I recently posted an article about the "Penny Lane" episode of the Beatles Cartoon Series. It included the disclaimer that other than the licensing of the songs, the Beatles themselves had nothing to do with the production of the cartoon. I have no evidence to the contrary, but I wanted to take a moment to suggest that although unlikely, it is at least plausible that a Beatles Cartoon episode could contain relevant clues. YouTubeornottobe grandfatheraleister could be on to something.
Iamaphoney even used images from the Beatles Cartoon for the Rotten Apple 21 subtitled "nothing IS real."
The characters in the Beatles Cartoon series were based on caricatures created by Peter Sander. The Beatles Fanzine, Strawberry Fields Forever published Sander's original "blueprints" in Issue #10. Click each picture for a larger version.
One reader of this blog stated that the actual episodes were made by artists in Korea to save money, but I have not been able to confirm that. One credible Beatles Cartoons fansite says although it was true that the producer looked to other places than the U.S. because of economic reasons, the actual work was done in Australia, with additional production taking place in England, Mexico and Canada.
The Beatles Cartoon was still in production when the Beatles music and message changed dramatically. If something did happen in 1966 that caused the Beatles to start putting clues in their releases in 1967, it is plausible to me that the later Beatles Cartoon episodes could contain clues. All the Beatles would have had to do was send Neil Aspinall or even Tony Bramwell to Beatles Cartoon Executive Producer Al Brodax. They could have said, "The Beatles would like you to put this and that in an episode of the cartoon. And if you will do them that favor and not ask any questions, there is the possibility of a Cartoon Feature film in the near future."
When "Yellow Submarine" materialized within a couple of years, Al Brodax was involved, much to the chagrin of many others working on the film. Brodax was a surprising choice because he was the one who insisted that the Beatle characters in the cartoon series have American accents.
To give you an idea of how some people felt about Al Brodax, here are a couple representative quotes from some people who worked on "Yellow Submarine":
Animator Tony Cuthbert said, "I think as a team we weren't particularly friendly with King Features or Al Brodax."
Millicent McMillan, Heinz Edelmann's Assistant said, "All Brodax books should be burnt and him as well for good measure."
A bunch of people involved with "Yellow Submarine" issued a group statement condemning Brodax and his book "Up Periscope Yellow."
An excellent source of information on the "Yellow Submarine" movie is radio personality Dr. Bob Hieronimus, author of "Inside the Yellow Submarine." He has interviewed many of the principle people including George Martin, Heinz Edelmann and Derek Taylor. I would love to get Dr. Bob's take on the Rotten Apple series and even tried unsuccessfully to contact him via email. With his knowledge of symbols and mysticism, I'm sure he could interpret some of those loose ends in the Rotten Apple series for us. [So, Doc, if you are listening, give me a shout. We actually met once. You asked me if I thought David Peel would be a good guest on your show.]
So the bottom line is that the idea of the Beatles brain trust planting some message in an episode or two of the Beatles Cartoon Series is more plausible to me than many of the other things that we speculate about here. It could be something very general and subtle too, such as that picture of the back of the heads of the four moptops with Paul's picture being just a little different from the other three.
One thing is for sure: Apple thought that the Beatles Cartoon Series was important enough to purchase and take off the market in the early 1990s.
Here are some excellent links for more information:
Television Heaven: Beatles Cartoon Series
Unofficial Beatles Cartoon Site
Dr. Bob Hieronimus' reaction to Al Brodax's "Up Periscope Yellow."