As a kid, I had a lot of early television memories. Fury, Ruff n Ready, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillies and Leave It To Beaver among them.
Perhaps it was the cheap babysitting ideal the timber veneer His Masters Voice set represented – who knows – but as a three year old plainly televsion resonated.
Besides colour (which televsion WASN’T back in 60s Australia) – music would be a good reason to attract and keep the attention of a three year old – and The Beatles animated series featuring the fanciful and musical misadventures of the popular English band filled that niche.
Each episode had a name of a Beatles song, featured an animated story based on that song’s lyrics and also played at some time during its screening.
The series was a historical milestone as well, being the first weekly television series to feature animated versions of real, living people. In addition, there were also sing along sequences.
For the trivia buffs, John, Paul, George and Ringo had nothing to do with the series’ production beyond the use of their music with actors Paul Frees and Lance Percival doing the voice over work of the Fab Four.
Kicking off with the very first episode entitled A Hard Day’s Night and I Want to Hold Your Hand where The Beatles are in Transylvania rehearsing in a haunted house with “monstrous” visitors through to the final episode ‘Wait I’m Only Sleeping’ where a mythical The Prince of Krapotkin’s girlfriend is in grave danger and The Beatles help to save her by playing Penny Lane and Elanor Rigby to put a mythical dragon to sleep . . . the story lines just got better as the series unfolded- but for four years the series did just that – and had a legion of fans.
Did it matter to a young bloke in just shorts and a smile? Not in the least.
That it outlasted many other sitcoms also speaks volumes about the offering back in the day.
The series was syndicated worldwide on television after the original series ended in 1969.