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Western Animation / Wally Gator

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One of the series created by Hanna-Barbera after the success of Yogi Bear and The Huckleberry Hound Show. Created in 1962 as part of The New Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Series, a syndicated package which also contained Touché Turtle and Dum Dum 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.

Oh, fuddle de doo! This series provides examples of:

  • Angry Guard Dog: Subverted with the zoo's guard dog Snowzer, who is always lethargic. He's still very good at his job, much to Wally's annoyance.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The theme song shows Wally living in a swamp, but in the actual show, he lives in a zoo.
  • Baseball Episode: In "Safe at Home," a baseball scout sees Wally throwing rocks in the zoo and tries to sign the 'gator up as a baseball pitcher. It doesn't end well.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: In "Gator-Napper," Wally is abducted by a pair of crooks. The leader is short while his associate is nearly twice as tall. They're not very smart, though — they mean to steal a duck-billed platypus but nab Wally instead!
  • Birthday Episode:
    • "Birthday Grievings" shows Wally at various stages of his life in the zoo during his various birthday celebrations (marked by the number of candles on the cake) and illustrates 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 birthday instead. A similar plot would be used on an episode of Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines.
  • Black Comedy: Many jokes in the show relate to people either wanting to make Wally into a bag or mistaking him for luggage because it's alligator-skinned.
  • The Bully: The polar bear in "Bear With Me," Ella (his supposed girlfriend) in "Bachelor Buttons," and Beauregard in "Swamp Fever" and "Rebel Rabble" all push Wally around with impunity. Although Wally does try to fight back against the former two, Beauregard puts Wally through so much hell in the Everglades before his capture that Wally doesn't even attempt to mount any kind of defense against him.
  • Butt-Monkey: Wally rarely gets the upper hand in any situation. Even when he succeeds, his luck turns on him by the end of the episode.
  • Character Catchphrase: "Oh Fuddle De Doo!" "(insert phrase 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.
  • Civilized Animal: Wally has both human and animal characteristics. He walks bipedally, is an Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal, smokes cigars on occasion, and can talk to humans — but his home is a zoo, he relies on humans for sustenance, and he seems theoretically capable of swamp living.
  • Crossover: Given that he's a lesser Hanna-Barbera celebrity, it's surprising how often Wally appears in the various later Yogi Bear crossover programs. He is seen in shows such as Laff-A-Lympics, Yogi's Ark Lark and Fender Bender 500.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: In "False Alarm," Mr. Twiddle buys a noisy bird to act as an alarm 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 US Southern stereotype or two invariably shows up. Examples include Southern Belle Harmony and self-styled Confederate Rebel Beauregard in "Rebel Rabble."
  • Digital Destruction: In 2006, Warner Archive announced a complete series DVD, but pulled it because it needed a lot of remastering work. Around 2019, they finally released the complete series, but were heavily criticized by customers because the transfers were terrible. Messy artwork, random dropouts, color oversaturation, and the volume of each cartoon varying wildly were among customers' complaints. While some cartoons were remastered well, others were VCR-quality.
  • Do-It-Yourself Plumbing Project: In the episode "Big Drip," Mr. Twiddle offers to call a plumber to fix a water leak that's annoying Wally. The 'gator unwisely insists on doing the job himself with just a monkey wrench, however. By the time the episode ends, Mr. Twiddle has to fire off a flare gun to try and rescue himself and the animals from a now completely submerged zoo!
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: In "Bachelor Buttons," Wally gets physically abused by his new girlfriend Ella right out of the crate — she slugs him in the nose, conks him on the head, and body slams him to the ground by the tail. Things get so bad that he runs off to hide in the lion's cage, hoping to deter her (it doesn't work). Later in the episode, Wally uses a mouse named Charlie to scare off his new girlfriend — but we shortly after see Charlie being chased and whacked on the head with a broom by his spouse. Ironically, Wally finds this hilarious.
  • Escape Artist: Wally is seen as a regular Houdini by the other zoo animals, and rightly so as he runs off from the zoo in nearly every episode. This forms the extended basis of the plot in "Ape Scrape," where one of the zoo's apes tries to escape with Wally's help. Naturally, Wally's assistance instead proves disastrous.
  • Everybody Smokes: Wally has been known to puff on a stogy at times. This was pretty normal for 1962/63, even though the crackdown on TV shows depicting smoking was just on the horizon.
    • Smoking a discarded cigar causes Wally to be mistaken for a dragon in "Droopy Dragon." The same "mistaken for a dragon" idea is used for a piece of official merchandise as well.
    • When Wally's attempt at easy fame works in "Gladiator Gator," he enjoys a celebratory cheroot.
    • Wally is seen smoking a cigar in "Bachelor Buttons," which irritates his new girlfriend no end. She grinds it out in his face to stop him.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: "Little Red Riding Gator" is an eccentric take on the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood. Unusual for a parody (but typically for a Wally Gator episode), the wolf in the story never suffers once; Wally catches the brunt of Butt-Monkey abuse, both from the wolf (as payback for Wally warning the little girl about him) and Grandma (who misinterprets her granddaughter's description of the perpetrator and thinks Wally was the villain).
  • 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 (though 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.
    Wally: A little croc humour, don't y'know!
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Listening to his bad angel in the episode "Unconscious Conscience" leads Wally to suffer much physical abuse, but obeying his good angel leaves him stuck doing tedious jobs such as scrubbing down the elephants. When the good angel says that doing the right thing by working should make Wally feel virtuous, Wally takes revenge on him by making the good angel do his chores.
  • Green Gators: The titular character is a lime green alligator. Harmony, an Everglades alligator that appears in "Rebel Rabble", is dark blue in color. Beauregard from that same episode is a dark green alligator, while Ella, Wally's abusive one-time girlfriend, is an olive green alligator.
  • Inflating Body Gag: When Wally has his blood pressure taken in "Medicine Avenue," he inflates instead of the arm cuff.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: An eccentric rich man believes he's a knight in "Droopy Dragon," and a literal example appears in "Knight Nut." Needless to say, the dragons they have each tried to slay in the past remarkably resemble alligators.
  • Love Interest: Wally falls in love with a female Everglades alligator named Harmony in "Rebel Rabble." Not surprisingly, his infatuation does not end well.
  • Mistaken For Destitute: In one episode, Wally tried to give a handful of money to a seemingly homeless man (due to his raggedy-looking clothes) in an attempt to get rid of it, only for the man to angrily point out that this is his "Sunday Best".
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Beauregard tries to kill Wally, who is his rival for female alligator Harmony, in "Rebel Rabble."
  • Mythology Gag: Wally refers to Yogi Bear in conversation at least once.
  • Neck Lift: Bullying characters sometimes hoist Wally in the air while grasping him around the neck. Wally also does this to other characters on occasion.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Wally's voice is modeled after Ed Wynn.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Wally often uses rather transparent attempts at camouflage when he tries to escape the zoo. Both Disguised in Drag ("Tantalizin' Turnips") and Adults Dressed as Children ("Bachelor Buttons") are not out of the question as approaches.
  • Protagonist Title: The show is named after the title character.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Mr. Twiddle, when not at wit's end, is a rather fair-minded fellow to his zoo charges.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Inverted since Wally is essentially quite harmless and friendly, even if he is mischievous. Part of Twiddle's concern about his frequent escapes is that Wally can't survive in the wild.
  • Ring Around the Collar: Like most Hanna-Barbera characters from this time, Wally wears an accessory around his neck (a shirt collar in this case) to facilitate animation shortcuts.
  • 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 cuffs, 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 the Hanna-Barbera Civilized Animal and Funny Animal roster; Wally doesn't have a sidekick, and his solitude is a plot point in a couple of episodes.
  • Southern Belle: In "Rebel Rabble," Wally's love interest Harmony is a stereotypical damsel from the US South.
  • Species Surname: Wally's last name is also that of his species. Abbreviated, anyway.
  • Time Travel: "Knight Nut" sees Wally travel back to the proverbial days of old when knights were bold. He is confronted by a knight who thinks he's a dragon and tries to slay him.
  • Wicked Witch: In "Which is Which Witch," Wally runs afoul of a witch who tries to cook him in a stewpot.
  • The Wild West: When the 'gator is granted a magic wish by a fairy godmother in "Marshall Wally," he chooses to be transported back to the old west as a lawman. It ends about as well as one might expect.