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The Beatles was an animated series about the misadventures of the popular British rock band of the same name. It originally ran from 1965 to 1967, rerunning until 1969, on ABC. The series debuted September 25, 1965 and ended September 7, 1969. A total of 39 episodes were produced. The series originally aired at 10:30 on Saturday mornings, while reruns were moved to Sunday. Each episode is named after a Beatles song, based on its lyrics and played at some point in the episode.

Production[]

The series consisted of short animated stories visualizing the lyrics of Beatles songs played in each episode. In addition, there were singalongs with simpler imagery complementing the lyrics displayed onscreen.

The series became notorious for its static depiction of the Beatles in their early years, depicted in A Hard Day's Night despite the fact they moved beyond said image during the series' run. The producers did acknowledge the Beatles' contemporary appearances by using photographs of them in the third season's intro.

The Beatles 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 British actor Lance Percival (of the Carry On series) did the voices of Paul and Ringo. In fact, the band disdained the series (though John and George admitted they enjoyed it after it aired) and discouraged them from significant participation in the 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine. Only when the band were impressed by 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 of both the animated series and Yellow Submarine.

The first season's intro was the guitar solo from A Hard Day's Night segueing into Can't Buy Me Love, over a cartoon sequence of the Beatles running down a fire exit, echoing the same scene from A Hard Day's Night. The second season's intro was Help!, while the third season's was And Your Bird Can Sing, both over a different sequence.

Most of the animated series' episodes were produced at Astransa Park Studios in Sydney, Australia and George Dunning's company TVC Animation in London.[1] Many episodes were made in Vancouver, Canada, with a crew supervised by veteran cartoon writer John W. Dunn, and Cine-Centrum, TVC’s subsidiary studio in the Netherlands.

Depiction of The Beatles[]

Each Beatle was a loose and exaggerated depiction of their real-life counterparts. John and Paul wore a navy club collar shirt, a cobalt collarless suit jacket and thin black tie, while George and Ringo wore navy polonecks and open cobalt blazer jackets. All of them wore navy or cobalt drainpipe trousers and Beatle Boots.

John Lennon[]

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John is depicted as the band's leader. His moptop is slightly shorter than the other Beatles'. His eyes are fairly small and angled downwards. His chin is rather chubby and rounded. He angles it up, looking down his nose, keeping his feet apart and hands on his hips.

John points and poses with his hands in a 'showbiz' expression with a mocking gesture, especially when giving orders (revealing he doesn't take his role seriously). He faces forward and glances sideways when talking to somebody. He slouches, rather than sits, and often pulls funny faces, immediately wiping them off afterwards.

John tends to crack sarcastic and cheeky humor. He is overly laid-back and frequently malicious towards George and Ringo. Yet he truly cares about them and Paul, and will do anything for them.

Paul McCartney[]

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Paul is the band's lefty and second-in-command. He is the most poised and stylish Beatle. His moptop is the neatest out of the four. Paul's face is very fine, with his eyebrows thin and arched. His eyes point downwards and appear semi-closed, in a mock-sad expression, that only widen when he is excited or shocked.

Paul uses his hands, with his fingers spread apart, to express himself when talking. He always looks straight at whoever he is talking to. He leans forwards when sitting, indicating interest in what is happening. When he is commenting on or suggesting anything, especially mischievous ideas, Paul hides his intent by assuming a mock innocent look: eyes wide and head tilted.

Being John's "follower", Paul shares his humor and laid-back attitude. He is also cynical at times towards George and Ringo, yet will still help them and others when needed. Paul, along with Ringo, is the only Beatle who sounds somewhat like his real-life counterpart (as Lance Percival, his voice actor, is British).

George Harrison[]

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George is angular, loose-limbed and wry in proportion. Compared to the other Beatles, his moptop is longer in the back than front. George has a lopsided smile and gives the impression of frowning due to his eyebrows being angled towards his thin, long nose. His chin is long and his cheekbones are sharp. He and Paul are the same height.

George always leans against something with his head forward, shoulders hunched, hands in pockets and legs crossed. He never looks at who he's speaking to and briefly closes his eyes when talking.

George often cracks witty humor and succumbs to peer pressure. He is fascinated by various cultures and occasionally superstitious. He and Ringo mostly work for John and Paul, shown best in Do You Want to Know a Secret, when they were the only ones carrying in the band's extensive luggage into their vacation cottage. George cares deeply about the rest of the band and will always lend a hand.

Ringo Starr[]

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Ringo is the short and sympathetic yet naïve Beatle. His moptop is the shaggiest of the band, sometimes covering his eyes. His nose and droopy eyes are his most prominent features along with his trademark goofy laugh. His upper lip naturally protrudes in a wave. Ringo mostly has a deadpan smile but a look of sadness when he does not.

Ringo has a disjointed Groucho Marx figure. His chin barely sticks out from his thin neck. His arms and legs move loosely when walking. Being responsible for the show's light-hearted slapstick humor, Ringo's body is absurdly bent and twisted whenever he gets hurt. His clothes also look slightly large, especially his Beatle Boots and cobalt blazer jacket.

During the series, excluding singalongs, Ringo shakes his moptop around with a goofy expression when drumming. He gets along best with George and shares his interest in various cultures. Ringo often makes bad puns and jokes, being the only one laughing. During every singalong, he is the substitute propman, filling in because he is sick or on vacation. Ringo sets the stage literally to John, Paul and George's description to their chagrin.

Ringo is often the butt-monkey and victim of pranks. He tends to have bad luck often because of his naïvety and ignorance of potential threat. In Good Day Sunshine, Ringo becomes upset, thinking he is a jinx, for misfortunes such as the rain at Carney Island, which started when he arrived. He felt better after John, Paul and George sang Good Day Sunshine for him, showing him how to have fun again.

It is revealed in Money (That's What I Want) that Ringo's mother dropped him as a baby.

Although Ringo and Paul are both left-handed, he plays the gold guitar in I'll Be Back right-handed.

Episodes and Singalongs[]

Season 1 (9-10/1965)[]

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, who promises to lead them to a secret pot of gold; 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, who they believe to be their fans in disguise; The Beatles are on the way to the town Ringo Ravine (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 the Picadilly Wax Museum, where a wax statue of Count Dracula stalks 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; The Beatles visit a rodeo in Texas. 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. They end up letting him join their act. 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, aremistaken for Japanese ancestors of four girls; The Beatles are in Rome trying to find a theatre to rehearse. Their last choice is the Coliseum, which they end up destroying with their music. 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 that are after their songbook. Ringo tries to warn John, but he doesn't want to be bothered; 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 jump from their plane and land in a Roman Street Festival, where Paul accidentally angers 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 picnicking 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 China, 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 at a boring museum and go to Greenwich Village for some fun. Sing Along: Matchbox/Thank You Girl

18. Matchbox/Thank You Girl: In Hawaii, John buys a trailer for the group to stay in rather than staying at a hotel. They later encounter a group of natives who are evacuating from a volcano; The Beatles' manager forces them to go on a diet. They sneak away to get something to eat at a 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 for an ice boat race, where he is partnered 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. A lady named Rosita falls for John's "dancing", and her boyfriend Jose challenges John to a swordfight. 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 visits the carnival, but he is being followed by a mysterious 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 scale a mountain in The Alps with their guide dog Gunthar to put up their own flag on top; The Beatles are about to rescue a girl who (they think) is being 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 German 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 erroneously playing right-handed in this episode); 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 that Hollywood is phony. Actor Dick Dashing wants to prove Paul wrong by putting him in some different movie scenes; George and Ringo visit the Statue Of Liberty. They spot 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 a 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 gets 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)[]

