Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Beatles Cartoon, Episode 12!

The first story in this episode is called "Everybody's Trying to be My Baby," with the featured song being that self-same song, which was originally written and performed by Carl Perkins, and covered by the Beatles (with George singing lead). Just as a side note, the Beatles were big Perkins fans, and they also covered Perkins' "Matchbox," with Ringo singing lead.

beatles12_01The episode opens with the Beatles driving a car along a road, when suddenly John stops the car, saying it doesn't look like the road to Tokyo. Ringo looks at the map, but he can't even find Japan, much less Tokyo. George folds the map into what first looks like a dunce cap, but when it's put on Ringo's head it more resembles the stereotypical Chinese coolie hat. At a nearby temple, four Japanese men are bowing down to a statue of one of their forefathers, praying for the return of him. Lightning strikes the temple, sending the four running away. Meanwhile, the Beatles, seeing the storm brewing, decide to stop somewhere for the night... and Ringo spots the temple, so they park and enter.

They find an entire meal laid out, as well as the cloaks and hats left by the four Japanese men, and don the clothes and bed down for the night. The next morning, the four men return to the temple, and call for the return of the honorable ancestor by banging a gong, but one of the Beatles (you can't tell which, as you only see their arm) briefly opens the door long enough to hang a "Do Not Disturb" sign up. The Japanese men assume it's their ancestors inside, and block the door with boards and a chain and lock, so their honorable ancestors will stay with them forever. Ringo grabs the gong through an opening in the boards, deciding they need to call on the real ancestors. The men start crying at this, and break into the temple, and start chasing the Beatles as the song begins.

beatles12_03The song is edited slightly, first eliminating the first verse and going right into the chorus, then briefly stops when the Beatles open a door, finding a room filled with Japanese women, who of course also believe the Beatles are their ancestors. The Beatles leave that room, and the song begins again halfway through the second verse, and as the first instrumental break begins (cut in half, with only the second half of the guitar solo playing), they duck into another room, where they find a dragon costume. They get into the costume just as the Japanese men enter that room, but they see through the disguise immediately. The chase resumes and the song ends as the Beatles run into their pursuers.

beatles12_04Finally, the Beatles say that they're not the ancestors, but the Japanese men reveal they know this now, as the Beatles have no braids, which is a requirement! The Beatles are kicked out of the temple, and land in their car. Ringo looks at the camera, asking who ever heard of calling up ancestors by ringing a gong, and rings the gong himself, causing two of the ancestors to appear! The Beatles drive off in a hurry.

beatles12_05Next, it's time for the singalong! George introduces the singalong this time, and as he's trying to encourage the kids to sing along, Ringo interrupts, and George tells Ringo the next song is coming on like gangbusters. Since Ringo's still filling in for the prop man (as he's done in every episode), he rushes offstage and comes back dressed as a Chicago gangster, complete with Tommy gun, which he fires! When George says it's not him who's supposed to come on like gangbusters, it's the number, Ringo doffs his trenchcoat, revealing himself in prison attire, and points to his chest, saying he's got a number, too!

beatles12_06The singalong begins, with "I'm a Loser," which features images of Ringo dressed as a boxer, and the others as his trainers. The first bad lyric comes up almost immediately, with the line "There is one love I should never have crossed" coming out onscreen as "There is one girl I should never have crossed." As the first chorus begins, the Beatles slide back the other way, with Ringo having been knocked out. The scene switches to a casino, with Ringo betting and obviously losing, as his chips get collected row by row. It turns out that George is the croupier, and John and Paul have been winning. Next, we're in a theater, and Paul is already sitting there when Ringo and his girl sit next to him. The lights go out, and when they come back on, Paul's stolen Ringo's girl! By the way, half of the harmonica solo is cut out here. The next scene is on an old train, with the Beatles entering it dressed in 1930s clothing, and Ringo missing the train. The song's ended before the complete final chorus and outgoing solo can be heard.

George is back onstage again, saying the kids did a great job. Ringo's told to create an atmosphere to get the folks watching at home to really sing up a storm, and Ringo runs off, throws some levers, and a fake cloud appears over George, dousing him with water. When George goes to complain to Ringo, Ringo douses him with more water, courtesy of a fake flower on his lapel! George punches Ringo, and the song begins.

beatles12_08The second singalong is "I Wanna Be Your Man," which the Beatles originally wrote for the Rolling Stones (the story goes that John and Paul wrote it on the spot when they met the Stones, writing it in only about 15-20 minutes... when the Beatles recorded it themselves, Ringo sang lead). This opens in a movie theater, with a girl watching a film of the same title as the song. Well, it's more like a slide show, with new scenes sliding into place, and a Beatle dressed appropriate for the scene sliding in (such as John as a sailor on a navy ship, or George as a waiter in a restaurant). A nice surprise is that the lyrics are all correct on-screen!

beatles12_09The final segment is called "I Should Have Known Better," featuring the song of the same title that originally appeared in the film and album A Hard Day's Night. It opens in Italy, where the Beatles are supposed to be making a movie directed by Senor Bombasto, but the sets have all burned down. John and the other Beatles blame Ringo for starting the fire by rubbing two drumsticks together. By the way, Bombasto's voice is the same as Boris Badenov's, with an Italian accent. Anyway, they find a new theater to perform in (I guess the performance is part of the movie), but there's a poster for a grand opera on the outside of it, and a rehearsal is begun.

beatles12_10As the Beatles start to tune up, a woman opera singer (decked out as a valkyrie straight out of The Ring of the Nibel√ľngen) starts warming up her voice. Her voice causes all kinds of damage to the set, sending walls falling down on everyone, including the Beatles. They move on to a new theater to rehearse, this one advertising a ballet! Like the previous theater, there's a sign (unnoticed by the Beatles or Bombasto) saying that there's a rehearsal going on. Again, they start to tune up, but then the ballet performers start practicing! Ringo's knocked through the stage floor, and he finds a lever labeled "spring lift" that he pulls, sending him flying back up onto the stage, where he then hits a lever starting an artificial storm! The storm floods the theater, sending the Beatles out.

There's no theaters left in Rome to practice in, but then Ringo spots a postcard with a photo of the Colliseum, but it's not large enough for Bombasto... but they go there anyway. And that's when they start the song! Unfortunately, this song is enough to start making the Colliseum become even more of a ruin than it was to begin with, with sections of columns starting to slide out of place. As the song goes on, columns begin to fall, as well as statues. I should note that the Beatles' performance in this video is animated much better than usual, as they all perform "in character" as we've seen in concert performances, complete with John's wide stance and more bobbing up and down than just tapping his toes. As the song ends, the place is a complete wreck.

Ringo quips, "They sure don't make Rome like they used to!"

Overall, I'd have to say this was a pretty enjoyable episode, particularly the last segment. The only thing I didn't really like was the portrayal of the Japanese in the first segment, but I suppose that can be forgiven, given the stereotyping still going on in cartoons of the day.

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