Blue Meanies (Yellow Submarine)

The Blue Meanies are a fictional army of fierce though buffoonish music-hating beings and the main antagonists in the surreal 1968 Beatles cartoon film Yellow Submarine. They allegorically represent all the bad people in the world. Their visual appearance was mostly designed by Heinz Edelmann. Producer Al Brodax said that the chief blue meanie resembled production coordinator Abe Goodman.


The Blue Meanies are set on the occupation and silencing of Pepperland, a colourful, musical utopia that lies beneath the sea. The Meanies have blue skin, claw-like hands and wear black masks around their eyes and hats that resemble Mickey Mouse ears on their heads. They are humanoid in appearance - albeit with blue faces and very long noses.


The Blue Meanies arrive in Pepperland and do everything they can to oppress the peaceful, music-loving paradise. This prompts one of Pepperland's sailors, the former Commander now newly appointed Lord Admiral "Old Fred" to escape in the Yellow Submarine of the title to find help. Old Fred journeys to Liverpool where he meets the Beatles, whom he enlists for help, because, as musicians, they would be able to restore harmony to Pepperland. The Meanies, in his absence, cause the lovely and colourful Pepperland to turn into a very grey, dull and oppressive place, wrought with thorns and thistles.
Later in the story, a Meanie abducts the Beatles' companion, Jeremy Hillary Boob, PhD, the so-called "Nowhere Man", and we see, when the Beatles arrive in Pepperland, how the Meanies have laid waste to the former paradise and petrified the natives. The Beatles find Pepperland's confiscated musical instruments and their own look-alikes, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and bring music back to Pepperland. This restores colour to the hills and plants and life into the Pepperlanders. With their spell thus broken, the Meanies cease to have a hold on Pepperland: even their guns start shooting flowers instead of missiles. Those that do not flee are invited by the Beatles to stay and "mingle" and they make peace with their former enemies.

Blue Meanies and their weapons

Chief Blue Meanie

The Chief Blue Meanie, also known as "His Blueness", is the leader of the Blue Meanies and the main antagonist from the 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine. A flamboyant character, with a high pitched voice, he is set on conquering Pepperland and ruling with fear and oppression; a supreme despot given to psychotic tantrums and violent mood swings. His most heinous of crimes from The Beatles' point of view, however, is his hatred of music. He is voiced by Paul Angelis, who also provided the voice of Ringo Starr.
The Chief Blue Meanie arrives in Pepperland accompanied by Max, his assistant, and his large army of Meanies. He begins his campaign of terrorizing Pepperland by firing a massive glass ball at the Beatles' doubles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts' Club Band, who play music in this peaceful and colorful world, where all the natives generally behave in a friendly manner towards one another. As the Chief comments, "it can't last". The soundproof glass sphere covers the band, making their music inaudible, and in their panic to run away, the natives are fired at by the Blue Meanies' guns, whose missiles both drain their victims' colour on contact and seem to petrify them. The Chief bombards the natives with various weapons and other evil species that vary in their ferocity and eccentricity that will reduce Pepperland's colourful hills and plants to bare thorns and grey wasteland, with the only green existing in the form of giant apples that the "Apple Bonkers" pluck from trees to "bonk" on peoples' heads.
Later in the film, the Meanies kidnap the Beatles' friend and comrade, Jeremy Hillary Boob, also known as the "Nowhere Man". After the Beatles finally arrive in Pepperland, the Chief Blue Meanie is incensed when he sees the hills and trees returning to their proper colours at the sound of their music; he sends his fiercest weapon, "The Dreadful Flying Glove" after the heroes. The Glove is thwarted by the Beatles song "All You Need Is Love", and the Meanies flee, knocking over the chief in the process.
In a final, petty attempt at retribution, the Chief threatens to tear the newly freed Nowhere Man into little pieces. However, he is thwarted by Jeremy's poetry and magic, sprouting roses from his nose and body. He flees with the rest of his army, but later concedes defeat and decides to "mix" with the Beatles and Pepperlanders; however, at the very end, when the Beatles appear in the flesh to the audience, John says that "Newer and Bluer Meanies have been sighted within the vicinity of this theatre".

Personal characteristics

Like the other Blue Meanies, the Chief is masked, has yellowed teeth with a navy blue woollen suit and massive, paw-like hands with six claws on each. He is taller than most of the other Meanies and whereas the "common" Blue Meanies wear a hat reminiscent of Mickey Mouse ears, his hat looks more like Oswald the Lucky Rabbit's. Also, whereas the "common" Blue Meanies wear orange and yellow striped stockings with mary jane shoes, he wears jackboots, complete with spurs: a pale blue boot on the right foot, a navy blue boot on the left. He has an unpredictable, if not split, personality, which sends him from apparently effeminate, quiet and friendly to loud, raging and malicious - though no less buffoonish in either. Max is often the victim of his abuse, being punched, shot or stomped on by a "Butterfly Stomper". He also has another Meanie carry around a stool so that he can sit down whenever he likes; presumably, were he to fall on the ground it would be at the stool-carrier's peril. He also states that "we Meanies only take 'no' for an answer", and gets extremely angry at the sound of the word "yes", even when being answered in the affirmative. Sometimes his own aggression gets the better of him and he needs to be revived with "nasty medicine", which makes him even more eccentric than he already is. He encourages his army of Meanies to be as unpleasant as possible, but after admitting defeat, he later confesses that his cousin is "the bluebird of happiness".