In the town where I was born
lived a man who sailed the seas
and he told us of his life
in the land of submarines
Back in 1968, the Viet Nam War was going hot and heavy, Americans were preparing to put a man on the moon, Peter Max was all the rage in the artsy circles, and even business men wore flared pants. Black people sported “Big Hair”, White people sported long hair, old women sported purple hair, and balding men sported toupees. On the radio Mrs. Robinson had a Stone Soul Picnic, while Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay, and the big screen Dave Bowman saw monoliths full of stars, Rosemary had one helluva kid, the planet had gone to the apes, and everyone lived in a yellow submarine.
I skipped school to watch 2001: A Space Odyssey. I was awestruck. Up till then movies featuring spaceships were nothing but fantasy. 2001 made it look real, and at least likely. I’m not saying fantasy is a bad thing, but I had high hopes for our future in space, and 2001 seemed to validate them.
While other films made an impression on me that year (I was a kid and easily impressed) one other movie really got to me, but in an entirely different way. It was an odd movie that was popular, but wasn’t a blockbuster. It was different because the visuals and music mesmerizing and fun. But most of all, the was aimed a extremely wide audience. I’m referring to The Beatle’s Yellow Submarine.
Back in the day I enjoyed many Beatles tunes, but I never considered myself a Beatles fan. I was dealing with early teenage angst and most of the music the Fab Four produced tended to be too bubbly for me. The Yellow Submarine changed all of that.
Here was an animated movie that spoke to adults, oldsters, and kids alike. Yeah, sure, there were other adult themed animated flicks, like Fritz, The Cat and Wizards, but those came after Yellow Submarine, they tended to be darker, and were aimed squarely at the voting age crowd. There were “family” flicks as well, such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but while they incorporated animated elements, they were not a full featured animated movies. Of course, you had the Disney flicks or similar, like The Jungle Book, which were kid flicks. The only other exception I can think of was The Incredible Mr. Limpet, which starred Don Knots as a milquetoast man who longed to be a fish, and gets his wish. It was a mixture of live action and animation that everyone could enjoy, but set during World War II, not the best setting for family fair.
Fritz and Wizard were definitely for adults
Yellow Submarine was different. Here was a mystical adventure, a mind bending Peter Max inspired joyride set to pop music. It was bright, odd, and a lot of fun. There was nothing like it before or since. If you haven’t seen the movie you are missing an absolute treat.
Whether you’ve seen the movie or not you can still enjoy much of the fantasy, magic, and fun by grabbing the free ebook based on the movie. Trust me, you won’t be sorry.
Just like the movie, The Beatles Yellow Submarine ebook tells the story of Pepperland, a country under the sea that was overrun by Blue Meanies. One of Pepperland’s citizens, Old Fred, escapes in a yellow submarine and sets out to find help. He enlists the aid of John, Paul, George, and Ringo and that’s where the true adventure begins.
The ebook is filled with colorful pictures from the movie, each featuring sounds and animations. Here and there are clips from the movie placed appropriately inline with the story. You can read it yourself or let Dean Lennox Kelly read it to you.
The story has been modified a bit for viewing in book form, you don’t get the background music and some of the funnier, but smaller scenes, still the feel of the movie I saw in 1968 is there. You’re gonna love it.
At the end of the book you’ll find a listing of the songs from the movie, each with 90 second clips and links into iTunes for purchasing (which I did).
Whether you buy the music or not, get The Beatles Yellow Submarine! Your kids will thank you. Your parents will thank you. And you’ll thank me. (My God! It’s full of fun!)
That’s a wrap for this week. Free TV episodes below with direct links.