Magilla Gorilla

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Magilla Gorilla
The Magilla Gorilla Show character
Magilla Gorilla.jpg
First appearance "The Big Game"
Created by William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Voiced by Allan Melvin
Information
Species Gorilla
Gender Male

Magilla Gorilla is a fictional gorilla and the star of The Magilla Gorilla Show by Hanna-Barbera that aired from 1963 to 1967.[1]

Character description[edit]

Magilla Gorilla (voiced by Allan Melvin[2]) is a gorilla who spends his time languishing in the front display window of Melvin Peebles' pet shop, eating bananas and being a drain on the businessman's finances. Peebles (voiced by Howard Morris and later by Don Messick) marked down Magilla's price considerably, but Magilla was invariably only purchased for a short time, typically by some thieves who needed a gorilla to break into a bank or by an advertising agency looking for a mascot for their new product. The customers always ended up returning Magilla, forcing Peebles to refund their money. Magilla often ended each episode with his catchphrase "We'll try again next week."

Like many of Hanna-Barbera's animal characters, Magilla Gorilla was dressed in human accessories, sporting a bow tie, shorts held up by suspenders, and an undersized derby hat.[2]

The only customer truly interested in obtaining the trouble-prone Magilla was a little girl named Ogee (voiced by Jean Vander Pyl and pronounced "Oh Gee!"). During the cartoon's theme song, "We've Got a Gorilla for Sale", she asks hopefully, "How much is that gorilla in the window?" a twist on the old standard, "(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?"), but she was never able to convince her parents to let her keep Magilla.

In Yiddish, a "megillah" is a long tedious or embroidered account, from the Hebrew "megillah", a story written in a scroll. One episode has Magilla saying, "Such a megillah over a gorilla."

Episodes[edit]

# Title Summary
1 Big Game Peebles sells Magilla to J. Whimple Dimple, who is intent on hunting the gorilla for his taxidermy collection.
2 Gridiron Gorilla Peebles gives Magilla away to a football coach, who recruits him as a fullback in the Pennsyltucky Lions team against the Wabash Cannonballs.

Credited Animator: Kenneth Muse

3 Private Magilla Magilla has been assigned with the military as a private. He bests the army and is about to be sent on a mission to the moon.

Credited Animator: Kenneth Muse

4 Bank Pranks Peebles sells Magilla to a couple of thieves who are hoping to make use of him, but Magilla foils their robbery attempt.

Credited Animator: Irv Spence

5 Groovey Movie The director of Grotesque Pictures buys Magilla for his newest motion picture, but the showbiz proves to be painful for Magilla.
6 Airlift Magilla drinks Professor Skiball's anti-gravity formula, making him float up in the air, and some advertisers take advantage of this.

Credited Animators: Dick Lundy, William Keil

7 Come Blow Your Dough A little girl called Ogee buys Magilla. Upon bringing him home, Ogee's parents reject Magilla and call the police.
8 Mad Scientist Peebles sells Magilla to a mad scientist who takes the gorilla to his laboratory to perform some sinister experiments on his brain.

Credited Animators: George Goepper, Kenneth Muse

9 Masquerade Party Magilla is invited to a dressing up party where two thieves are attempting to steal Mrs. Richley's diamond necklace.
10 Come Back Little Magilla Upset that she can't have Magilla, Ogee runs away and Magilla goes after her, thinking of her safety.

This episode is a sequel of the episode Come Blow Your Dough.

11 Fairy Godmother Magilla's fairy godmother grants Magilla three wishes. The first to go to the jungle, the second to go back, and the third to get a lot of bananas.

Credited Animators: Dick Lundy, William Keil

12 Planet Zero Inhabitants from Planet Zero take Magilla to their home planet where he makes them too afraid to invade earth.
13 Prince Charming Ogee visits Magilla who entertains her with various fairy tales involving the masked stranger and Prince Charming.

Credited Animators: George Goepper, George Nicholas

14 Motorcycle Magilla Magilla drives off with Peebles in his motorcycle all over the town, until they plunge off a waterfall and get rescued by a helicopter.

Credited Animators: Ed Parks, George Goepper

15 Is That Zoo? Peebles sends Magilla to the City Zoo where he has to follow the rules, but he takes them a bit too seriously.

Credited Animators: Irv Spence, George Nicholas, Ed Parks

16 Bird Brained Peebles brings to Magilla a lovebird, which attempts to escape. Magilla chases the bird to take him back before Peebles gets back with a mate for him.
17 Circus Ruckus Magilla runs away to join a circus after Peebles scolded him. Soon, Magilla misses Peebles and comes back to the pet shop after being blasted out of a cannon.
18 Camp Scamps Magilla mistakenly thinks Peebles is going to get rid of him, so he joins the junior rangers of Camp Kitchy Gooney.

Credited Animators: Jerry Hathcock, Kenneth Muse

19 The Purple Mask Ogee gets upset as she can't prove the existence of the Purple Mask to Hector. Magilla takes the place of the superhero to help Ogee.

