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A Tomorrow Never Knows cartoon? It happened. The Beatles cartoon is wince-worthy, for sure, but have a little sympathy for the animators. As the years passed, they had to shoehorn what The Beatles were becoming—that is, overtly weird-ass—into the family-friendly Fabs from 1964. After watching the clip below, the following scene popped into my noggin….
The time: June 1966.
The place: Conference room “B” at King Features Syndicate, here in Southern California. There’s acoustic tile. Fluorescent lights. Shitty coffee. At the west end of a grim metal table ringed by uncomfortable chairs, hangs a portrait of Snuffy Smith—on which someone has scrawled “Segregation Forevah!” It’s the only clue that art is made here.
Outside the door, an army of guys in horn-rims slump in their cubicles, painting acetate cels and getting high off fixative. The BOSS, a veteran of the Bulge who still wears his crew-cut, comes in, pissed. Smog-weakened light meanders into the room through windows in desperate need of cleaning; the boss closes the Levalors with a snap, and turns to his fractious staff.
Okay, shitbirds: Pouch from England came yesterday. Who’s heard it?
That’s a song?
‘Tomorrow Never Knows’? What’s that even mean?
I liked it.
You would, Ferlinghetti…
>Kids’ll never buy that crap. These guys are done.
You don’t think they could be on the dope, do you?
The Capitol rep assures me that they’re clean-livers.
What the hell for? Nobody’s told them about The Pill?
Girls today, they’re crazy for it.
Not with you, they’re not.
The conversation fractures: declarations of what could be accomplished if one were still single, memories of postwar Berlin’s red-light district, etc.
All right, all right, break it up. I’m already late for a story conference on Popeye. Get the storyboard on my desk by Friday. Usual rules apply.