Banana Splits FAQ
What is the correct title of the show?
The show's original title was The Banana Splits Adventure Hour. The U.S. syndicated half-hour version (and the version currently airing on Boomerang) is called The Banana Splits And Friends Show.
What are the names of the Banana Splits?
Fleegle (green dog) (Actor: Jeff Winkless, billed as Jeffrey Brock) (Voice: Paul Winchell)
Bingo (orange gorilla) (Actor: Terry Winkless, billed as Terrence Henry) (Voice: Daws Butler)
Drooper (lion) (Actor: Dan Winkless, billed as Daniel Owen) (Voice: Allan Melvin)
Snorky (elephant) (Actor: James Dove, replaced by Robert Towers) (Non-speaking character)
Fleegle is the leader of the Banana Splits Club and chairs their meetings, frequently standing behind a podium and wielding a large gavel to maintain order. Bingo usually serves as "second banana," while Drooper is sort of a "country bumpkin" and Snorky tends to be the "fall guy."
What other characters appeared on the show?
Banana Vac (hangs over the door, resembles a mounted moose head) (Voice: Allan Melvin)
Cuckoo (pops out of the cuckoo clock) (Voice: Paul Winchell)
Goofy Gopher (pops up from a flower pot) (Voice: Paul Winchell) (Appeared in Season 2 only)
(All of these characters periodically made brief appearances throughout the shows, primarily to deliver corny puns or one-liner jokes.)
Who were the Sour Grapes Bunch?
The Sour Grapes Bunch were a rival "club" who frequently challenged the Banana Splits. The members of the Sour Grapes Bunch were never seen or heard, but they would send one of their "messenger girls" ("The Sour Grapes Girls") to deliver their written challenges to the Banana Splits. Clad in miniskirts and lavender leotards, the Sour Grapes Girls were played by Debra Thibodeaux, Colette Chenault, Julie Graham, Kathy O'Dare and Shirley Hillstrom. The Sour Grapes Girls' dance instructor was Byron Gilliam. Most of the time, only one of the girls would appear, go-go dancing into the clubhouse. For the performance of the song "Doin' The Banana Split," all five girls appeared together, dancing with the Banana Splits. (This sequence first appeared in show #5, aired October 5, 1968, with footage repeated in later episodes.)
What were the show's recurring segments?
Club Opening (club meeting at the top of the show)
Club Closing (club meeting at the end of the show)
Dear Drooper (Drooper and Bingo offer advice to viewers) (Season 1 only)
Banana Splits News (with Fleegle, "your Banana Splits reporter") (Season 1 only)
Riddle Time (Season 1 only)
Wall Gags (sort of a "cornball corner" segment reminiscent of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In) (Season 2 only)
The Great Fleegali (magic with Fleegle and assistant Snorky) (Season 2 only)
Super Drooper (Drooper as a bumbling superhero) (Season 2 only)
Coach Bingo (Bingo leads the crew in athletic exercises) (Season 2 only)
Nursery Rhymes (Season 2 only)
School Time (Season 2 only)
Fan Letters (the Splits read fan mail) (Season 2 only)
What is the theme song?
The theme song's official title is "The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)," written and sung by Ritchie Adams and Mark Barkan.
Where were the amusement park scenes filmed?
During Season 1 (1968-1969), the park footage was shot at Six Flags Over Texas. For the second season (1969-1970), filming was done at Coney Island in Cincinnati, Ohio. The live-action sequences in The Banana Splits In Hocus Pocus Park were filmed at Kings Island in Ohio. (After filming wrapped on the series, Coney Island was temporarily shuttered due to flooding. When Kings Island opened in 1972, many of Coney Island's rides and attractions were relocated to the new park.)
What cartoons and other features appeared on the show?
Arabian Knights (animated)
The Three Musketeers (animated) (Season 1 only)
Micro-Venture (animated) (Season 1 only)
Danger Island (live-action serial)
The Hillbilly Bears (animated) (Season 2 only)
How many episodes were produced?
For the original series, 31 one-hour episodes were produced over two seasons, airing on NBC-TV (September 7, 1968 to September 5, 1970). The first season consisted of 18 one-hour shows and the second season included 13 more. This does not include three additional special shows:
- Meet The Banana Splits (30-minute preview special, aired Friday, September 6, 1968)
- The Banana Splits And Friends (One-hour NBC Saturday morning "fall preview" special, which aired in the show's regular timeslot on Saturday, August 30, 1969)
- The Banana Splits In Hocus Pocus Park (One-shot hour-long revival special, aired as an installment of The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie on Saturday, November 25, 1972)
The Banana Splits also appeared on one episode of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (show #23, aired November 18, 1968, also featuring Victor Borge and George Gobel). However, their appearance on the show consisted of clips from The Banana Splits Adventure Hour.
The syndicated series (called The Banana Splits And Friends Show) consisted of 125 half-hour shows. These combined re-edited half-hour cutdowns of the Banana Splits episodes (Season 1 only) with the complete runs of four other Hanna-Barbera series. Here is the breakdown:
- The Banana Splits (36) (18 one-hour shows re-edited into 36 half-hours)
- Atom Ant (26) (Originally aired on NBC 10/2/1965 to 9/2/1967)
Segments included: Atom Ant; Precious Pupp; The Hillbilly Bears
("The Hillbilly Bears" cartoons later had been repeated during the second season of The Banana Splits Adventure Hour.)
