One of the series created by Hanna-Barbera after the success of Yogi Bear and The Huckleberry Hound Show, and one of the first to directly lift its premise from an existing show. Created in 1962 as part of The New Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Series, a syndicated package which also contained Touché Turtle and Lippy the Lion and Hardy Har Har. Wally Gator (Daws Butler) was an alligator who craved going outside the confines of his zoo's walls, and as such tried to escape in almost every episode. Stopping him was his zookeeper, Mr. Twiddle (Don Messick), whose success varied greatly between episodes. Having any other character appear in more than one episode was itself a rarity.
Birthday Episode: "Birthday Grievings". One of the earliest. It showed Wally at various stages of his life in the zoo (marked by the number of candles on the cake) and illustrated the fact that Wally had made life hell for Mr. Twiddle ever since he was a baby. Mr. Twiddle becomes so bitter over the flashbacks that he ends up throwing the birthday cake in Wally's face.
There's also a birthday comic in Gold Key's Hanna-Barbera Bandwagon #2. Wally thinks it's his mother's birthday and tries to get her something, but it turns out that it was his own. A similar plot would be used on an episode of Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines.
The Bully: The bear in "Bear With Me", Ella in "Bachelor Buttons" and Beauregard at the end of "Swamp Fever". Although Wally did try to fight back against the former two, Beauregard had put Wally through so much hell in the Everglades before capture that Wally doesn't even attempt to say anything against him.
Butt Monkey: Wally rarely got the upper hand in any situation. Even if he did, it usually turned on him by the end of the episode.
Catchphrase: "Oh Fuddle De Doo!". "(insert sentence here), [don't] y'know!". "Like I always say sometimes...". He's also fond of singing out short bursts of scat once in a while, some of which ends up sounding startlingly like another Hanna-Barbera icon's catchphrase.
Cowboy Bebop at His Computer: Most people acknowledge that the original run of the show was from September 1962 to August 1963. In actuality, the earliest it could have aired is March 1962 as that was when Hanna-Barbera started selling the new cartoon package, and the package was still being advertised to stations as late as January 1963 so the end could have been much later (as it was sold to syndication from the start and not on one network initially like every previous H-B show, the true dates are hard to trace).
The name "New Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Series" itself is an example; the show has never been referred to by that name, at least not on air. They're three separate shows which were sold as one package.
Crossover: Wally was one of the more used non-main characters chosen for the various Yogi crossovers, with the likes of Laff-A-Lympics, Yogi's Ark Lark and Fender Bender 500 to his name.
Cute, but Cacophonic: In "False Alarm", Mr. Twiddle buys a bird which is deliberately cacophonic to act as an alarm for any time Wally tries to escape the zoo. At one point, Wally gets so fed up with the bird that he tries to cook it alive.
Deep South: Whenever Wally goes to the Everglades, a stereotype or two from this are bound to show up.
Do It Yourself Plumbing Project: "Big Drip". When Mr Twiddle offers to call a plumber for a drip that's annoying Wally, Wally insists on doing the job himself with just a monkey wrench. By the time the episode ends, Mr Twiddle is firing a flare gun for help from the special forces in rescuing them from a completely submerged zoo.
Escape Artist: Wally is seen as this by the other zoo animals. It's the reason for the plot in "Ape Scrape".
Everybody Smokes: Smoking a discarded cigar causes Wally to be mistaken for a dragon in "Droopy Dragon", he smokes a cigar when his attempt at easy fame works in "Gladiator Gator"', and it's used for a gag in "Bachelor Buttons". This was pretty normal for 1962/63, even though the crackdown was just on the horizon.
Expy: Often considered one of Yogi Bear due to the general premise of an animal trying to escape from their captivity, with the voice and verbal quirks of Harum (a very minor ghost character who appeared in Snooper and Blabber's Gone Real Ghosts and Snagglepuss' Be My Ghost).
In fairness Wally always wanted to ESCAPE the zoo. In contrast Yogi knew the park was a soft touch and had no desire to escape it, apart from the very first episode 'Yogi' Big Break.' He learned his lesson there, after getting mixed up in a bear hunt and never tried it again.
Furry Confusion: Not in his own show, but Wally has been shown to be able to at least communicate with non-sentient alligators in crossovers. He even does this to cheat once in Laff-a-Lympics, and gets away with it to boot.
Since Babu and the Great Fondoo had magical powers and were permitted to use them, the officials probably considered it to be fair.
Gallows Humor: Wally's intro in Laff-a-Lympics has him joke about having to run faster than bullets and jumping trees to avoid being turned into an alligator handbag.
A little croc humour, don't y'know!
Black Comedy: Many jokes in the show itself relate to people either wanting to make Wally into a bag or mistaking him for luggage because it's all alligator-skinned.
Good Angel, Bad Angel: "Unconscious Conscience". Listening to his bad angel leads Wally to suffer much physical abuse, but listening to his good angel leads him to have to do chores like scrubbing down the elephants. When the good angel comments on how doing the right should make Wally feel better as he's working, Wally takes revenge on him by making the good angel do his chores.
Knight in Shining Armor: An eccentric rich man thinks of himself as this in "Droopy Dragon", and there's a literal one in "Knight Nut". Needless to say, the dragons they each try to slay are remarkably alligator-shaped.
Little Red Riding Hood: Parodied in "Little Red Riding Gator". Unusually for a parody (but completely ordinarily for Wally Gator), the wolf in the story never suffers once, with all the pain being suffered by Wally from both the wolf (for Wally foiling his plans before they could come to fruition since Wally warns the little girl) and the grandma (who misinterprets her granddaughter's description of the perpetrator and thinks Wally did it).
The Rival: Beauregard, again. Snowzer is also arguably one, but his rivalry is much more one-sided.
Rule of Funny: The interaction between Wally and the humans outside the zoo. Everyone can recognise him as an alligator, but the humans' reactions differ a lot depending on the plot. In some episodes, humans will react to Wally with screams of terror and disbelief at a bipedal alligator in a collar. hat and cufflinks, whereas in others a human will treat him like any other person. In "Accidentally on Purpose", the whole plot is about a Con Man trying to sell accident insurance to Wally. Wouldn't the liability lie with the zoo for all its animals?
Sidekick: A notable aversion in Hanna-Barbera's Talking Animal roster; Wally doesn't have a sidekick, and his solitude is a plot point in a couple of episodes.
Wally Gator was the last series to be developed as a concept, even though it became the best known of the three shows that were entered into syndication together (Touche Turtle and Lippy the Lion and Hardy Har Har prototypes were going to be the only two shows put into syndication, and had concepts as far back as late 1960).
At one time, the show was planned to have the voice work of Paul Frees and Bill Thompson. Given Frees' previous voice work as Captain Peachfuzz, it's possible that Frees was playing Wally himself, and that the Ed Wynn impression was a character trait from an early stage.