30-Minutes Of Strawberry Fields, The Canceled CGI Beatles Movie From 1989

This is a half-hour WIP reel for the canceled animated film Strawberry Fields. Strawberry Fields, conceptualized in 1985, was supposed to be a psudeo-sequel to the film Yellow Submarine, produced by Al Brodax. Brodax had made a deal with the Computer Graphics Laboratory of the New York Institute of Technology to create a new feature length animated film done completely in CGI. It would feature songs by The Beatles the same was as Yellow Submarine had done, but be a new narrative with original characters, omitting the Beatles themselves entirely. Given that Apple Records no longer owned the rights to the Beatles catalog, Brodax had to make an agreement with Vestron and ITC Productions, two companies that promised that they could give the permission for their usage.

During production it was discovered that the technology was not advanced enough to be able to animate human beings properly. Because of this, it was decided that the characters would be 2D animated and placed on top of 3D rendered environments. The 2D animation was managed by Al Lowenheim and Lion’s Den Studios before it slowed down in 1989 when campus owner and founder Alexander Schure disagreed with the use of 2D animation. Attempts were made to switch it back to 3D animation, however when Vestron and ITC Productions confessed that they don’t actually have the rights, the film came to a halt in 1992.

There were a few pieces produced between 1989-1992 that are not included within this reel, however the majority of which that is known to exist is here.

There are some scenes that may seem confusing besides the fact that they are out of order. This is because, according to art director David Lubell, that CGL threw in some things that they had already animated beforehand into the reel because they thought it might fit. They might have also been included to gain the trust of potential investors in their impressive quality. For example, one of the beginning scenes with an ant constructing a sphere was taken from CGL’s previous feature film The Works, which was shelved in 1986.

The source of this tape would like to remain anonymous.

Despite previous rumors, Don Bluth was not part of this film. However, animator Jeff Merghart, who worked on An American Tale, was a key member of the animation team. Bluth’s style likely heavily influenced Merghart and therefore the look of the film.

The complete soundtrack was intended to be:
Michael Jackson – Come Together
Cyndi Lauper – Across the Unierse
Crosby, Stills & Nash – Blackbird
Robert Palmer – Baby, You’re a Rich Man
Siedah Garrett – Hey Jude
Cheap Trick – Magical Mystery Tour
Luther Vandross – Michelle
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Taxman
N/A – Strawberry Fields

A handful of these songs can be heard in the reel, a few of which were recorded specifically for it. Cyndi Lauper’s cover of Across The Universe is not included but can be found uploaded on YouTube as a bootleg copy. Jackson’s cover of Come Together is pulled from the same performance on the 1988 film Moonwalker.