Magilla Gorilla
The Magilla Gorilla Show character
First appearance"The Big Game"
Created byWilliam Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Voiced byAllan Melvin (1963–1994)
Daws Butler (1973)[1]
Jeff Bergman (Web Premiere Toons)
Maurice LaMarche (Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law)
Frank Welker (Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?)
Paul F. Tompkins (Jellystone!, 2021–present)
In-universe information
SpeciesWestern Lowland Gorilla

Magilla Gorilla is a fictional gorilla and the star of The Magilla Gorilla Show by Hanna-Barbera that aired from 1963 to 1965.

Character description

Magilla Gorilla (voiced by Allan Melvin[2]) is a fun-loving yet trouble-prone anthropomorphic Western gorilla who spends his time languishing in the front display window of Melvin Peebles' pet shop, eating bananas and being a drain on the shop's finances. Peebles (voiced by Howard Morris and later by Don Messick) frequently marks down his price considerably, but he is 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 give a refund. In the case of being bought by thieves, he was seized by police for being used in criminal activity and returned to Peebles' store. Magilla often ended episodes with his catchphrase "We'll try again next week."

Like many of Hanna-Barbera's animal characters, Magilla Gorilla sported human accessories: a purple bow tie, red shorts held up by green suspenders, a purple undersized derby hat, and brown dress shoes.[2]

The only customer truly interested in owning 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 him.

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."


Season 1 (1964)

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
11"Big Game"January 14, 1964 (1964-01-14)
Peebles sells Magilla to J. Whimple Dimple, who is intent on hunting the gorilla for his taxidermy collection.
22"Gridiron Gorilla"January 21, 1964 (1964-01-21)
Peebles 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
33"Private Magilla"January 28, 1964 (1964-01-28)

Magilla has been drafted into the US Army. He performs so well at his duty that Private Gorilla is slated for a special mission: being the first American to land on the Moon.

Credited Animator: Kenneth Muse
44"Bank Pranks"February 4, 1964 (1964-02-04)

Peebles 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
55"Groovey Movie"February 11, 1964 (1964-02-11)
The director of Grotesque Pictures buys Magilla for his newest motion picture, but the showbiz proves to be painful for Magilla.
66"Airlift"February 18, 1964 (1964-02-18)

Magilla 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
77"Come Blow Your Dough"February 25, 1964 (1964-02-25)
A little girl called Ogee buys Magilla. Upon bringing him home, Ogee's parents reject Magilla and call the police.
88"Mad Scientist"March 3, 1964 (1964-03-03)

Peebles 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
99"Masquerade Party"March 10, 1964 (1964-03-10)
Magilla is invited to a dressing up party where two thieves are attempting to steal Mrs. Richley's diamond necklace.
1010"Come Back Little Magilla"March 17, 1964 (1964-03-17)

Upset 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".
1111"Fairy Godmother"March 24, 1964 (1964-03-24)

Magilla'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
1212"Planet Zero"March 31, 1964 (1964-03-31)
Inhabitants from Planet Zero take Magilla to their home planet where he makes them too afraid to invade earth.
1313"Prince Charming"April 7, 1964 (1964-04-07)

Ogee visits Magilla who entertains her with various fairy tales involving the masked stranger and Prince Charming.

Credited Animators: George Goepper, George Nicholas
1414"Motorcycle Magilla"April 14, 1964 (1964-04-14)

Magilla 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
1515"Is That Zoo?"April 21, 1964 (1964-04-21)

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

Season 2 (1965)

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
161"Bird Brained"September 11, 1965 (1965-09-11)
Peebles 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.
172"Circus Ruckus"September 18, 1965 (1965-09-18)
Magilla 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.
183"Camp Scamps"September 25, 1965 (1965-09-25)

Magilla 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
194"The Purple Mask"October 2, 1965 (1965-10-02)

Ogee 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
205"Love at First Fight"October 9, 1965 (1965-10-09)
Magilla is taken to the City Zoo to keep a lonely gorilla called Matilda company, but she falls madly in love with him.
216"Pet Bet"October 16, 1965 (1965-10-16)
Ogee 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.
227"Makin' with the Magilla"October 23, 1965 (1965-10-23)
Magilla goes on a long surfing stunt at the beach and as a result becomes the Surfer King. Contains the song "Makin' with The Magilla" recorded by Little Eva.
238"High Fly Guy"October 30, 1965 (1965-10-30)
While 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.
249"Deep Sea Doodle"November 6, 1965 (1965-11-06)

Peebles 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
2510"That Was the Geek That Was"November 13, 1965 (1965-11-13)
Magilla delivers to Peebles a rare pet bird, but it vanishes. Magilla tries hard to catch the slippery bird.
2611"Montana Magilla"November 20, 1965 (1965-11-20)
In order to help a bankrupt Peebles, Magilla enters a cowboy contest under the name Montana Magilla to win the money he needs.
2712"Magilla Mix-Up"November 27, 1965 (1965-11-27)
During 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.
2813"Wheelin' and Dealin'"December 4, 1965 (1965-12-04)

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
2914"Mad Avenue Madness"December 11, 1965 (1965-12-11)
Peebles rents Magilla to some Advertisers from Madison Avenue to accomplish their advertising campaign of a Huffmobile.
3015"Beau Jest"December 18, 1965 (1965-12-18)
Feeling unwanted, Magilla leaves Peebles and becomes involved with the French Legion, sent on a mission to capture the bandit Abu Ben Hakim.
3116"Super Blooper Heroes"December 25, 1965 (1965-12-25)
Inspired 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

A rebooted Magilla Gorilla interacts with Nightwing. From the Nightwing/Magilla Gorilla Special #1.

Cultural references


According to Christopher P. Lehman, the trials of Magilla mirrored the attitudes that some American citizens had towards racial integration during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. In his 2007 book American Animated Cartoons of the Vietnam Era: A Study of Social Commentary in Films and Television Programs, 1961-1973, Lehman 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.[10]

Magilla Gorilla in other languages

See also


  1. ^ Ehrbar, Greg (July 26, 2016). "Hanna-Barbera Characters Talk 'Safety'-on Records". Cartoon Research. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  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. ^ "Magilla Gorilla". Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  5. ^ "Magilla Gorilla Kite Fun Book". Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  6. ^ "Magilla Gorilla". Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  7. ^ "NIGHTWING/MAGILLA GORILLA SPECIAL #1". DC Comics. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  8. ^ "Jellystone! I Official Trailer I HBO Max Family". YouTube. June 24, 2021. Archived from the original on 2021-12-15. Retrieved June 24, 2021.
  9. ^ Van Riper, A. Bowdoin (2002). Science in Popular Culture: A Reference Guide. Westport (Conn.): Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 124. ISBN 0313318220.
  10. ^ 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 978-0786428182.