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"I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" is a Christmas novelty song written by John Rox (1902–1957) and performed by Gayla Peevey (10 years old at the time) in 1953. The song peaked at number 24 on Billboard magazine's pop chart in December 1953.
Peevey was a child star from Ponca City, Oklahoma. When released nationally by Columbia Records, the song shot to the top of the charts .Peevey was filmed performing the song on The Ed Sullivan Show in October 1953. The Three Stooges also sang a version. In 2005 and again in 2011, the Canadian telecommunications company Telus used the song in a Christmas advertising campaign.
The Oklahoma City Zoo capitalized upon the popularity of "I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas" with a fundraising campaign to "buy a hippo for Gayla". The fund raised $3,000, and a baby hippopotamus named Matilda was purchased and given to Peevey which she then donated to the zoo.
Gayla Peevey later recorded as Jamie Horton, scoring the Billboard Hot 100 charter "My Little Marine" in 1960.