WALLY GATOROriginal Medium: TV animation
Produced by: Hanna-Barbera
First Appeared: 1962
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Hanna-Barbera was notorious for "borrowing" the basic premises of pre-existing TV shows, comic strips and cartoons (famous examples being
Top Cat, which set Sgt. Bilko in a New York alley, and The Jetsons, which set Blondie in the future). Wally Gator was the first in which they "borrowed" from their own earlier work — unless you count Yakky Doodle and Augie Doggy, where the templates came from the cartoons they'd done for MGM, before opening the studio.
The pre-existing show in this case was Yogi Bear, a wild beast living in a national park, constantly striving to get around the authority of the park ranger. Wally was a wild beast living in a zoo, constantly striving to get around the authority of Mr. Twiddles, the zookeeper. The show debuted as one of three segments on The New Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Series (the other two being Touché Turtle and Lippy the Lion & Hardy Har Har), in syndication, on September 3, 1962.
Voice stars were Daws Butler (Huckleberry Hound, Peter Potamus) and Don Messick (Scooby-Doo, Papa Smurf) as Wally and Twiddles, respectively. Butler based his Wally Gator characterization on the fluttery, goofy voice of character actor Ed Wynn.
Like his co-stars, Wally was merchandised in the form of lunch boxes, toys, children's records, etc. Also like them, he appeared in a single Little Golden Book. He never starred in a comic book — also like them — tho he did turn up in the back pages of one or two over the years.
With the rest, he appeared in 51 episodes (two seasons) of The New Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Series, and with the rest, he dropped pretty much out of sight when it ended. He's turned up occasionally in the years since, in ensemble productions or as an occasional guest star, but no more often than is necessary to keep his trademark from lapsing.