Gayla Peevey was a child star from Ponca City, Oklahoma. She is best known for her recording, "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" (1953), which she recorded when she was 10 years old. When this song came out, the Oklahoma City Zoo started a fundraiser to “buy a hippo for Gayla”. It worked, but she later donated it to the zoo, as it was a bit hard to keep a hippo at home in Oklahoma.
The hippopotamus named Matilda spent 45 years at the Oklahoma City Zoo, and then sadly died at age 47 from a heart attack in 1998 while being transferred to the Walt Disney World's Disney's Animal Kingdom, in Orlando, Florida.
If the song isn't odd enough, the accompanying video here just adds to the bizarre nature of this novelty song. I first heard this song back in 2012, and used it as the theme music for the Weird Retro Christmas Countdown, of alternative Christmas movies.
Captain Kangaroo, recorded a version of the song in the 1960s. And has been covered by novelty song radio broadcaster, Dr. Demento.