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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Children > TV > Magilla Gorilla - The Complete Series

Magilla Gorilla - The Complete Series


Picture: C+     Sound: C     Extras: B     Episodes: B



Hanna-Barbera was hitting their early stride in the mid-1960s on TV, showing they were no longer just the successful animated that used to be at MGM.  With the primetime surprise hit The Flintstones and daytime successes like Yogi Bear, they had created the first dynasty of TV animation.  The 1964 – 1965 season was particularly prolific time for the company, with Magilla Gorilla offering yet another charming corner of their world to visit.


In an interesting twist on the houseguest that will not go away, the title character has been in the window of Peebles Pet Shop for more years than Mr. Peebles would like to think about.  Trying to sell him to no avail, Magilla gets him into all kinds of amusing, wacky situations that are often authentically funny and entertaining.  To add to the fun, a little girl named Ogee is in love with Magilla and wants to buy him, though she is just barely school age.  Adorable is the only word to describe this subplot, which still dooms Mr. Peebles with being Magilla’s caretaker.


Two other cartoon series, Ricochet Rabbit & Droop-A-Long Coyote and Punkin’ Puss & Mushmouse, were included between Magilla adventures and are not bad either.  These are exceptionally charming and child-friendly shows that could not arrive on DVD soon enough with Magilla Gorilla - The Complete Series actually offering three complete series as a result.  Warner Bros. has been digging into their Hanna-Barbera holdings often and this set is one of the best along with Dastardly & Nutley & Their Flying Machines and Penelope Pitstop as great, sometimes forgotten gems that made Hanna-Barbera great.  This 4 DVD set has great rewatchability and more.


The 1.33 X 1 image shows it’s age a little bit, but looks really good and the use of color is very good.  Quality can vary between prints, but not severely, with the art and use of color more complex than they have been given credit for.  The Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono is good for what it is, but it seems that many to most of the early Hanna-Barbera series had their audio only preserved in optical audio and those limits show.  Despite that, the combination makes for a very pleasant presentation.


Extras include a sing-a-long version of the theme song, interactive Peebles Pet Shop section that lets you click onto various arrows to get pieces of a great featurette on the series, a Jerry Eisenberg featurette where he reflects on the show, previews for other Warner animated releases and vintage featurette Here Comes A Star, where we see the Hanna-Barbera Studios at its early peak in a fine black and white half-hour program about what the studio is building up to.  It also offers Magilla’s first appearance.  Collectors will not want to miss any of these features either.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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