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Famed animator’s work comes to Johnson City

Ron Campbell animated many people’s childhoods.

Beginning in 1958 in his native Australia with cartoons like Popeye, Beetle Bailey and Krazy Kat, Campbell’s career spanned the entire golden age of Saturday morning cartoons.

Sadly, Campbell died in January 2021 at the age of 81, but he left behind dozens of paintings that he created during his retirement. These paintings were inspired by many of the beloved cartoons that he was involved with including the Saturday Morning Beatles cartoon series, Yellow Submarine, Scooby Doo, Smurfs, Rugrats, Winnie the Pooh, George of the Jungle, The Jetsons, The Flintstones and finishing his career with Ed, Edd n’ Eddy.

Ron Campbell’s animation paintings will be on display and available for purchase at a special pop-up art exhibit for three days only from Friday, April 8 to Sunday, April 10 at Nelson Fine Art & Frames, 205 Colonial Way, Johnson City.

In 1964, while still in Australia, Campbell was awakened by a phone call from King Features’ producer Al Brodax. Brodax informed Campbell that they had just sold a new show and he would like him to direct it.

When Campbell asked the name of the show, Brodax responded “The Beatles.” Campbell remarked, ”that’s great but insects make terrible characters for kids cartoons.”

Campbell soon learned a lot about the Fab Four, directing over half of the episodes, which debuted on ABC-TV on Sept. 25, 1965. It continually fueled new music to the young kids of America as they followed the bouncing drumstick to each Beatles tune.

The Saturday Morning Beatles Cartoon series received monstrous ratings in its time slot, a 67 share.

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Campbell also wrote the forward to the definitive book on the Beatles cartoon series “Beatletoons.”

After moving to America, Campbell was once again approached by Brodax to help in the animating of the Beatles feature length animated film “Yellow Submarine.”

Campbell went on to animate many scenes including the Sea of Time sequence, and much of the action between the Chief Blue Meanie and his sidekick Max as well as the Nowhere Man character.

Through his studio, Ron Campbell Films, Inc., Campbell was also involved with some of the most beloved cartoons spanning three generations.

His show “The Big Blue Marble” won many awards including a Peabody for Excellence in Broadcasting and an Emmy for Best Children’s Show of the Year.

After retiring from a 50-year career, Campbell began painting subjects always based on the animated cartoons he helped bring to the screen.

With emphasis on The Beatles, his Cartoon Pop Art has been featured in galleries worldwide. More information on Ron Campbell can be found at www.BeatlesCartoonArtShow.com.

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