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The Banana Splits Adventure Hour
The Banana Splits Adventure Hour.jpg
Original title card for The Banana Splits Adventure Hour.
Also known as The Banana Splits and Friends Show
Genre Children's
Developed by Hanna-Barbera
Directed by Richard Donner (Season 1)
Tom Boutross (Season 2)
Starring Jeff Winkless (as Jeffrey Brock)
Terence H. Winkless (as Terence Henry)
Dan Winkless (as Daniel Owen)
James "Jimmy" Dove
Steve Kincannon
Voices of Paul Winchell
Daws Butler
Allan Melvin
Theme music composer Nelson B. Winkless, Jr. (credited to Ritchie Adams & Mark Barkan)
Opening theme "The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)"
Country of origin  United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 31 plus shorts
Production
Executive producer(s) William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Producer(s) Edward J. Rosen (Season 1)
Running time 60 minutes; 30 minutes on Boomerang
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Original run September 7, 1968 – September 5, 1970
Chronology
Related shows The Skatebirds
External links
Official website

The Banana Splits Adventure Hour was an hour-long, packaged television program that featured both live action and animated segments. The series was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions, and ran for 31 episodes on NBC Saturday mornings, from September 7, 1968 to September 5, 1970. The series costumes and sets were designed by Sid and Marty Krofft and the series' sponsor was Kellogg's Cereals.[1] The show was Hanna-Barbera’s initial foray into mixing live action with animation. The hosts of the show were Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snorky (a dog, gorilla, lion, and elephant).

Contents

Television series

In 1967, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera approached the Krofft Brothers to design costumes for a television show which would feature animated and live-action segments, with the whole show hosted by a bubblegum rock group of anthropomorphic characters. The format of the show was loosely based on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. The Banana Splits Adventure Hour premiered on NBC on September 7, 1968.[1]

The Kroffts give credit to the success of the series for opening the door for their own entry into television. NBC picked up the Krofft series H.R. Pufnstuf, which was launched during an hour-long special hosted by The Banana Splits on August 30, 1969.[1]

The show's live-action segment Danger Island, a cliffhanger serial, as well as the short-lived Micro Ventures, an animated series consisting of only four episodes, ran alongside with the animated segments Arabian Knights and The Three Musketeers.[1] Actor Jan Michael Vincent (billed as Michael Vincent) appeared in the live-action component Danger Island; all the live-action material filmed for the series' first season (including the Banana Splits and Danger Island segments) was directed by Richard Donner.[2]

Each show represented a meeting of the "Banana Splits Club," and the wraparounds featured the adventures of the club members, who doubled as a musical quartet, meant to be reminiscent of The Beatles and The Monkees. The main characters were Fleegle, a beagle; Bingo, a gorilla; Drooper, a lion, and Snorky (called "Snork" in the theme song lyrics), an elephant. Fleegle would assume the role as leader of the Banana Splits and preside at club meetings. The characters were played by actors in fleecy costumes similar to later Sid and Marty Krofft characters such as H.R. Pufnstuf.

The Splits' segments, including songs-of-the-week and comedy skits, served as wraparounds for a number of individual segments. In the second season, The Three Musketeers segments were replaced with repeats of The Hillbilly Bears, a cartoon segment that previously appeared on The Atom Ant Show (1965–1968).

For the first season, some of the live-action segments (specifically those used during the musical segments) were shot at Six Flags Over Texas, an amusement park located in Arlington, Texas.[1] For the second season, filming took place at the Coney Island amusement park, located in eastern Cincinnati, Ohio. In many episodes, the Banana Splits would be seen riding on the Runaway Mine Train roller coasters, Log Flumes, Bumper Cars, Merry-Go-Rounds, and many other rides at Six Flags and Coney Island.

Famous too were the "Banana Buggies" mentioned in the theme song. These were seen driven by each live-action character in the opening and closing segments and occasionally in the wraparound and music video segments as well. The buggies were customized Amphicat six-wheel drive all-terrain vehicles each decorated to resemble the character who drove them. Plastic 1/25 scale model kits were issued by Aurora Plastics Corporation under catalog number 832 beginning in 1969; these were never reissued by Aurora, but have since been reissued as high-end, resin-based kits.[3][4]

Contrary to popular belief, the amusement park scenes in the original series were not filmed at Kings Island, which opened in nearby Mason, Ohio in 1972, some three years after filming for The Banana Splits Adventure Hour wrapped in 1969. But some of the rides seen in the series were relocated to Kings Island (following a flood which led to the closing of Coney Island; the park later reopened on a smaller scale) and the live-action scenes in the 1972 production The Banana Splits In Hocus Pocus Park were indeed filmed at Kings Island in Cincinnati.

The Banana Splits Adventure Hour was one of the first two Hanna-Barbera productions in 1968 in which William Hanna and Joseph Barbera received executive producer credits; the other being The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Edward Rosen served as producer on both series). They would not, however, assume the title full-time for another five years.

The series was syndicated on Cartoon Network during the mid 1990's, usually airing in early morning hours.

Season 1

During the first season, the Banana Splits segments often concerned the group's confrontations with a rival club: The Sour Grapes Bunch. The Sour Grapes were not seen on camera, but would send notes (usually a challenge or some other kind of threat) delivered by one of the "Sour Grapes messenger girls," who would dance into the Splits' clubhouse wearing purple minidresses, matched with pink leotards, tights and black go-go boots. They would normally intimidate or frighten the Splits until they gave the note to Fleegle. They would then dance out and take a bow before leaving. Five young actresses appeared as the messenger girls: Debra Thibodeaux, Colette Chenault, Julie Graham, Kathy O'Dare, and Shirley Hillstrom; only one would appear at a time, always called "Charlie" in the context of the show, except for the performance of the song "Doin' The Banana Split" (the segment first appeared in show #5, originally telecast October 5, 1968) which featured all five girls dancing with The Banana Splits. Their dance instructor was Byron Gilliam.[citation needed] Both Julie Graham and Kathy O'Dare would later appear in the 1970s TV series Happy Days.

The Splits also occasionally were visited by the Mariachi-tuned Dilly Sisters (an actual musical act from Mexico), who would appear at their door playing guitars and singing "The Mexican Hat Dance" or "Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay". In other recurring features during the first season, Drooper and Bingo offered advice to viewers in the "Dear Drooper" segment, while Fleegle served as the reporter for Banana Splits News. Other running gags included Fleegle repeatedly hitting himself by accident with his oversized gavel. The show introduced some catch phrases: the line, "That's An Ooch," would be said every time a member was hit or injured (sometimes, it would be a double or triple-ooch depending on the extent of the injury). Other memorable sayings included "Hold the bus!" and "Uh-oh, Chongo!" (the latter from the serialized Danger Island segment).

Season 2

In the second season, all new live-action segments were produced with the Banana Splits characters, while the animated segments and Danger Island serial were repeats. (Arabian Knights and Danger Island were reprised from Season 1, while The Three Musketeers would be replaced by repeats of The Hillbilly Bears, previously seen on The Atom Ant Show.) For the new season, the set was slightly modified, and the Splits' recurring routines were all new: Fleegle attempted (quite unsuccessfully) to perform magic tricks as alter ego The Great Fleegali, while Super Drooper fought crime and Coach Bingo kept the rest of the group active in sports competitions. Other new elements included School Time, Nursery Rhymes and a Gag Wall segment (reminiscent of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In), as well as Fan Club meetings where the Banana Splits would read viewer mail. Goofy Gopher (voiced by Paul Winchell) would pop out from a flower pot to deliver the occasional one-liner, joining Cuckoo, who popped out of the Cuckoo Clock, and Banana Vac (an electric talking moose head) as secondary characters. The characters' costume designs also received an overhaul (introduced in the next-to-last Season 1 episode, The Great Banana Splits Buggy Race), with Snorky, who was originally covered in hair,now clean-shaven and sporting a yellow and blue striped vest.

Syndication and cable

In syndication, the show was re-edited into a half-hour format and retitled The Banana Splits And Friends Show. That package consisted of 125 half-hours, including 36 Banana Splits Adventure Hour cutdowns edited from the eighteen original first season shows, thirteen additional episodes produced for the 1969-1970 season which were not included in the syndicated package and reconstructed versions of the 36 syndicated edits which presently air on Boomerang. Four other Hanna-Barbera series (originally unrelated to The Banana Splits, apart from having been produced by the same studio) were folded into the syndicated series as well: Atom Ant (26 half-hours, also featuring Precious Pupp and the aforementioned Hillbilly Bears), Secret Squirrel (26 half-hours, also featuring Squiddly Diddly and Winsome Witch), The Adventures of Gulliver (17 half-hours), as well as The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (20 half-hours, originally seen in prime time and here introduced as The Adventures Of Huck Finn) which combined live action with animation. The four other shows occasionally are repeated on the Boomerang cable network in their original, non-Banana Splits configurations. (The syndicated Atom Ant, Secret Squirel and Gulliver episodes had a rotation of eight repeating clips edited into them, with Paul Winchell redubbing Fleegle's voice to introduce various cartoon segments. A total of a minute and a half of this footage was repurposed in this manner; the clips originated from Season 2 shows, as did the syndicated series' opening and closing titles. It was the only Season 2 material included in the syndicated package.)

Although fewer episodes were produced during the second season (13 compared to 18 in the first season), NBC repeated five Season 1 episodes (re-edited to feature the final five chapters of Danger Island) to maintain continuity of story line immediately following the first run of the 13 Season 2 episodes.

