Kwicky Koala, from a model sheet.


Original Medium: TV animation
Produced by: Hanna-Barbera
First Appeared: 1981
Creator: Tex Avery
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Kwicky Koala wasn't part of what is generally considered the "classic" era of Hanna-Barbera animation (the 1950s, probably most of the '60s and maybe part of …

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… the '70s). He wasn't especially noted for innovation. His show lasted only one season, didn't generate a great deal of licensing revenue, and isn't seen in reruns very often. What makes him notable is the fact that he's the last character created by the legendary Tex Avery, whose other creations include Droopy, The Frito Bandito, the bugs used in commercials for the insecticide Raid, and another Bugs — Bugs Bunny himself.

Avery, who had worked alongside Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera at MGM in the 1940s and '50s, came to work at their own studio a couple of decades later. There, he directed a very minor series, Dino & the Cave Mouse (a Flintstones spin-off) while working on new creations of his own. The only one to come off of his drawing board during his tenure there was Kwicky Koala. The Kwicky Koala Show debuted on CBS, on September 12, 1981.

Kwicky was a koala, obviously, who loved to eat eucalyptus leaves, as koalas do. As in the case of Yakky Doodle and Pixie & Dixie, a prime motivating factor of his series was the avoidance of being eaten — in his case, by Wilfred Wolf. But like Speedy Gonzales and Ricochet Rabbit, he was gifted with super speed, so he found it relatively easy to escape his predatory pal. Kwicky's voice was done by Robert Allen Ogle, better known as a writer of such series as Archie and Astronut than as a voice actor. Wilfred's was John Stephenson, who also did various voices in Kissyfur, Dynomutt and The Addams Family.

Kwicky's show was a throwback to an earlier era at Hanna-Barbera, when half-hour shows consisted of three segments, each about as long as a theatrical cartoon. The other segments starred Crazy Claws (a wildcat who sounded like Groucho Marx, courtesy of Jim MacGeorge, who also did voice work in Mighty Orbots and TaleSpin), and Dirty Dawg (who lived in a city dump with his pal Ratzo, and was voiced by Frank Welker, who also did Jabberjaw, Quackula and many others). There was also a minor segment starring The Bungle Brothers, George (no relation) and John, whose efforts to break into show business were shown in three very short vignettes per half-hour show.

Tho Tex Avery was behind Kwicky's creation, he didn't live long enough to exert a great deal of influence over his marsupial's development — in fact, he died more than a year before the show's debut. Consequently, it showed little of his manic creativity or zany humor. It folded after only 16 episodes, and has seldom been seen since.


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Text ©2004-08 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Hanna-Barbera.