Come with us on a magical mystery tour of amazing blogs as we present


Moon in Gemini took down some Blue Meanies in her critique of the classic Beatles cartoon Yellow Submarine.


Summer Reeves revisited a snapshot of Beatlemania at its most frantic, in the early Robert Zemeckis comedy I Wanna Hold Your Hand.

Love Letters to Old Hollywood offers a heartfelt and spirited defense of the much-reviled Bee Gees/Peter Frampton version of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.


A Shroud of Thoughts provides a richly detailed look at another Beatles-inspired movie musical, Across the Universe.


And finally, nostalgic old me looks back at a couple of Monty Python-like music videos by George Harrison, “This Song” and “Crackerbox Palace.”


And there are more Beatles delights to come! Keep us bookmarked as we work our way through two more days of the blogathon!

Only one week until the BEATLES FILM BLOGATHON – Is there anybody going to listen to my story?


It’s only one week away from our Beatles Film Blogathon, and I’m…well, if not embarrassed, than certainly humbled to say that we have only three blogger entrants thus far.

Only THREE? One less member than The Beatles themselves??

Only THREE? One less member than The Beatles themselves??

I hope that this blogathon — besides honoring both Ringo Starr’s 75th birthday and his recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — will reflect the spirit of fun that The Beatles at their best provided us.

Although entries for the movies A Hard Day’s NightHelp!, and Let It Be are spoken for, there are still plenty of Beatles-related movies and music videos to blog about. Click on the blogathon’s banner (above) for more information about the ‘thon, and if you’re interested in blogging for it, please leave your blog’s name and URL, and the movie or video you want to blog about, in the “Comments” section below. Show your love of The Beatles by sharing it in our blogathon!




(INTRODUCTORY DISCLAIMER: This blogathon is in no way connected to or endorsed by any of the Beatles or by Apple Corps Ltd.)

As a celebration of both Ringo Starr’s 75th birthday and his recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Beatles buff otherwise known as Movie Movie Blog Blog would like to announce…


Following are the rules.

Primary rule: Please note that I will not accept duplicate entries about the same movie. There is a wide range given below from which to choose, so it’s first come, first served.


Feel free to submit a blog about one of your favorite “official” Beatles movies: A Hard Day’s NightHelp!Magical Mystery TourYellow SubmarineLet It Be, or The Beatles Anthology.

Since this is obviously a limited menu from which to choose, I will also accept blogs about any of the following:

* Beatles-related documentaries, such as the Maysles Bros.’ Beatles documentary, 1982’s The Compleat Beatles, or 1988’s Imagine: John Lennon.

* Movies in which a Beatle appeared solo, either in a starring or co-starring role — anything from John Lennon’s starring turn in How I Won the War, to George Harrison’s cameo in The Rutles.

* Music videos featuring any of The Beatles, either as a group or separately.

* If you can provide a detailed critique about how their music adds to the film in question, I will also accept blogs about movies for which The Beatles contributed only a musical score, such as The Family Way (Paul McCartney) or Wonderwall (George Harrison). (Again, be sure to note how the music relates to the film as a whole, rather than just critiquing the score itself.)

* Fictional movies whose main source of plot is The Beatles’ music, such as I Am Sam (2001), the musical Across the Universe (2007),  or Nowhere Boy (2009).

Don’ts – Please do not blog about any of the following:

* Movies for which any of The Beatles served only as behind-the-scenes personnel (such as George Harrison’s Handmade Films productions).

* The 1966-1969 Beatles TV cartoon, since The Beatles themselves really had nothing to do with it other than the use of their songs.

* TV appearances, such as The Beatles guesting on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” or John and Yoko co-hosting “The Mike Douglas Show.”

How Do I Join the Blogathon?

In the “Comments” section at the bottom of this blog, please leave your name, the URL of your blog, and the movie you are choosing to blog about. At the end of this blog entry are banners for the ‘thon. Grab a banner, display it on your blog, and link it back to this blog.

The blogathon will take place from Sunday, July 5, through Tuesday, July 7 (Ringo Starr’s birthday). When the opening date of the blogathon arrives, leave a comment here with a link to your post, and I will display it in the list of entries (which I will continually update up to the beginning of the ‘thon, so keep checking back!).

I will not be assigning particular dates to any blog posts. As long as you get your entry in by the end of the day on July 7, I will be satisfied. (That said, the earlier the better!)

Again, be sure to leave me a comment and grab a banner, and have fun with your blog entry. Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Here is the list of participants thus far:

Critica Retro – A Hard Day’s Night

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies – Help!

Moon in Gemini – Yellow Submarine

Back to Golden Days – Let It Be

Movie Movie Blog Blog – Music videos for George Harrison’s “This Song” and “Crackerbox Palace”;  music video for The Beatles’ “Free as a Bird”

Summer Reeves – I Wanna Hold Your Hand

Love Letters to Old Hollywood – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

A Shroud of Thoughts – Across the Universe

In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood – How I Won the War


Beatles Film Blogathon Banners







YELLOW SUBMARINE (1968) – A pox on any Blue Meanies who hate this movie


Most ‘60s movies about peace, love, and all that hippie stuff have dated pretty badly. But the mere mention of Blue Meanies (the movie’s outsized villains) is enough to bring a twinkle to the eye of any baby-boomer. And Yellow Submarine‘s stunning animation remains a treat to be savored again and again.