After the cancellation of the original series, the characters were revived in the TV special The Banana Splits in Hocus Pocus Park, which first aired as an hour-long installment of The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie on Saturday, November 25, 1972. Unlike the television show, The Splits spent most of the film in animated form.

In addition to the original 31 episodes of The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, NBC also aired two "preview" shows. Meet The Banana Splits was a half-hour special consisting of segments from the early episodes; it aired Friday, September 6, 1968, one day before the show's official premiere. Another "fall preview" show, called The Banana Splits And Friends (not to be confused with the later half-hour syndicated package The Banana Splits And Friends Show) aired in The Banana Splits Adventure Hour's regular timeslot on Saturday, August 30, 1969. The latter show served as a "fall preview" for NBC-TV's 1969-1970 Saturday morning lineup, and was produced by Don Sandburg (who was best known to Chicago-area TV viewers as "Sandy the Tramp" from WGN-TV's Bozo's Circus) for NBC-TV. The special featured appearances by Jack Wild (Jimmy of H.R. Pufnstuf), Judy The Chimp (of Jambo), and a costumed Pink Panther. Although the special aired before the start of the second season, it was the last original Banana Splits show to be filmed, after regular shooting for the series had been completed.

Joe Barbera wrote in his autobiography, My Life in 'Toons, that the original name for the series was to be "The Banana Bunch," but Hanna-Barbera was forced to change it after the author of a children's book by that name refused permission to use the title. Kellogg's had printed up 1.25 million cereal boxes with references to "The Banana Bunch" on them but wound up trashing the stock and starting over.

Internet Cartoons

In the early 2000s Cartoon Network produced a five-part Banana Splits series for its Web Premiere Toons site. The series took the form of a semi-interactive adventure.(under the title of SPLITS VISION)The first episode started off with a live-action segment,(with new SPLITS costumes and used a new Snorky based on the classic hair-covered first season) which then led into the other four segments using flash-animated versions of the characters.

2008 revival

In August 2008, Warner Bros announced a multi-platform release featuring new comedy shorts and music videos that debuted on Cartoon Network starting September 2, 2008.[5][6] The relaunch includes a live show and a new website,[7] as well as a CD and a DVD featuring 13 new songs to be released by Universal Records.[6] In addition, a new kids-themed area called Banana Splitsville is being placed at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina's Hard Rock Park (now Freestyle Music Park) rock-and-roll theme park.[8]

Comics

The Banana Splits' adventures continued in comic books. Gold Key began publishing a comic version in 1969, releasing eight issues through 1971.[9] Drawn by Jack Manning, these followed the musicians trying to find work or on the road between gigs.

Music

The Banana Splits' bubblegum pop rock and roll was provided by studio professionals, including Joey Levine ("I Enjoy Being a Boy", "It's a Good Day for a Parade"); Al Kooper ("You're the Lovin' End"); Barry White ("Doin' the Banana Split"); Gene Pitney ("Two Ton Tessie") and Jimmy Radcliffe provided his songs ("I'm Gonna Find A Cave", "Soul", "Don't Go Away Go-Go Girl", "Adam Had 'Em" and "The Show Must Go On") but did not contribute vocals to Splits recordings. The music director was music publisher Aaron Schroeder while production duties were mainly handled by David Mook.

In 1968, The Banana Splits released an album titled We're the Banana Splits. The show’s theme song, titled "The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)", released as a single, peaked at number 97 on Billboard's Top 100 in February 1969.[10] The version included on the We're The Banana Splits album is the same recording heard at the beginning of the show, while the single version is an entirely different arrangement and recording of the song, featuring an additional verse. The song was written by Nelson Brock Winkless, Jr., however, owing to contractual arrangements[citation needed], on all record releases (as well as the TV show's closing credits), credit given to Ritchie Adams and Steve Kincannon ( Formerly of Cream and the Allman Brothers ) . Winkless is credited as co-writer, along with Hoyt Curtin, of "The Beautiful Calliopa" (also called "My Beautiful Calliopasaxaviatrumparimbaclaribasotrombaphone"), which was featured several times in the television series and also issued on record.

Covers

A cover of the show’s theme song, performed by Liz Phair with Material Issue, is included on the 1995 tribute album Saturday Morning: Cartoons' Greatest Hits, produced by Ralph Sall for MCA Records. A cover of "Don't Go Away Go-Go Girl" by pop-punk band Mr. T Experience was issued on the 1993 tribute album Banana Pad Riot and their Big Black Bugs Bleed Blue Blood and Our Bodies Our Selves CD releases.

The Dickies also cover the theme song, and their recording appears as a bonus track on the CD reissue of their 1979 album The Incredible Shrinking Dickies. The track is titled "Banana Splits." The Dickies still perform this song live at almost every concert.

Chicago-based musician Ralph Covert, who records children's music under the group name Ralph's World, covered the theme song under the title "The Banana Splits (The Tra La La Song)" on his 2001 album At the Bottom of the Sea.