Credited Animators: Kenneth Muse, Jerry Hathcock

20 Love at First Fight Magilla is taken to the City Zoo to keep a lonely gorilla called Matilda company, but she becomes madly in love with him.
21 Pet Bet Ogee visits Peebles' pet shop to take Magilla to her school pet contest. A dog called Horatio is all who stands between Magilla and the trophy prize.
22 Makin' With the Magilla Magilla goes on a long surfing stunt at the beach and as a result becomes the Surfer King.
23 High Fly Guy While out shopping, Magilla rides on a kiddie airplane, but it accidentally sends him into the sky and he flies past a movie studio, an airport, and through a mall.
24 Deep Sea Doodle Peebles sends Magilla to take his sick goldfish to the Oceanland doctor. During the check up, Magilla gets tangled in the aquarium where one of the antics involves him getting attacked by a shark.

Credited Animators: Hugh Fraser, Ed Parks, Don Patterson, Carlo Vinci

25 That Was the Geek That Was Magilla delivers to Peebles a rare pet bird, but it vanishes. Magilla tries hard to catch the slippery bird.
26 Montana Magilla In order to help a bankrupt Peebles, Magilla enters a cowboy contest under the name Montana Magilla to win the money he needs.
27 Magilla Mix-Up During an errand for Peebles, Magilla is mistaken for a secret agent in a secret hideout and is tailed by a villain on a secret delivery service.
28 Wheelin' and Dealin' Magilla accidentally drives off with a man's sports car, causing a commotion and getting himself in trouble with the police.

Don Messick provides the voice of Mr. Peebles after Howard Morris left the show.

Credited Animator: Don Patterson

29 Mad Avenue Madness Peebles rents Magilla to some Advertisers from Madison Avenue to accomplish their advertising campaign of a Huffmobile.
30 Beau Jest Feeling unwanted, Magilla leaves Peebles and becomes involved with the French Legion, sent on a mission to capture the bandit Abu Ben Hakim.
31 Super Blooper Heroes Inspired by Super Magnificent on TV, Magilla and Peebles become crime fighting superheroes. Unfortunately, they pick the wrong guys to fight.

Inception[edit]

As pointed out on the Rhino Records' CD liner notes for their collection of Hanna-Barbera theme tunes, part of Magilla's purpose was to sell likenesses of himself. The show was sponsored by Ideal Toys, which produced a Magilla stuffed toy.[3]

Other appearances[edit]

  • Magilla Gorilla appeared on both the 1972 made-for-TV movie Yogi's Ark Lark and the 1973 spin-off Yogi's Gang series, where he would run the treadmill that powers the Ark as long as there are plenty of bananas.
  • In the "Fender Bender 500" segment of the 1990 series Wake, Rattle, and Roll, Magilla Gorilla was partnered with Wally Gator as they rode a monster truck called the Swamp Stomper.
  • In the 2005 Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law episode "Free Magilla," Magilla Gorilla (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) is kidnapped by radical animal rights activists, causing Mr. Peebles (also voiced by Maurice LaMarche) to sue them. Magilla is quickly abandoned by the activists after they grow sick of his many puns. During the course of the episode, Mr. Peebles confesses to having grown attached to Magilla.
  • Magilla Gorilla made a cameo in a 2012 MetLife commercial entitled, "Everyone".

Cultural references[edit]

  • In the X-Men comics, Hank McCoy (Beast) was nicknamed "Magilla Gorilla" in High School.
  • Comedian Rondell Sheridan has repeatedly joked about his resemblance to Magilla Gorilla, dating back to being teased for it as a child.

Interpretation[edit]

According to one reading of the show, the trials of Magilla mirrored the attitudes that American citizens had towards racial integration during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Christopher P. Lehman, in his 2007 book American Animated Cartoons of the Vietnam Era: A Study of Social Commentary in Films and Television Programs, 1961-1973, writes that The Magilla Gorilla Show perpetuated the idea that non-whites should be segregated, with Peebles selling Magilla (the gorilla iconography thus evoking a reference to 19th-century racist artwork portraying blacks as subhuman primates) to white customers who would invariably return him to the pet shop by the end of each episode.[4]

Magilla Gorilla in other languages[edit]

  • Brazilian Portuguese: Maguila, o Gorila
  • Spanish: Maguila Gorila
  • Japanese: ゴリラのゴンちゃん (Gorira no Gon-chan)
  • Finnish: The same as in English
  • Hungarian: Magilla Gorilla
  • Italian: The same as in English
  • Polish: Goryl Magilla (pronouncing with double "l")
  • Persian: گوريل انگوري (Gooril angoori) - Gooril angoori is Grape Ape.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Van Riper, A. Bowdoin (2002). Science in Popular Culture: A Reference Guide. Westport (Conn.): Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 124. ISBN 0313318220. 
  2. ^ a b Mansour, David (2005). From Abba to Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 298. ISBN 0740793071. 
  3. ^ Eury, Michael (2002). Captain Action: The Original Super-Hero Action Figure. Raleigh, N.C.: TwoMorrows Pub. p. 16. ISBN 1893905179. 
  4. ^ Lehman, Christopher P. (2007). American Animated Cartoons of the Vietnam Era: A Study of Social Commentary in Films and Television Programs, 1961-1973. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. p. 50. ISBN 078642818X.