Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 2
Final episode date 30 August 1963
Cast Daws Butler, Don Messick
Original language(s) English
First episode date 3 September 1962
Theme song Wally Gator Theme Song
|Directed by William HannaJoseph Barbera|
Voices of Daws ButlerDon Messick
Network American Broadcasting Company
Similar Top Cat, Secret Squirrel, Wacky Races, Yo Yogi!, Augie Doggie and Dogg
Wally Gator is one of the segments from The Hanna-Barbera New Cartoon Series. The other segments that compose this trilogy are Lippy the Lion & Hardy Har Har and Touché Turtle and Dum Dum. The segment consisted of 52 episodes over two seasons.
Wally Gator (voiced by Daws Butler impersonating Ed Wynn) is an anthropomorphic, happy go lucky alligator who wears a collar and a pork pie hat. Although his catchy theme song describes him as a "swingin' alligator of the swamp", his home is in the city zoo. Mr. Twiddle (voiced by Don Messick) is the zookeeper who keeps a close watch on Wally because sometimes he escapes to check out what things are like in the outside world.
Animation historian Christopher P. Lehman notes that Wally Gator follows the formula that Hanna-Barbera established in previous series, particularly the Yogi Bear series. The formula of these shows placed an animal character within a human-controlled environment and had these characters deal with the social boundaries placed and enforced by the humans. Yogi lives in a park under the care of a park ranger; Wally lives in a zoo under the supervision of a zookeeper. The theme that drives the series is Wally's desire to escape the zoo, derivative of the Top Cat series, where the titular character keeps trying to escape life in the alley. Wally successfully escapes in each episode, but by the end of the episode he returns to the zoo. In some cases someone returns him there, in others he voluntarily returns. The end result is the same.
Lehman notes a rather depressing underlying theme: the zoo and life in captivity seems to be the proper place for Wally. No matter how much he struggles to fit in the society of the outside world, Wally remains an "Other" and is doomed to fail. The status quo is preserved following every unsuccessful attempt at change.
A DVD set release of the series was originally announced for 2006 from Warner Bros. for the H-B classics collection but was later canceled due to the poor condition of the masters. In 2006, a Warner spokesperson said of the DVDs: "They were pulled because significant remastering work needed to be researched. We are exploring adding them back to the schedule next year." There has been no news since, but fans all over the world hope they do. The first episode is available on the DVD set Saturday Morning Cartoons 1960's Vol. 2.