Friday, July 27, 2012

The Beatles Cartoon, Episode 3!

0301This episode begins with "Please Mister Postman," and opens with the Beatles walking down a street, complaining that they're starving, because Ringo spent every last cent they had with them... on 15 rings! Paul insists that Ringo hand them over so they can pawn them, but Ringo lost them shaking hands with autograph collectors ("You mean ring collectors," John corrects him). John decides they're going to have to telegraph Brian for money (kind of a nice surprise that they even mention Brian Epstein here)!

0302Later, at the telegraph office, they discover that they can't even send a telegram for money, because they haven't the money to pay for the telegram! But then they spot a nearby Cannibal Telegraph Service, where they communicate via drumbeats, using hollow tree trunks. Ringo sits down and starts calling the local operator, but she tells Ringo all lines are busy. Next, he tries long distance, gets to Brian's secretary who promises to send the money, but then the operator wants ten pounds, because Ringo forgot to reverse the charges! George offers to give her ten pounds -- with a stick!

0303Later, as they wait, they try getting a coconut to eat, but the one they pick is empty (and labeled "No deposit, no return"). Next, they spot a monkey feeding an elephant, and Ringo tries to get fed, too, but it's no dice! Next, they find some eggs, but then realize they're alligator eggs, and run away! Finally, they see a young lad eating a full turkey dinner being fed to him by his mother, and hope maybe they can get some scraps, but the boy is eating every single speck, save for a spot of gravy which they fight over.

By the way, in this short, we've already seen cannibals, an elephant and a monkey, and now this -- and there are clearly tall buildings in the background. Where the heck are the Beatles, anyway?

0304Later, despite their hunger, the Beatles are dedicated to appearing at the charity performance they're booked for, the show must go on! And so, they begin playing "Please Mr. Postman" (which has the last verse edited out). Outside the theater, the postman is arriving with a letter for them, and must fight his way through the crowd of screaming girls. Finally, the song ends and the postman gets to the stage, where he hands the letter to John, who opens it -- but it's not from Brian, it's from Liverpool Light Company, it's final notice, pay now or their lights go off! Ringo says not to worry, they're a million miles away from Liverpool, but then the lights go off in the theater they're playing in!

0305Next up, it's the sing-along portion of the show! This time, John is introducing, with Ringo (of course) being the prop man! Since John describes the song as a real "jump tune," Ringo pops off-stage and then back, this time dressed as a paratrooper! John asks Ringo to take a flying leap, and Ringo jumps off the stage! Suddenly, Ringo's body starts rising upwards, with the parachute opened before, and Ringo says, "Wouldn't you know it? I had my blinking parachute on upside down!"

0306So then, the song starts, "If I Fell." The song begins as normal, but the first regular verse is edited out! However, all the lyrics are correct on-screen, so that's a good thing! The pictures accompanying this song involve a little girl and her doll for the most part, without much of the Beatles on-screen themselves!

0307John then introduces the next song (complaining that some of the kids were hardly singing at all, as we've come to expect). John calls Ringo again, and says he'd like the stage decorated in a way to make the folks join in, and Ringo goes off, and comes back in dressed as a WWI soldier pulling a cart with an Uncle Sam "I Want You" poster on it! John really gets on Ringo's case here, and quite literally beats him up!

0308And so, the song begins, "Do You Want to Know a Secret," and the accompanying pictures have no Beatles -- lots of hearts, flowers, a stylized Hofner Violin Bass Guitar (like Paul uses), and some floating eyes, but no Beatles! And only one minor lyric goof... in the middle eight, the screen shows "I've known the secret for a week or two," but what George actually sings is, "I've known the secret for the week or two." Which doesn't really make much sense, changing the article, but there you go!

0309The final segment is based on "Devil In Her Heart," and it opens at the Transylvania Picnic Grounds, where George and Ringo are relaxing with a picnic casket. Yes, I meant casket. George opens it, and there's heart of artichokes, French fried potatoes, blood sausages made with real blood, all of which make Ringo lose his appetite (curious that George then pulls out a sandwich that wasn't mentioned, and starts eating it). Ringo decides to go for a stroll, and George warns him that there's some strange things going on around there. Ringo says, "Oh, you and your silly superstitions." Besides, he's got his magic ring on to ward off evil spirits. Ringo walks off, but George can't help worrying about him.

0310Ringo finds himself in a spooky forest after a while, and decides he needs to go back to George (who, according to Ringo, "Always needs someone to look after him, poor lad."). Unfortunately, Ringo can't remembe the way! Fortunately, someone approaches -- a headless horseman carrying a skull instead of a pumpkin! Ringo asks if he knows the way, but the horseman replies that he's never had a head for directions, and rides off laughing!

Ringo flips a coin to decide which path to take, but when the coin is in midair, it sprouts batwings, and flies off! Ringo chases after it, running into the side of a witch's house! The witch falls for Ringo immediately, and invites him inside for some soup. When Ringo tries to demur, she pulls him in through the window! Ringo's not thrilled at the idea of marrying the witch, but she demonstrates she'd make a good wife by spelling up a feast, sews up some clothes, and flies her broom around.

0311Ringo still declines, so the witch decides to prepare a special brew to cause him to come under her control! She fills a squirt gun with it, and gets ready to shoot it into Ringo's mouth, but Ringo runs off as she pulls the trigger (the brew hits the chair Ringo was sitting on, making the chair fall in love with another chair, and chasing after it), and the song starts! As Ringo runs, the witch keeps missing him, and finally whisks him up on her broom and tosses him back into her cottage as the song ends!

0312The witch paints a heart on Ringo and prepares to hit him with her brew, but then there's a knock at the door! It's George! But the witch doesn't let him in... she starts walking towards Ringo, but trips and falls into her pot! Ringo lets George in, and thanks him for saving him from a fate worse than death... but then the witch emerges from the pot, transformed from an ugly witch to a sexy one! Ringo's eyes bug out, and he starts chasing the witch around! George remarks, "Teenagers! I'll never understand them!"

Of course, anyone who's a fan of classic Looney Tunes will realize that a similar thing happened in a Bugs Bunny cartoon with Witch Hazel, with Bugs transforming her into a sexy witch, too! Odd that George should make the "teenagers" comment, as Ringo was well into his 20s at the time this show was made!

Still, these were some fun cartoons, although I'm a bit weirded out by John beating up Ringo in the singalong portion -- that's just not right for Saturday mornings, and not right for John! It's bad enough that there's constant "Stupid Ringo" jokes, but fortunately the last cartoon had none of those. And yes, I'm still trying to get accustomed to the voices being given to the Beatles here... one of these days, I may just break down and re-record the sound on one of these cartoon segments and replace the vocal tracks with voices sounding more like the Beatles themselves (I can do a decent John and a passable George myself).

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