Four bananas make a bunch, and so do many more!
Over hill and highway the Banana Buggies go,
Coming on to bring you the Banana Splits show!"
The Banana Splits Adventure Hour was a Saturday morning series from Hanna-Barbera shown on NBC in the late 1960s. Live actors in full-body costumes portrayed Fleegle the dog (voiced by Paul Winchell), Drooper the lion (voiced by Allan Melvin), Bingo the gorilla (voiced by Daws Butler) and Snorky the elephant, who didn't talk. Sid & Marty Krofft Productions designed the Banana Splits' character costumes.
The foursome did comedy sketches, performed songs and introduced the following action segments:
- Arabian Knights: A Five-Man Band of heroes fought evil in pre-Islamic Arabia.
- The Three Musketeers: These short adventures were adapted from the book by Alexandre Dumas père.
- Micro-Ventures: A scientist and his two teenage children visited Mouse World to observe insects up close.
- Danger Island: This was the serialized live-action segment, set on and around a Pacific island. Memorable for the Catchphrase, "Uh-oh, Chongo!". Directed by Richard Donner, who went on to hit films like The Omen (1976), Superman, The Goonies and Lethal Weapon.note
After the Banana Splits became popular, Hanna-Barbera tried to duplicate its success in 1977: Skatebirds on CBS. (Some sources had 1969's The Cattanooga Cats on ABC as live/animated with the Cats in live costumes, but it was all animated.) When The Banana Splits was shown in broadcast syndication, and later on TBS, the following series were added to the package:
- The Atom Ant Show, accompanied by Precious Pupp and The Hillbilly Bears
- Secret Squirrel, accompanied by Squiddly Diddly and Winsome Witch
- The Adventures of Gulliver
- The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Banana Splits provides examples of:
- Animated Adaptation: Hardly surprisingly, the band appeared both in live action and in animated form in a full-length feature, The Banana Splits in Hocus Pocus Park (1972), on the animated anthology series The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie.
- Within the show, "The Three Musketeers" was quite faithful to the original source (especally for Saturday morning kids show standards!).
- The Big Guy: Porthos from "The Three Musketeers"
- Cannibal Tribe: Three of the them in the Danger Island segments.
- Canon Foreigner: For the Three Musketeers segment, Lady Constance's nephew Tooly.
- Catchphrase: "Uh oh, Chongo!" for Danger Island, often said by the Splits before introducing it.
- Comic-Book Adaptation: Published by Gold Key Comics. The Splits had a cameo in issue #12 of Marvel Comics' Laff-A-Lympics book.
- Cool Car: C'mon, admit it—you always wanted one of those six-wheeled Banana Buggies.
- Damsel in Distress: Leslie Hayden from Danger Island, who was captured by Captain Mu-Tan's band or native headhunters in practically every episode and tied up, although all the main characters get this treatment at one point or another, especially late in the serial.
- Dogs Are Dumb: Inverted, Fleegle's the smartest and most serious of the Banana Splits. He still gets into wacky events like the others, but he's the first to dial it back, and is often weary of the others.
- Early Installment Character Design Difference: Snorky originally started out as something of a wooly mammoth with eye-obscuring sunglasses in Season One, and became a clean-shaven elephant wearing a vest and with visible eyes in Season Two.
- Editedfor Syndication: The show was originally called The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, and as such was an hour long, but after the original run ended, the show was rebroadcasted as "The Banana Splits and Friends Show" which took the original hour long episodes and cutting them in half, getting two episodes out of it.
- The original hour long episodes followed a sort of "Three Shorts" format, with the Arabian Knights and Three Musketeer cartoon segments bookending a double length Danger Island chapter, with songs and sketches with the Splits appearing interspersed throughout.
- When the show was cut down to a half hour, it only featured one of the two cartoons, which alternated between shows and took one of the two part Danger Island stories and spread them out between two episodes, plus every other show had a song number in it.
- Edutainment Show: Micro Ventures.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Bingo.
- Fake Band
- Fanservice: The camera *loves* Link (a young Jan-Michael Vincent) in Danger Island, especially when his swimming trunks are wet. Morgan (Rockne Tarkington) also spends most of the time nearly shirtless in a way that emphasizes his chest. Oddly enough, averted with the lone female character Leslie.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: All four Banana Splits.
- The One Who Wears Shoes: Fleegle.
- Hollywood Torches: Danger Island had these.
- Incredible Shrinking Man: Micro Ventures
- Island of Mystery: Danger Island. Possibly home to the lost city of Tobanya. Contains castaways and comes with three different tribes of cannibalistic natives.
- King of Beasts: Averted. Drooper the Lion isn't the lead guy, Fleegle the dog is.
- Laugh Track: Even the 2008 revival has one, too.
- Misplaced Wildlife: On Danger Island. Lions and leopards on an island, in the middle of the Pacific?
- Open Sesame: on The Arabian Knights.
- Panty Shot: Occasionally, the Splits would be tormented by the Sour Grapes Bunch, a soiree of pre-teen girls in microscopically short miniskirts, lavender tights and go-go boots. During their dances, their panties could be readily seen through their tights.
- People in Rubber Suits: Wouldn't be a series involving Sid & Marty Krofft without them.
- Roger Rabbit Effect: In the New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn segments. Tom, Huck and Becky are live action and everyone & everything else is animated.
- Ruthless Modern Pirates: Captain Mu-Tan and his rag-tag band of modern day pirates from Danger Island.
- Theme Tune Roll Call:Flipping like a pancake, popping like a cork,Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snork!
- In one segment, Fleegle started their regular meeting, and insisted that they had to first call the roll. Cue the other three walking around crying "Here, roll!".
- Three Shorts: When the show was cut down to a half hour for syndication, it would follow a sort of ABC format, with the cartoon segments Arabian Knights and The Three Musketeers rotating each episode for the A, a Banana Splits music video for the B, and Danger Island as the C, all with our hosts engaging in comedy sketches in-between, introducing each segment.
- Often times when Micro Ventures was shown the format would always have The Three Musketeers as the A, Danger Island as the B, and Micro Ventures as the C.
- Toon Transformation: The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie The Banana Splits In Hocus Pocus Park has a live action little girl and the normally live action costumed Splits turning into cartoon figures after entering a mysterious billboard.
- The Unintelligible: Snorky spoke entirely in honking noises. Also, Chongo from Danger Island.