Cast

  • Fleagle (beagle):
    • Acted by Jeff Winkless, billed as Jeffrey Brock.[citation needed]
    • Voiced by Paul Winchell, (who also provided the voices of Goofy Gopher and Cuckoo.) and by Bill Farmer in the 2008 version
  • Bingo (gorilla):
  • Drooper (lion):
    • Acted by Dan Winkless, billed as Daniel Owen.[citation needed]
    • Voiced by Allan Melvin, (who also provided the voices of the announcer and Banana Vac.) and by Carlos Alazraqui in the 2008 version
  • Snorky (elephant):
    • Acted by James "Jimmy" Dove in season 1 song segments
    • Acted by Robert Towers in most other segments

Although Snorky's voice often has been mistakenly credited to Don Messick, the character never actually spoke. Messick did perform Drooper's voice in some portions of The Banana Splits In Hocus Pocus Park, with Allan Melvin voicing the character in other scenes).

Jeffrey and Dan Winkless are brothers, the sons of N. B. Winkless Jr., a jingle writer for the show's sponsor, Kellogg's. Winkless composed some of the memorable Kellogg's cereal jingles, including "The best to you each morning," and also co-wrote (with Hoyt Curtin) "The Beautiful Calliopa," a song used on the series. The actors' names were changed in the show's credits to avoid the appearance of nepotism. Fleagle's voice is an imitation of actor/comedian Ed Wynn.

Ironically, James Dove, the original Snorky, was previously a voice-over artist. He was hired as a result of his small stature, and has stated that he was fired as a result of not being able to get along with the Winkless "kids". James Dove currently suffers from end-stage Parkinson's disease. He lives in assisted care in Los Angeles. Dan Winkless currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Terence Henry continues to act. Jeffrey Winkless died of cancer at age 65 on June 26, 2006.

DVD release

Earl Kress, a reputable source in the animation industry who holds close ties with the Hanna-Barbera crew, posted on his blog that The Banana Splits Adventure Hour was tentatively scheduled to be released on DVD in 2007. After further research had been done on available master materials needed to reconstruct the shows for proper DVD release, the project was cancelled.[11]

However, it was announced that in September 2009, Warner Home Video would be officially releasing the first series on DVD.[12] The Region 2 box set was released in the UK on September 21. It consists of 36 edited half-hour episodes of The Banana Splits And Friends Show as aired on Boomerang.[13]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Erickson, Hal (1998). Sid and Marty Krofft. McFarland. pp. 14–15. ISBN 9780786405183. http://books.google.com/books?id=jgTN6_IC9b4C&pg=PA15&dq=history+of+the+banana+splits+costumes&client=firefox-a&sig=ACfU3U0AeRj5dR89FcAb33NblsEP4On_iw#PPA14,M1. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  2. ^ CD liner notes: Saturday Mornings: Cartoons’ Greatest Hits, 1995 MCA Records
  3. ^ http://puppet.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_Banana_Splits_Merchandise List of merchandise at Puppet.wikia.com
  4. ^ http://www.professorplastik.com/monster_site/proscenium/kits/xtrakits/othernonmonsteraurorakits/whimsical/krazykars/kookykars/bananabuggy/bananabuggy_kit.htm Reissued Banana Buggy resin kits at Professorplastik.com
  5. ^ "The Banana Splits". WarnerBrosOnline. 2008-08-14. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-7Oip-NIjM. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  6. ^ a b "The Banana Splits Are Back! Warner Bros. Consumer Products Serves Up Four Scoops Of Hilarity With Relaunch". Warner Bros. Press Office. 2008-08-15. http://www2.warnerbros.com/web/corpcomm/portal/press_release.jsp?id=WBCPBananaSplitsReLaunch. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  7. ^ "The Banana Splits". The Banana Splits. http://www.bananasplits.com/. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  8. ^ "Hard Rock Park - Banana Splitsville". Hard Rock Park. http://www.hardrockpark.com/bornintheusa/bananasplitsville.cfm. Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  9. ^ "The Banana Splits". The Big DataBase of Comic Books. http://www.comics-db.com/Other_Publishers/G/Gold_Key_Comics/B/The_Banana_Splits/index.html. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ My Name Is Earl Kress Blog
  12. ^ [2]
  13. ^ Search results from the BBFC classified database

External links


The Banana Splits Adventure Hour
File:The Banana Splits Adventure
Original title card for The Banana Splits Adventure Hour.
Also known as The Banana Splits and Friends Show
Genre Children's
Developed by Hanna-Barbera
Directed by Richard Donner (Season 1)
Tom Boutross (Season 2)
Starring Jeff Winkless (as Jeffrey Brock)
Terence H. Winkless (as Terence Henry)
Dan Winkless (as Daniel Owen)
James "Jimmy" Dove
Steve Kincannon
Voices of Paul Winchell
Daws Butler
Allan Melvin
Don Messick
Theme music composer Nelson B. Winkless, Jr. (credited to Ritchie Adams & Mark Barkan)
Opening theme "The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)"
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 31 plus shorts
Production
Executive producer(s) William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Producer(s) Edward J. Rosen (Season 1)
Running time 45–48 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Audio format Monaural
Original run September 7, 1968 (1968-09-07) – December 6, 1969 (1969-12-06)
Status Ended
Chronology
Related shows The Skatebirds
External links
Official website

The Banana Splits were four comedic animal characters who featured in a late 1960's children's variety show made for television. The costumed hosts of the show were Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snorky (respectively, a dog, gorilla, lion, and elephant).

The Banana Splits Adventure Hour was an hour-long, packaged television program that featured both live action and animated segments. The series was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions, and ran for 31 episodes on NBC Saturday mornings, from September 7, 1968 to September 5, 1970. The series costumes and sets were designed by Sid and Marty Krofft and the series' sponsor was Kellogg's Cereals.[1] The show was Hanna-Barbera’s initial foray into mixing live action with animation.

Contents

Television series

In 1967, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera approached the Krofft Brothers to design costumes for a television show which would feature animated and live-action segments, with the whole show hosted by a bubblegum rock group of anthropomorphic characters. The format of the show was loosely based on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. The Banana Splits Adventure Hour premiered on NBC on September 7, 1968.[1]

The Kroffts give credit to the success of the series for opening the door for their own entry into television. NBC picked up the Krofft series H.R. Pufnstuf, which was launched during an hour-long special hosted by The Banana Splits on August 30, 1969.[1]

The show's live-action segment Danger Island, a cliffhanger serial, as well as the short-lived Micro Ventures, an animated series consisting of only four episodes, ran alongside with the animated segments Arabian Knights and The Three Musketeers.[1] Actor Jan Michael Vincent (billed as Michael Vincent) appeared in the live-action component Danger Island; all the live-action material filmed for the series' first season (including the Banana Splits and Danger Island segments) was directed by Richard Donner.[2]

Each show represented a meeting of the "Banana Splits Club," and the wraparounds featured the adventures of the club members, who doubled as a musical quartet, meant to be reminiscent of The Beatles and The Monkees. The main characters were Fleegle, a beagle; Bingo, a gorilla; Drooper, a lion, and Snorky (called "Snork" in the theme song lyrics), an elephant. Fleegle would assume the role as leader of the Banana Splits and preside at club meetings. The characters were played by actors in fleecy costumes similar to later Sid and Marty Krofft characters such as H.R. Pufnstuf. They all spoke in English (Drooper with a Southern drawl), except for Snorky who "spoke" in honking noises.

The Splits' segments, including songs-of-the-week and comedy skits, served as wraparounds for a number of individual segments. In the second season, The Three Musketeers segments were replaced with repeats of The Hillbilly Bears, a cartoon segment that previously appeared on The Atom Ant Show (1965–1968).

For the first season, some of the live-action segments (specifically those used during the musical segments) were shot at Six Flags Over Texas, an amusement park located in Arlington, Texas.[1] For the second season, filming took place at the Coney Island amusement park, located in eastern Cincinnati, Ohio. In many episodes, the Banana Splits would be seen riding on the Runaway Mine Train roller coasters, Log Flumes, Bumper Cars, Merry-Go-Rounds, and many other rides at Six Flags and Coney Island.

Famous too were the "Banana Buggies" mentioned in the theme song. These were seen driven by each live-action character in the opening and closing segments and occasionally in the wraparound and music video segments as well. The buggies were customized Amphicat six-wheel drive all-terrain vehicles each decorated to resemble the character who drove them. Plastic 1/25 scale model kits were issued by Aurora Plastics Corporation under catalog number 832 beginning in 1969; these were never reissued by Aurora, but have since been reissued as high-end, resin-based kits.[3][4]

Contrary to popular belief, the amusement park scenes in the original series were not filmed at Kings Island, which opened in nearby Mason, Ohio in 1972, some three years after filming for The Banana Splits Adventure Hour wrapped in 1969. But some of the rides seen in the series were relocated to Kings Island (following a flood which led to the closing of Coney Island; the park later reopened on a smaller scale) and the live-action scenes in the 1972 production The Banana Splits In Hocus Pocus Park were indeed filmed at Kings Island in Cincinnati.

The Banana Splits Adventure Hour was one of the first two Hanna-Barbera productions in 1968 in which William Hanna and Joseph Barbera received executive producer credits; the other being The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn where Edward Rosen served as producer on both series.  They would not, however, assume the title full-time for another five years. 

The series was syndicated on Cartoon Network during the mid 1990's, usually airing in early morning hours.

