Sunday, November 2, 2008

“Magilla Gorilla vs. Yogi Bear for President”

Admit it… Don’t you wish this was REALLY the choice?!

In two days, it'll all be over! For now, let's enjoy this...

In 1960, Hanna-Barbera and Western Publishing, the producer of H-B licensed comic books, ran Huckleberry Hound for the presidency. Read about that by clicking HERE.

If ONE Hanna-Barbera character running for the highest office in the land was a good idea, why not run TWO H-B characters for the next such election in 1964?

Some one must have felt that way, and so there was the electoral oddity better known as MAGILLA GORILLA # 3, as discussed in my column THE ISSUE AT HAND # 70 from Election Time 2004.

The Issue at Hand Is: MAGILLA GORILLA # 3.

Cover Date: December, 1964. Released in September, 1964.
Cover Art by Harvey Eisenberg. Published by Gold Key Comics.

Magilla Gorilla vs. Yogi Bear for President” 32 pages. Writer: Unknown. Art by Pete Alvarado.

MAGILLA GORILLA was Hanna-Barbera’s first new television series of 1964. This would be a great year for the H-B Studio, as it also saw the premieres of JONNY QUEST, PETER POTAMUS, and perhaps the best season of THE FLINTSTONES.
Yogi Bear, according to legend, began life as both a “tribute character” to comedic actor Art Carney – and as one of the three components of THE HUCKLEBERRY HOUND SHOW of 1958 (More on that HERE.).

Self-described as being “Smarter than the Average Bear”, Yogi’s charm and popularity resulted in an unprecedented animated series spinoff, THE YOGI BEAR SHOW in 1960.
Magilla Gorilla was a big, naive but lovable APE for sale at a pet shop in an unnamed city (…presumably, New York). The series followed what became a “tried-and-true” formula for producers Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera – that of a “lovable, wise guy animal” confounding a long-suffering human authority figure. This became such a recurring formula, you can actually play “Fill-In-The Blank” with it.
Lovable, wise guy animal Yogi Bear confounds long-suffering Ranger Smith.
Lovable, wise guy animal Top Cat confounds long-suffering Officer Dibble.
Lovable, wise guy animal Wally Gator confounds long-suffering Zoo Keeper Mr. Twiddle.
Lovable, wise guy animal Magilla Gorilla confounds long-suffering Mr. Peebles.
Lovable, wise guy animal Breezly Bruin confounds long-suffering
Colonel Fuzzby.
   Get the picture? Somehow, though, we loved it every time!
Our story opens with Magilla, in his pet shop window, watching a televised debate between the “Elephant Candidate” and the “Donkey Candidate” for the presidential election of 1964. The eternally frustrated pet shop owner, Mr. Peebles, hits upon the idea of ridding himself of Magilla by running him for president.

At the same time, three-fourths of the way across the continent, Jellystone Park Ranger Smith decides on a similar course of action to rid himself of the pesky Yogi Bear! …Yes, really, that's it!

Gosh, could this be the flimsiest pretext for a political action in the history of… like, EVER? Imagine if we used such fundamentally flawed reasoning to… um, I dunno… go to war… Oh, no, wait…

I also wonder if Officer Dibble, Mr. Twiddle, and Colonel Fuzzby had similar ideas in “untold stories” of their own!

In any event, Top Cat is recruited from the ranks of available Hanna-Barbera characters to act as Magilla’s campaign manager and, in a role-reversal of the 1960 comic, Huckleberry Hound takes on the Yogi Bear campaign.

32 pages of electoral laughter ensue. Here’s two moments the comic didn’t show you…

Cam-PAIN Antics # 1: Magilla trails a swing-voter to his medicine cabinet. Could this be part of his plan for Health Care Reform?

Cam-PAIN Antics # 2: Yogi’s special appeal to a gun-lobbyist.

We end with the “Elephant and Donkey” candidates (…horrified at the prospect of losing to a gorilla or a bear) maneuvering both Magilla and Yogi to launch themselves into space – and far, far away for Election Day – in a symbolic gesture toward our efforts in the Space Race.
So, with the contest once again paired down to Lyndon B. Johnson and Barry Goldwater, it is presumed that history resumed its rightful course. In closing, I'll leave it to each of you to decide for yourselves if that was a good thing...

What’s a good campaign without BUTTONS? Here’s one for each!

Remember to vote… even if you write-in for a bear or a gorilla!

No comments: