Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bob Finally gets his Chance !

My dear friend , and gorilla mentor Bob Burns has related the tale of his first "professional" gorilla man job in both of his books ( It came from Bobs Basement) and( Monster Kid Memories) and several articles as well. The story tells not only of Bobs entry into the industry, but also his first "run-in" with Hungarian gorilla man Janos Prohaska. Janos had a major television career in the 60's on such shows as Outer Limits, Star Trek, Gilligans Island, and he played "cookie the Bear" on the Andy Williams Show. As such , Janos wasn't too cool on the idea of a new gorilla man muscling in on his jobs. Bob was hired to play a gorilla on the Mickey Rooney show. Janos Prohaska was already cast in the role of another gorilla. Having set the stage, I'll let Bob take over in his own words, describing the story of the episode, and the behind the scenes antics.
Take it away Bob !

OK, well, Mickey Rooney tries to get into MGM studios to see if they will use his marina store to shoot a TV show. He has no appointment so the guard tosses he and his pal, Bobby Van, off the lot. When leaving they spot a guy walking in with a gorilla (me). Mickey gets the idea to rent an ape suit for Bobby and walk right in to the studio after waving to the guard. The ape suit is awful but it fools the folks on the lot. A workman tells Mickey to put the "ape" in a holding stage along with a chimp (Stuntman Jesse Wayne) and another gorilla (me). , I'm supposed to be a female gorilla as I make a pass at Bobby in the ape suit. He freaks and runs out. A man brings in another gorilla (Janos) and puts him where Bobby was. Of course, Mickey comes in a grabs the wrong gorilla (Janos) a takes him to the set where the director is working who Mickey wants him to shoot the show at his store. It goes crazy from there as the real gorilla tosses the director out of a window.
When I first met Janos on the set I could tell that he didn't care for me or my gorilla suit. He walked over and picked up Kogar's head and looked inside to see what the "mechanism" was to operate the mouth. So I went over and started to look inside his head and he suddenly grabbed it out of my hands and said that "no one looked inside of his head". I said "well you looked in mine". He said that was different as he was a "professional" gorilla man. I thought what the hell I'm I a piece of cheese? anyway the day went down hill from there. I was happy though as it was my way first ("professional") gorilla job and my way into the Screen Actors Guild
I ended up staying late that night to re shoot most of Janos's scenes because, I'll just say that Mickey, the producer, and the real director liked me and my suit a lot more than Janos.
Anyway, A few months ago my Friend, Tom Woodruff Jr., Who is now the best gorilla in the business ended up with Janos' gorilla suit. I had told him the story of how I never got to see inside of Janos' head so he brought it over to my place so I could finally see inside of the head. I looked and said Ahh... Crap his head is just like mine. No fancy stuff at all. All of those years ago I wondered why he didn't want me to see it. I bet he was really bummed to see it was just like mine.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hello Wilbuuuurrr!

Alan Young of "Mister Ed" fame, appears clad in gorilla fur in the 1955 classic film "Gentlemen Marry Brunettes !"

Joining Mr. Young are Jane Russell, and Jeanne Crain, ( the brunettes), as well as Rudy Vallee, Guy Middleton, and Scott Brady.

Why is he dressed as an ape you ask ? I have no idea...But judging by the way the ladies are dressed I may have to do my gorilla duty and give it a view sometime.

This photo was brought to our attention by the great George "E-Gor" Chastain , a friend to gorilla men everywhere ! Eagle Eyed "E-Gor"is a great supporter of our cause, and keeps us alerted to all the gorilla goodies he finds !

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Maddening monkey mystery !

There is a great deal of satisfaction in solving a mystery or puzzle that has been tormenting you for a long time. We at Hollywood Gorilla Men make it our quest to find the names and faces of those who've thrilled us with their astounding examples of superior simian cinema.

Occasionally though, there are those that despite our best efforts remain a mystery.

Gorilla Man and myself call upon knowledgeable friends in the pursuit of answers on many occasions, and now I'd like to call on any and all of our friends and gorilla fans out there to help solve this Monkey Mystery !

The gorilla in the photo appears in the serial "Tim Tylers Luck". The same gorilla is also featured in the serial "Terry and the Pirates" and the Mickey Rooney short "Mickey's Apeman". There are others I'm sure, but these are the ones that come to mind. Our good friend and master gorilla man Bob Burns was queried as to this gorilla's identity, but Bob doesn't have any record of it in his considerable gorilla files.

