A 30-minute Saturday morning cartoon show debuted Sept. 25, 1965, on ABC, and “The Beatles” became an instant hit.
Reportedly the first time an animated series portrayed real, living people, “The Beatles” aired 39 episodes in its original run from 1965-67 and through 1969 in reruns.
Beatles’ songs titled each episode, but the plots were completely fiction, putting the lads through whimsical adventures. They also had additional sing-along songs with lyrics displayed on the screen.
Paul Frees, the voice of Boris Badenov from “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show,” voiced the characters of John Lennon and George Harrison. Lance Percival voiced Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. None of the voices sounded anything like the real person.
The Fab Four reportedly disliked the cartoons when they first aired but later individually praised the series. The cartoons are not available on home video, but they can be found for sale on a variety of websites. We chose five of our favorite episodes.
“Do You Want to Know a Secret/If I Fell”
Season 1, Episode 2: The Beatles travel to Ireland where they meet a leprechaun named Willomena Morris. John is kidnapped by Dr. Dora Florahyde and Igore because they want his brain for their monster.
Sing-alongs: “A Hard Day’s Night,” “I Want To Hold Your Hand.”
“Bad Boy/Tell Me Why”Season 1, Episode 23: A little boy runs away from home to become a Beatle. Paul plays right-handed. In Spain, Ringo is the jockey of a donkey that likes loud music.
Sing-alongs: “Please Please Me,” “Hold Me Tight”
“Eight Days a Week/I’m Looking Through You”Season 2, Episode 27: A famous movie lover loses his ability to kiss, and Paul takes his place in the studio. The Beatles are in Egypt touring the pyramids when a ghost wants Ringo’s body.
Sing-alongs: “Run For Your Life,” “Girl”
“Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields”Season 3, Episode 34: The Beatles are jealous of detective James Blonde, who gets more attention from women than they do. The Beatles play their music to make children in an orphanage happy.
Sing-alongs: “Good Day Sunshine,” “Rain”
“Taxman/Eleanor Rigby” Season 3, Episode 37: The Beatles are knocked unconscious while carrying money to the bank. Kids tell the Beatles an old lady named Eleanor Rigby is a witch.
Sing-alongs: “Got To Get You Into My Life,” “Here, There And Everywhere”