Magilla Gorilla

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Magilla Gorilla
The Magilla Gorilla Show character
Magilla Gorilla.jpg
First appearance"The Big Game"
Created byWilliam Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Voiced byAllan Melvin (1964-1990)
Maurice LaMarche (in Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law)
Frank Welker (in Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?)
Information
SpeciesWestern lowland gorilla
GenderMale

Magilla Gorilla is a fictional gorilla and the star of The Magilla Gorilla Show by Hanna-Barbera that aired from 1964 to 1966.[1]

Character description[edit]

Magilla Gorilla (voiced by Allan Melvin[2]) is an anthropomorphic 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 episodes with his catchphrase "We'll try again next week."

Many of Hanna-Barbera's animal characters were dressed in human accessories; Magilla Gorilla sported 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]

Season 1 (1964)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleOriginal air date
11"Big Game"January 14, 1964 (1964-01-14)
Peebles sells Magilla to J. Whimple Dimple, who is intent on hunting the gorilla for his taxidermy collection.
22"Gridiron Gorilla"January 21, 1964 (1964-01-21)
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
33"Private Magilla"January 28, 1964 (1964-01-28)

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
44"Bank Pranks"February 4, 1964 (1964-02-04)

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
55"Groovey Movie"February 11, 1964 (1964-02-11)
The director of Grotesque Pictures buys Magilla for his newest motion picture, but the showbiz proves to be painful for Magilla.
66"Airlift"February 18, 1964 (1964-02-18)

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
77"Come Blow Your Dough"February 25, 1964 (1964-02-25)
A little girl called Ogee buys Magilla. Upon bringing him home, Ogee's parents reject Magilla and call the police.
88"Mad Scientist"March 3, 1964 (1964-03-03)

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
99"Masquerade Party"March 10, 1964 (1964-03-10)
Magilla is invited to a dressing up party where two thieves are attempting to steal Mrs. Richley's diamond necklace.
1010"Come Back Little Magilla"March 17, 1964 (1964-03-17)

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".
1111"Fairy Godmother"March 24, 1964 (1964-03-24)

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
1212"Planet Zero"March 31, 1964 (1964-03-31)
Inhabitants from Planet Zero take Magilla to their home planet where he makes them too afraid to invade earth.
1313"Prince Charming"April 7, 1964 (1964-04-07)

Ogee visits Magilla who entertains her with various fairy tales involving the masked stranger and Prince Charming.

Credited Animators: George Goepper, George Nicholas
1414"Motorcycle Magilla"April 14, 1964 (1964-04-14)

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
1515"Is That Zoo?"April 21, 1964 (1964-04-21)

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

Season 2 (1965)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleOriginal air date
161"Bird Brained"September 11, 1965 (1965-09-11)
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.
172"Circus Ruckus"September 18, 1965 (1965-09-18)
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.
183"Camp Scamps"September 25, 1965 (1965-09-25)

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
194"The Purple Mask"October 2, 1965 (1965-10-02)

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
205"Love at First Fight"October 9, 1965 (1965-10-09)
Magilla is taken to the City Zoo to keep a lonely gorilla called Matilda company, but she falls madly in love with him.
216"Pet Bet"October 16, 1965 (1965-10-16)
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.
227"Makin' with the Magilla"October 23, 1965 (1965-10-23)
Magilla goes on a long surfing stunt at the beach and as a result becomes the Surfer King. Contains the song "Makin' with The Magilla" recorded by Little Eva.
238"High Fly Guy"October 30, 1965 (1965-10-30)
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.
249"Deep Sea Doodle"November 6, 1965 (1965-11-06)

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
2510"That Was the Geek That Was"November 13, 1965 (1965-11-13)
Magilla delivers to Peebles a rare pet bird, but it vanishes. Magilla tries hard to catch the slippery bird.
2611"Montana Magilla"November 20, 1965 (1965-11-20)
In order to help a bankrupt Peebles, Magilla enters a cowboy contest under the name Montana Magilla to win the money he needs.
2712"Magilla Mix-Up"November 27, 1965 (1965-11-27)
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.
2813"Wheelin' and Dealin'"December 4, 1965 (1965-12-04)

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
2914"Mad Avenue Madness"December 11, 1965 (1965-12-11)
Peebles rents Magilla to some Advertisers from Madison Avenue to accomplish their advertising campaign of a Huffmobile.
3015"Beau Jest"December 18, 1965 (1965-12-18)
Feeling unwanted, Magilla leaves Peebles and becomes involved with the French Legion, sent on a mission to capture the bandit Abu Ben Hakim.
3116"Super Blooper Heroes"December 25, 1965 (1965-12-25)
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]

A rebooted Magilla Gorilla interacts with Nightwing. From the Nightwing/Magilla Gorilla Special #1.
  • Magilla Gorilla appeared in the medium of comic books. From 1964 through 1968, he appeared in a series published by Western Comics; the series ran 10 issues.[4] Also in 1964, he appeared in a one shot comic called The Magilla Gorilla Kite Fun Book from the same publisher.[5] From 1970 through 1971, he appeared in a series published by Charlton Comics which ran 5 issues.[6]
  • 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 1982 special Yogi Bear's All Star Comedy Christmas Caper, Magilla Gorilla (alongside Wally Gator and Yakky Doodle) was unable to help Yogi and his friends locate J. Wellington Jones.
  • Magilla appeared in the 1985-1988 syndicated series Yogi's Treasure Hunt.
  • Magilla made a cameo appearance as an HB reporter in the 1988 TV-movie The Good, the Bad, and Huckleberry Hound.
  • Magilla Gorilla appeared in A Yabba-Dabba-Doo Celebration! 50 Years of Hanna-Barbera.
  • 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 Yo Yogi!, Magilla appeared as superstar rapper Magilla Ice (a spoof of Vanilla Ice).
  • Magilla Gorilla appeared as Sinbad on the 1994 TV special Scooby-Doo! in Arabian Nights.
  • In Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law, Magilla Gorilla (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) made several cameos through the show, sometimes appearing as a homosexual prison inmate who is frequently seen stalking Harvey Birdman. In the 2005 episode "Free Magilla," Magilla 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".
  • Magilla and Mr. Peebles make cameos in the 2013 direct-to-video film Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon as images in the Hanna-Barbera convention.
  • In 2018, DC Comics rebooted Magilla Gorilla into a less cartoonish character and featured him in a crossover with Nightwing.[7]
  • Magilla Gorilla and Mr. Peebles appear in the Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? episode "Peebles' Pet Shop of Terrible Terrors" with Magilla Gorilla voiced by Frank Welker and Mr. Peebles voiced by Billy West. Magilla's ability to speak is downplayed by just making sounds and quoting "uh-huh." Both Peebles and Magilla are redesigned to match the 1970s look of Scooby-Doo. Wanda Sykes volunteers at Peebles' Pet Supply Mega-Store when a Fish Monster (vocal effects provided by Dee Bradley Baker) hatches from an egg and starts terrorizing the pet shop. In addition, Mr. Peebles has a bookkeeper named Arnie (also voiced by Billy West) working at his pet shop. Mystery Inc. helps solve the mystery of the Fish Monster. From the shadows, Magilla secretly gathers the pets that got loose and puts them back in their cage. With help from Magilla, Mystery Inc. and Wanda Sykes trap the Fish Monster discover that the Fish Monster is Mr. Peebles where he wanted to have his pet shop closed so that he can get rid of Magilla (who Mr. Peebles claimed ate him out of house and home for 30 years) and start his own clothing line for short people. After Mr. Peebles is arrested by the police, Arnie becomes the new owner of Peebles' Pet Supply Mega-Store and Wanda Sykes adopts Magilla.

Cultural references[edit]

  • Magilla Gorilla was once mentioned in a Ricochet Rabbit & Droop-a-Long cartoon which was a segment of his show. In that cartoon, a criminal named Rocky Rattler said, "If I want laughs, I watch Magilla Gorilla on TV."
  • Da Lench Mob mentions Magilla Gorilla (as well as fellow cartoon simian The Grape Ape) in the title track of their 1992 album Guerillas in tha Mist.
  • In the X-Men comics, Hank McCoy (Beast) was nicknamed "Magilla Gorilla" in high school.
  • Brazilian boxer Adilson Rodrigues is nicknamed Maguila after his workmates when he worked with construction likened him to Magilla.[8]
  • The Howard Stern Show co-host Robin Quivers was nicknamed Magilla Gorilla by comedian Bob Levy.
  • Comedian Rondell Sheridan has repeatedly joked about his resemblance to Magilla Gorilla, dating back to being teased for it as a child.
  • In the second-season finale of Lost, Sawyer refers to Hurley and Kate as "Magilla Gorilla and Pippi Longstocking".
  • In the Australian National Basketball League, the Hobart Devils import Jim Havrilla in 1993, was nicknamed 'Magilla the Gorilla', due to his force in smashing backboards with his slam dunks.
  • In a season 18 episode of The Simpsons titled "Ice Cream of Margie (with the Light Blue Hair)", Marge makes a giant sculpture of Homer out of popsicle sticks, to which he gleefully proclaims, "You made me a sculpture of Magilla Gorilla!" He's also referenced in the season 10 episode "When You Dish Upon a Star", where Homer dreams he is Magilla and mauls Mr. Peebles after he takes his banana.
  • In the comedy album Family Guy: Live in Las Vegas, Magilla Gorilla is cited as an example of cartoons being dicks; according to that song, he is responsible for bringing AIDS to the human population.
  • In the oral folklore series of Magilla Gorilla stories, the pet store owner (named Mr. Smith) is generally the one absent for most of the narrative, departing on business trips and the like. He leaves Magilla Gorilla in charge of the pet store in his absence, after warning Magilla not to get in any trouble. Adventures and chaos ensue, with Magilla often rectifying the situation mere moments before Mr. Smith's return. Upon Mr. Smith's inquiry as to whether there was any trouble, Magilla invariably replies with what was to become his most famous catchphrase, "No trouble, no trouble at all."
  • Magilla Gorilla will appear in Jellystone![9]

Interpretation[edit]

According to one reading of the show, the trials of Magilla mirrored the attitudes that some 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.[10]

Magilla Gorilla in other languages[edit]

  • Brazilian Portuguese: Maguila, o Gorila
  • European Portuguese: O Show do Gorila Maguila
  • Greek: The same as in English
  • French: Maguilla le gorille
  • Italian: The same as in English
  • Spanish: Maguila Gorila
  • Japanese: ゴリラのゴンちゃん (Gorira no Gon-chan)
  • Finnish: The same as in English
  • Hungarian: The same as in English
  • Italian: The same as in English
  • Polish: Goryl Magilla (pronouncing with double "l")

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. ^ "Magilla Gorilla". Comics.org. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  5. ^ "Magilla Gorilla Kite Fun Book". Comics.org. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  6. ^ "Magilla Gorilla". Comics.org. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  7. ^ "NIGHTWING/MAGILLA GORILLA SPECIAL #1". DCComics. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  8. ^ Maguila é um Macaco
  9. ^ https://deadline.com/2019/10/hbo-max-looney-tunes-jellystone-the-fungies-tig-n-seek-kids-family-series-1202771895/
  10. ^ 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.

External links[edit]