The Beagles

In all my years of watching and collecting animated cartoons, only a scant few of the shows I grew up with have eluded my review in recent years. One of those, The Beagles, has just surfaced this week on You Tube. It’s a clip of the opening — a kinescope, in black & white — but it’s all we got.

The show was Total Television’s (Underdog, Tennessee Tuxedo) final production and it aired two seasons (26 episodes) on CBS during 1966-68 (Saturday afternoons at 12:30pm). That’s Sandy Becker doing a Dean Martin impersonation for Stringer, and Allen Swift as Scotty their agent. Toontracker reports the possibilty that all the master elements are lost due to being thrown away. The show was never syndicated, and hasn’t been seen since 1968. Even though the characters are not a parody of The Beatles (as reported in numerous cartoon histories), I suspect King Features (who had the cartoon rights to The Beatles) or the Apple Corps. themselves may have had a hand in this series mysterious disappearence.

Whatever happened, thanks to Freenbean, some of my brain cells can now rest easy with the Beagles garage band theme song now restored in my memory bank.

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  • uncle wayne

    what a kick! I remember it well….and thought (then)…”Wow…they can’t get ENUFF mileage out of the Fab-4….let’s have a rip-off toon to BOOT!?”

  • Bill Field

    I think Toon Tracker had an episode up years ago. My friend, Harvey Siegel Williams directed them for Gamma, I need to ask him about this, and what happened to the prints. He may know, or at least point us in the right direction. There is a Beagle’s album that was released back then, but not sure what else.

  • Shmorky

    boy I really hate when animation isn’t properly archived. I don’t care if someone thought it wasn’t very good. They are throwing out art. Something that had a lot of hard work put into it. That’s just wrong.

  • Cyber Fox

    Apple Corps. did acquire the rights to The Beatles Cartoons in the ’90s. however, They did jack squat with it!

  • Emil

    “Yellow Submarine” was the classiest thing the Beatles did in animation and people tend to either love or hate it. Their earlier, cheaply done Saturday morning series was beneath them commercially and artistically, except for the music, of course. Probably why they did jack squat with it.

  • Christopher Cook

    I don’t think Apple or King Features had anything to with the disappearance of the Beagles since the music didn’t resemble anything like the Beatles, the characters were canines, and there were only two of them. The name resemblance may be just a gray area. The Beagles’ disappearance since 1968 may just be attributed to nobody really remembering it. (And for the record, they did release an LP in 1967, on the Columbia label.)

    Apple and/or King may be sitting on the Beatles’ cartoons probably for the same reasons, along with its low production values and music clearance issues (some of the songs fall under other copyrights while the bulk of original songs are in Michael Jackson’s clutches.) In the late 1980s, MTV and Disney ran the cartoons without the first season opening due to a scene where Ringo impersonates a Chinaman to fool some squealing girls, and many cartoons were not shown because of ethnic stereotyping (Oriental, Mexican). Prior to that, they were syndicated, openings, bumpers and all.

  • http://www.scuzzbopper.blogspot.com Ken Priebe

    At the original Chuck E. Cheese restaurants in the early 80s, there was also an animated “Beagles” group, in animatronic form! They would move along with actual recordings of Beatles songs. This was my first introduction to some of their tunes.

    Here’s a picture of me with the Beagles in the Detroit area Chuck E Cheese, in 1982. Note the “ET” t-shirt!

  • John Tebbel

    The Beagles may not be “a parody of the Beatles� in the strictest sense, but I hereby make a case that a looser parody is intended.

    Hal Erickson agrees with Don Jerry, and adds that it is Martin and Lewis that is the intended target of the parody, both visually and in “general deportment.�

    I do believe that in 1966 when CBS was buying a cartoon show about a band, it’s managers, its crazy adventures, two years after A Hard Days Night and called the Beagles, they thought they were getting something that would at least suggest the famous Beatles. The songwriters certainly had heard a few Merseyside tunes.

    Martin and Lewis were ten years defunct, their nightclub act and television show gone even longer. Also similar is the act and look of the Smothers Brothers who were also probably more admired than either Beatles or Martin and Lewis in the animated show writing/producing class of that era (and already in a sitcoms by this time).

  • http://davidmcg.net/ DavidMcG

    The characters may not be a parody of the Beatles, but their band sure is!

  • Christopher Cook

    One correction on the show’s broadcast history: It aired on CBS for only the 1966-67 season, then it moved to ABC as “The Beagles & Tennessee Tuxedo.” That show aired for half a season Sunday afternoons at 4 PM Eastern. (That’s right, Sunday afternoons. In 1966, ABC expanded their Sunday children’s lineup to include an hour timeframe in the afternoons, but it was discontinued by midseason of the 1967-68 TV year.)

  • Bill Field

    Jerry, The Beagles was not the last series in production, OR to debut from Total Television-Go-Go Gophers debuted the same day, but there were new episodes created as late as 1970 and there were some Underdog segments that were produced in early 72, that was the last TT production year that Gamma billed them. They were broadcast after the Underdog Show returned to CBS the second time.
    My info-source is Harvey Siegel Williams former Gamma Studios owner/director.

  • Christopher Cook

    According to info I researched, Underdog aired on CBS from 1966 to 1968. Otherwise, it was on NBC. Also, the Go-Go Gophers were originally part of the show and got their own show (repeats of episodes seen on Underdog) on CBS in 1968, airing Saturdays at 8 AM Eastern. The middle feature for the show was Hanna-Barbera’s “Space Kidettes.”

