When Ron Campbell was asked to help animate The Beatles’ classic 1968 film “Yellow Submarine,” he treated the job as just another in a long string of jobs.
The idea that the movie might have some lasting presence in pop culture didn’t enter his mind.
“I never, ever thought ‘Yellow Submarine’ would capture the essence of the days I was living through and be remembered and identified with the late ’60s as it has,” he said. “The bottom line is, I loved my job. Making cartoons was my life, really. I enjoyed all stages of it and every aspect of my career.
“I approached it with youthful enthusiasm and adult temperance and concentration. I don’t ever remember waking up and saying, ‘Oh God, I’ve got to go to work.’ “
Campbell will be in Portland this week as part of the WBLM Rock Art Show and Sale at the Asylum rock club. The show includes a collection of artwork created by rock stars, photographs, album art, posters and reproductions.
Campbell, who is now retired and living in Phoenix, makes cameos at these traveling shows, at which he sells his art and talks about his career. He will have many of his original Beatles paintings on view, and will demonstrate his skills as an artist.
“These shows keep me busy. They pay the electrical bills. I get to travel around the country, and I meet a lot of people. It sure beats playing golf,” he said. “I spent 50 years making cartoon films. When my career was over, it was a question of, ‘What the devil am I going to do?’ “
Campbell directed “The Beatles” Saturday-morning cartoon show, which aired on ABC from 1965 to 1969, and served on the animation team of “Yellow Submarine,” the latter of which is considered a classic period piece. He also worked on the beloved animated TV series “Scooby Doo, Where Are You!”, “George of the Jungle,” “The Flintstones” and “Rugrats,” among others.
Despite his association with The Beatles, Campbell never met John, Paul, George or Ringo while working on their projects. Other actors provided the voices for the Fab Four for both the TV series and the movie, and The Beatles’ only contribution to “Yellow Submarine” besides the music was a short live-action bit at the end of the movie.
Campbell was living in Australia when he did the work on the TV series, and for the movie, “the Beatles gave us the music, went away and did their thing.” However, he has since met Ringo, and “I have sort of met Paul peripherally. They both have paintings of mine.”
The traveling rock show coming to the Asylum was organized by a former radio man, Scott Segelbaum, who sets them up all over the country in association with rock stations that he respects. He’s known the folks at WBLM for many years.
Segelbaum did his first rock art show in Los Angeles in 1991, when he was asked to help organize a show to benefit an AIDS foundation in Los Angeles. He used his contacts in the music business to solicit original artwork from musicians.
“They came out of the woodwork. I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “But when you think about it, John Lennon had formal art training. Jerry Garcia went to art school. Ronnie Wood had formal art training. Interestingly, many musicians are artistic in more ways than just musicianship.”
Segelbaum distinguishes his show from others that feature memorabilia.
“Memorabilia is signed guitars and 8-by-10 glossies. This isn’t that,” Segelbaum said. “This is an actual art show, with rock’s visual history the focus, from classic rock to the Rat Pack. It features artwork that you have never seen before.”
Among the musicians whose artwork is featured in the show are Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Tony Bennett, along with photographs from recording sessions featuring Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and others.
All the work will be on view, and all of it will be for sale. Prices ranges from a few bucks to about $5,000. The top end includes hand-signed work by Dylan, McCartney and Garcia, while the low-end includes reproductions of concert posters, handbills and photographs.
“This is comfort food for the baby boomer,” Segelbaum said. “It’s a piece of your soul. It’s the music you grew up with.”
Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be reached at 791-6457 or: