Monday, March 29, 2010


The Martian scare on the radio which Orson Welles gave a gullible listening audience some years ago is still the topic of conversation around the country. However, it fades into insignificance beside the thrills and scares given the citizenry of peaceful Thorton, Indiana, not long ago when rumours of a gorilla on the loose began to circulate throughout the quiet countryside. Some reputably sober citizens reported seeing a beast and even provided minute descriptions. Swimming holes and fishing spots suddenly began to loose customers and the local schools reported a startling decline in truancy and deaths of Grandmas. Then, without warning, as the temperature soared to the 90's, a massive, heavy-coated gorilla plodded down the almost deserted main street of the town. Merchants rushed out with shotguns, farmers left their plows, barber shop customers stopped handicapping, and some of the less hardy souls fainted. What might have happened to the gorilla is anyones guess. He was saved when he pulled off his head, revealed himself as reporter Lloyd Walton, fotog for the Indianapolis Times. His paper just wanted to know how a small town would react to a gorilla in it's midst.

'Gorilla!' Picture Show 1949

I bought a 1949 issue of PICTURE SHOW magazine thinking that the article titled GORILLA! would feature the usual sort of Beauty and Beast fare that would be typical of most vintage cheesecake rags. I was certainly surprised to find no half dressed maiden menaced by an ape, but rather a goofy stunt engineered to produce a few silly photos. Although the gorilla suit is not even remotely realistic, if Lloyd did indeed go traipsing through the bushes of small town America, he is damn fortunate he did not get his ass full of buckshot.
Reading the piece I could not help but think of Karloff and Corrigan in 1940's THE APE, a Poverty Row study of one mad doctor's desire to heal humanity by murderously rampaging about town in a gorilla suit harvesting spinal fluid needed for his research. The clip below features Frankenstein vs Ape - once victorious, Boris skins the creature to create the aforementioned suit.

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