beatles with animals

10

Yellow Submarine

142 in x of animated feature film history
Release: Jul. 17th, 1968
Country: United Kingdom
Director: George Dunning

Yellow Submarine is a 1968 British film inspired by the band The Beatles and their song ‘Yellow Submarine.’

Pepperland is a cheerful, music-loving paradise under the sea, protected by Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The titular Yellow Submarine rests on an Aztec-like pyramid on a hill. At the edge of the land is a range of high blue mountains. The land falls under a surprise attack from the music-hating Blue Meanies, who live in or beyond the blue mountains. The attack starts with magical projectiles fired from big artillery stationed in the blue mountains. The Blue Meanies seal the band inside a music-proof blue glass globe, they render the Pepperlanders immobile as statues by shooting arrows and dropping giant green apples upon them (a reference to the Apple Records music label), and drain the countryside of color. In the last minute before his capture, Pepperland’s elderly Lord Mayor sends Old Fred, an aging sailor, to get help; he runs to the Yellow Submarine and takes off in it. Old Fred travels to Liverpool, where he finds Ringo and persuades him to return to Pepperland with him. Ringo collects his ‘mates’ John, George, and finally Paul. The five journey back to Pepperland in the yellow submarine.

The film features 12 of the Beatles’ songs: ‘Yellow Submarine’, ‘Eleanor Rigby’, ‘All Together Now’, ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’, ‘Only a Northern Song’, ‘Nowhere Man’, ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds’, ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, ‘All You Need is Love’, ‘Hey Bulldog’, ‘It’s All Too Much’, and ‘All Together Now.’

The Beatles were not enthusiastic about participating in a new motion picture, having been dissatisfied with their second feature film, Help! (1965), directed by Richard Lester. They saw an animated film as a favorable way to complete their commitment to United Artists for a third film, however. George Dunning, who also worked on the Beatles cartoon series, was the overall director for the film, supervising over 200 artists for 11 months. The film’s surreal visual style, created by creative director Heinz Edelmann, contrasts greatly with the efforts of Disney Feature Animation and other animated films previously released by Hollywood up until the time. 

The Beatles’ animated personas were based on their appearance in the promotional film for the song ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, with the exception of Paul being without his moustache.

Initial press reports stated that the Beatles themselves would provide their own character voices; however, aside from composing and performing the songs, the real Beatles participated only in the closing scene of the film, while their cartoon counterparts were voiced by other actors.

The film received widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike, in contrary to some of the Beatles’ previous film ventures. Time commented that it ‘turned into a smash hit, delighting adolescents and aesthetes alike.’

In The Beatles Anthology, released in the mid-1990s, the three surviving Beatles all admitted that they truly liked the film; regarding their initial non-participation, Harrison, who considered it a ‘classic’, later admitted that he preferred that the group did not provide their own voices, feeling that the professional voice actors captured a certain ‘cartoonish’ element far more effectively than they might have done themselves. Starr also revealed that for years he was approached by children and asked ‘Why did you press the button?’, referring to when his character curiously pressed the panic button ejecting him from the submarine into the sea of monsters. Lennon also implied that his son, Sean, first realized his father had been a Beatle because of the film. After seeing Yellow Submarine at a friend’s house at the end of the 1970s, Sean came home asking why his father was a cartoon. Harrison’s son Dhani also claims that he had no idea about his father’s past life until watching this film. As Dhani said: ‘I came home and I freaked out on my dad: ‘Why didn’t you tell me you were in The Beatles?’ And he said, 'Oh, sorry. Probably should have told you that.’”

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FIRST POSTED: 7/23/17

“You make me happy, whether you know it or not.”- Happy // NSN

“I mean damn, what’s not to adore?”- Trouble // NSN

“The more I think about, the more I want to let you know that everything you do is super duper cute and I can’t stand it.”- Can’t stand it // NSN

“Ever think what if we never met? Everything is just an accident. A happy accident.” - Happy accident // Saint Motel

“Everything you say it sounds like sweet talk to my ears. You could yell ‘piss off! Won’t you stay away?’ It’ll still be sweet talk to my ears.”- Sweet talk // Saint Motel

“You’re the only one worth seeing. The only place worth being.”- Cold Cold Man // Saint Motel

“2 am too tired to sleep, when what you wants not what you need, and when these walls don’t feel like home, remember that you’re not alone.”- Just keep breathing // We the kings

“You’re an angel, grab your halo, let’s fly tonight. Cause I’m never going down, I’m never giving up, I’m never gonna leave so put your hands up.”- Say you like me // We the Kings

“When the world falls into pieces, you’ll be my one voice of reason. When I can’t face all my demons, you’re the one I believe in.”- Queen of hearts // We the Kings