The story of this movie’s creation is full of ironies, the richest of which is that it’s regarded as a Beatles film. The Beatles’ likenesses and music are certainly exploited, but other than a cameo appearance at the movie’s finish, their involvement ended there. Their company, Apple, merely produced the movie as a way to help finish off their movie contract with United Artists.

The second greatest irony is that a film The Beatles sloughed off as a contractual obligation became, in its own way, as groundbreaking as their movie debut, A Hard Day’s Night (1964). The movie’s surreal images and eye-popping color are simply a feast, and the icing on the cake is one of the best cartoon soundtracks ever, stuffed with songs from The Beatles’ groundbreaking “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album and many of their other hit records.

The third greatest irony is that a movie in which The Beatles were minimally involved keeps coming back to haunt them. John Lennon’s son Sean has said he hadn’t known about his father’s musical legacy until a friendly neighbor screened Yellow Submarine for him one day. And thanks to the movie’s moment where Ringo Starr presses a forbidden button and is ejected from the submarine (“That’s the panic button,” the captain says afterward), the real Ringo is still stopped on the street by people who want to know why he pushed that stupid button.

Even the movie’s minor credits are worth noting. The film was produced by Al Brodax, who did the Beatles TV cartoon series in 1966. And one of the movie’s screenwriters was Erich Segal, who hit paydirt two years later with a little novel called Love Story,

I’m not sure how well all of this will play with anyone who’s unfamiliar with or apathetic about Beatles music. All I know is that few movies have given me greater pleasure from start to finish.

The Popeye/Beatles Connection


Forgive me if this seems as though I’m reaching a bit. But two of my favorites in cinema animation are the Popeye cartoons and the Beatles-inspired feature film, Yellow Submarine (1968). With all of the grief that King Features Syndicate — the publishing company created by William Randolph Hearst, and owner of the print rights to Popeye — has gotten over the years, we should at least be grateful for these two landmarks in which KFS had at least a small hand.

The less-than-six-degrees of separation between Popeye and The Beatles can be traced to Al Brodax, who was the head of KFS’ motion picture and TV development division in the 1960’s. Among Brodax’s first accomplishments at KFS was the production of 220 Popeye shorts for television. When Beatlemania hit America in 1964, Brodax got the rights to do a Beatles cartoon series for the ABC Television Network, which ran the show from Sept. 25, 1965 to Sept. 7, 1969.

Although the Beatles were in no way involved in the creation of the show (other than the use of their music), and though John Lennon later complained that the cartoon series made his group look like “the bloody Flintstones,” it was a huge hit in its first season and went on to capture the attention and admiration of baby-boomers who still recall it fondly. (The rights to the cartoon were quietly bought by Apple Corps, the Beatles’ company, in the 1990’s, and the cartoon has been little seen since then.)

It was Brodax who initially came up with the idea of producing an animated feature based on Beatles songs, suggesting to Beatles manager Brian Epstein that this could satisfy The Beatles’ agreement with United Artists to do a third film (after A Hard Day’s Night and Help!).

(This would not be The Beatles’ first brush with feature-film animation. Disney Studio animator Floyd Norman has written that “We’re Your Friends,” sung by a quartet of vultures in The Jungle Book [1967], was originally styled as a Beatles-type number owing to their then-current popularity. But Disney wanted to stick with a more timeless style of music and felt that The Beatles would be “forgotten in a few years.” For their part, The Beatles weren’t thrilled about the idea, either; a different source quotes John Lennon as having said, “There is no way The Beatles are writing music for Mickey f****n’ Mouse!”)

With the rights to do the film secured, Brodax then hired TVC — London’s Television Cartoons studio, which had directed the TV series — to produce the feature itself. Indeed, TVC’s Jack Stokes and George Dunning served as, respectively, the movie’s animation director and overall director. (Stokes had also designed the titles for The Beatles’ infamous TV-movie, Magical Mystery Tour.)

Unlike on the TV series, where Brodax did not want the Beatles’ cartoon voices to resemble the real ones, on Yellow Submarine, the actors mimicked The Beatles’ voices so successfully that to this day, many viewers do not realize that The Beatles did not provide their voices for the film. In fact — other than a legendary 3 a.m. phone call to Brodax in which Lennon suggested the plot of the film — the actual Beatles’ involvement was minimal, with them providing only four new songs (regarding by many listeners as throwaways) for the film. They might not have even appeared in the short sequence at film’s end, had they not seen a rough cut of the film and were pleased that it was of far better quality than the TV series.

Ever since its initial release in 1968, Yellow Submarine has been regarded as a landmark in animation, with its bright, splashy colors, pop-art references, and visual and verbal puns. The soundtrack of some of rock music’s most famous and memorable songs – many taken from The Beatles’ equally landmark Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, released just a year before the movie — didn’t hurt its appeal either.

The connection between the one-eyed sailor and The Fab Four might be a bit tenuous, but I’m willing to give King Features Syndicate at least a smidgen of credit for helping to bring both parties to wonderfully animated life.

(Sources: The Creators of The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine: Where Are They Now?, by Robert R. Hieronimus, Ph.D., Animation World Magazine, July 1998; A Shroud of Thoughts (blog), Dec. 9. 2006; and Toon Tuesday, by Floyd Norman, Sept. 26, 2006.)