In 1967, the Jay Ward studio created a parody of Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, in the guise of George, Lord of… not much. Whereas Tarzan was ignorant of culture because he was raised by apes from infancy, George’s ignorance stemmed from being a clueless simpleton.
George lived in a jungle tree house with his wife Ursula, whom he called “fella” because he thought she was a man. If anyone mentioned the name Ursula, George became confused because he didn’t recognize the name and didn’t, in fact, even know he was married. Furthermore, George believed his pet elephant Shep was a large, peanut-loving pooch. In fairness to George, Shep liked to fetch sticks, wagged his tail, ate from a bowl, and in most ways carried on as if he were a dog.
Fulfilling his ape-man role, George acted as protector of the jungle. The District Commissioner—a short British fellow kept busy by poachers, the natives, and others who stirred up trouble in Mbwebwe Valley—occasionally recruited George to help maintain law and order. In addition to Shep, George relied on the help of his friend Ape, a gorilla who spoke in a refined British accent that matched his cultured demeanor.
In his role as hero, George’s only real asset was his brawn, which helped him survive falling from the tree house he consistently forgot he lived in, as well as the countless face-plants into trees he encountered while swinging from vines. Like most incompetent cartoon heroes however, George could largely depend on luck to rescue himself and his friends from danger.
Jay Ward produced a total of seventeen, half-hour episodes of George of the Jungle. Each episode included three, unrelated, 7-minute segments. George of the Jungle was the featured segment, followed by backup segments Super Chicken and Tom Slick.