Snow made his first film, A to Z, while working at the animation firm Graphic Associates in Toronto. He received a job there after meeting the head of the firm, George Dunning—who later directed the Beatles’ 1968 film Yellow Submarine—at one of Snow’s exhibitions. A to Z is a cutout animation of tables and chairs attempting to mate with each other. The theme of tables and chairs recurs in several other works by Snow from this period. The crosshatch drawings of these objects in A to Z were influenced by the Expressionist style of Swiss-German artist Paul Klee. Snow did not return to experimental film until 1964, when he made New York Eye and Ear Control.
Yellow Submarine is a song by the English rock band the Beatles from their 1966 album Revolver. It was also issued on a double A-side single, paired with Eleanor Rigby. Written as a children’s song by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, it was drummer Ringo Starr’s vocal spot on the album. The single went to number one on charts in the United Kingdom and several other European countries, and in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. It won an Ivor Novello Award for the highest certified sales of any single written by a British songwriter and issued in the UK in 1966. In the US, the song peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The Beatles recorded Yellow Submarine during a period characterized by experimentation in the recording studio. After taping the basic track and vocals in late May 1966, they held a session to overdub nautical sound effects, party ambience and chorus singing, recalling producer George Martin’s previous work with members of the Goons. As a novelty song coupled with Eleanor Rigby, a track devoid of any rock instrumentation, the single marked a radical departure for the group. It was also the first time they had issued a single in the UK consisting of album tracks. The song inspired the 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine and appeared as the opening track on the accompanying soundtrack album.
In the US, the release of Yellow Submarine coincided with the controversies surrounding Lennon’s “More popular than Jesus” remarks, which led some radio stations to impose a ban on the Beatles’ music, and the band’s public opposition to the Vietnam War. The song received several social and political interpretations. It was adopted as an anti-authority statement by the counterculture during Vietnam War demonstrations and was also appropriated in strike action and other forms of protest. Some listeners viewed the song as a code for drugs, particularly the barbiturate Nembutal which was sold in yellow capsules, or as a symbol for escapism. Yellow Submarine has continued to be a children’s favorite and has frequently been performed by Starr on his tours with the All Starr Band.
Rupert and the Frog Song is a 1984 animated short film based on the comic strip character Rupert Bear, written and produced by Paul McCartney and directed by Geoff Dunbar. The making of Rupert and the Frog Song began in 1981 and ended in 1983. The film was released theatrically as an accompaniment to McCartney’s film Give My Regards to Broad Street. The song We All Stand Together from the film’s soundtrack reached No. 3 when released in the UK Singles Chart. It was released in 2004 as one of the segments of Paul McCartney: Music & Animation. In addition, the film was not produced by Nelvana and Ellipse just like the television series.
The frog chorus on the song We All Stand Together was provided by The King’s Singers and the choir of St Paul’s Cathedral. The flute-playing frog was Elena Durán. The B-side of the single contains a humming version of the song performed by McCartney and the Finchley Frogettes.
Although intended purely as a children’s song in the mould of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, the song We All Stand Together is often derided as an example of McCartney’s inconsequential songwriting. In a satirical cartoon by Stephen Collins of The Guardian in 2012, McCartney is shown recalling his creative partnership with John Lennon in the 1960s, before concluding: “It was a great time, y’know… And then I went on to do The Frog Song.”
Rupert Bear is a children’s comic strip character created by British artist Mary Tourtel and first appearing in the Daily Express newspaper on 8 November 1920. Rupert’s initial purpose was to win sales from the rival Daily Mail and Daily Mirror. In 1935, the stories were taken over by Alfred Bestall, who was previously an illustrator for Punch and other glossy magazines. Bestall proved to be successful in the field of children’s literature and worked on Rupert stories and artwork into his 90s. More recently, various other artists and writers have continued the series. About 50 million copies have been sold worldwide.
The comic strip was, and still is, published daily in the Daily Express, with many of these stories later being printed in books, and every year since 1936 a Rupert annual has also been released. Rupert Bear has become a well-known character in children’s culture in the United Kingdom, and the success of the Rupert stories has led to the creation of several television series based on the character. The character also has a large fan following, with such groups as The Followers of Rupert.