Peter Potamus is a beloved cartoon character from the golden era of animation, produced by the renowned animation studio Hanna-Barbera.
He embarks on worldwide and even historical adventures in his magical flying balloon, always in the company of his trusty monkey sidekick, So-So.
Peter Potamus is ever-ready to descend and extend a helping hand in the throes of hilarious escapades across Egypt, France, Morocco, and other global hotspots. In the face of inevitable trouble, he comes equipped with his signature Hippo Hurricane Holler.
No. of episodes: 27
First episode date: September 16, 1964 (USA)
Created by: William Hanna; Joseph Barbera
Original network: Syndication; ABC
Peter Potamus: A Journey Through Classic Animation
The show also features Breezly and Sneezly, an endearing duo composed of a polar bear and a seal, whose prime pastime is attempting to infiltrate the local arctic army base. Yippee, Yappee, and Yahooey, a trio of palace guards pledged to their beleaguered king, bring additional slapstick hilarity to the screen.
The Peter Potamus Show owes its vocal brilliance to the likes of Daws Butler, Don Messick, Howard Morris, Mel Blanc, John Stephenson, Doug Young, and Hal Smith. This series stands as a testament to the golden age of children’s animation.
Characters: So-So, Peter Potamus, Breezly Bruin, Sneezly Seal, Yippee, Colonel Fusby, The King
The original “Peter Potamus and His Magic Flying Balloon” show aired from 1964 to 1967, consisting of three segments: Peter Potamus, Breezly, and Sneezly, and Yippee, Yappee, and Yahooey. Each episode brought fresh exploits, with Peter Potamus and his sidekick, So-So the monkey, as they travel from one exotic locale to another in their flying balloon.
Known for his distinctive laugh and catchphrase, “Hurricane Hippo,” Peter used his hurricane-like breath to solve problems or escape from precarious situations, adding suspense and excitement to each episode.
Hanna-Barbera and the Creation of Peter Potamus
Hanna-Barbera, founded by animation legends William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, created Peter Potamus at the height of their fame and innovation.
Known for their groundbreaking work in producing high-quality animation for television, they infused Peter Potamus with their trademark mix of humor, adventure, and inventive storytelling.
Despite initial financial challenges, the studio strategically decided to syndicate the series, allowing it to reach a much wider audience and ensuring the character’s longevity in the annals of classic animation.
The Personality of Peter Potamus
One of the reasons for the enduring popularity of Peter Potamus is his distinctive personality. Characterized by his jovial, boisterous, and adventurous spirit, Peter’s character is inherently upbeat.
Despite his size and strength as a hippopotamus, he often displays a childlike enthusiasm and curiosity about the world, which is contagious to his fellow characters and the audience. Moreover, he is caring and protective towards his sidekick, So-So, showcasing a more tender side to his otherwise playful character.
His comical interactions and larger-than-life persona make him a memorable character, embodying the heart and humor that are hallmarks of Hanna-Barbera productions.
Peter Potamus and So-So
In the main segment, Peter Potamus, a big, friendly, and purple character, donned a safari jacket and hat, brought to life by the voice of Daws Butler, who impersonated Joe E. Brown.
Daws Butler used the same voice for another character, Lippy the Lion. The diminutive sidekick of Peter, So-So the monkey, received his voice from Don Messick.
Together, Peter and So-So embarked on global explorations in a hot air balloon capable of time travel with just a dial spin. When encountering a tricky situation, Peter resorted to his signature Hippo Hurricane Holler to whisk his opponents away.
Breezly and Sneezly
Breezly Bruin, a polar bear voiced by Howard Morris, and his companion Sneezly the Seal, voiced by Mel Blanc, actively engage in various schemes to infiltrate a northern army camp. All the while, they try to keep a step ahead of the camp’s leader, Colonel Fuzzby, who is voiced by John Stephenson.
Yippee, Yappee and Yahooey
Three dogs – Yippee, voiced by Doug Young, Yappee, voiced by Hal Smith, and Yahooey, given life by Daws Butler’s impersonation of Jerry Lewis – are known as The Goofy Guards.
They serve the King, a short and often disgruntled ruler, voiced by Hal Smith, who frequently finds himself at the brunt of their antics. Their plumed hats and swords evoke the classic imagery of The Three Musketeers.
Shows Peter Potamus Has Made Appearances
Yogi’s Ark Lark (1972) – This made-for-television movie featured a host of Hanna-Barbera characters, including Peter Potamus.
Yogi’s Gang (1973-1975) – Peter Potamus was a recurring character in this animated series, joining Yogi Bear and other popular characters on a flying ark.
Laff-A-Lympics (1977-1979) – A two-season series where Peter Potamus was part of “The Yogi Yahooeys” team competing against other Hanna-Barbera characters in Olympic-styled events.
Yogi’s Treasure Hunt (1985-1988) – Peter Potamus was featured as a Yogi’s treasure-hunting crew member in this animated series.
Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law (2000-2007)
Peter Potamus eventually transitioned into a recurring character on the Adult Swim parody show Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law. In this series, Joe Alaskey and later Chris Edgerly provide his voice, giving him a Brooklyn accent. Peter portrays a sexually charged hippo who works alongside Harvey Birdman in the firm.
He is known for his catchphrase, “Did you get that thing I sent you?” Starting with Episode 6 of Season 3, titled “Return of Birdgirl,” the character design for Peter underwent a change, replacing his hands with stumps.
Peter Potamus Opening and Closing Remastered
Series Directed by
Series Writing Credits
- Warren Foster (13 episodes, 1964-1966)
- Warren Foster (written by) (1 episode, 1964)
- Tony Benedict (12 episodes, 1964-1966)
- Dalton Sandifer (12 episodes, 1964-1966)