- Secret Squirrel (26) (Originally aired on NBC 10/2/1965 to 9/2/1967)
Segments included: Secret Squirrel; Squiddly Diddly; Winsome Witch
(The Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel Show aired September 9, 1967 to September 7, 1968)
- The New Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn (20) (Originally aired on NBC 9/15/1968 to 9/7/1969)
- The Adventures Of Gulliver (17) (Originally aired on ABC 9/14/1968 to 9/5/1970)
Where can I see the series?
The Banana Splits And Friends Show
Boomerang currently carries the half-hour version of The Banana Splits And Friends Show Tuesday through Saturday mornings at 4:30 AM, and Sunday and Monday mornings at 5:00 AM (Central time). (The current configuration of the series consists solely of the 36 Season 1 Banana Splits Adventure Hour cutdowns.)
Boomerang is currently airing Secret Squirrel weekdays at 12:30 PM (Central time).
Is the series available on video/DVD?
There hasn't been an official DVD release yet. Warner Bros. announced plans to release a Season 1 DVD set of The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, but due to technical issues with the master materials for the shows (as well as the issue of trying to reconstruct the shows back into their original format), the project has been cancelled...for now.
In 1983, Worldvision Home Video released a single VHS volume in the United States and Canada, called The Banana Splits And Friends. It was re-released by Hanna-Barbera Home Video in 1989. (The tape consisted of 53 minutes of footage culled from the first two episodes of The Banana Splits Adventure Hour.)
Other VHS compilations have been issued in foreign countries. In the UK, Turner Home Entertainment released two VHS volumes of The Banana Splits Unpeeled, which collected a selection of half-hour syndicated episodes of The Banana Splits And Friends Show. In the United States and Canada, Worldvision also released two VHS volumes each of Atom Ant and Secret Squirrel, and single VHS releases of Precious Pupp, The Hillbilly Bears, Squiddly Diddly and Winsome Witch. Other cartoons from the Atom Ant and Secret Squirrel shows were issued as part of compilations along with other Hanna-Barbera cartoons. None of the other series syndicated as part of The Banana Splits And Friends Show (Atom Ant, Secret Squirrel, The New Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn or The Adventures Of Gulliver) have yet been released on DVD, although all have periodically appeared on Boomerang.
As of this writing, any Banana Splits DVDs found on ebaY or other internet websites are bootlegs. Be wary of any seller claiming to offer "the complete series" (see below).
Who owns the series?
Warner Bros. currently owns the rights to the series and existing master materials. At the time the series was produced, Hanna-Barbera was owned by Taft Broadcasting Company. The original syndicated series initially was distributed by Taft/H-B Enterprises; when the Taft company bought Worldvision Enterprises in 1976, Worldvision became the syndicator and offered both a 30-minute and one-hour version of the Season 1 shows. Hanna-Barbera was purchased by Turner Entertainment in 1991, and Turner was purchased by Warner Bros. in 1998.
What master material actually exists?
Known to exist are:
- A set of 16mm film prints of the 18 Season 1 shows
- A set of one-inch video masters of the 18 Season 1 shows (copied from Quad video masters in the late 1980s; the Quad masters no longer exist)
- An archive of 35mm film footage, consisting of individual show segments and cartoons, largely uninventoried and uncatalogued
- A set of 36 Banana Splits And Friends half-hour cut-down episodes, reconstructed from the above-mentioned 35mm material
- Various 16mm film prints and home taped copies of syndicated shows in private collections
The 16mm film prints probably represent the closest approximation of how the shows originally aired during their first network run. The one-inch video masters represent revised, re-edited versions of the shows (replacing Season 1 openings, closings and bumpers with those from Season 2, with a few other edits). Turner Entertainment did go back to the original 35mm material in 1991 to reconstruct a set of episodes to air on Cartoon Network, but Turner chose to reconstruct the half-hour cutdowns rather than the complete original episodes.
The Season 2 shows apparently were not archived in the form of complete episodes. However, it is likely (though unconfirmed) that some of the Season 2 material may exist in the form of individual 35mm film segments.
What was Sid and Marty Krofft's involvement with the show?
Sid and Marty Krofft were commissioned by Hanna-Barbera to design the costumes and sets for the show. Their work on The Banana Splits Adventure Hour impressed NBC executives and directly led to the Kroffts being offered a Saturday morning timeslot for their own original production (H.R. Pufnstuf) for the 1969-1970 season. Thus began the empire of Sid & Marty Krofft Productions, which produced The Bugaloos, Lidsville, Sigmund & The Sea Monsters and many other shows.
What other notable talent and behind-scenes personnel worked on the series?
Richard Donner (who went on to direct many major motion pictures, including the Superman and Lethal Weapon series) directed all the live-action in the show's first season, including the Banana Splits and Danger Island segments.
Don Sandburg (Season 2 associate producer) is best remembered as mute clown Sandy on Bozo's Circus, which aired for many years on WGN-Channel 9 in Chicago. Sandburg also was the producer and principal writer of Bozo's Circus between 1961 and 1969.
Writers Phil Hahn and Jack Hanrahan also wrote for Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, which aired on NBC from 1968 to 1973.
The Danger Island serial featured Jan-Michael Vincent (credited as Michael Vincent) as Link Simmons, and Ronne Troup (daughter of jazz legend Bobby Troup and later a regular on My Three Sons) as Leslie Haydn.