Ron Campbell, 76, director of the 1960’s Saturday morning Beatles cartoon series that aired on ABC from September 1965 through April 1969, and animator of the Beatles film “Yellow Submarine,” made an appearance at Long Island Picture Frames on Sunrise Highway in Massapequa to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the final New York concert appearance by the Beatles. (He also appearing in Oyster Bay Aug. 16 through 21.)
Campbell, who is originally from Australia, showcased his original Beatles cartoon paintings created specially for the showing, and he was commissioned and created new Beatles pop art paintings while appearing at the exhibit.
The Beatles Saturday Morning Cartoon Show received monstrous ratings in its time slot — a 67 percent share! It continually fueled new music to the young people of America as they followed the bouncing drumstick to each Beatles tune. Campbell also wrote the forward to the definitive book on the Beatles cartoon series “Beatletoons.” He was nominated for a daytime Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Animation.
“Yellow Submarine,” recently celebrating its 47th anniversary, has become a permanent fixture in pop culture, defining the psychedelic 60s for generations to come. In his book, “Up Periscope,” “Yellow Submarine” producer Al Brodax gives Ron Campbell a great deal of credit for saving the movie and tying it all together at the last minute.
Campbell has also been involved with some of the most beloved cartoons including, Scooby Doo, Winnie The Pooh, Krazy Kat, George of the Jungle, The Jetsons, The Flintstones, the Smurfs, Goof Troop, Rugrats, Ed, Edd & Eddy and dozens more.
His former studio was awarded a Peabody and an Emmy for his work in children’s television.
Since retiring after a 50-year career, Campbell has been painting subjects based on the animated cartoons he has helped bring to the screen. With particular emphasis on The Beatles, he shows his Cartoon Pop Art in galleries worldwide.
Incoming Oceanside students Thomas Harmon, 12, and his brother, Shane, 8, conducted this interview with Campbell:
Herald: How old were you when you started drawing?
Ron Campbell: I started at six years old. The difference between me and other kids was that when they stopped drawing, around seven or eight-years-old, I kept going.
H: Who was your greatest influence?
RC: My great grandmother — and the fact that every time I picked up a pencil, the adults would say how wonderful it was!
H: What is your favorite thing to draw:
RC: I cannot differentiate between the Smurfettes, or Angelica from the Rugrats, or Scooby Doo — they’re all my favorites. That’s like saying ‘Who’s your favorite Beatle? Well, Ringo … then maybe George ... or John … or Paul.
H: What kind of medium do you like to draw with?
RC: Well, in my retirement, I like to use a Japanese felt pen, which is archival (it will last forever); American paints, French paper and English brushes. It’s an international mix!