Voiced by Allan Melvin
Final episode date 1967
Production company Hanna-Barbera
First appearance "The Big Game"
First episode date 14 January 1963
Played by Allan Melvin
|Created by William HannaJoseph Barbera|
Movies The Good, the Bad, and Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear's All Star Comedy Christmas Caper
Creators William Hanna, Joseph Barbera
Similar Wally Gator, Peter Potamus, The Quick Draw McGraw, Top Cat, Secret Squirrel
Magilla Gorilla is a fictional gorilla and the star of The Magilla Gorilla Show by Hanna-Barbera that aired from 1963 to 1967.
- Character description
- Other appearances
- Magilla Gorilla in other languages
Magilla Gorilla (voiced by Allan Melvin) is an anthropomorphic gorilla who spends his time languishing in the front display window of Melvin Peebles' pet shop, eating bananas and being a drain on the businessman's finances. Peebles (voiced by Howard Morris and later by Don Messick) marked down Magilla's price considerably, but Magilla was invariably only purchased for a short time, typically by some thieves who needed a gorilla to break into a bank or by an advertising agency looking for a mascot for their new product. The customers always ended up returning Magilla, forcing Peebles to refund their money. Magilla often ended episodes with his catchphrase "We'll try again next week."
Like many of Hanna-Barbera's animal characters, Magilla Gorilla was dressed in human accessories, sporting a bow tie, shorts held up by suspenders, and an undersized derby hat.
The only customer truly interested in obtaining the trouble-prone Magilla was a little girl named Ogee (voiced by Jean Vander Pyl and pronounced "Oh Gee!"). During the cartoon's theme song, "We've Got a Gorilla for Sale", she asks hopefully, "How much is that gorilla in the window?" (a twist on the old standard, "(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?"), but she was never able to convince her parents to let her keep Magilla.
In Yiddish, a "megillah" is a long tedious or embroidered account, from the Hebrew "megillah", a story written in a scroll. One episode has Magilla saying, "Such a megillah over a gorilla."
As pointed out on the Rhino Records' CD liner notes for their collection of Hanna-Barbera theme tunes, part of Magilla's purpose was to sell likenesses of himself. The show was sponsored by Ideal Toys, which produced a Magilla stuffed toy.
According to one reading of the show, the trials of Magilla mirrored the attitudes that some American citizens had towards racial integration during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Christopher P. Lehman, in his 2007 book American Animated Cartoons of the Vietnam Era: A Study of Social Commentary in Films and Television Programs, 1961-1973, writes that The Magilla Gorilla Show perpetuated the idea that non-whites should be segregated, with Peebles selling Magilla (the gorilla iconography thus evoking a reference to 19th-century racist artwork portraying blacks as subhuman primates) to white customers who would invariably return him to the pet shop by the end of each episode.