The Banana Splits Show - The 1968 animated puppet series
The Banana Splits Show (The Banana Splits Adventure Hour in the American original) is an American television show produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and featuring Banana Splits, a fictional rock band made up of four cute animal characters with red helmets. The costumed conductors of the show are Fleegle (guitar, vocals), Bingo (drums, vocals), Drooper (bass, voice) e snorkel (keyboards, effects).
The series aired for 31 episodes on NBC on Saturday mornings from September 7, 1968 to September 5, 1970 and in syndication from 1971 to 1982. The show features rock band Banana Splits as live costumed characters, hosting both live -action, which animated segments within their program. The Banana Splits was the first Hanna-Barbera series to feature live-action and animation. The costumes and sets were designed by Sid and Marty Krofft, and the series sponsor was Kellogg's Cereal.
In 1967, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera contacted Sid and Marty Krofft to design costumes for a television show, with animated and live-action segments, hosted by a rock group of anthropomorphic characters. The show's format was loosely based on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, and the characters appeared in an episode of that show. The Banana Splits Adventure Hour debuted on NBC on September 7, 1968. In her autobiography, Barbera said the show was originally supposed to be called The Banana Bunch, but it was not possible to get permission from the author of a children's book with the same title.
The live-action segment of the show Danger Island, a cliffhanger serial, as well as the short-lived Micro Ventures, a partly live action and partly animated series consisting of just four episodes, ran alongside the animated segments Arabian Knights and The Three Musketeers. Actors Jan-Michael Vincent (called Michael Vincent) and Ronne Troup appeared in the live-action component Danger Island. All live-action material shot for the first season of the series, including Banana Splits and Danger Islands segments, was directed by Richard Donner.
Each show featured a meeting of the "Banana Splits Club", and the characters presented the adventures of the club members, who acted as a musical quartet designed to remember the Monkees and the Beatles.
Split segments, including songs of the week and comic skits, served to bridge the episode length for a number of individual segments.
For the first season, some of the live-action segments, particularly those used during the music segments, were filmed at Six Flags Over Texas, an amusement park located in Arlington, Texas. For the second season, filming took place at Coney Island Amusement Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. In many episodes, Banana Split have been seen riding on the numerous rides at Six Flags and Coney Island.
The Banana Splits was one of the first two Hanna-Barbera series in 1968 in which Hanna and Barbera received executive producer credits, the other being The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Edward Rosen was a producer on both series. This Hanna-Barbera series was also one of the first Saturday morning cartoon shows to feature a laugh track.
Banana Split Characters
A greenish-brown dog that wears a large red bow tie, black buttons, orange-brown spindles, and his tongue is always sticking out, giving him a stammer and akin to Tigger in regards to his laugh. He plays a guitar and sings. Fleegle's acts in the main show include conducting club meetings, collecting envelopes from an uncooperative mailbox, and making news reports. Dress starring Jeff Winkless (1968), Ginner Whitcombe (2008) and Terry Sauls (2019 film). Voiced by Paul Winchell (1968-1972), Bill Farmer (2008), Eric Bauza (2019 film) and Paul F. Tompkins (in Jellystone!).
A nasal-voiced orange monkey wearing white sunglasses and a yellow vest, with a toothy grin. Play the drums and sing. His act is to answer the puzzles asked by Fleegle. Dress played by Terence H. Winkless (1968), Casey Hadfield (2008) and Buntu Plam (2019 film). Voiced by Daws Butler (1968-1972), Frank Welker (2008), Eric Bauza (2019 film) and Jim Conroy (in Jellystone!).
A lion with a very long tail wearing yellow-orange sunglasses, spits on his feet and speaks with a southern accent in the style of Michael Nesmith. Play the bass and sing. His acts include attempting to empty a trash can that automatically threw up its contents and replying to emails from imaginary fans. Dress played by Anne W. Withrow (1968), Adam Grubner (2008) and Kori Clarke (2019 film). Voiced by Allan Melvin (1968-1972), Carlos Alazraqui (2008), Eric Bauza (2019 film) and CH Greenblatt (in Jellystone!).
A mute woolly mammoth wearing pink sunglasses with no tusks. Become an elephant in the second season, wearing a green vest with yellow stripes. It communicates through honking sounds similar to a clown's horn and one of the other Split translates what it is saying. Play a keyboard. His act in the show is to use a vacuum. Snorky is based on an African bush elephant. Dress starring James Dove and Robert Towers (1968-2008) and Brandon Vraagom (2019 film).
The show's theme song, titled "The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)", was credited as being written by Ritchie Adams and Mark Barkan, but was merely contractual. In fact it was written by NB Winkless Jr. on the upright piano in his living room, a piano that also spawned the “Snap, Crackle, Pop” jingle, among others. Adams and Barkan were musical directors for the show. The song was released as a single, attributed to Banana Splits, and peaked at # 96 on the Billboard Top 100 in February 1969. The version included on We're The Banana Splits album is the same recording heard at the start of the show, while the single version is a completely different arrangement and recording of the song, with an additional verse.
Banana Splits' 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 are the end of love”); Barry White ("Doin 'the Banana Split"); Gene Pitney ("Two Ton Tessie") and Jimmy Radcliffe, who 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 the Split recordings.
Music director was music editor Aaron Schroeder, while production functions were mainly handled by David Mook. When a heavier R&B vocal was needed, music producers usually turned to singer Ricky Lancelotti, who was billed in the end credits of the show under his stage name Rick Lancelot. Lancelotti went on to record several songs with Frank Zappa. In 1968, Banana Splits released an album for Decca Records titled We're the Banana Splits.
Banana Splits were among hundreds of artists whose material would be destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.
An unusual claim is that the song may have inspired Bob Marley, with the striking similarity between the song's chorus and the bridge of Bob Marley and the Wailers' Buffalo Soldier. A BBC story in 2010 examines the claim.
Original title The Banana Splits Adventure Hour
Country United States of America
Year 1968 1970
Gender variety, for children
Original language English
Regia Richard Donner, Tom Boutross
Music Ted Nichols, David Mook
Executive producer Joseph Barbera and William Hanna
Production house Hanna-Barbera
Television network NBC