“Run, baby, run. Don’t ever look back. They’ll tear us apart if you give them a chance.”- Check yes, Juliet // We the kings

“I try not to get attached but your so cool and I’m such a fool for you.”- Miss yer kiss // SWMRS

“Tell me where you’re goin’ is there room for me?”- D'you have a car // SWMRS

“My head hurts, but without you it’s worse.”- My head hurts // Waves

“I’d wait here forever just to see you smile… I want you to know, through everything I won’t let this go, these words are my heart and soul.”- With me // Sum 41

“Are you okay? You can talk to me… Hey kid think you got a sec? I can call you. I just want to check in.”- The return of the waterboy // Modern Baseball

“Boy, I want you to be happy. Free to run, get dizzy on caffeine. Funny friends that make you laugh. Maybe you’re just a little bit dappy.”- Youth // Glass Animals

“You are out of my league, all the things I believe. You are just the right kind and you are more than just a dream.” -Out of my league // Fitz and the Tantrums

“You ask me what I’ve been doing with my time, I’ve been searching for you.”- She’s casual // The Hunna

“I guess we’re made from the same weird stuff, being a loser with you doesn’t suck.”- Loser // Julian moon

“Death is at your doorstep and it will steal your innocence but it will not steal your substance. You are not alone in this.”- Timshel // Mumford and sons

“Hey, don’t write yourself off yet. It’s only in your head you feel left out and looked down on. Just try your best. Try everything you can. And don’t you worry what they tell themselves when you’re away.”- The Middle // Jimmy eat world

“This is the first day of my life. Glad I didn’t die before I met you. But now I don’t care I could go anywhere with you, and I would probably be happy.”- First day of my life // Bright eyes

“Send me your location, let’s focus on communicating, cause I just need the time and place to come through.”- Location // Khalid

“I love every little thing about you baby don’t you know? I even love when you’re mad and you’re so frustrated even though you make my simple life complicated, don’t go. Nah don’t go.”- Sunshine // G.love

“I use to read when there’s nothing to do but it’s funny doing nothing is never nothing when it’s something with you.”- Molly // lil dicky &Brendon Urie

“While I’m too afraid to expose myself, turns out you know me better than I know myself, well how bout that?” She’s mine pt 1 // J. Cole

“To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die.”- There is a light that never goes out // The smiths

“Help me if you can I’m feelin down. And I do appreciate you being around.” -Help! // The Beatles

“Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting. Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been clear. Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say, it’s alright.”- Here comes the sun // The Beatles

More things for @tgr155 because stuff like this is the least I can do for someone who deserves the world. And he’s got the best music taste in the world.

4

On this day in music history: September 25, 1965 - “The Beatles” animated cartoon series makes its debut on the ABC television network.  Co-created and executive produced by Al Brodax through King Features Syndicate,  the series features voice actors Paul Frees (as John and George) and Lance Percival (as Paul and Ringo). The show is an immediate hit, and thirty nine first run episodes of the series are produced through 1967. Two more seasons of reruns follow before the last broadcast on September 7, 1969. Other than The Beatles music being featured in the show, the band themselves have no involvement in its creation whatsoever. Initially, they have a generally negative opinion of the series, being unhappy with the cheap look of the animation and overly “cartoony” depiction of their personalities. When Broadax spearheads the making of the animated feature “Yellow Submarine” after production on the series ends, The Beatles have little to with it at first. Their feelings toward the film change when they see the work in progress, as does their opinion of the series over time. “The Beatles” are rebroadcast during the 80’s on MTV and the Disney Channel. The Beatles’ company Apple Corps, LTD. purchases the rights to the series in the 90’s. Though fans have expressed a desire for it to be restored and released on DVD, Apple currently do not have any plans for the series to be released on home video at this time.

10

The Jungle Book

136 in x of animated feature film history
Release: Oct. 18th, 1967
Country: USA
Director: Wolfgang Reitherman

“The Jungle Book was inspired by the 1894 book of the same name by English author Rudyard Kipling. Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, it was the last film to be produced by Walt Disney, who died during its production. The plot follows Mowgli, a feral child raised in the Indian jungle by wolves, as his friends Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear try to convince him to leave the jungle before the evil tiger Shere Khan arrives.

After The Sword in the Stone was released, storyman Bill Peet claimed to Walt Disney that ‘we [the animation department] can do more interesting animal characters’ and suggested that Kipling’s The Jungle Book could be used for the studio’s next film. Disney agreed and Peet created an original treatment, with little supervision, as he had done with One Hundred and One Dalmatians and The Sword in the Stone. However, after the disappointing reaction to The Sword in the Stone, Walt Disney decided to become more involved in the story than he had been with the past two films, with his nephew Roy E. Disney saying that ‘[he] certainly influenced everything about it. (…) With Jungle Book, he obviously got hooked on the jungle and the characters that lived there.’

Peet decided to follow closely the dramatic, dark, and sinister tone of Kipling’s book, which is about the struggles between animals and man. However, the film’s writers decided to make the story more straightforward, as the novel is very episodic, with Mowgli going back and forth from the jungle to the Man-Village, and Peet felt that Mowgli returning to the Man-Village should be the ending for the film. Some plot points were taken from Kipling’s 1895 novel The Second Jungle Book. 

Disney was not pleased with how the story was turning out, as he felt it was too dark for family viewing and insisted on script changes. Peet refused, and after a long argument, Peet left the Disney studio in January 1964. Disney then assigned Larry Clemmons as his new writer and one of the four story men for the film, giving Clemmons a copy of Kipling’s book, and telling him: ‘The first thing I want you to do is not to read it.’ Clemmons still looked at the novel, and thought it was too disjointed and without continuity, needing adaptations to fit a film script. Although much of Bill Peet’s work was discarded, the personalities of the characters remained in the final film.

Many familiar voices inspired the animators in their creation of the characters and helped them shape their personalities. This use of familiar voices for key characters was a rarity in Disney’s past films. The staff was shocked to hear that a wise cracking comedian, Phil Harris was going to be in a Kipling film. Disney suggested Harris after meeting him at a party. Harris improvised most of his lines, as he considered the scripted lines ‘didn’t feel natural’. After Harris was cast, Disneyland Records president Jimmy Johnson suggested Disney to get Louis Prima as King Louie, as he ‘felt that Louis would be great as foil’. Walt also cast other prominent actors such as George Sanders as Shere Khan and Sebastian Cabot as Bagheera.

David Bailey was originally cast as Mowgli, but his voice changed during production, leading Bailey to not fit the ‘young innocence of Mowgli’s character’ at which the producers were aiming. Thus director Wolfgang Reitherman cast his son Bruce, who had just voiced Christopher Robin in Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree. The animators shot footage of Bruce as a guide for the character’s performance.

The characterization of the orangutan King Louie has frequently been cited (including by Anthony Edward Schiappa, Susan Miller, and Greg Rode) as a racial stereotype, especially given the political and civil rights climates in America during the time this film was released. Initially, the producers considered famous jazz musician Louis Armstrong for the role, but to avoid the likely controversy that would result from casting a black person to voice an ape, they instead chose Italian-American musician Louis Prima.

Longtime Disney collaborator Terry Gilkyson was brought in to write the songs for the film. Gilkyson delivered several complete songs which were faithful in tone to Rudyard Kipling’s novel, but Walt Disney felt that his efforts were too dark. The Sherman Brothers were brought in to do a complete rewrite, on the condition that they not read Kipling’s book. The only piece of Gilkyson’s work which survived to the final film was his upbeat tune ‘The Bare Necessities’, which was liked by the rest of the film crew. Walt Disney asked the Shermans to ‘find scary places and write fun songs’ for their compositions, and frequently brought them to storyline sessions.

In the original book, the vultures are grim and evil characters who feast on the dead. Disney lightened it up by having the vultures bearing a physical and vocal resemblance to The Beatles, including the signature mop-top haircut. It was also planned to have the members of the band to both voice the characters and sing their song, ‘That’s What Friends Are For’. However, the Beatles member John Lennon’s refusal to work on animated films in that period led to the idea being discarded. The casting of the vultures still brought a British Invasion musician, Chad Stuart of the duo Chad & Jeremy.

The Jungle Book was released in October 1967, just 10 months after Walt’s death. Produced on a budget of $4 million, the film was a massive success, finishing 1967 as the fourth highest-grossing movie of the year. The Jungle Book received positive reviews upon release, undoubtedly influenced by a nostalgic reaction to the death of Disney. Life magazine referred to it as “the best thing of its kind since Dumbo, another short, bright, unscary and blessedly uncultivated cartoon.’ The song ‘The Bare Necessities’ was nominated for Best Song at the 40th Academy Awards, losing to ‘Talk to the Animals’ from Doctor Dolittle. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Gregory Peck lobbied extensively for this film to be nominated for Best Picture, but was unsuccessful.

According to Elsie Kipling Baimbridge, Rudyard Kipling’s daughter, ‘Mowgli’ is pronounced ‘MAU-glee’ (first syllable rhymes with cow), not ‘MOH-glee’ (first syllable rhymes with go). She reportedly never forgave Walt Disney for the gaffe.

After a studio screening of the finished film Walt Disney’s personal nurse Hazel George came up to animator Ollie Johnston with tears in her eyes and told him that the final shot where Bagheera and Baloo walk off into the sunset was perfect and that it was ‘just the way that Walt had gone out.’”

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FIRST POSTED: 5/15/17