Season 1

During the first season, the Banana Splits segments often concerned the group's confrontations with a rival club: The Sour Grapes Bunch. The Sour Grapes were not seen on camera, but would send notes (usually a challenge or some other kind of threat) delivered by one of the "Sour Grapes messenger girls," who would dance into the Splits' clubhouse wearing purple minidresses, matched with pink leotards, tights and black go-go boots. They would normally intimidate or frighten the Splits until they gave the note to Fleegle. They would then dance out and take a bow before leaving. Five young actresses appeared as the messenger girls: Debra Thibodeaux, Colette Chenault, Julie Graham, Kathy O'Dare, and Shirley Hillstrom; only one would appear at a time, always called "Charlie" in the context of the show, except for the performance of the song "Doin' The Banana Split" (the segment first appeared in show #5, originally telecast October 5, 1968) which featured all five girls dancing with The Banana Splits. Their dance instructor was Byron Gilliam.[citation needed] Both Julie Graham and Kathy O'Dare would later appear in the 1970s TV series Happy Days.

The Splits also occasionally were visited by the Mariachi-tuned Dilly Sisters (an actual musical act from Mexico), who would appear at their door playing guitars and singing "The Mexican Hat Dance" or "Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay". In other recurring features during the first season, Drooper and Bingo offered advice to viewers in the "Dear Drooper" segment, while Fleegle served as the reporter for Banana Splits News. Other running gags included Fleegle repeatedly hitting himself by accident with his oversized gavel. The show introduced some catch phrases: the line, "That's An Ooch," would be said every time a member was hit or injured (sometimes, it would be a double or triple-ooch depending on the extent of the injury). Other memorable sayings included "Hold the bus!" and "Uh-oh, Chongo!" (the latter from the serialized Danger Island segment).

Season 2

In the second season, all new live-action segments were produced with the Banana Splits characters, while the animated segments and Danger Island serial were repeats. (Arabian Knights and Danger Island were reprised from Season 1, while The Three Musketeers would be replaced with repeats of The Hillbilly Bears, previously seen on The Atom Ant Show.) For the new season, the set was slightly modified, and the Splits' recurring routines were all new: Fleegle attempted (quite unsuccessfully) to perform magic tricks as alter ego The Great Fleegali, while Super Drooper fought crime and Coach Bingo kept the rest of the group active in sports competitions. Other new elements included School Time, Nursery Rhymes and a Gag Wall segment (reminiscent of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In), as well as Fan Club meetings where the Banana Splits would read viewer mail. Goofy Gopher (voiced by Paul Winchell) would pop out from a flower pot to deliver the occasional one-liner, joining Cuckoo, who popped out of the Cuckoo Clock, and Banana Vac (an electric talking moose head) as secondary characters. The characters' costume designs also received an overhaul (introduced in the next-to-last Season 1 episode, The Great Banana Splits Buggy Race), with Snorky, who was originally covered in hair, now clean-shaven and sporting a yellow and blue striped vest.

Syndication and cable

In syndication, the show was re-edited into a half-hour format and retitled The Banana Splits And Friends Show. That package consisted of 125 half-hours, including 36 Banana Splits Adventure Hour cutdowns edited from the eighteen original first season shows, thirteen additional episodes produced for the 1969–1970 season which were not included in the syndicated package and reconstructed versions of the 36 syndicated edits which presently air on Boomerang. Four other Hanna-Barbera series (originally unrelated to The Banana Splits, apart from having been produced by the same studio) were folded into the syndicated series as well: Atom Ant (26 half-hours, also featuring Precious Pupp and the aforementioned Hillbilly Bears), Secret Squirrel (26 half-hours, also featuring Squiddly Diddly and Winsome Witch), The Adventures of Gulliver (17 half-hours), as well as The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (20 half-hours, originally seen in prime time and here introduced as The Adventures Of Huck Finn) which combined live action with animation. The four other shows occasionally are repeated on the Boomerang cable network in their original, non-Banana Splits configurations. (The syndicated Atom Ant, Secret Squirel and Gulliver episodes had a rotation of eight repeating clips edited into them, with Paul Winchell redubbing Fleegle's voice to introduce various cartoon segments. A total of a minute and a half of this footage was repurposed in this manner; the clips originated from Season 2 shows, as did the syndicated series' opening and closing titles. It was the only Season 2 material included in the syndicated package.)

Although fewer episodes were produced during the second season (13 compared to 18 in the first season), NBC repeated five Season 1 episodes (re-edited to feature the final five chapters of Danger Island) to maintain continuity of story line immediately following the first run of the 13 Season 2 episodes.

After the cancellation of the original series, the characters were revived in the TV special The Banana Splits in Hocus Pocus Park, which first aired as an hour-long installment of The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie on Saturday, November 25, 1972. Unlike the television show, The Splits spent most of the film in animated form.

In addition to the original 31 episodes of The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, NBC also aired two "preview" shows. Meet The Banana Splits was a half-hour special consisting of segments from the early episodes; it aired Friday, September 6, 1968, one day before the show's official premiere. Another "fall preview" show, called The Banana Splits And Friends (not to be confused with the later half-hour syndicated package The Banana Splits And Friends Show) aired in The Banana Splits Adventure Hour's regular timeslot on Saturday, August 30, 1969. The latter show served as a "fall preview" for NBC-TV's 1969–1970 Saturday morning lineup, and was produced by Don Sandburg (who was best known to Chicago-area TV viewers as "Sandy the Tramp" from WGN-TV's Bozo's Circus) for NBC-TV. The special featured appearances by Jack Wild (Jimmy of H.R. Pufnstuf), Judy The Chimp (of Jambo), and a costumed Pink Panther. Although the special aired before the start of the second season, it was the last original Banana Splits show to be filmed, after regular shooting for the series had been completed.

Joe Barbera wrote in his autobiography, My Life in 'Toons, that the original name for the series was to be "The Banana Bunch," but Hanna-Barbera was forced to change it after the author of a children's book by that name refused permission to use the title. Kellogg's had printed up 1.25 million cereal boxes with references to "The Banana Bunch" on them but wound up trashing the stock and starting over.

Internet Cartoons

In the early 2000s Cartoon Network produced a five-part Banana Splits series for its Web Premiere Toons site. The series took the form of a semi-interactive adventure (under the title of SPLITS VISION). The first episode started off with a live-action segment (with new SPLITS costumes and used a new Snorky based on the classic hair-covered first season), which then led into the other four segments using flash-animated versions of the characters.

2008 revival

In August 2008, Warner Bros announced a multi-platform release featuring new comedy shorts and music videos that debuted on Cartoon Network starting September 2, 2008.[5][6] The relaunch includes a live show and a new website,[7] as well as a CD and a DVD featuring 13 new songs to be released by Universal Records.[6] In addition, a kids-themed area called Banana Splitsville was placed at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina's Hard Rock Park (now Freestyle Music Park) rock-and-roll theme park.[8]

Comics

The Banana Splits' adventures continued in comic books. Gold Key began publishing a comic version in 1969, releasing eight issues through 1971.[9] Drawn by Jack Manning, these followed the musicians trying to find work or on the road between gigs.

Music

The Banana Splits' bubblegum pop rock and roll was provided by studio professionals, including Joey Levine ("I Enjoy Being a Boy", "It's a Good Day for a Parade"); Al Kooper ("You're the Lovin' End"); Barry White ("Doin' the Banana Split"); Gene Pitney ("Two Ton Tessie") and Jimmy Radcliffe provided his songs ("I'm Gonna Find A Cave", "Soul", "Don't Go Away Go-Go Girl", "Adam Had 'Em" and "The Show Must Go On") but did not contribute vocals to Splits recordings. The music director was music publisher Aaron Schroeder while production duties were mainly handled by David Mook.

In 1968, The Banana Splits released an album titled We're the Banana Splits. The show’s theme song, titled "The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)", released as a single, peaked at number 97 on Billboard's Top 100 in February 1969.[10] The version included on the We're The Banana Splits album is the same recording heard at the beginning of the show, while the single version is an entirely different arrangement and recording of the song, featuring an additional verse. The song was written by Nelson Brock Winkless, Jr., however, owing to contractual arrangements[citation needed], on all record releases (as well as the TV show's closing credits), credit given to Ritchie Adams and Steve Kincannon ( Formerly of Cream and the Allman Brothers ) . Winkless is credited as co-writer, along with Hoyt Curtin, of "The Beautiful Calliopa" (also called "My Beautiful Calliopasaxaviatrumparimbaclaribasotrombaphone"), which was featured several times in the television series and also issued on record.

Covers

A cover of the show’s theme song performed by Liz Phair, surprisingly appropriate because Liz Phair and three cast members of the Banana Splits attended New Trier High School, with Material Issue, is included on the 1995 tribute album Saturday Morning: Cartoons' Greatest Hits, produced by Ralph Sall for MCA Records. Another rendition was performed by rock & roll comic C.C. Banana on the 2005 cartoon tribute album "Complete Balanced Breakfast."[11] A cover of "Don't Go Away Go-Go Girl" by pop-punk band Mr. T Experience was issued on the 1993 tribute album Banana Pad Riot and their Big Black Bugs Bleed Blue Blood and Our Bodies Our Selves CD releases. The 1988 Landmark release "Sub Pop 200" included a version of "I'm Gonna Find A Cave" retitled "Gonna Find A Cave" by the band Girl Trouble. "Sub Pop 200" featured the first recordings from many soon to be notable bands, Nirvana, Green River, Mudhoney, Soundgarden and others from Seattle's Grunge music explosion that followed.

The Dickies also cover the theme song, and their recording appears as a bonus on the CD reissue of their 1979 album The Incredible Shrinking Dickies. The track is titled "Banana Splits" and it reached Number 7 in the UK charts. The Dickies still perform this song live at almost every concert. This cover was also featured in the movie soundtrack of Kick-Ass during ten-year-old Hit-Girl's brutally violent fight scene.

Chicago-based musician Ralph Covert, who records children's music under the group name Ralph's World, covered the theme song under the title "The Banana Splits (The Tra La La Song)" on his 2001 album At the Bottom of the Sea.

Cast

  • Fleegle (beagle):
    • Acted by Jeff Winkless, billed as Jeffrey Brock.[citation needed]
    • Voiced by Paul Winchell, (who also provided the voices of Goofy Gopher and Cuckoo.) and by Bill Farmer in the 2008 version
  • Bingo (gorilla):
  • Drooper (lion):
    • Acted by Dan Winkless, billed as Daniel Owen.[citation needed]
    • Voiced by Allan Melvin, (who also provided the voices of the announcer and Banana Vac.) and by Carlos Alazraqui in the 2008 version
  • Snorky (elephant):
    • Acted by James "Jimmy" Dove in season 1 song segments
    • Acted by Robert Towers in most other segments

Although Snorky's voice often has been mistakenly credited to Don Messick, the character never actually spoke. Messick did perform Drooper's voice in some portions of The Banana Splits In Hocus Pocus Park, with Allan Melvin voicing the character in other scenes).

Jeffrey, Terence and Dan Winkless are brothers, the sons of N. B. Winkless Jr., a jingle writer for the show's sponsor, Kellogg's. Winkless composed some of the memorable Kellogg's cereal jingles, including the "Snap, Crackle, Pop Fugue" and "The best to you each morning," and also co-wrote (with Hoyt Curtin) "The Beautiful Calliopa," a song used on the series. The actors' names were changed in the show's credits to avoid the appearance of nepotism. Fleegle's voice is an imitation of actor/comedian Ed Wynn.

James Dove, the original Snorky, was previously a voice-over artist. He was hired as a result of his small stature, and has claimed that he was later fired as a result of not being able to get along with the Winkless "kids".  James Dove currently suffers from end-stage Parkinson's disease.  He lives in assisted care in Los Angeles.  Dan Winkless currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Terence H. Winkless produces, writes, and directs television and film.  Jeffrey Winkless died of cancer at age 65 on June 26, 2006. 

In the 2010 film Cemetery Junction, written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the character played by Jack Doolan is called Snork in which he got the name as he resembles Snorky of The Banana Splits due to the glasses he wears.

DVD release

Earl Kress, a reputable source in the animation industry who holds close ties with the Hanna-Barbera crew, posted on his blog that The Banana Splits Adventure Hour was tentatively scheduled to be released on DVD in 2007. After further research had been done on available master materials needed to reconstruct the shows for proper DVD release, the project was cancelled.[12]

However, it was announced that in September 2009, Warner Home Video would be officially releasing the first series on DVD.[13] The Region 2 box set was released in the UK on September 21. It consists of 36 edited half-hour episodes of The Banana Splits And Friends Show as aired on Boomerang.[14]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Erickson, Hal (1998). Sid and Marty Krofft. McFarland. pp. 14–15. ISBN 9780786405183. http://books.google.com/books?id=jgTN6_IC9b4C&pg=PA15&dq=history+of+the+banana+splits+costumes&client=firefox-a&sig=ACfU3U0AeRj5dR89FcAb33NblsEP4On_iw#PPA14,M1. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  2. ^ CD liner notes: Saturday Mornings: Cartoons’ Greatest Hits, 1995 MCA Records
  3. ^ List of merchandise at Puppet.wikia.com
  4. ^ Reissued Banana Buggy resin kits at Professorplastik.com
  5. ^ "The Banana Splits". WarnerBrosOnline. 2008-08-14. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-7Oip-NIjM. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  6. ^ a b "The Banana Splits Are Back! Warner Bros. Consumer Products Serves Up Four Scoops Of Hilarity With Relaunch". Warner Bros. Press Office. 2008-08-15. http://www2.warnerbros.com/web/corpcomm/portal/press_release.jsp?id=WBCPBananaSplitsReLaunch. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  7. ^ "The Banana Splits". The Banana Splits. http://www.bananasplits.com/. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  8. ^ "Hard Rock Park–Banana Splitsville". Hard Rock Park. http://www.hardrockpark.com/bornintheusa/bananasplitsville.cfm. Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  9. ^ "The Banana Splits". The Big DataBase of Comic Books. http://www.comics-db.com/Other_Publishers/G/Gold_Key_Comics/B/The_Banana_Splits/index.html. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ "C.C. Banana Reunites With Banana 7, Records Song For Tribute Album". TributeAlbums.com. http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/Detritus/message/617?l=1. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 
  12. ^ My Name Is Earl Kress Blog
  13. ^ [2][dead link]
  14. ^ Search results from the BBFC classified database

External links








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