27. Eight Days A Week/I'm Looking Through You: A great movie lover named Lips Lovelace (a caricature of Marlon Brando) 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 a pyramid, where Ringo encounters a ghost who takes possession of his body. 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 Jacques Le Zipper. Paul chases Jacques to the Eiffel Tower, and has trouble with heights; George becomes superstitious. The Beatles encounter the Lucky Wizard, who is really a con artist that wants to steal 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 winery where Ringo accidentally knocks down a vat of wine. If it doesn't get fixed in two hours, the winery 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" (based on Lon Chaney, Jr.), The Beatles fool around with his makeup machine and change into different characters. 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 sentenced to death after gazing at the unveiled faces of some harem girls. The only way to get out of the situation is to say the password: love. Sing Along: She’s A Woman/Wait (NOTE: “She’s A Woman” was replaced by a repeat of “I Feel Fine” in the MTV syndicated package)

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 World War I pilot. Sing Along: And I Love Her/Michelle

Season 3 (9-10/1967)[]

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 green double-breasted tropical roosted bird 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 (repeat)

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 (both repeats)

Sing Along[]

Each Beatles show contained two sing-along segments in which Paul, John 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. Starting in the second season, the sing-along segments became increasingly abstract, with some not featuring the group at all. In the third season, they did not appear in any (except for a repeat of the “Long Tall Sally” segment), and the sing-alongs were even more surreal, at times resembling the forthcoming Yellow Submarine film.

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". On the flip side, “Boys”, “Money”, “Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand”, “I’m Down”, “Drive My Car”, “Tell Me What You See”, “I Call Your Name”, “The Word”, “Taxman”, “Tomorrow Never Knows”, “I’ve Just Seen A Face”, and “I’m Only Sleeping” never received sing-along segments.

There were a total of eighteen different introductions produced for the sing-along segments of the show. For the first season, there were twelve segments in which Paul, John and George would come out on a stage to coax the singing. The second and 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 made for the second season, which were repeated for the third season.

The following are brief descriptions for each of the eighteen sing-along introductions:

  1. John introduces a song with "a lot of punch in it". Ringo brings out a kangaroo wearing boxing gloves.
  2. John introduces a "romantic ballad". Ringo comes out in a voting booth (ballot). After John clarifies it, Ringo comes out as a ballet dancer.
  3. John introduces a "real jump tune". Ringo dresses up as a paratrooper.
  4. John introduces a song "that'll make the folks at home want to join in". Ringo comes out as an Army recruiter.
  5. George asks for something for the appropriate mood. Ringo brings out a cow (she MOOED!).
  6. George introduces a song that's a "real swinging, ringer, dinger". Ringo brings out the Liberty Bell.
  7. 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.
  8. Paul gets interrupted by Ringo learning to "pronunciate" and makes him promise to help him learn the proper English.
  9. George introduces a song that's "really wild and comes on like gangbusters". Ringo comes out as a gangster.
  10. George asks Ringo to provide the proper atmosphere for the folks at home to "sing up a storm". Ringo brings out a rainmaking machine.
  11. Paul introduces a "romantic love song". Ringo comes out dressed as Cupid.
  12. Paul introduces a real "torch song". Ringo comes out dressed as the Statue of Liberty.
  13. Paul introduces a "really swinging number". Ringo decorates the room for a trapeze act.
  14. Paul introduces a song that "really rocks". Ringo brings in a truck from the "Starr Sand and Gravel Company".
  15. George introduces a song that "starts off with a bang". Ringo brings in a cannon.
  16. George introduces a song that "really takes off". Ringo builds a plane and flies around the room.
  17. John introduces a "really wild rhythm". Ringo decorates the room with a jungle scene.
  18. John introduces a song that's "an absolute knockout". Ringo builds a boxing ring and gets knocked out by a child.

Reception[]

In 1972, John Lennon admitted, "I still get a blast out of watching the Beatles cartoons on TV."

In 1999, George Harrison admitted, "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]

Gallery[]

References[]

  1. 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. 

External links[]

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