“Flipping like a pancake, popping like a cork,
Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snork”
This week’s classic intro is surely a contender for the greatest TV theme of all time.
The show ran, in is original one-hour format, for two seasons (31 episodes in total) in 1968 and 1969. It was made by Hanna-Barbera and created by Sid and Marty Krofft, who would go on to create classic kids’ shows such as H.R. Pufnstuf and Land Of The Lost.
The Banana Splits were Fleegle (a dog), Bingo (an ape), Drooper (a lion) and Snorky (an elephant). Their comedy segments of the show, apparently modelled after the then popular wacky comedy sketch show Rowan And Martin’s Laugh-In, were sort of anarchic live-action cartoons which served as links between several Hanna-Barbera animated shows that aired during the programme. These included The Three Musketeers and Arabian Knights (“Size… of an elephant!”).
The Banana Splits Adventure Hour also featured a live-action cliffhanger serial called Danger Island, which starred future Airwolf hero Jan-Michael Vincent and was directed by Richard Donner, who went on to make films such as The Omen, Superman and the Lethal Weapon series.
Donner also directed the live-action segments featuring The Banana Splits themselves.
I’ve been planning to include the theme tune here for ages but it’s tough to find a decent version of the original opening credits sequence. That’s because the show is only ever seen these days in a cut-down, half-hour syndicated version, which has a much shorter version of the theme tune and opening credits.
One suspects we will never see the original one-hour version of The Banana Splits Adventure Hour again – a plan to release the first series on DVD was scrapped after a review of the restoration work on the original master recordings that would be needed.
However, YouTube user Briben57 has managed to piece together a cut of the original season one opening titles, albeit from rather poor quality video footage.
Still, it’s the best version I can find out there and this is certainly the opening title sequence I remember fondly from my youth in the 1970s watching reruns of the show on Saturday-morning TV in the UK:
Here’s a better quality version of the theme song (audio only):
This is the shorter intro from the syndicated, half-hour Banana Splits TV show:
And finally, from 1979, a cover of the song from US punk band The Dickies: