Monday, November 20, 2017

The Gorilla 1922 What an adorable smile !

The gorilla is a time honored classic of the " Old Dark House" tradition.
This was the first cinematic version of the already well established stage play and it stars 
the mirthful Charles Murray and Fred Kelsey as bumbling detectives Garrity and Mulligan.
There's murder afoot in the mansion of wealthy Walter Stevens ( Played with scenery chewing panache by the great Walter Pidgeon !)
The murderer in question goes by the nick name " The Gorilla" though he is quite human.
To further complicate a confusing who dunnit with sliding panels, and secret passages, a real gorilla shows up in the mix !
If your a fan of half wit , hard boiled slapstick humor, then you're sure to love the Gorilla ! 
Oh....The gorilla you ask? Well, it's a damned fine looking suit for the period, as it should be....Charles Gemora created the suit! Though a MUCH larger actor played the gorilla rather than Charlie.
 Enjoy these beautiful stills contributed by the members of Ape Suit Cinema on Facebook.
If your on Facebook, look us up ! Tell 'em Bongo sent you!

That's a face only a mother could love !

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Wah Chang channels George Barrows !

Hiya Gorilla gang, old Bongo has a very rare treat in store for you this time !
Wah Ming Chang was one of the premier monster makers of the 50s and 60s.
Wah was responsible for most of the terrifying monsters from shows like the Outer Limits and Star Trek.
It seemed only natural for him to build s gorilla suit, and he did....and what a suit !
The funny thing is, that rather than look to real gorillas for inspiration,  he looked no farther than the guy who was getting most of the good gorilla gigs at the time, the legendary George Barrows  !
Wah's interpretation of Barrows suit is a sight to behold  !
And now's you chance to do just that with these nifty pics of Wah's suit....2 with Wah in the suit,  and one with Wah playing big game hunter and posing with his " trophy "!    Enjoy gang !

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Happy National Gorilla Suit Day....2017

It's that magical day again folks  !
Time to dig out your gorilla suits  ( and I know you all have them..) and celebrate  !!!!

The legendary Don Martin created NGSD for folks just like us !

The concept is simple, just go do at least one normal thing about your day, preferably in public,  and wear your suit ! 

You will be an instant sensation  !

But absolutely NO DRIVING in a gorilla suit...this is a safe holiday!
So suit up, and have fun !
        ZOOT !!!

Special thanks to the creative mind of Mr. Ted Mckosky for these last 5 great National Gorilla Suit Day images 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What a Nyuk Nyuk Knuckle Head !

Why I outta !....Hey there Ape fans, after a too long hiatus old Bongo is back with more Monkey Madness  for one and all !
This time a gem from one of the craziest gorilla duo's ever !
On the left of the photo is the zaniest  Stooge to have ever walked the Earth, none other than the great Curly Howard !
Curly's less-than-enthusiastic dance partner for the Curly Shuffle is none other then Master monster gorilla man, Ray " Crash" Corrigan! They are seen here in the great Three Stooges short, " Three Missing Links.
In the film, Curley disguises himself as a gorilla to scare the boys. But to make things interesting the real thing" Ray Corrigan "shows up and hilarity ensues !
The suit curly is wearing is one of crashes old suits with some of the padding removed. So if you're looking for a good laugh, and we can all use one of those, watch Three Missing Links....tell 'em Bongo sent ya !

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Gemora under cover !

Hey gorilla gang, here's  a super special treat for your eyes !
The great Charles Gemora suiting up in his greatest gorilla suit !
As seen in the classics, "Monster and the Girl " and "Gildersleeves Ghost" !

Sunday, July 24, 2016

...So you want to be a gorilla man?part 6...Mighty Monkey Muscles !!!

