The Beatles weren't keen on the series at first. "Ringo is said to have said, 'Oh, they made me the idiot,' " Campbell said. Such is the nature of Saturday-morning cartoons, not known for their nuanced exploration of character. Each Beatle was reduced to a single trait: John Lennon was the leader; Paul McCartney the sweet heartthrob; George Harrison the mystic. Then there was "poor old Ringo, who is far from an idiot," Campbell said. But "there had to be an idiot amongst them."
The series was produced on a meager budget. "A Warner Bros. cartoon from 1958 or 1960 would cost $50,000 for 7 minutes," Campbell said. "We had to do a half-hour for $5,000."
The 1968 film "Yellow Submarine" was a different story.
Campbell had relocated to Hollywood with his wife and young daughter when he joined the "Yellow Submarine" animation crew. (His subsequent credits include "Scooby-Doo," "The Jetsons" and "The Flintsones.") With his friend Duane Crowther, he animated about 12 minutes of the film, working mainly on the Chief Blue Meanie, his sidekick Max and the eccentric Jeremy Hillary Boob.
"The animation was a lot more complex and beautiful," Campbell said. "You can't watch it and not be taken right back to the spirit of the '60s."
Campbell reports now that he eventually warmed to the Beatles' music, "especially when it became more sophisticated and more complex. 'Yellow Submarine,' 'Abbey Road,' the White Album I still listen to those."
All together now
Artist Ron Campbell will appear at the Classic Hits 101.9 Beatles Cartoon Art Show to display his work and create new Beatles pop art paintings.
When • Thursday through Saturday, May 15-17, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, May 18, noon-6 p.m.
Where • South Towne Center, 10450 S. State St., Sandy
Tickets • Free; artwork will be for sale