At 77, Ron Campbell could be enjoying a life of leisure. Instead, the animator seems to be hustling eight days a week.
“This was was supposed to be a retirement gig,” said Campbell. “But now I’m working just as hard as ever.”
Campbell will bring his “Beatles Cartoon Pop Art Show” to Michael J. Wolf Fine Arts, 363 Fifth Ave., Dec. 9-11. The show features 50-plus works inspired by “The Beatles,” the TV cartoon series (1965-1969) Campbell directed, and “Yellow Submarine,” the 1968 feature film he helped animate.
“There are millions and millions and millions of Beatles fans who know who I am,” Campbell said.
There’s more bafflement than boast to that statement. Campbell was 24 when he was telephoned by Al Brodax, a film and TV producer.
Brodax offered him a job directing a cartoon series about the Beatles.
“Al,” Campbell responded, “Jiminy Cricket is a good insect. But beetles?”
Only vaguely aware of the Fab Four, he preferred Beethoven. But each 30-minute “Beatles” episode included two adventures — Paul McCartney battling a villain atop the Eiffel Tower, say — each framing a song. (In this case, “Help!”)
“The music came in,” Campbell said, “and it was something. Perhaps even something significant."
The popular cartoon series led to his “Yellow Submarine” gig. For this psychedelic movie, Campbell supplied animated sequences of Blue Meanies and Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles.
Campbell has worked on “The Jetsons,” “Scooby-Doo,” “Rugrats” and other series. But he’s best known for animating The Beatles, even if the real Beatles didn’t always appreciate his work.