Friday, March 12, 2021

A pictorial history of the Don Post Studios Gorilla suits !

 Hiya Gorilla Gang ! 

Were going to jump into the Way-Back Machine and take a peek into one of Hollywood's go to places to get a Gorilla Suit.... The Legendary Don Post Studios ! 

Much of the info and photos in this post come from the first hand experiences of our dear friend, and legendary Gorilla Man, Mr. Bob Burns himself !

In fact, going back to the very first gorilla suit Don Post made, it was Bob Burns who modeled the suit for all the promotional photos used to sell them.

The suit was definitely not the most realistic, but rather designed for more comedic purposes.

The very first Don Post Gorilla suit advertisement !

                                                           Don Post Sr. and his creations!

Here Bob is monkey-ing around with Frankenstein actor and Western Bad Guy Glenn Strange !

Glenn, Bob, and Don having a blast !

Shortly thereafter, Bob approached Don about making a custom gorilla suit for himself, as Bob had always idolized the great gorilla men of the movies, and Bob wanted to follow in their footsteps....particularly the opposable toed footsteps of Charles Gemora !

Don agreed to sculpt and mold all the rubber parts, while Bob's wife Kathy took on the task of sewing the padding and Fur parts for Bob's new alter-ego KOGAR !

As part of the deal for Don Post's involvement, Bob agreed to let Don Post use photos of Kogar to advertise Post's more realistic gorilla suits.

Birth of the Mighty KOGAR !!!

Around this time Don Sr. and his partner Verne Langdon had gotten ahold of a mold of Charles Gemora's suit head from Phantom of the Rue Morgue, and decided to add a gorilla to their popular line of Universal Monster Masks. A clay press was made of the Gemora head, and Verne Langdon sharpened all the details for molding. The head proved too large for a general release, but was used for rental suits, and for sales with studio quality suits. Here again, Bob Burns is again the suit model.

Frankenstein, Verne Langdon, and Bob smile for the Camera !
The head was later re-sculpted by master sculptor Pat Newman and named " Hollywood Gorilla"

This suit was used in a few movies including one shot in " The Perils of Pauline"....which brings us to the next suit...

A few years later Don Post was contracted to construct a new, ultra realistic gorilla for the comedy movie "The Perils of Pauline". King Kong sculptor Marcel Delgado was brought in with much fanfare to sculpt the new gorilla. Word of Delgado's involvement caught the ear of Forrest Ackerman, the Editor in Chief of the classic " Famous Monster Of Filmland" magazine !
Forry called his old friend Don and before you could say Monkey Suit, Forry and a photographer arrived at Post to document the creation for a future issue !

This suit turned out to be so popular that it was reproduced several times and used in a variety of television shows and movies as well. It was also used for photographic work like this incredible photoshoot with the stunning Raquel Welch inspired by Marlene Dietrich's Blonde Venus'
While these suits had a fiberglass liner with a hinged jaw, the head was also released as a deluxe mask to the public in latex and fur, but minus the fiberglass.
Post was also selling gorilla suits to film makers, carnival acts, and magicians and frequently advertised
in Genie Magazine for professional magicians. 
Most were based on the popular Hollywood Gorilla Head.
These suits were used in hundreds of TV variety shows, comedy specials, and live performances.
Two of them were seen being worn by Alan Alda and Wayne Rogers on the hit series MASH... Playing poker naturally.

In the 70's Don Post co-owner Bill Malone sculpted a new gorilla mask based on Rick Bakers head from the 1976 KING KONG.
Post made suits with this new head,  named "KONG" appropriately enough, which also saw widespread use in the entertainment industry.... Most notoriously used as the title "Kaiju" in the Korean film A*P*E*.


 There were several other ape masks made by Post after that, but I'm not aware of any full suits being marketed with those heads. I hope you enjoyed this lope into the past gang... Till Next Time !!!

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Jolly Old Gorilla Man !

 Now comes a rare treat Gorilla Gang !
This time we travel across the pond to Jolly Old England to find England's most established Gorilla Man !
Reuben Martin worked steadily through the 60's and 70's both on Motion Pictures and television playing an assortment of apes in the wildly popular "Carry On" series of movies!
Titles include " Carry On Up The Jungle" and "Carry On Emmanuelle "
Reuben also played apes on the hysterical "Monty Python's Flying Circus" and the Science Fiction classic series " Space 1999".
Reuben throughout his life was a huge fitness inthusiast, engaging in competitive power lifting,  Body Building was a strongman performing feats of strength from throughout his career. 
It was a given that he would eventually become an actor and played a variety of "Tough Guy " type roles.
His incredible strength was especially useful in playing gorillas, and could be seen carrying off actors two at a time, one under each arm !
He had several suits with varying degrees of realism, depending on the jobs needs.
For his role in "Space 1999" he. Is actually playing the "Gorilla Form" of Maya, the alien shape shifter.
Enjoy the photos and look up his movies 

Reuben Martin was born on March 15, 1921 in Edmonton, Middlesex, England as Reuben Joseph Martin. He was an actor, known for Carry on Up the Jungle (1970), Carry on Laughing! (1975) and Bel Ami (1971). He died on December 22, 1993 in Uttlesford, Essex, England.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Happy Holidays from Hollywood Gorilla Men !!!