  • http://www.lakupo.com/grblitz ManekiNeko

    They sound a bit more like the Monkees, actually…

    This show doesn’t look like it would have been too awful, but it is kind of embarrassing that Total Television would try to capitalize on the trends of the time, when they were responsible for two of the LEAST hip cartoons ever created. It’d be like making Care Bears: EXXXTREME! today.

  • Bill Field

    Thanks, I meant to say AFTER it left CBS a second time, returning again to NBC, the ’72 season was the last that included new material- Wally Cox died within a year or two, coincidentally, it would be Paul Winchell’s last time to host a series in live action (w/ his dummies too), on Runaround, next to Underdog on NBC’s Saturday Morning Line-up.

    Yep, Go-Go Gophers premiered two years after, the Beagles, in 1968, I had thought it was part of the Underdog Show in ‘66. So it is also the last TotalTelevision series to debut, part of the 1968 Non Violent, Commercial Character Series Saturday Morning mandated by Congress, all new shows couldn’t show superheroic phyical conflict, nor could shows like Post’s Linus the Lionhearted, blur the line between commercials and series. Ironic then, that Go-Go Gophers is a comedy based on the horribly torturous Plains conflict of the 1870’s.

  • http://musingsofachick.blogspot.com sudiegirl

    Well, what I wanna know is…where can I find clips of “The Sing-A-Long Family”? (Tra-la-la, boom sha ra, under a sky of blue…tra-la-lee, boom-sha-ree, skating’s such fun to do…)

  • http://mwbworld.livejournal.com/ mwb

    Despite the name, I’d suspect it was more a parody to the Brit invasion duos like Peter & Gordon and Chad & Jeremy.

    Still a great find.

  • http://www.andrews.edu/~drazen/sonic.html Daniel J. Drazen

    I always thought The Beagles were modeled more after Abbot and Costello in terms of character design and development than any group or even duet; the musical thing was just a hook.

    And Go-Go Gophers, which was probably the most politically incorrect show of the ’60s (Not much to choose between Chief Running Board’s pure Tonto delivery and Broken Feather’s incoherent babbling) had to retool its derivative violence (2nd-rate Chuck Jones Road Runner shtick) after protests against cartoon violence amid concerns about violence in the real world [the Martin Luther King assassination and the following riots, the Bobby Kennedy killing, the Democratic Convention brawl in Chicago, and Vietnam].

  • http://www.sfeericle-records.com/blunderspublik blunderspublik

    ummm…i’m confused. I have a collection of mp3s that are purportedly songs from The Banana Splits show, but those two songs from The Beagles, including the theme song, are included in the set. Is there any relation? or just a shared folder mishap? Same studio musicians maybe?

  • Bill Field

    It debuted under Peggy Charen’s 1968 Gov’t mandates, it fell within the new guidelines on every point, the violence nor the wacky antics riled anyone because they were animals imitating human stereotypes… I have no idea why that gave them a pass for that reason– but Joe Jitsu and Go-Go Gomez from Dick Tracy, were humans, the minorities themselves so I’m hearing that’s why it’s different—Okayyyyyyyyy…..

  • http://www.rootoon.com Tim_Kangaroo

    This isn’t the first time The Beagles have cropped up in discussions recently (re: “Holy Grails of Animation”, mentioned in this blog and dicussed over at: http://wardomatic.blogspot.com/2006/12/holy-grail-of-animation.html ). As I recall, the show was on opposite The Beatles cartoon, locally, so the association was more than implied (and a real frustration in those pre-VCR days).

    blunderspublik:
    Those mp3′s you have probably originated from a bootleg CD that has circulated for several years. The CD features songs from both The Banana Splits and The Beagles. WHY they were thrown together on the same CD is a mystery to me (and I’m surprised you only have two songs; the entire Beagles LP was included on the CD).

    Bill Fields:
    I’ve heard criticisms of both the Dick Tracy and the Go-Go Gophers cartoons, so I don’t see any double standard. However, I think those criticisms are more justified in the case of the former. The Gophers were mildly offensive, at worst, while some of those DT characters were simply awful!.

    Speaking of the Go-Go Gophers: In 1968, as I recall, they were on locally very early on Saturday mornings (6:30-ish, or thereabouts). I also distinctly recall waking up one Saturday AM only to find the Gophers pre-empted by news reports on the assassination of Bobby Kennedy.

    -Tim

  • http://thft.home.att.net Mark Arnold

    Message to Bill Field. Sorry to say, but “The Go Go Gophers” was NOT TTV’s last show produced (“The Beagles” was), and new episodes of “Underdog” did not air in 1972 (it was 1967). Granted, “The Underdog Show” was on the network schedule through 1973, but not with new episodes after 1967. Gamma closed their production doors for TTV and Jay Ward in March 1967. They produced incidental animation and commercials through 1970 when Gamma was closed for good, but essentially it was all over in 1967. TTV tried and failed to come up with a follow up show, with “The Colossal Show” being their last attempt in 1969. A pilot was produced by Terrytoons in New York, as was a single comic book for Gold Key.

    I am researching a book on TTV and am discovering this information through numerous interviews. “The Go Go Gophers” was a repeat series put together by Peter Peich after TTV stopped producing new material.

  • http://thft.home.att.net Mark Arnold

    P.S. creator Buck Biggers has the original negatives of “The Beagles”, but they are color-separated in red, blue, and yellow. If someone is willing to foot the bill, they could get this restored and reissued. “The Beagles” is the only show still owned by Buck Biggers, Chet Stover, Tread Covington and Joe Harris. The rest of the TTV shows were sold and now owned by Classic Media. Any takers?