1 9 6 5 – 1 9 6 9 (USA)
39 x 30 minute episodes
The Beatles cartoons were screened in the US from 25 September 1965 to 20 April 1969 on ABC Television.
They were then seen in syndication and overseas. The series was also repeated in the US in 1986 and 1987 on MTV.
Almost every song the group had recorded up to 1966 was used on the show, even the German version of I Want To Hold Your Hand.
Al Brodax and his King Features team created the cartoon series in New York. Due to time constraints, three other studios were subcontracted to help. They were Artransa Park in Australia, Cine-Centrum in Holland, and CanaWest in Vancouver, BC.
Each episode was loosely based around the lyrics of the Beatle song that featured in that particular adventure (this song also served as story title) and there were two sing-a-long segments where the words to a Beatles’ song appeared at the bottom of the screen.
The Beatles themselves – the first living individuals to become regular cartoon characters on a network TV show – did not provide the voices for their cartoon counterparts. The voices were provided by actors, including world-renowned voice-over artist, Paul Frees, an American, who provided the voices of John and George. Englishman, Lance Percival, provided the voices of Paul and Ringo.
Al Brodax decided to “Americanise” The Beatles’ Liverpudlian accents so the American kids could understand them. This led to much controversy, and the Fab Four themselves were most displeased. The voice controversy led to the series not being screened very much in the UK, and not until the 1970s.
Ironically, King Features won the privilege of animating the 1968 Beatles feature, Yellow Submarine (1968).
The series performed exceptionally well in the ratings when it first appeared. The ratings started to decline though, in 1966, mainly due to the Caped Crusader. When the live-action Batman show premiered in 1966, kids fell in love with superheroes.
There were other reasons, not least of which was the growth and maturity of The Beatles‘ music.