Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The Beatles Cartoon, Episode 6!

0601The first segment of this episode is "You've Really Got a Hold On Me," and it opens with the Beatles on a safari, driving in a jeep. George isn't impressed, because they haven't spotted any big game (of course, as he says this, they drive right underneath a dinosaur-sized elephant). Paul complains, too... and when he asks whose idea this was, John and George chime in, "Ringo's!" Ringo says the travel agent assured him this was where the rarest of wild game was, the three-horned albino rhino -- and as Ringo tells them this, guess what hey drive right past?


0602Ringo would give a million dollars to take a picture of a three-horned rhino, even though the sign on the rhino offers it for only 40 cents (odd how the Beatles keep dealing with American money, even the last episode, in the heart of London, they were quoted dollars and not pounds). John complains there's not even little game to be hand, and Ringo offers up a tse-tse fly, which appeases them.

Suddenly, they blow out a tire on their jeep, and pull over so Ringo can get out the jack.

0603All sorts of stuff comes out from the back, but no jack... and then suddenly, Ringo pulls a dropcloth off of a stereotypical cartoon native, who speaks no English, so Ringo has to look up what he says in an English Swahili Dictionary. Turns out his name is Jack, "a slight mix-up somewhere" (because the jeep rental was supposed to include a jack -- Ringo expected, naturally, a car jack. You'd think after last episode's trip to Transylvania, he'd find a different travel agent).


0604Jack leaps out, and since he's a medicine man, he'll get them out of this. Ringo tries to bribe Jack with a stack of encyclopedias, but he's not interested in that. Ringo then offers a worm, and Jack accepts. Jack turns the worm into a giant snake, and then the song begins! The snake attacks Ringo, grabbing and trying to kiss him. Yes, it's interspecies romance! The other three Beatles play their guitars and sing the song as Ringo tries to avoid the clutches of the snake unsuccessfully. Ringo gets inspired, seeing the two flat tires on the jeep, and a cartoon lightbulb flashes above his head (which the snake eats, sending light out of its eyes).


0605Ringo gets out of the snake's grip and hides in the bush, but the eyes of the snake glow and spot him in the darkness. There's a bit of a chase through the trees. Oh, by the way, there's a half a verse cut from the song! Anyway, Ringo grabs the snake's tail, and wraps between the axles of the two flat tires, turning the snake into treads, so they can get on their way... but then the snake gets loose, the jeep crashes, and Ringo is grabbed again!


Jack reappears, and tells Ringo (which he translates) that you can always tell a good jungle by how many safari trucks are parked out front! This is, of course, a joke (and a poor one) based on the idea that you can tell a good truck stop restaurant by the number of trucks parked in front of it.

0606
Next, it's time for the singalong, and Paul introduces it, and has Ringo give directions to lower the Singalong Time sign, which Paul likes. The two of them then get into an argument about proper pronunciation, as Ringo keeps saying "Singin'" instead of "Singing." Ringo insists that dropping a "g" never hurt anybody, but then one of the "g's" from the sign falls off and bonks him on the head!


06080607Then it's time for the song, "Slow Down," which shows the Beatles driving around in what looks like Archie's jalopy from the Archie cartoons! The opening instrumental gets cut very short, by the way. In the second verse, the lyrics show a line as "Well, now you've got a fella with a diamond ring," but the actual line is, "Well, now you've got a boy friend down the street." This is one of the few lyric mishaps that I can understand how it happened -- sometimes when the Beatles recorded songs, they'd double-track them; that is, they'd record the lead vocals twice, for a different sound. Well, John Lennon, who sang lead on this song, didn't always have the best memory in the world (if you've ever seen the movie "Let it Be," you'll notice this when he's singing "Don't Let Me Down" on the rooftop of Apple), and sometimes he'd forget lyrics, or even sing lyrics out of order (there's a live version of "You've Really Got a Hold On Me" on Beatles Anthology Vol. 1 in which he reverses two verses). Clearly, he's actually singing slightly different lyrics on each vocal track here, and the best I can figure that he sang on the other track (which was incorrect) was something like, "and now you've gotten hair sitting down with me" -- the correct lyric is printed in the sheet music.


