The Beatles’ Animated Series that Everyone Almost Forgot
Everything about The Beatles is celebrated – from their undying music to the talented individuals that made up the team – all sans the eponymous animated series that aired on ABC in the ‘60s. For some reason, fans of the English rock band, which went on to become one of the most successful bands in the world, didn’t like the cartoons.
The Beatles And Their Breakup
The Beatles, whose members were John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Paul McCartney, came to be loved by the people since the band’s inception in 1960. Through the years, the group started experimenting and began incorporating other genres and even unconventional musical instruments in their songs, which made them stand out from the numerous emerging bands of that era.
Sadly, the good old times came to an informal end in 1970, nearly a decade of being together, when McCartney filed for a dissolution of the band’s contract, which resulted to most of them releasing solo albums. But it wasn’t until four years later when Lennon finally agreed that The Beatles will be no more as he decided to sign the paperwork while on a family vacation in Florida.
The breakup became the talk of the town which sparked numerous malicious rumors that involved their new manager and a woman named Yoko Ono. It was said that Ono, an influential artist who became the apple of Lennon’s eye, had started the rift among the group, while others said the new manager Allen Klein didn’t sit well with some of the members of the group.
While the real reason as to why the members chose to end such a magnificent group is still unknown but during their heyday, the public witnessed the band’s dynamics. Fast forward to now and their enduring influence on music and pop culture is stronger than ever. Photos of The Beatles had become a classic t-shirt print, meme, and the band was even casually referenced in movies and TV shows.
Although things related and based on The Beatles ended up being generally a success, one thing didn’t last for a very long time: an animated ABC show that aired from 1965 to 1969, with the first runs only in the first two years, and the latter years dedicated to the reruns. The show celebrated its 50th anniversary late September in 2015, but more common than not are the ones who didn’t have a clue that there was such a thing back in the days.
There were Beatles-inspired lunchboxes, board games, dolls, and even a film, so an animated series was out of the question. Producer AI Brodax had an idea of creating the cartoon version of the group, and the then manager of the band, Brian Epstein, agreed on the condition that it will not air in the United Kingdom.
To be fair, the episodes didn’t even reach UK until the ‘80s, many years after The Beatles’ disbandment. Epstein believed that the not-so-impressive animation and the doltish depiction were disrespectful to the established and renowned band.
This was precisely the reason why hardcore fans of The Beatles didn’t find the cartoon amusing. A lot of them criticized the voices of the four characters, which were just voiced over by two artists Paul Frees and Lance Percival. Others hoped that Starr, McCartney, Lennon, and Harrison could have played their cartoon counterparts, but of course with their tight schedules, it was impossible to happen.
Not A Fan Of The Show
Because there were only two voice actors playing the four roles, some said it had gotten harder to distinguish whose voice is who, while others lament that some voices should have interchanged. In the book “Beatletoons: The Real Story Behind The Cartoon Beatles” written by Mitchell Axelrod, it was revealed that even The Beatles were not happy with the show.
Starr allegedly told McCartney that he was turned into a dummy, while Lennon said they became The Flinstones. As was the fans, McCartney didn’t like his voice, too. But the voices were intentionally left that way, Axelrod said, because the producer wanted the cartoon to be watched by kids, who can’t possibly understand Liverpudlian accent.
Even as The Beatles had earlier on expressed their dislike of the show, the series’ debut was overall a success. The titles of the episodes were song titles, but what basically was the redeemer of the whole show was that the songs were actually the ones performed by the band. So the lack of authenticity in the voices clearly was saved by the songs. All in all, the show is charming even if it didn’t get enough nods from the performers themselves.
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