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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.
|Directed by||William Hanna|
|Voices of||Daws Butler|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||52|
|Running time||24 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Hanna-Barbera Productions|
|Original release||September 3, 1962 –|
August 30, 1963
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.
Episodes of Wally Gator were released on VHS many times. A DVD set release of the complete series was originally announced for 2006 from Warner Bros. for the Hanna-Barbera Classics Collection but was later canceled due to the poor condition of the masters and was delayed. 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." The first episode is available on the DVD set Saturday Morning Cartoons 1960's Vol. 2. The show was released on iTunes video in 2017 as part of Hanna-Barbera's 60th anniversary and was released on a made to order DVD set from Warner Archive on June 25, 2019.
- Lehman (2007), p. 27
- "tvshowsondvd.com". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on 2011-05-25. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Lehman, Christopher P. (2007), "The Cartoons of 1961-1962", American Animated Cartoons of the Vietnam Era: A Study of Social Commentary in Films and Television Programs, 1961-1973, McFarland & Company, ISBN 978-0786451425