Soooo, this is where you, our friends can help ! If you have any information in regards to this gorilla's secret identity, please drop us a note in the comments below.

Thank you for your help and assistance in getting these hard working gorilla men the recognition they so richly deserve !

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Take the Monkey and Run !

There are damned few things in life more appealing to me than the thought of seeing Woody Allen pummeled by a gorilla. In Woody's 1969 movie "Take the Money and Run " you get to see the Hairy Hungarian Janos Prohaska attempt to do just that ! ( get 'im Janos ! )

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Satan meets the Scream Queen !

Satan the Gorilla (AKA you old pal Bongo ) of "Return of Nyoka " captures "scream queen" Linnea Quigley at the Real Terror Film Festival .
Living up to her title, Linnea shrieked so loud, I nearly lost control of several bodily functions. Footage of the event can be seen on the "bonus materials " menu of
the Sequel "Nyoka Rides Again " available now at cultretro.com.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Could it be......Satan !

A deadly catfight erupts in the jungle !

The dreaded " Catfightus Interuptus" attacks !
Hey !, Watch it with that fighting staff lady !
All right !, I warned you ! Up you go !

Are you enjoying the view up there ?

Awwww crap ! That's not fair !

Guess what gorilla gang..... your old buddy Bongo is back as Satan the gorilla in the next TWO exciting chapters of "Nyoka the Jungle Girl" !

The last Chapter"Return of Nyoka the jungle Girl" left off with Nyoka about to be sacrificed beneath descending blade of a giant pendulum ! With time running out, Nyoka struggles furiously against the chains that bind her courtesy of the villainous Crimson Skull. She has managed to free her legs , and hands, but is bound tight by a metal collar around her neck. The deadly blade begins its final descent, Nyoka lets loose a bloodcurdling scream, and THEN?? To be continued next chapter ! Drat and double drat ! Darned cliffhangers !

Old Bongo has a tendancy to wax nostalgic about things like this, so I'll let the good folks at cultretro about this next thrilling chapter !

[ Statuesque beauty Nicola Rae returns as daring jungle heroine Nyoka Gordon as she once again battles the maniacal Crimson Skull for possession of the mystical Amulet of Vultura! When our heroine disrupts the villain's scheme to control the gorilla Satan, the Crimson Skull conspires to use the Amulet to resurrect Queen Vultura herself (the classic villainess from the original 1940's serial). The Skull requires a new host body for Vultura's evil spirit and he sets out to capture and use Nyoka Gordon for this nefarious purpose, but our intrepid adventuress isn't going to make it easy for him. An epic jungle chase ensues as heroine and villain exchange ambushes, punches, kicks and gunfire... all building to our big finale featuring Nyoka versus the Crimson Skull on horseback racing through the jungle!
This chapter (as with ALL serials) begins with opening title cards that explain everything you need to know to jump right into the story and enjoy this film even if you have not yet seen the others.
Serial fans are gonna LOVE IT! And if you're new to the cliffhanger genre... you'll love it too!!! Nyoka the Jungle Girl Rides Again is fast, exciting, sexy and fun... it's everything you love about comic book and serial adventures brought to life by micro-budget film mavericks Bill Black and JohnJG! Special Notes: We didn't want to make a sequel to our 2009 release The Return of Nyoka the Jungle Girl unless we thought we had a chance of making the next installment even bigger and better than the first. When the opportunity to film our serial heroine ON A HORSE fell into place, we knew this was exactly what we needed to kick things up to an all new level of excitement and adventure. Star Nicola Rae puts her stage combat training to good use and really takes her lumps in this one with an impressive display of physical acting that would make Davey Sharpe proud. We had her jumping out of trees in high-heeled boots, riding horseback, rolling head-over-heels on the ground and throwing kicks and punches like a world-class serial queen. Pierce Knightley also "rides again" and delivers the over-the-top goods as Nyoka's nemesis The Crimson Skull. You can't have a Nyoka serial without Satan the Gorilla and he is once again brought to life by professional gorilla man Chris Casteel. Erik Matthews joins the cast as the under-appreciated henchman Hunt Reardon. And introducing Autumn Sage as Rulah, a mysterious and enigmatic new adventuress with swashbuckling charm and ferocious fighting skills. Directors Bill Black and JohnJG channel the serials of old to create an all new thrill-a-minute adventure for one of cinemas most enduring action heroines. Don't miss it!]

