Wow, I can’t believe I’ve let my “Forgotten Shows” series languish for nine months! Just plum forgot about it. But I’ve wanted to do a post on The Great Grape Show for ages. This morning…I could wait no longer.
The premise for this animated Hanna-Barbera series was kind of a psychedelic mash-up of King Kong and Of Mice and Men. Anthropomorphic dog Beegle Beagle (voiced by Shirley Jones’ husband, pseudo-comedian Marty Ingels) travels around with his best friend, a semi-sentient, 40 foot tall purple ape named Grape Ape. I say “semi-sentient”, because Grape Ape apparently possesses just enough language to say his own name, which he uses, much like “aloha”, to mean “hello”, “yes”, “thank you”, or whatever else he wishes to express. To wit:
BEEGLE BEAGLE: Ya want to go to the zoo, Grape Ape?
GRAPE APE: Grape Ape, Grape Ape!
Grape Ape indeed.
Because this is the ’70s, Beegle drives around in a van, which Grape Ape powers as though it were a skate board. When it gets to rolling, he crouches on top and rides. But he is childlike, and so the pair gets into many misadventures due to Grape Ape’s “Baby Huey” like misunderstandings. Oh, the trouble you can get into when you’re a 40 foot tall purple ape! To my never-ending amusement, when people see “Grape Ape” they always run away, shouting, “Yow! A Gorilla!”, which is at best a partial truth, for they seem to ignore both his unusual coloring and his gigantism. If anything, the fact that he is a gorilla is the least of his notable attributes
And what’s up with his name? Grape’s not a color, it’s a flavor. Is Grape Ape (were you to try and eat him) grape flavored? One might logically assume that there’d be some product tie-in. Grape Ape cereal? Soda? Candy? I don’t remember any and all I’m finding online this morning is Grape Ape weed. Which is no doubt what the creators were smoking when they cooked up this series.
But if they were high, they were also right on the money. The show ran in various forms from 1975 through 1978, which is quite a long time for an animated series.
Someone will probably take this down (they always do) but enjoy it while it lasts. The opening intro to the show: