Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Beatles Cartoon, Episode #14!

The first segment of this episode is titled "Don't Bother Me," which was a song written by George Harrison and recorded by the Beatles for their second album, With the Beatles, and was also the first song George wrote that the Beatles recorded.

beatles14-01The story opens in Rome, where a black-cloaked character and someone who appears to be Oddjob from the Bond movies is lurking outside the Hotel Roma. Oddjob throws his razor-lined derby at one of the rain drains, cutting one part of it through. The derby flies back and hits the cloaked figure before the drainpipe falls back and hits Oddjob! The two climb the pipe to a window, open it (not before the window slides down and crushs Oddjob's fingers first), and enter stealthily. They turn on a flashlight to spy on the Beatles, who are sleeping peacefully in their beds (Ringo's got his feet where his head should be, and vice versa, with rings on his toes). The flashlight beam searches until it comes upon a book titled "New Beatle Songs - Top Secret." This is the target, and Oddjob sneaks over to take it, but Ringo awakens, and alerts John!

beatles14-02
beatles14-03It turns out Ringo didn't wake because of the sneakthieves (who hide before the other Beatles wake up), but because their tour schedule is messed up! They're leaving Rome today and are supposed to be in Barcelona at 8pm tonight, but the last plane has already left! So they get dressed and plan to charter a plane. John, Paul and George grab their guitars, while Ringo grabs the new songs book. After they leave, the phone rings in the room, and the cloaked thief answers it. It's from their man at the airport, and there's only one plane there that hasn't left. We cut to the train station, where the Beatles wait and the thieves lurk. Oddjob wants to throw his hat at them, but his boss stops him. Instead, Oddjob (using an Italian accent that sounds rather like Boris Badenov merged with Chico Marx) fakes an announcement that the train can't depart because someone stole the tracks! The Beatles leave the station and hail a cab from Ben Hur Taxi (whose cabs look like motorized chariots). The bad guys follow in their own car. All this time, Ringo, who somehow figures something is up (he spotted the thieves in the train station) is trying to get John's attention, who always responds, "Don't bother me!"


beatles14-04The cloaked man starts shooting at the cab, and the song begins. The guitar-playing Beatles start playing the song while Ringo looks back at their pursuers. The thieves pass them, and Oddjob throws a bunch of tacks on the road, but the thieves manage to drive over them, blowing out their tires, while the Beatles' cab passes by without a problem.  Next, the thieves plan to drop a large boulder on the cab from a cliff, although Oddjob continues to want to use his derby. Apparently the cloaked thief went to the same villain school as Wile E. Coyote, as his plans always backfire; the boulder rolls backwards and crushes his toes! The tacks are tried again, but a motorcycle policeman ends up getting their first, and he smacks Oddjob over the head with a truncheon. Next, the thieves follow via helicopter, carrying an anchor on a rope that they use as a giant fishhook, hoping to catch the cab, but when the motorcycle cop passes the cab, Ringo takes the anchor and attaches it to the cop instead, and he's understandably mad when he's reeled in. The song fades out.

beatles14-05At the Rome Airport, the Beatles are greeted by their fans, among whom are the two thieves dressed in drag. As the cloaked one distracts the Beatles, Oddjob searches their luggage, but Ringo's still holding the book. They start to head towards the plane, and Oddjob throws his hat at Ringo, but Ringo trips on something, which puts him out of the line of fire, and when the hat flies back, it cuts the waistband off the thieves' pants, causing them to fall. The Beatles get on the plane and Ringo holds the book to the window, taunting the thieves as the Beatles fly off to Barcelona!

Next, it's sing-along time! This time John introduces the song, with Ringo as always being the prop man (the regular guy is on vacation). The song has a lot of punch, and Ringo brings out a boxing kangaroo, Bertha, who punches John before Ringo hops in the pouch, and Bertha hops offstage.

beatles14-06The song begins, "It Won't Be Long," and it starts with shots of Ringo, George and John waiting at a clock, each holding a bouquet. There's an edit in the song almost immediately -- it opens with the chorus as usual, but a second chorus is edited in! Then it goes right to the middle eight, skipping the first verse. When the second verse begins, we get an error in the on-screen lyrics, with "Every night the tears come down from my eyes" being rendered as "Every night, the tears come out of my eyes." Meanwhile, George has met his lady friend and walks off with her, while John and Ringo wait. Ringo is the next to meet his date, and they leave. John checks is watch, and it gets dark and his girl never shows. Oddly, when the song ends, there's some girls screaming, as though this was a live performance somewhere!