Hiya kids !
Long time ( too long ) no see !
Well this should be enough of a break to have finished your head by now...Yeah, 2 and a half years should do it !
It's amazing how the real world can throw a wrench into a cool gorilla suit tutorial.
As you may remember, a long long long time ago, we had just finished our awesome Gorilla head !
Now at long last, we can start on an equally impressive body !
Lets start out with a basic form to build up upon...something shaped like a human body,,,,I know ! Let's use...your body !
Now, unless you are a genetic mutation of some sort, chances are pretty good you aren't built like a gorilla...lets hope you aren't a mutation ! Not that that's not cool and all, I mean being shaped like a gorilla would definitely make wearing an ape suit a lot easier...and a lot cooler... But I digress !
Let's assume you are built more or less like a human being. Now in order to be built like a gorilla, we're going to start the ultimate muscle building program ! No, not like Arnold Swarzenegger or Lou Ferrigno, I'm talking about BUILDING the muscles !
Now, we've seen how Chris Walas built up his gorilla muscles using shaped foam rubber, glued down in layers to create the gorilla shape.
I've used this technique before, and while extremely effective, I chose a different route...because "A" I wanted something lighter, and easier for me to move around in, and "B" I didn't want to do the same thing Mr. Walas did...because that would be be redundant, and limit your options !
And since the entire objective is to give you options, here we go !
 The following technique was imparted to me by the legendary Bob Burns, and the equally legendary Kathy Burns !
Essentially what we're going to do is to make specially shaped pillows using fabric and Polly-Fill .
Poly-Fill can be found under several names, like Fiber-Fill, but it's basically a white fluffy fiber for stuffing  pillows, cushions, stuffed animals, and monkey muscles.
SPOILER ALERT !!!!  You'll need to be able to sew ! If you can't, then ask your wife, girlfriend, mother, or cosplay friends... This is definitely a job for a sewing machine !
First things first, you'l need help for this part. With your arms out straight measure from one mid forearm around the back, to the the middle of the other forearm. Write this down because if you're like me, you'll forget before the next step. Write in inches, like it shows on most cloth measuring tapes, like 48 inches instead of 4'll save you aggravation with the math later on.
In my case it's 45 inches. Now the next number is a little trickier. If you are 160 lbs or less, write the number 16. If you are over 160 write the number 12. The reason being, the thinner you are, the thicker the padding needs to be...logical right ? As you've probably guessed, the second number is also inches.  Using a semi-stretchable fabric ( like t-shirt material ) in the same color as your suit, black get the idea. Now using a yard stick to cut straight lines, Cut a long strip of fabric the same width as your second number you wrote "18 or 14 " ) for demonstration sake, we'll say 14 " as I'm on the thick side. So once I've cut my 14" strip, I now cut that to my measurement of 45" long. I now have a rectangle 45" long by 14" wide.
Now take the long strip and fold it in half on the short side, so in my case, I now have a rectangle 44" long, by 7" wide. On the part were the folded over piece meets itself again, sew along that long line , and leave the needle 1/2 inch from the edge ( called the Hem line. Now in my case, I now have a cloth tube 44 inches long. Now turn it inside out so the hemline is on the inside of the tube.
Now from each end, start stuffing The Poly-fill toward the center of the tube. Stuff it firm enough to hold a round shape after giving it a squeeze, but don't pack it tightly, you will need to conform the shape around your body contours.
Okay, take a deep breath...get a short, take a wee break.
Now that you've stuffed the tube sew each end shut . Just be sure that both ends are sewn the same direction ....You should now have a big fluffy tube with two flat-ish ends...
Here, young Bob Burns shows us what it looks like.
In this early version, Bob would use several string ties to hold it in place.
You can see how massive this simple shape makes you look !
This method served Bob well for many years, but eventually the padding moving around in the suit would become a huge pain in the buttocks. So Kathy, showing her sewing savvy suggested permanently attaching the pad to a sweat shirt, by sewing it into place.. Voila ! It worked like a charm !
This is what the pad looks like sewn down to the sweat shirt.
 After Bob describe the method with these photos, and the advantages it has over foam, this was what I eventually duplicated for my black Bongo suit.
 The amount of mass this conveys in incredible !  Note that the pad comes almost to the top of our respective noggins. This way, like a real gorilla, you head will merge into the shoulders and giving the illusion of an actual huge gorilla neck musculature .
what were the advantages Bob and Kathy mentioned you ask ? Well, one is the weight ...The fiber-fill is almost weightless  !  Two, is flexibility..Because the Fiber-fill compresses so easily, your range of motion is barely affected by the padding !  The third and most important advantage is the entire under-suit is washable !!!  In past suits where I used glued in foam padding , once you soaked the foam with sweat, it was there to stay !  After wearing it a few times, you'd start to dread climbing into that wretched smelling suit...And let me tell ya, that is a stench you'll never forget !

A word on this : Proper hydration is the most important thing in the world to you when in the suit for any length of time. You literally sweat it out as fast as you can drink it. The serious danger here is sudden onset of dehydration, and possibly heatstroke. Yes it gets that hot ! It can be in the 70's temperature wise, but inside the suit, your cooking away at 90 to 100 degrees ! So, please keep that in mind when you are wearing any type of costume that completely encloses your body !
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate !  at least one gallon of WATER an hour....Believe  me, you will be thirsty enough to do it. In one movie shoot I did, over the course of three hours, I drank 3 gallons of water, and never had to pee once ! I want my new gorilla brothers and sisters to be healthy gorillas !

Now where were we...Oh yes, preventing the stench !
With the fiber-fill padding, you simply remove the sweat soaked under-shirt and toss it in the washing machine like any other laundry. I've washed mine about 30 times and I've  only had to fluff up the padding about three times, by squishing the polly-fill through by squeezing it around  by pressing your fingers into the flexible cloth, then pinching the stuffing inside and pulling out on it.
Another good rule of thumb is to bring one t-shirt for every hour in the suit. These will catch most of the sweat , then once you're soaked, pull the soggy shirt off, and put a fresh one on. You'll thank me for it !
So a couple more views of the basic padding with the fur suit on !...Before...

and after !

