he volunteers to help King Arthur and Merlin slay a vicious dragon. However, John and his mates opt instead to play music to put the dragon to sleep. Sing Along: Penny Lane/Eleanor Rigby
Sing Along Edit
Each Beatles show contained two sing-along segments in which John, Paul, and George would encourage the viewing audience to sing along with their latest hits. Ringo would always fill in for the vacationing or ill prop man and try to provide the proper atmosphere for the audience at home to sing.
The sing-along segments were very limited animation pieces, which showed The Beatles, most of the time, in "mini adventures" while the song lyrics were shown on the screen below.
Most of the sing-a-long segments had songs that matched their episode counterparts, but not every episode song had a corresponding sing-along segment, and vice versa. There were nine sing-along songs that were not used in any full-length episodes. They were: "Yesterday," "Girl," "The Night Before," "Michelle," “And I Love Her," "Rain," "Here, There, And Everywhere," "She Said, She Said," and "She's A Woman."
There were a total of eighteen different introductions produced for the sing-along segments of the show. For the first and second seasons, there were twelve segments in which John, Paul, and George would come out on a stage to coax the singing. The third season sing-alongs were introduced from The Beatles' apartment. There was no more prop man to speak of. Ringo would just interrupt each introduction and try to set the mood for the song. There were six different segments for the third season.
The following are brief descriptions for each of the eighteen sing-along introductions:
- John introduces a song with "a lot of punch in it." Ringo brings out a kangaroo wearing boxing gloves.
- John introduces a "romantic ballad." Ringo comes out in a voting booth (ballot).
- John introduces a "real jump tune." Ringo dresses up as a paratrooper.
- John introduces a song "that'll make the folks at home want to join in." Ringo comes out as an Army recruiter.
- George asks for something for the appropriate mood. Ringo brings out a cow (she MOOED!).
- George introduces a song that's a "real swinging, ringer, dinger." Ringo brings out the Liberty Bell.
- Paul asks Ringo to bring out the sing-along sign. Ringo keeps dropping the "g" sound at the end of his words ending in "ing." Finally, the "g" on the sign drops and hits Ringo on the head.
- Paul gets interrupted by Ringo learning to "pronunciate" and makes him promise to help him learn the proper English.
- George introduces a song that's "really wild and comes on like gangbusters." Ringo comes out as a gangster.
- George asks Ringo to provide the proper atmosphere for the folks at home to "sing up a storm." Ringo brings out a rainmaking machine.
- Paul introduces a "romantic love song." Ringo comes out dressed as Cupid.
- Paul introduces a real "torch song." Ringo comes out dressed as the Statue of Liberty.
- Paul introduces a "really swinging number." Ringo decorates the room for a trapeze act.
- Paul introduces a song that "really rocks." Ringo brings in a truck from the "Starr Sand and Gravel Company."
- George introduces a song that "starts off with a bang." Ringo brings in a cannon.
- George introduces a song that "really takes off." Ringo builds a plane and flies around the room.
- John introduces a "really wild rhythm." Ringo decorates the room with a jungle scene.
- John introduces a song that's "an absolute knockout." Ringo builds a boxing ring and gets knocked out by a child.
In 1972, Lennon commented, "I still get a blast out of watching the Beatles cartoons on TV." In 1999, Harrison said, "I always kind of liked [the cartoons]. They were so bad or silly that they were good, if you know what I mean. And I think the passage of time might make them more fun now."
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Womack, Kenneth (2007). Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of The Beatles . New York: Continuum Books. p. 101. Womack quotes the interviews with Lennon (1972) and Harrison (1999) via a reference to Axelrod, Mitchell (1999). Beatletoons: The Real Story Behind the Cartoon Beatles . Pickens: Wynn.