Next, John introduces the next song, and he tells Ringo the next song is a romantic ballad, and Ringo's prop is a voting booth, since he thought John said a ballot, not a ballad! Ringo's been in the booth, and when John corrects him, he emerges in a tutu -- as in ballet, not ballad!

beatles14-07The second singalong is "I Should Have Known Better," and half of the lead-in is edited out. The pictures accompanying the song features the Beatles dressed as gangsters robbing a bank (well, John and George, anyway). Oddly, the lyric "I never realized what a kiss could be" uses the British spelling, "realised." When John and George leave the bank, they're pursued by a police car, with Ringo and Paul as the cops! Again, in the verse, the British version of "realized" is used. The verse is edited here as well, instead of ending with "Give me more, give me more," the lead-in to the middle eight, "Can't you see, can't you see" is edited in, as we get another middle eight and eliminating George's guitar solo. Paul and Ringo capture John and George and haul them off to jail as the song ends.

beatles14-08The final segment is "No Reply," the John Lennon-penned song. We open in Hawaii, with the Beatles relaxing on the beach when a tour group of female students happens upon them. The Beatles take off running as the girls chase them.  A box kite that looks like a dragon is flying low over them, and they grab the tail of the kite to fly off and escape their pursuers. The kite flyer pulls them in, and it's revealed that he's a Hawaiian detective, who wants a word with the Fab Four.

beatles14-09He warns them that there's a jewel thief, named Anyface, who's working in the area. Anyface is a master of disguise, and he shows them a few pictures. Anyface has a weakness for the ladies. Suddenly, they realize that there are two Pauls in their midst, and one of them must be Anyface! The detective (who appears to be Charlie Chan, although it's not explicitly said) tells the Beatles he'll bring in Number One Niece, who's a great Beatles fan, and should be able to tell who is the impostor, by hearing the Pauls sing.

beatles14-09So, the Beatles (with both Pauls) start performing "No Reply." The niece watches them perform, dancing in place rather like she has to go to the bathroom. A nice touch is when the lyric of the song, "'Cause I looked up to see your face" comes up, both Pauls scowl at each other. At the end of the second verse, the niece stops them and identifies one of the Pauls as the real one, but John insists they finish the song before the imposter is hauled off. But the niece interrupts them again, having changed her mind as to which is the real Paul! Charlie thinks maybe he should try Number Two Niece next time, and decides to take them all to the Cave of Truth for the answer.

They arrive at the Cave of Truth, but instead of going into the cave, the old man who lives there says that both Pauls have to climb the Tree of Truth, and then dive into the Pond of Truth, and whoever lives is the real Paul. So, the Pauls climb, one at a time. The first Paul gets to the top of the tree, and is about to jump, but the Tree bows down, and deposits that Paul safely in the Pond. But the other pulls a magnet out of his pocket, as did the first one, which pulled the first Paul down towards the parked cars.

beatles14-10They're not sure what to do next when the girl student tourist group comes into view, and the Beatles start running, leaving one of the Pauls behind, who says, "That's a dreamy bunch of girls!"  He allows them to catch him, and he realizes he's bitten off more than he can chew, and admits to being Anyface! Ringo notes that any real Beatle would know to run, but then realizes that Anyface's stolen his rings! But George bends down and picks up a false nose that Anyface used to hide the stolen rings in (how this would've worked I'll never know, as cartoon Paul's nose is pretty small -- now, if Anyface has disguised himself as Ringo....). John says if Anyface had used Ringo's nose, he could've swiped the guitars!

So, another fun episode, although I can't say it was the best one I've seen. There were fun touches in both of the adventures, especially the thinly-disguised celebrity appearances of Oddjob and Charlie Chan, although I have to say that the animation wasn't as good as in other episodes (the performance animation for "No Reply" was definitely not up to snuff, although it may be that the need to feature the Beatles in Hawaiian shirts made doing too much special stuff with the animation an impossibility, given the budget).

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