ORIGINALLY POSTED 7-28-2008
For those of you unfamiliar with my deep admiration for the greatest of all Gorilla Men, the diminutive Charles Gemora, you need to check out the tribute site I have constructed with the aid of his surviving daughter Diana. I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to open a regular dialogue with the little lady who not only had an ape for a father, but who also helped him keep his fur well combed! Diana was a Studio child through and through, raised amongst the cameras and fairy tales, who eventually earned her pay on the Disney lot and later as an artist herself.
It was quite a long journey before I managed to finally speak to Charlie's only daughter (he also had 2 sons) but the relationship that has grown was an unexpected reward. Her warmth and generosity is boundless, as is her enthusiasm for what her father accomplished during his tenure as one of Hollywood's premier effects and make-up man ( oh yeah, and there was that gorilla thing too!). I have to reign in the praise less I seem disingenuous but Diana is truly a special woman.
Recently she sent me a treasure trove of photos that were printed from files passed along to her from Bob Burns. I was stunned to flip through the tidy stack of Kodak prints and realize that the majority were images I have not seen before. With Diana's blessing, I am thrilled to post the images for others to enjoy. I will work through the stills in the coming months, posting the images with additional videos or relevant info and links.
THE CHIMP (1932)generally gets short thrift from Laurel and Hardy fans but I think that it's a great example of Charlie's comic genius. According to Diana, the legendary comic duo loved working with the wee Filipino and an autographed photo shot with Stan, Ollie and Belle (Charlie's wife) demonstrates their affection aptly. The gorilla antics in this short are roundly impressive - it's no surprise Charlie worked with Tinsel Town's funniest stars during his aping career.