The Banana Splits are getting the reboot treatment, but it’s not what fans of the classic children’s TV show may be expecting. The characters from the once kid-friendly animal band will star in an upcoming Warner Bros. horror movie for Syfy, L.A. Times Entertainment reports.
The original Banana Splits was a live action-animated collaboration between cartoon kings William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and Sid and Marty Krofft, the brothers behind other trippy classics like H.R. Pufnstuf, The Bugaloos, and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. The original series, which aired on NBC from 1968 to 1970, featured stuffed characters—Fleegle the beagle (guitar), Bingo the gorilla (drums), Drooper the lion (bass) and Snorky the elephant (keyboards)— who served as hosts of The Banana Splits Adventure Hour.
But in the unexpected new Syfy thriller penned by screenwriters Jed Elinoff and Scott Thomas, the story will center on a boy named Harley (played by Finlay Wojtak-Hissong), who is spending his birthday at a taping of The Banana Splits TV show. In a dark spin on the beloved kiddie classic, a “rising body” count puts a damper on the TV taping.
In addition to the familiar furry friends, The Banana Splits reboot movie also features Dani Kind as Harley’s mother Beth, Romeo Carere as Harley’s brother Austin, Steve Lund as his father Mitch, and Sara Canning as the Banana Splits TV show’s producer Rebecca.
While the original Banana Splits only aired on Saturday mornings on NBC for two years, it lived on in syndication for years. More recently, the show was featured on Cartoon Network and Boomerang in 2008.
Back in the day, the rare collaboration between iconic children’s TV pioneers Hanna Barbera and Sid and Marty Krofft even spawned a radio hit. According to MeTV, The Banana Splits theme song peaked at No. 96 on Billboard’s Top 100 chart 50 years ago. On February 8, 1969, the “Tra La La (One Banana, Two Banana)” song landed between Percy Sledge’s “My Special Prayer” and Tiny Tim’s “Great Balls of Fire.” At a time when Sly and the Family Stone, Elvis Presley, and the Doors were topping the charts, this was quite a feat for a theme song from a Saturday morning kiddie TV show.
The Banana Splits reboot movie will premiere later this year via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment before it debuts on Syfy.
Check out the opening credits for the original Banana Splits, which features their famous “Tra La La” theme song, below.