The Return Of "Yellow Submarine;" McFarlane Spawns Beatle Figures

Beatle fans, prepare your wallets for the group's next "new" release... and marketing blitz.

Well, there's really no "new" music being released, but as record labels have figured out in the CD/DVD era, what's old can be new again (to die-hard fans, anyway) through the wonders of digital remastering and bonus material.

On September 14, the 1968 animated Beatles film, "Yellow Submarine," will be released for the first time on DVD (as well as on VHS, after being out of print for 11 years), while the film's "songtrack" will be hitting the CD racks.

What, exactly, is a "songtrack?" Well, the "Yellow Submarine" soundtrack, which will stay in circulation, features six Beatles songs and seven instrumental pieces by Beatles producer George Martin that served as the film's score. The "songtrack," on the other hand, omits Martin's tracks but adds eleven more Beatles songs.

The DVD contains similar "bonus" material to other releases in the format: behind-the-scenes

footage, the original theatrical trailer, and a music-only track with Martin's score. Also included are interviews with animators and the voice actors from the film, as the Beatles -- John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr -- did not actually provide their voices to their cartoon counterparts in the movie, which follows the animated Fab Four on a voyage aboard their Yellow Submarine (what else?) as they battle the Blue Meanies, who have declared war on all that is good -- especially music.

The release of the DVD and CD will be accompanied by a marketing blitz that will see a line of "Yellow Submarine" action figures released, courtesy of McFarlane Toys, the same company that has already brought us action figures of Ozzy Osbourne and the members of Kiss (see "McFarlane Unveils Ozzy Figure, Confesses To Buying $3 Million McGwire Homerun Ball", "Kiss, McFarlane Re-Team

For New Line Of Figures"). The company's namesake, Todd McFarlane, is the same man whose artistic talents are featured in the videos for Pearl Jam's "Do The Evolution" and Korn's "Freak On A Leash."

Beatle fans with lots of cash should also be on the lookout for "Yellow Submarine" alarm clocks, bibs, watches, finger puppets, keychains, posters, post cards, lunch boxes, hats, lighters and many, many other "must-have" items. In addition, September 17 will see "Yellow Submarine" stamps hitting post offices.

-- Brian Ives