Monday, 27 July 2009

The Banana Splits

The Banana Splits
The contining search of the best and worst cartoon and virtual bands in history

In the sixties anybody on TV could be in a rock band , well that’s what it appeared to be in televisionland.

The Banana Splits created by the same people who gave us H.R Pufnstuf: Sid & Marty Kroft.

The show was developed as light children’s entertainment but one thing in particular seemed to set the Banana Splits apart from most children’s TV shows – the sheer anarchy of the show. Of course, this mayhem was intrinsic to the show’s success with viewers lapping it up.

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.

One of the central premises of the show was that the Banana Splits were all part of a band, with each character playing their own instrument. So you had Fleegle and Drooper playing guitar and Bingo on the drums, while Snorky played the keyboards.

Why most of the songs were fairly 60s unforgettable pap pop, I challenge anyone to not go a day without repeating the “Tra-la-la, la-la-la-la, Tra-la-la, la-la-la-la” of the Banana split theme after having it played to them.

On trivia based note though created by Kroft Brothers the show was produced by 60s cartoon champions Hanna Barbara.

This is eveident by the voice talent used in the show.

Bingo was voiced by Daws Butler who also the tonsils behind Huckleberry Hound, Quick-Draw McGraw and Yogi Bear. Alongside him was Don Messick the honk behind Snorky, this doesn’t diminish his talent because he also did classic cartoon characters such as Scooby-Doo (and Scrappy –Doo), Boo-Boo and Papa Smurf.

The man behind the voice of Fleegle was also responsible for Dick Dastardly. Paul Winchell.

The show theme song titled Tra-La-La (One banana, two banan) reached number 97 on the Billboard charts in February 1969 and was covered by the Punk band the Dickies in the 70s.

The show saw a reprise in 2008 via the Cartoon Network.


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