0609Anyway... after the instrumental break is pretty much entirely cut out except for a measure or two, the song comes back in, and the final verse shows the lyric as "Come on pretty baby, look after me too," when it's supposed to be "Come on pretty baby, why can't you be true?" There's no excuse this time, as John sang it right on both tracks! And then, there's yet another lyric error on the next line -- it's supposed to be "I need your body, baby, oh so bad," and it comes out as "I need your lovin' baby, oh, so bad" -- but this may be just a bit of censorship, as that line really wouldn't fly on Saturday mornings!


0610
Next, Paul compliments some of the kids on their singing, while Ringo walks out reading out loud from a book, "The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain," and Paul starts to get on his case about interrupting for that, but when Ringo says it's supposed to help him "pronunciate good," Paul starts lecturing him even more! When Paul finally says, "Don't you know the King's English?" Ringo replies, "I know the Queen's English," and laughs. Paul then promises after the singalong, he'll help Ringo with his diction lessons... but when Ringo starts listing all these things for Paul to say to ensure his promise (along the lines of "cross my heart and hope to die," but getting into some weird ones I never heard before), Ringo then smacks Paul with the book, saying he refuses to take lessons from someone who'd be so cruel to animals! Ringo wanders off the stage, reading, "How now, brown cow?" as he walks by a brown cow -- who removes his head (it's a guy in a costume) and says, "Can't complain, how are you?"


0611The second singalong starts, Ringo singing lead on "Honey Don't," an old Carl Perkins rockabilly hit. The background graphics feature Ringo at the beach, trying to relax, but a bratty little girl torments him with a bucket of water, pouring it on him, or ruining his castle with her shovel, etc. Paul is also briefly shown being tormented by the girl, too. The middle of the song is pretty much cut out, eliminating the second instrumental solo and the verses between the solos. But at least there's no lyric errors!


0612The final cartoon is "Chains," and the Beatles are on an ocean liner, and they're about to watch "Mutiny on the Bounty" in the ship's theater. John in particular is enthusiastic about showing Ringo what it was really like to be on the high seas in the olden days (ironicly appropriate, given that in real life, John's father was a sailor).


0613A few hours later, they leave the theater, and Ringo's spouting nautical jargon like it's going out of style, and Ringo announces that nobody would dare mutiny on his ship if he was the captain! When he calls Mr. Christian, a pastor comes to him saying, "Yes?" -- I'm amazed they went with this gag! Later, the Beatles test Ringo's sea legs by having him stand on the middle of a see-saw, since old-time vessels had a lot more movement from the waves! Ringo does all right, but then Paul and George jump on one end of the see-saw and send Ringo flying, where he bumps his head and, of course, develops amnesia and also starts suffering a delusion!


0614In his delusion, he's Ringo Bligh, captain of the Bounty, with the Beatles as his men, where he orders them to climb to the crow's nest! When they tell him it's impossible, he demonstrates it is by doing it himself -- but while he's up there, the other Beatles plan to take over the ship! John asks for an axe so he can chop down the mast -- but when he's handed one, it's handed to him by Ringo, and he orders his bandmates clapped in irons!


0615And of course, that's when the song starts, with three of the Beatles in chains, literally! They take it pretty nicely though, all things in stride, and even start dancing with the chains on. However, Ringo tries to pull them into the brig, unsuccessfully. Next, they start using the chains to jump rope, and Ringo decides to join in, becoming wrapped up in the chains himself! John then gets the key and releases himself, George and Paul. Next, he gets a fish to give Ringo a kiss.


0616Then, Paul spots a sign, "To stop ship, pull plug," and the three Beatles grab hold of the chain and pull the plug out! Of course, this starts water coming into the boat, and the boat sinks, with Captain Ringo Bligh in it... but then Ringo wakes up, John having poured a bucket of water on him in reality! Ringo keeps acting like Captain Bligh, however, and even forces the other Beatles to walk the plank... except that the plank is a diving board into the ship's pool, full of bathing beauties... and Ringo jumps in after them!


0617Another fun episode all around, although honestly, I still find myself sometimes doing double-takes to see if it's John or George talking, just because Paul Frees wasn't really impersonating the actual Beatles when he did their voices. Plus, there's the whole American money thing, but I guess that's normal. I've noticed that there hasn't been a lot of emphasis on the idea of the Beatles performing, and in fact, there's not a guitar or drum in sight in the entire episode! I do have to admit, I'm kind of surprised that there's so much duplication of songs used in the singalongs and the regular cartoons... "Chains" was just used in the previous episode's singalong!

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