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Western Animation / Magilla Gorilla

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Created in 1964 by Hanna-Barbera, Magilla Gorilla lives in Peebles' Pet Shop. Magilla occasionally gets sold, but the purchaser always returns him, or he flees the purchaser back to the safety of the pet shop. There's one person who'd love to have him for a pet — a little girl named Ogee, who only has a penny, and parents who really don't want a gorilla in a house.

Allan Melvin (Magilla), Howard Morris (Mr. Peebles), and Jean Vander Pyl (Ogee) provided the character voices. Supporting segments on the show were Punkin' Puss and Mushmouse, a backwoods cat and mouse comedy, and Ricochet Rabbit and Droop-a-Long Coyote, a Detective Animal show set in The Wild West.

The show ran in syndication up until December 1965 when ABC optioned it for their Saturday morning schedule. When that took place, Ricochet Rabbit was replaced with Breezly and Sneezly from the Peter Potamus show, which similarly originated in syndication in 1964 and got optioned to ABC (airing Sunday mornings). Ricochet Rabbit migrated to Peter's show.


  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Magilla has to watch a troop of scouts in the woods in "Camp Scamps." It doesn't go well.
  • Can't Live with Them, Can't Live without Them: Mr. Peebles is always eager to sell Magilla—however, once he does manage to do so, he soon grows to miss him.
  • Cheerful Child: Ogee's a cute little girl who's also one of the few people who sincerely wants to have Magilla as a pet. Unfortunately for Ogee, she could never convince her parents to let her adopt Magilla.
  • Civilized Animal: Magilla shares both human and animal traits. He is a Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal, walks bipedally, and can talk to humans in English. However, he sometimes acts like a gorilla, eats food typical of his species, is offered for sale as a pet, and seemingly cannot care for himself independently.
  • Deus ex Machina: Pretty much no matter what happens, Magilla ends up right back at the pet shop at the end of the episode.
  • Digital Destruction: The complete series DVD release for this show and its backup segments lacks the opening and ending credits for absolutely no reason. Also, none of the cartoons were restored.
  • Expository Theme Tune: The theme tune explains that Magilla is a gorilla for sale and that he'll make a fantastic pet (the latter is far from the truth).
  • Gentle Gorilla: Magilla is a friendly and well-intentioned gorilla, though his bumbling can still lead to a lot of trouble and annoyance to Mr. Peebles.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Magilla is the rare "bottom but no top" version of an animated critter. He has many articles of clothing (pants, suspenders, shoes, bowtie and hat), but he is shirtless.
  • High-Dive Hijinks: Magilla gets into trouble at the local aquarium in "Deep Sea Doodle."
  • Incorrect Animal Noise: Magilla, when trying to act like a wild gorilla, produces a Tarzan-like yell.
  • Killer Gorilla: Averted with Magilla, but played straight with the troop of wild gorillas Magilla encounters in "Fairy Godmother" who try to chase Magilla out of their territory.
  • Not a Mask: Magilla is invited to a costume party in the episode "Masquerade Party," where he saves the day by foiling jewel thieves. But when asked to remove his costume, the party-goers freak out to learn he really is a gorilla.
  • Protagonist Title: The show is named after the title character.
  • Ring Around the Collar: Uniquely averted in Magilla's case. While he wears a bowtie, it does not serve to facilitate animation shortcuts as is the case with most Hanna-Barbera characters from this time, as there's no accompanying collar or strap. Ironically enough, he's running an accessories shop in Jellystone!, selling the collars and ties to his fellow funny animals.
  • Rhyming Names: Magilla Gorilla.
  • Silly Simian: Magilla's the wacky primate protagonist. In-universe, some characters (like Ogee) think it would be awesome to have a gorilla as a pet—but others, such as Ogee's parents, disagree with that sentiment.
  • Soap Punishment: Magilla occasionally gets his mouth washed out with soap as punishment for "lying." (Cassandra Truths, actually).
  • Species Surname: The hero's last name of "Gorilla" is also his species type.
  • Spoonerism: In "Magilla Mix Up," Magilla play this trope in a big way. Mr. Peebles sends him to deliver flea powder, bird seed, and dog biscuits to three customers — but he gets caught up in a spy ring that is to give "you know what" to "you know who." Throughout the episode, Magilla manages to mix up all four of these items multiple times.
  • Suicide as Comedy: One gag in "Bank Pranks" involves Mr. Peebles trying to kill himself. It just so happened that his revolver was switched with a water pistol.
  • Threatening Shark: Magilla runs afoul of a man-eating shark at the local aquarium in "Deep Sea Doodle." He brings the fish back to the pet shop with him in a most painful manner — by having the shark's jaws clamped onto his shorts.
  • Three Shorts: Magilla was the opening segment on his own show. Ricochet Rabbit provided the middle and Punkin' Puss the third.
  • Unfortunate Item Swap: In "Bank Pranks", there was a Black Comedy joke where Mr. Peebles was so depressed, he tried to kill himself with his revolver. Fortunately for him, it had somehow been switched with Magilla's water pistol, and squirting himself in the face made him come to his senses. Unfortunately, he wondered why that happened, and when Magilla looked in his toy chest, he found that he had the real gun. (Which naturally went off; he missed, but really made Peebles mad.)
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Magilla obviously likes Mr. Peebles, but while Peebles does get constantly aggravated by his antics, he doesn't necessarily hate Magilla, and does show him bits of respect every once in a while, sometimes letting him and Magilla have bonding experiences.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: Magilla's name comes from Yiddish, as it is pronounced identically to "megillah".