George of the Jungle

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This article is about the 1967 animated TV series. For the 2007 television series, see George of the Jungle (2007 TV series). For the 1997 film, see George of the Jungle (film).
George of the Jungle
GeorgeOfTheJungleVHS.jpg
Cover to a George of the Jungle VHS tape
Created by Jay Ward
Bill Scott
Directed by Gerard Baldwin
Frank Braxton
Pete Burness
Paul Harvey
Jim Hiltz
Bill Hurtz
Lew Keller
John Walker
Starring Bill Scott
Paul Frees
June Foray
Daws Butler
Opening theme Stan Worth
Sheldon Allman
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 17 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Ponsonby Britt, O.B.E.
Jay Ward
Bill Scott
Producer(s) Jay Ward
Bill Scott
Running time 30 minutes with commercials
Production company(s) Jay Ward Productions
Release
Original network ABC
Original release September 9 – December 30, 1967
Chronology
Followed by George of the Jungle (2007 TV series)

George of the Jungle is an American animated television series produced by Jay Ward and Bill Scott, who created The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. The character George was inspired by the story of Tarzan and a cartoon characterization of George Eiferman (Mr. America, Mr. Universe, IFBB Hall of Famer) drawn by a cook on his mine sweeper in the Navy during WW2. It ran for 17 episodes on Sunday mornings from September 9 to December 30, 1967, on the American TV network ABC.

Program format[edit]

Each episode featured three segments in the form of three unrelated cartoons: George of the Jungle, Tom Slick, and Super Chicken. Each of the cartoons ended with a strike on the Tympani (Kettledrum), which changed to an ascending tone, following a bad pun.

Unlike previous Ward series, the animation production was done in Hollywood using veteran animators Phil Duncan, Rod Scribner, and Rudy Zamora, among others. Each segment's theme song was written by the team of Stan Worth and Sheldon Allman, though the cartoons themselves had little or no music scoring, as with Bullwinkle. Ward mainstays Bill Scott, June Foray, Paul Frees, and Daws Butler provided most of the character voices over all three segments.

The cartoons are technically more advanced than the rather crude animation in Ward's earlier series, which originated from Gamma Productions, a Mexican studio sponsored by Ward. He was so pleased with George of the Jungle that he allowed production to go over-budget, which resulted in considerable financial loss, ultimately limiting the series to 17 episodes.

The complete series is available now on DVD.[1]

Theme song lyrics[edit]


George, George, George of the Jungle,
Strong as he can be.
[Yodeling] Watch out for that tree!

George, George, George of the Jungle
Lives a life thats free.
[Yodeling] Watch out for that tree!

When he gets in a scrape
He makes his escape
With the help of his friend
An ape named Ape.
Then away he'll schlep on his elephent Shep
While Bella and Ursula stay in step...[2]

With George, George, George of the Jungle
Friend to you and me.
[Yodeling] Watch out for that tree!
Watch out for that... [Yodeling... "ooo!"] tree!

George, George, George of the Jungle,
Friend to you and me!

Segments[edit]

George of the Jungle[edit]

The title segment, George of the Jungle, is a parody of the Tarzan stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs. George (voiced by Bill Scott) is a dim-witted but big-hearted "ape man" who is always called upon by District Commissioner Alistair (voiced by Paul Frees) to save inhabitants of the jungle from various threats.

In the opening title, George is depicted swinging on vines, repeatedly slamming face-first into trees or other obstacles even as theme-song singers warn him to "watch out for that tree!". Another running gag is that George keeps forgetting that he lives in a treehouse, falling to the ground every time he leaves home.

George's "beloved mate" is Ursula (voiced by June Foray), a Jane-like character far brighter than George, whom George refers to as "Fella". George's closest friend is an ape named Ape (voiced by Paul Frees impersonating Ronald Colman)[citation needed] who, like Ursula, is far more intelligent than George. George has a pet elephant named Shep, who behaves like a lap dog or, as George refers to him, a "great big peanut-lovin' poochie", and who George thinks is a dog. Also of note is the Tooky Tooky (or Tookie Tookie) bird famous for his call: "Ah ah ee ee tooky tooky".

George's two most frequent foes are a pair of hunters named "Tiger" Titheridge and "Weevil" Plumtree (voiced by Daws Butler and Paul Frees). Tiger, the taller of the two, wears a pith helmet and khakis and has a pencil moustache, while Weevil talks like a pirate and wears a white t-shirt and shorts with a hat. Another one of George's enemies is a mad scientist named Dr. Chicago (voiced by Daws Butler)

Tom Slick[edit]

Main article: Tom Slick (TV series)

Tom Slick features the title character (voiced by Bill Scott), a racecar driver who competes in races with his trusty vehicle, the Thunderbolt Greaseslapper. He is accompanied by his girlfriend, Marigold (voiced by June Foray), and his elderly mechanic, Gertie Growler (also voiced by Bill Scott). Tom's chief antagonists are Baron Otto Matic (voiced by Paul Frees) and his lackey, Clutcher (voiced by Daws Butler), whom the Baron often hits across the head with a monkey wrench.

Super Chicken[edit]

Main article: Super Chicken

Super Chicken features the title character (voiced by Bill Scott), a superhero (who, in "real life", is wealthy Henry Cabot Henhouse III) with a lion sidekick named Fred (voiced by Paul Frees). Super Chicken usually begins their adventures with the battle cry, "Quick, Fred, to the Super Coop," and when Fred comments on his latest injury, responds with a variation of the theme, "You knew the job was dangerous when you took it." Following his own mistakes, Super Chicken remarks, "I'm glad no one was here to see that!"

George of the Jungle episodes[edit]

Spin-offs[edit]

Comic book[edit]

Gold Key Comics published two issues of a comic book based on the series in 1969.

Films[edit]

In 1997, the segment was adapted into a live-action film, titled George of the Jungle. Brendan Fraser played the title role, with Leslie Mann as Ursula, John Cleese as the voice of Ape and Thomas Haden Church as the villain. A direct-to-video sequel, George of the Jungle 2, starring Christopher Showerman as George, was released in 2003.

2007 series[edit]

Classic Media developed a new George of the Jungle Flash animation series 40 years later in 2007. It now utilizes a co-production. The new version of the series is co-produced with Studio B Productions and Teletoon Canada (with other studios also involved), and currently airs on Teletoon in Canada and on Cartoon Network in the United States (starting with a Christmas-themed episode December 21, 2007). The series is scheduled to air on Nicktoons in the United Kingdom and Disney Channel Asia in Southeast Asia.[3][4][5] The series officially premiered on Cartoon Network on January 18. Both seasons are available digitally on iTunes.

The series also ignores the segments of Tom Slick and Super Chicken, like the films of 1997 and 2003. The cast from The 1967 version is not involved in this version. It uses simpler, and common production designs such as having eight fingers instead of ten. (The characters in 1967 version have ten fingers.) 26 episodes (two George stories per episode, meaning 52 stories.) were made. In 2016, 26 additional episodes were made (two George per episode, meaning 52 stories again.) So far, the total is 52 complete episodes or 104 individual stories. This is a hiatus from the 2007 series. The two are related to each other, and not with the 1967 series.

DVD release[edit]

On February 12, 2008, Classic Media released a complete collection of the 1967 series, which included as a bonus feature the original pilot cartoons for both George of the Jungle and Super Chicken.

Reception[edit]

In 2002, TV Guide ranked George of the Jungle # 30 on its "50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time" list.[6]

Cultural references[edit]

"Weird Al" Yankovic did a cover version of the George of the Jungle theme on his 1985 album Dare to Be Stupid, the only straight cover Yankovic ever released on an album, and which later appeared on the soundtrack of the 1997 live-action film. Another cover of the theme by The Presidents of the United States of America also appeared on the soundtrack and was the title theme for the film.

The Rhino Records 1989 release Rerun Rock: Superstars Sing Television Themes[7] included a cover version performed in the style of "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin and sung by Scott Shaw.

The electro group Dynamix II did a hip hop version of the George of the Jungle theme called "Straight from the Jungle" in 1987.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Box Art for George of the Jungle – The Complete Series". Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  2. ^ Strike, Joe (January 18, 2008). "'George of the Jungle': Hey, Watch Out for that Revamp". Animation World Network. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved January 16, 2017. Still, the Riddle of Bella and Ursula remains unsolved. Anyone who's familiar with the original theme song has heard the lyric '... while Bella and Ursula stay in step.' The accompanying sight of identical-twin jungle girls dragging off a dazed George has an entire generation of baby boomers still wondering, 'Who the heck is Bella?' 
  3. ^ "WGBH & Studio B to Produce Martha Speaks Animated Series For Public TV". Archived from the original on 2007-09-12. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  4. ^ "Seven toons likely to draw an animated response from international buyers.". Archived from the original on 2007-10-16. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  5. ^ "George returns to the jungle, with postmodernism in tow". Archived from the original on 2008-02-25. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  6. ^ TV Guide Book of Lists. Running Press. 2007. p. 158. ISBN 0-7624-3007-9. 
  7. ^ http://www.amazon.com/Rerun-Rock-Superstars-Television-Themes/dp/B0000032CE

External links[edit]