Magilla Gorilla

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Magilla Gorilla
The Magilla Gorilla Show character
Magilla Gorilla.jpg
First appearance"The Big Game"
Created byWilliam Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Voiced byAllan Melvin
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Magilla Gorilla
The Magilla Gorilla Show character
Magilla Gorilla.jpg
First appearance"The Big Game"
Created byWilliam Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Voiced byAllan Melvin

Magilla Gorilla is a fictional gorilla and the star of The Magilla Gorilla Show by Hanna-Barbera that aired from 1963 to 1967.[1]

Character description[edit]

Magilla Gorilla (voiced by Allan Melvin[2]) is a 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.[2]

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."


1Big GamePeebles sells Magilla to J. Whimple Dimple, who is intent on hunting the gorilla for his taxidermy collection.
2Gridiron GorillaPeebles gives Magilla away to a football coach, who recruits him as a fullback in the Pennsyltucky Lions team against the Wabash Cannonballs.

Credited Animator: Kenneth Muse

3Private MagillaMagilla has been assigned with the military as a private. He bests the army and is about to be sent on a mission to the moon.

Credited Animator: Kenneth Muse

4Bank PranksPeebles sells Magilla to a couple of thieves who are hoping to make use of him, but Magilla foils their robbery attempt.

Credited Animator: Irv Spence

5Groovey MovieThe director of Grotesque Pictures buys Magilla for his newest motion picture, but the showbiz proves to be painful for Magilla.
6AirliftMagilla drinks Professor Skiball's anti-gravity formula, making him float up in the air, and some advertisers take advantage of this.

Credited Animators: Dick Lundy, William Keil

7Come Blow Your DoughA little girl called Ogee buys Magilla. Upon bringing him home, Ogee's parents reject Magilla and call the police.
8Mad ScientistPeebles sells Magilla to a mad scientist who takes the gorilla to his laboratory to perform some sinister experiments on his brain.

Credited Animators: George Goepper, Kenneth Muse

9Masquerade PartyMagilla is invited to a dressing up party where two thieves are attempting to steal Mrs. Richley's diamond necklace.
10Come Back Little MagillaUpset that she can't have Magilla, Ogee runs away and Magilla goes after her, thinking of her safety.

This episode is a sequel of the episode Come Blow Your Dough.

11Fairy GodmotherMagilla's fairy godmother grants Magilla three wishes. The first to go to the jungle, the second to go back, and the third to get a lot of bananas.

Credited Animators: Dick Lundy, William Keil

12Planet ZeroInhabitants from Planet Zero take Magilla to their home planet where he makes them too afraid to invade earth.
13Prince CharmingOgee visits Magilla who entertains her with various fairy tales involving the masked stranger and Prince Charming.

Credited Animators: George Goepper, George Nicholas

14Motorcycle MagillaMagilla drives off with Peebles in his motorcycle all over the town, until they plunge off a waterfall and get rescued by a helicopter.

Credited Animators: Ed Parks, George Goepper

15Is That Zoo?Peebles sends Magilla to the City Zoo where he has to follow the rules, but he takes them a bit too seriously.

Credited Animators: Irv Spence, George Nicholas, Ed Parks

16Bird BrainedPeebles brings to Magilla a lovebird, which attempts to escape. Magilla chases the bird to take him back before Peebles gets back with a mate for him.
17Circus RuckusMagilla runs away to join a circus after Peebles scolded him. Soon, Magilla misses Peebles and comes back to the pet shop after being blasted out of a cannon.
18Camp ScampsMagilla mistakenly thinks Peebles is going to get rid of him, so he joins the junior rangers of Camp Kitchy Gooney.

Credited Animators: Jerry Hathcock, Kenneth Muse

19The Purple MaskOgee gets upset as she can't prove the existence of the Purple Mask to Hector. Magilla takes the place of the superhero to help Ogee.

Credited Animators: Kenneth Muse, Jerry Hathcock

20Love at First FightMagilla is taken to the City Zoo to keep a lonely gorilla called Matilda company, but she becomes madly in love with him.
21Pet BetOgee visits Peebles' pet shop to take Magilla to her school pet contest. A dog called Horatio is all who stands between Magilla and the trophy prize.
22Makin' With the MagillaMagilla goes on a long surfing stunt at the beach and as a result becomes the Surfer King.
23High Fly GuyWhile out shopping, Magilla rides on a kiddie airplane, but it accidentally sends him into the sky and he flies past a movie studio, an airport, and through a mall.
24Deep Sea DoodlePeebles sends Magilla to take his sick goldfish to the Oceanland doctor. During the check up, Magilla gets tangled in the aquarium where one of the antics involves him getting attacked by a shark.

Credited Animators: Hugh Fraser, Ed Parks, Don Patterson, Carlo Vinci

25That Was the Geek That WasMagilla delivers to Peebles a rare pet bird, but it vanishes. Magilla tries hard to catch the slippery bird.
26Montana MagillaIn order to help a bankrupt Peebles, Magilla enters a cowboy contest under the name Montana Magilla to win the money he needs.
27Magilla Mix-UpDuring an errand for Peebles, Magilla is mistaken for a secret agent in a secret hideout and is tailed by a villain on a secret delivery service.
28Wheelin' and Dealin'Magilla accidentally drives off with a man's sports car, causing a commotion and getting himself in trouble with the police.

Don Messick provides the voice of Mr. Peebles after Howard Morris left the show.

Credited Animator: Don Patterson

29Mad Avenue MadnessPeebles rents Magilla to some Advertisers from Madison Avenue to accomplish their advertising campaign of a Huffmobile.
30Beau JestFeeling unwanted, Magilla leaves Peebles and becomes involved with the French Legion, sent on a mission to capture the bandit Abu Ben Hakim.
31Super Blooper HeroesInspired by Super Magnificent on TV, Magilla and Peebles become crime fighting superheroes. Unfortunately, they pick the wrong guys to fight.


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.[3]

Other appearances[edit]

Cultural references[edit]


According to one reading of the show, the trials of Magilla mirrored the attitudes that 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.[4]

Magilla Gorilla in other languages[edit]


  1. ^ Van Riper, A. Bowdoin (2002). Science in Popular Culture: A Reference Guide. Westport (Conn.): Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 124. ISBN 0313318220. 
  2. ^ a b Mansour, David (2005). From Abba to Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 298. ISBN 0740793071. 
  3. ^ Eury, Michael (2002). Captain Action: The Original Super-Hero Action Figure. Raleigh, N.C.: TwoMorrows Pub. p. 16. ISBN 1893905179. 
  4. ^ Lehman, Christopher P. (2007). American Animated Cartoons of the Vietnam Era: A Study of Social Commentary in Films and Television Programs, 1961-1973. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. p. 50. ISBN 078642818X.