Beatles for Cels
Yellow Submarine, the 1968 full-length Beatles animated movie, has been rereleased to much fanfare, but what about The Beatles, the ABC-TV animated cartoon series that aired Saturday mornings from 1965 to 1968? There were 39 half-hour shows in all, each with two episodes and a pre-karaoke sing-along in the middle. Each episode was named after the Beatles song it contained and usually had the Fabs embroiled in some perilous mishap. Crudely drawn but not without its charm, the King Features series arguably captured the real John, Paul, George and Ringo better than the phantasmagoric guru depictions of Yellow Submarine, which King Features also created. Now that Apple owns the copyrights to The Beatles cartoons, you can expect a DVD compilation sometime in the next millennium containing these lost madcap mop-top adventures:
Things We Said Today
The Beatles go to elocution school to get rid of their Liverpudlian accents. For the duration of the series, whenever John opens his mouth, he sounds like Rex Harrison, while George Harrison inexplicably talks like Peter Lorre. Paul gets off easy, he merely sounds like a Kennedy; but pity poor Ringo, Liverpool's answer to Barney Rubble.
Back in the U.S.S.R.
Paul accidentally wanders on the set of the The Bullwinkle Show, only to find himself fighting off advances from Boris Badenov. It takes the duration of the episode for Paul to convince Boris that he's not Natasha with a pudding-bowl haircut.
What Goes On
A crazed female scientist decided to transplant Ringo's nose onto her Frankenstein in an attempt to make him more lovable. The rhinoplasty fails and instead everyone just thinks the monster is Jewish.
The boys meet a superhero named Zimmer Man, whose funny cigarettes either reduce them to giggles or extreme paranoia. For John, it's the latter when he's stuck inside the Zimmermobile and his cruel host accuses the Beatle of lusting after "the fat chick from The Mamas and The Papas." Then Zimmer Man gets carsick, and John narrowly escapes the chunky deluge by fidgeting incessantly.
I'm a Loser
Tired of being lovable mop tops, the Beatles ditch their suits for leather jackets and chuck lovable Ringo for a moody, down-on-his-luck drummer turned baker named Pete. Although they're unhappy with his pompadour and jealous of his popularity with the girls, they all agree that "at least he doesn't look Jewish."
Run for Your Life
While touring the Bible Belt, The Beatles incur the wrath of a lot of angry guys in sheets with holes cut out. After The Beatles animated series is canceled, Hanna Barbera seizes upon this particular episode as the template for every Scooby Doo cartoon.
Tommorrow Never Knows
The Beatles time-travel into the future to find their songs are being stolen by a pair of squabbling unibrowed brothers named Noel and Liam. The Beatles outwit the dastardly duo by writing longer and more lethargic songs for them to steal from.
Within You, Without You
When George consults a swami, he discovers that the secret of enlightenment has something to do with people suddenly skipping his tracks on Beatles albums.
Ringo decides he'd rather not go to India to study transcendental meditation and sends his Madame Tassauds' wax replica in his place. No one notices the difference.
Blue Jay Way
George writes a song about a fog upon L.A., and the other Beatles, in a temporary fog of their own, decide to record it.
I'll Cry Instead
An irritating Japanese artist tries to con Paul into donating an original manuscript to a charity that will subsidize her art show. Paul thinks he has gotten rid of her for good by sending her to John's house.
Tell Me What You See
A messianic drifter preaching cultural apocalypse hears the Beatles' music and feels compelled to kill people until Paul assures him that his songs are meaningless backward as well as forward.
Baby's in Black
The Beatles decide to go into the haberdashery business. Their boutique becomes a runaway success once they let customers run away with all the merchandise without paying.
You've Really Got a Hold on Me
John falls hard for an invalid succubus. Now he has to move her bed into the Beatles' recording studio and pretend that it was his idea.
And I Love Her
A pushy female photographer captures Paul's soul with her camera and now he must eat indigestible vegetarian cuisine and write songs about "Magneto and Titanium Man."
John gets to jam with his idol, rock 'n' roll legend Buck Cherry, but finds he can't sing a single note without the banshee-like screeching of a parasitic she-devil behind him.
Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey
One day, Paul gives sound investment advice to an evil kid named Wacko Jacko. Now, whenever the Beatles want to perform one of their songs, they must seek permission from Bubbles the chimp.
When the Beatles visit Japan, Paul decides the best way to confound overzealous Japanese customs officials is to put everything that they are looking for on the top of his suitcases.
Unwilling to make a live-action feature to honor their movie contract, the Beatles return to the same fast-buck animator who turned them into cartoons the last time. This time 'round, they all sound like Boris Karloff with Liverpudlian accents. The creators also see fit to give John "what-me-worry" gap teeth and provide George Harrison with the same color complexion as Ravi Shankar!
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