Tag Archives: Al Brodax

Remembering Al Brodax

Al Brodax died last week, at 90. The longtime Westporter led quite a life.

He enlisted in the Army in 1943, at at age 17. Wounded in the Battle of the Bulge, he was awarded the Purple Heart. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin, then joined the William Morris Agency where he worked on “Your Show of Shows.

Al Brodax (Photo/Carol King)

Al Brodax (Photo/Carol King)

Brodax wrote and produced more than 500 episodes of “Popeye,” “Krazy Kat,” “Barney Google” and “The Beatles” cartoon series.

His greatest fame came as producer and co-writer of “Yellow Submarine.” It won more than 30 awards, including the New York Film Critics Circle in 1969. Brodax later became the animation supervisor for ABC, then a consultant for Marvel Comics.

In 2012 — before his appearance at a Westport Youth Film Festival event — I wrote this piece for “06880”:

More than 45 years after it supposedly happened, whether the Beatles actually visited Murray the K* at his Bluewater Hill home is up for debate.

But no one can deny that without Westporter Al Brodax, “Yellow Submarine” would never have left the dock.

In the late 1960s, Brodax was head of King Features’ motion picture/TV division. He pitched the idea of a full-length film based on the song of the same name to the Beatles. (I’m sure he knew someone who knew someone who…)

Yellow Submarine movieThe Beatles agreed to provide music for the animated film. (It was also a way to fulfill their contractual obligation to United Artists.)

With Brodax serving as co-writer and producer, “Yellow Submarine” was released to critical acclaim in 1968. The next year, it won the New York Film Critics Circle Award.

(Full disclosure: I always thought “Yellow Submarine” was the worst song in the entire Beatles discography. I had no desire to see the film, then or now.)

Brodax went on to produce, write and direct several Emmy-winning TV shows, including “Make a Wish” and “Animals, Animals, Animals.”

In 2004 he wrote “Up Periscope Yellow: The Making of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine.” 

Given my antipathy toward the song, I have not read it. Nor do I plan to.

However, I am sure Al Brodax’s death is being mourned by Beatles fans everywhere.

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*Murray the K was a famous DJ.**

**DJ as in “radio disc jockey,” not “someone who plays music at proms, weddings and bar mitzvahs.”

The Beatles Visit Westport

More than 45 years after it supposedly happened, whether the Beatles actually visited Murray the K* at his Bluewater Hill home is up for debate.

But no one can deny that without Westporter Al Brodax, “Yellow Submarine” would never have left the dock.

In the late 1960s, Brodax was head of King Features’ motion picture/TV division. He pitched the idea of a full-length film based on the song of the same name to the Beatles. (I’m sure he knew someone who knew someone who…)

The Beatles agreed to provide music for the animated film. (It was also a way to fulfill their contractual obligation to United Artists.) With Brodax serving as producer, “Yellow Submarine” was released to critical acclaim in 1968.

(Full disclosure: I always thought “Yellow Submarine” was the worst song in the entire Beatles discography. I had no desire to see the film, then or now.)

Brodax went on to produce, write and direct several Emmy-winning TV shows, including “Make a Wish” and “Animals, Animals, Animals.”

Al Brodax (Photo/Carol King)

In 2004 he wrote Up Periscope Yellow: The Making of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. (Full disclosure: I have not read it, nor do I plan to.)

But Brodax is a great guy. He’s still around — though he’s migrated north, to Weston — and this Friday, April 13 (Westport Arts Center, 7 p.m.), the Westport Youth Film Festival will sponsor a fundraiser: the film, followed by a discussion with Brodax.

There’s also music by local bands, and (yeah, yeah, yeah) food.

The cost is $15 for adults, $10 for students. Because it’s a benefit for the WYFF (with live music), I’m guessing there will be lots of teenagers in the crowd.

As in, “kids who are Beatles fans, even if they were born 30 years after the Beatles may or may not have visited Murray the K* in Westport.”

*Murray the K was a famous DJ.**

**DJ as in “radio disc jockey,” not “someone who plays music at proms, weddings and bar mitzvahs.”

We All Live In A Yellow Submarine

Yellow SubmarineWhen Heinz Edelmann died Tuesday in Germany, obituaries lauded the graphic designer/illustrator’s contributions to the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” film — a hallucinogenic look that defined an era.

But without earlier contributions from Westporter Al Brodax, there would have been no movie — a movie which, according to the New York Times, influences music videos to this day.

Brodax was a film and TV producer.  In the 1950s he helped develop “Your Show of Shows,” and oversaw production of more than 200 Popeye shorts.

In the mid-1960s he produced an animated TV series featuring the Beatles.  He also produced and co-wrote the “Yellow Submarine” film.

It was Brodax’s idea to get the film’s colors and typography to dance and move — a concept that Edelmann brought to life.

So, in a way, the yellow submarine — and an entire generation of psychedelic art that followed — was launched right here in Westport.

(Al Brodax now lives in Weston, and heads the Brodax Film Group production company.)