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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.
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Allan Melvin and Howard Morris did most of 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 Bruin 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.


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Tropes:

  • 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, but after he actually does so, he quickly grows to miss the gorilla.
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  • Cheerful Child: Ogee, the little girl who befriends Magilla, is sweet and adorable.
  • 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.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Magilla is the wacky primate protagonist. In-universe, some characters also believe it's a great idea to have a gorilla for pet, but some characters, especially Ogee's parents, disagree with that sentiment.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: Magilla's name comes from Yiddish, as it is pronounced identically to "megillah".

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