The Beatles Get AnimatedOctober 20, 2008
In the mid-1960’s Beatlemania was huge. Not even Batmania could come close in terms of longevity and worldwide impact. As businesspeople far and wide came up with every possible concept to merchandise and make money off the Fab Four, it seemed only natural to have the four moptops star in their own TV show. And while a ‘live action’ show never materialized in 1965 a new Saturday morning cartoon appeared with amazing ratings starring The Beatles.
The ABC network came up with the idea, King Features produced the show and toy manufacturer A.C. Gilmer put the money up in hopes of reaping a vast reward through merchandising.
The Beatles virtually had nothing to do with the show in any capacity except for the songs that were used. Even the voices were those of hired actors affecting a Liverpool accent (Lance Percival, who voiced the parts of Paul and Ringo and the legendary Paul Frees who voiced John and George).
Be that as it may, I tuned in for the first and all subsequent episodes.
The Beatles premiered on Saturday morning September 25, 1965 and aired at 10:30 AM each week. From the first episode the show was a monster hit in terms of ratings with the first show snagging an impressive 52 share that was record setting. Each cartoon ran about 10 minutes and featured two cartoons per episode in addition to two ‘sing-a-longs’ that consisted of Beatles songs with a cartoon to go along with it.
The show aired on ABC for four years with the last two being restricted to reruns. Strangely enough, people in The Beatles’ England never had a chance to see the show until 1980 when it finally aired on British TV.
I haven’t seen the show since the 1960’s but would love to see it again, at least for nostalgia’s sake.