Pretty amazing no ?


and after....

So this will conclude the simple version of the padding , next time we'll tackle padding that's a bit trickier !  See you next time ...
Same ape time, same ape channel !

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Hey my mighty monkey minions !
As you can tell by the previous several posts, our illustrious founder of HGM has made his triumphant return after a long hiatus...Welcome back gorilla man !!!
I have also been missing for a while due to medical issues and other insane obligations...It's good to be back to titillate you with the latest and greatest Gorilla Men news !

First up is a great opportunity to participate in the production of a documentary about the American Tourister Gorilla himself, Mr. Don McLeod !
The documentary is the brainchild of Don's gorilla successor Adam Meir.
Adam has been Don's protege for several years now and has taken over the role of the American Tourister Gorilla !
Here are a few words from Adam himself about this fantastic project :

We are excited to announce that Project Greenlight and Seed&Spark have accepted our film, "Top Banana - The Most Famous Unknown Hollywood Actor" into its Untold Story contest!
We have been working on this film for two years. It is about Don McLeod, suit performer, mime, Japanese Butoh artist, poet and philosopher. He played one of the best werewolves of all time in The Howling. He was the American Tourister (Samsonite) gorilla in the classic television commercials. Film credits include Trading Places, Hook and Total Recall, to name a few.
NOTE! If you can't contribute that's no problem. But PLEASE click the FOLLOW button. We need 500 followers and then we get matching funds from the company!

Bongo again kids.... Gorilla Man and I make it our mission to get these hard working , under appreciated fur clad geniuses into the spotlight to keep a historical record of the greatest apes Hollywood has to offer...And Don is one of the best !
When the American Tourister commercials first aired in the 70's, Audiences where 100 % convinced it was the real thing they were seeing demolishing lesser brands of luggage.
 Of course the raging primate was thwarted by the indestructible construction of the American Tourister luggage .
The setup on the commercials was brilliant, the very first commercial was done with a real ape, though not a gorilla. The used an adult Chimpanzee for the job...Few people realize that the cute little chimps they see in movies and television are actually the equivalent of a human toddler. A full grown chimp is comparable in size to a full grown man ! 
Once the audience had seen this hirsute engine of destruction attempting to demolish the impervious luggage, the stage was set,  
Enter Don Mcleod !

The commercial producers, realized they needed a star that took direction better than the rampant chimp, so brilliant mime Don McLeod was brought in to take over the role. ( he studied under the great Marcel Marsceau ! )
 Don's skill as a mime made him ideal to convey the enormous power of a pissed off gorilla to tackle the luggage that defied all his attempts to destroy it. The producers also realized that while performance was the key,he also had to look absolutely real to complete the illusion.
This is where multiple Academy Award winning makeup effects legend Rick Baker got into the act.
Rick was no stranger to gorilla acting as he not only created the suit for, but also played the king himself in the 1976 Dino DeLaurentis production of King Kong.
Ricks skill in creating his gorilla suits, was just what was needed to complete Don's transformation from man to monkey !
Once Don was in the suit, he virtually ceased to exist !
So flawless was Dons performance, he was virtually indistinguishable from a living  breathing gorilla !
   ( Rick Baker and crew pose lovingly with Don On the one of the American Tourister commercials )
The american Tourister commercials are emblazoned in the minds of anyone growing up in the 70's and 80's. Don continued his gorilla hijinx in such classic films as Trading Places (1983 ), The Man with Two Brains (1983 ), Born to be Wild ( 1995 ) and Mom Can I Keep Her ( 1998 ) playing a female gorilla !

Dons most notorious outing as a great ape was in the 1980 production Tanya's Island.
Don's ape character "Blue" was an odd combination of gorilla, orangutan. and baboon. 
Blue's main objective was to mate with Tanya, played by the stunning D.D. Winters. ( Vanity, Prince's former girlfriend )

 The "Blue" costume reunited Don with master creature effects artist Rob Bottin, after have worked together in The Howling . Blue's look was like no other ape ever featured in film, and the bestiality implications brought Tonya's Island into nearly instant controversy from zealot like morality groups.
 Don's television performances have been no less impressive with feature gorilla roles in Tarzan: The Epic Adventures , Sheena, with Gena Lee Nolin, and The New Addams Family, stepping into the role of Gorgo the gorilla, originally played by HGM legend George Barrows !
So back to "Top Banana -The Most Famous Unknown Hollywood Actor".
This is an incredibly worthy cause for donating funds to help complete the film.
 Our contributions have helped fund " Beast Wishes, the legendary Bob Burns biopic " and JL Barnett's  " Charlie Gemora : Uncredited ".
Every dollar counts, so please be part of this incredible opportunity to showcase another Gorilla Man Great, Don McLeod !

In the not to distant future keep your eyes peeled for a post about the gorilla work of Don's friend, and 
 gorilla man successor

, Adam Meir himself !

Stay tuned, Same ape time, same ape channel !