Nothing says Happy Holidays like a visit from Santy Claws !

Happy Holidays, and a VERY happy New Year
from your friends at Hollywood Gorilla Men ! 


Sunday, June 28, 2020

South of the border Simian!!!

For those kids who were born in the early late 40's and early 50's TV was still a relatively new thing in their lives....especially COLOR programing !
Yet in 1954, when there were very few color television sets around, there were a few high profile shows that stood out from the crowd by being shot in color.
One such show was " The Cisco Kid" a heroic Mexican "Robin Hood" of sorts, who rode through the old West, stealing from corrupt wealthy villains, and giving to the poor and downtrodden.
Cisco Kid has the distinction of being the very first TV series to be shot in color...Though most fans saw him in black and white until the 60's when color TV was much more commonplace.
Cisco was played by the heroic and dashing Duncan Renaldo, with his faithful and comedic sidekick
Pancho, played by the great character actor Leo Carillo.
The series was even immortalized in the 70's by the rock group WAR in their hit song " Cisco Kid" !

By now you are likely scratching your head wondering what in the heck this has to do with Gorilla Men...Well, oddly enough, Cisco featured a gorilla .. Not just any gorilla, it was Steve Calvert in
one of the suits he bought from Crash Corrigan. This suit had a new face, distinctive to Calvert.
Not only do we see it in action as a color!...but we also get a fantastic glimpse of the suit
AS a gorilla suit !!! You guessed it, the gorilla was a fake, used to scare people off in the finest tradition of Scooby Doo ! I won't spoil the fun, but you'll be asking yourself how much adventure can you cram into a half hour show!
You can find the episode online if you'd like to give it a watch, the episode is called " Cisco Meets
The Gorilla" .
A huge thanks goes out to Craig Scott Lamb, founder of the Facebook
Ape Suit Cinema group for the following screen captures !!!

Until next time Ape Amigos !

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Rick Baker, King Kong maker !

Hi gorilla gang ! 
As many of you may know, Rick Baker just released a book chronicling his professional makeup carreer.
Titled Metamorphasis,  this giant ,18 pound, two volume set is chock full of thousands of incredible photos, including pics of Ricks prototype suit for Dino DeLaurentis' 1976 King Kong !  Rick not only built the suit, but he played Kong as well !
So for your viewing pleasure, take a look at a Kong that could have been...
Enjoy Gang !

Saturday, June 8, 2019

If you cant dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with Bull$#!+ !!!

Hey fellow gorillaphiles !

Old Bongo's been up to no good (again), and stirring up trouble again!
On our Facebook sister site Ape Suit Cinema I penned a follow-up on the legendary BS artist
Carmen Nigro....The guy who claimed to have played the giant ape in the 1933 stop-motion classic King Kong. Here for your edification is the write up in it's entirety:

The practice of identifying Gorilla actors has been the mission of Ape Suit Cinema, and sister site Hollywood Gorilla Men for decades. These hard working folks braved the intolerable heat and crushing weight of wearing gorilla suits to delight movie audiences since the beginning of motion picture history. one of the issues that has foiled our attempts time and again, is the amount of misinformation being put out by hoaxers and outright liars....Hollywood wannabe's desperate for a few minutes of fame.
one of the most notorious was a small, unremarkable elderly fellow named Carmen Nigro.
Carmen not only claimed publicly to having played gorillas in all the classics of Ape suit Cinema, ( when they are well documented to have been Crash Corrigan, Charlie Gemora, etc...) , but he upped the ante by claiming to have played the King himself in the 1933 classic, KING KONG !!!
That's right, King Kong! Now King Kong has been documented in numerous books, documentaries, and more magazine articles than I can even list. King Kong was an 18 inch tall, steel, rubber, and rabbit fur stop motion animation puppet in every scene EXCEPT close-ups using full scale mechanical props of his head and shoulders, hand and foot. these were used for chomping, grabbing, and stomping humans respectively.
At no time was the part of Kong ever played by a man in a suit in the 1933 film. Not until 1966's King Kong VS. Godzilla was Kong brought to life by a man in a suit.
But this is exactly what Carmen Nigro would have you believe to hear him tell the tail. Rather than describe his claims myself, you can read it in his own words in the following newspaper articles written at the time of the 1976 Dino DeLaurentis re-make of King Kong...Which actually DID feature a man in a suit...The legendary Rick Baker!
Here for your enjoyment is an epic BS story of Kong like proportions!


   A newly discovered photo of Carmen in his ratty Western Costumes gorilla suit

And digitally altered so we can see the awesomeness of Carmen's scary suit with the head on !

The Bob Green article above was challenged by film historians, so Bob doubled down and penned this follow-up

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Gorilla 3 Pack Pics #3....Rick Baker !

Hi Ape Fans ! This time we've got the King himself !
 The one and only Rick "King Kong" Baker!
We found 3 awesome examples of Rick from 3 classics ! 
 First up is Rick as Sydney, in the comedy classic " The incredible Shrinking Woman"
 Next up is Rick as an escaped lab experiment in " The Thing With Two Heads"

And finally, Rick as the King himself, in the 1976 version of King Kong !
Enjoy gang! Lots more to come!