The Great Grape Ape Show

GRAPE

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:

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2 comments

  1. Oh, this show. Wow. There was a time this was among the most important shows the young me could watch. The young me watched a lot of terrible, terrible shows. I think peak Grape Ape fascination came after Magilla Gorilla but before Catch That Pigeon.

    And so help me the young me was so bothered by one episode that I’m still upset about it. A tiny bit. There was one where they ended up on a desert island, the natives are restless and with one thing and another they accidentally sink the island. But that’s all right! The natives had made a life-sized statue of Grape Ape and somehow that floats and they could just live on that. And even as a kid I knew: Grape Ape may be big for a gorililililila, but that’s nothing compared to an island big enough for this whole tribe and all the plants and animals they need to survive. The bad ecology of it offended me. Still does.

    I’m so glad I eventually moved on to higher-quality shows like Gilligan’s Planet.

    Like

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