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Western Animation: George of the Jungle

A series from the 1960s, which spawned a movie adaptation. Produced by Jay Ward of Rocky and Bullwinkle fame (the series, not the movie). George of the Jungle was an Animated Anthology, combining the George of the Jungle cartoons with Super Chicken and Tom Slick.

All three segments were full of the Post Modernism, No Fourth Wall, and satire that characterized Jay Ward's work. This series lasted only 17 episodes (1967), but has been rerun on various TV stations almost continuously for just over 40 years. The series has also earned a complete-series DVD release.
The George of the Jungle cartoons were a send-up of the Tarzan mythos. Square-jawed, dim-witted George was the king of the jungle. Almost every time he tried to swing to the rescue through the trees, he'd crash into one, usually while someone else was warning him, "Watch out for that..." WHAM! "...tree!". Not that unrealistic when you're swinging on a vine attached to said tree.

His wife, Ursula, was necessarily smarter and more refined. George would often refer to Ursula as a "fella", apparently having trouble with the whole gender thing.

George's elephant, Shep, was thought by George to be a giant dog, and apparently Shep believed it, too. The real brains of the outfit resided in the skull of an ape named Ape. He had an implausible Ronald Colman accent and was exceptionally well-read.

This cartoon earned a feature film Live-Action Adaptation in 1997, with Brendan Fraser as George and Leslie Mann as Ursula. There was also a direct-to-video sequel in 2003, which had Christopher Showerman as George and Julie Benz as Ursula. ("Me new George. Studio too cheap to hire Brendan Fraser.") A second animated series premiered on Cartoon Network in 2008.

"Weird Al" Yankovic did a cover version of the George of the Jungle theme on his 1985 album Dare to Be Stupid. The song later appeared on the soundtrack of the 1997 live-action film, along with a new cover by The Presidents of the United States of America.

The classic series provides examples of:

  • Actually a Doombot: One episode of the Super Chicken segment started with Villain of the Week Dr. Gizmo being taken to prison but it turns out it was a machine. In the end, he tried the trick again but the Super Chicken distracted capturing him was another one. The real Dr. Gizmo was captured by the real Super Chicken.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Shep, the elephant.
  • An Ape Named Ape
  • Catch Phrase:
    • Tom Slick's is "There's no such thing as [insert word here] in [insert sport here]."
    • Super Chicken's is "You [Fred] knew the job was dangerous when you took it."
    • Once an Episode, Super Chicken would exclaim "To the Super Coop, Fred!", and Fred would reply "Roger Wilcox".
  • Distressed Damsel/Bound and Gagged: Ursula in at least three episodes. Since Ursula is an expy of Jane, well...
  • Does Not Like Shoes: George and Ursula.
  • The Dog Bites Back: A mild case in "Tom Slick". One episode featured a racing couple. The wife constantly berated the husband. In the end, he told her to "shut up". She actually started to respect him for it.
  • Flat Joy: A running gag from the "Tom Slick" interstial shorts:
    Announcer: And the crowd goes wild!
    Crowd: Yay.
  • Hulk Speak: George, being a Tarzan expy, after all.
  • Idiot Hero: George.
  • Jungle Princess: Ursula.
  • Kitchen Sink Included: Dr. Chicago once created na army of plant monsters to loot the area. He commented they took everything except a kitchen sink. Then one falls from a loot bag and he commented "spoke too soon".
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: George has a large chin.
  • Malaproper: Once again, George.
  • Monumental Theft: In one episode of Super Chicken, the villain stole the state of Rhode Island, by towing it out to sea, and hiding it under smog.
  • Title Theme Tune
  • Vine Swing: George's usual shtick, usually resulting in...
  • Watch Out for That Tree!: A regular happenstance for George whenever he tries to swing from vines in the jungle (or anywhere else). The Theme Song of the show is the Trope Namer.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: Few animated series theme songs use words like "schlep" (literally, to drag along or carry something heavy) in their lyrics.

The 2008 series provides examples of:


GargoylesSaturday Morning CartoonGoldie Gold and Action Jack
Gerald McBoing-BoingThe Dark Age of AnimationThe Godzilla Power Hour
Gary the RatTurnOfTheMillennium/Western AnimationGeronimo Stilton
Tears from a StoneImageSource/Western AnimationWatch Out for That Tree!
The Funny CompanyThe SixtiesThe Herculoids
Generator RexWestern AnimationGerald McBoing-Boing

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