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Beatles, The

UK



Original Air Date:
1964
Channel:
ABC
Prod. Co.:
King Features
Genre:
Series
 

4.00

Great
1
Votes
Characters & Voices
John Lennon - Paul Frees
George Harrison - Paul Frees
Paul McCartney - Lance Percival
 
As if they needed more exposure in the year that "Help!" and "Yesterday" hit number one, The Beatles became more animated than ever when they hit the small screen in 1965. In doing so, they became the first living individuals to become regular cartoon characters on a network TV show. Perhaps not the distinction that the Fab Four were most proud of, but a distinction nonetheless.

The Beatles was short on plot, but big on music. Though the speaking voices were not authentic, each episode did feature a few actual Beatles recordings performed as music videos. For younger viewers, or for those who lived in a vacuum, the lyrics were shown on the bottom of the screen.

Almost every song the group had recorded through 1966 was used on the show, even the German version of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand." When not singing, John, Paul, George, and Ringo engaged in the cheeky Liverpoolian behavior that had come to be associated with the beloved group through their feature films A Hard Day's Night and Help!

The show, whose animation was done in the UK and Australia, shot to the top of the ratings in its first season, but fell into a “sophomore slump” the next. Unable to beat CBS' new Space Ghost, the show was moved and renamed The New Beatles, an ironic title considering that it consisted mostly of reruns. Unfortunately, moving the show to Sundays didn't do the trick, and finally, the producers decided to let it be.

Interestingly enough, the same company that provided the none-too-radical animation of the series, King Features, won the privilege of animating the beautiful 1968 Beatles feature, Yellow Submarine.
 
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In 1923, cartoonist Morrie Turner was born.