Wow, what can I add to that ? This was a really fun project for everyone involved. We filmed on one of the coldest days of the year ( for Florida) so poor Nicola was literaly freezing her butt off, in her skimpy outfit.

Meanwhile,I was quite comfortable in 45 lbs of latex, fur, and padding ! This was quite a contrast to the first film, when it was over 100 degrees and I was dying in the suit !

I was happy about the lower temps because I was able to focus more on having fun with the character, and the subtle nuances involved rather than just trying to survive.

I think the fun we had shows through on film , as everyone really had a blast making it.

Available now at ;

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kogar makes a call !

We'll take a moment to break up the recent posts chronicling the exploits of outer space gorilla men for a moment of monkey mirth from the master !

Saturday, October 8, 2011


George Barrows as the Supreme Guidance !

This is how RO-MAN's helmet appears in "Phanom from Space "

Help ! You gotta be pretty horned up, not to notice that standing behind you ! Bob Burns and friend, from Robot Monster, the Special Edition ! Modern gorilla man Tom Woodruff, getting "bubbled" by Joe Dante, from"Looney Toons, Back In Action "!

Wow, what can you say about this "classic" that hasn't been said already. For a long time this flick has been fodder for the Golden Turkey Awards, Mystery Science Theatre, and countless blogs and websites who are perfectly content on ripping it to shreds.

The budget constraints are legendary as this production was so tight on it's budget that the couldn't afford to build, ( or even rent) a suitable robot costume. Enter George Barrows, who with his gorilla suit provided the "Monster" part of the title. Now came the hard part, the "Robot" part of the equation.

The helmet, which is now part of our old friend Bob Burns' collection, has an interesting side note, the same helmet was also used in the film "Phantom from Space". Both films were released in 1953, and the primary difference in appearance is the fact that they used it facing opposite directions ! "Phantom" had the little air tanks in front, While "Robot Monster" had them in back.

The face plate ( hole) for robot monster was enlarged to be a rather large circle, where in "Phantom it had only a narrow side-ways oval shape . Add a set of 50's television antennae and voila' , Robot Monster !

George Barrows turns in one of his greatest performances as RO-MAN, evil invader. Rather than surrounding himself in a cloud of awesome evil, he instead surrounds himself with a cloud of happy bubbles! ( brought to you courtesy of N.A.Fischer Chemical Products, "Billion Bubble Machine ! ) And yes, the bubble thingee actually got screen credit !

The story is a rather dismal post apocalyptic , invasion story. The entire population of the Earth (except for 5 people) have been wiped out by RO-MAN, and his mysterious ray device. The 5 survivors are hiding is a basement to a house that had been blasted apart. With no roof over them, they still manage to hide from RO-MAN, even though the are like less than a mile from each other. RO-MAN's boss, THE SUPREME GUIDANCE, orders RO-MAN to finish off those pesky HU-MANS once and for all.

After launching brutal attacks with fearsome giant reptiles (stock footage from old dinosaur movies) to no avail ,RO-MAN then decides to take matters into his own hands and proceeds to throttle the life out of any one of our heroes he is lucky enough to find alone. Even the little boy ! What a dirty S.O.B.!

As fate would have it, the plan runs into a snag when RO-MAN is ordered to dispatch the one thing that is like Kryptonite to all gorillas, and gorilla robot invaders. The hot chick !

See : RO-MAN fall in love! - See RO-MAN tie her up and tear her blouse off ! - See RO_MAN get his ass handed to him by the SUPREME GUIDANCE !

WOW! What a movie !

The Character of RO-MAN has been performed not only by George Barrows, but also by Bob Burns in "Robot Monster the special edition ", and most recently by modern gorilla man Tom Woodruff in Joe Dante's "Looney Tunes Back in Action".

Where will fate take RO-MAN next ? No one knows for sure !

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Madhouse of Mystery

A popular venue for the ol' Gorilla and Girl act were the spook shows that roamed America beginning in the 1930's. Dr. Neff's Madhouse of Mystery appears to be one of the more enduring acts that thrilled audiences with magic and a variety of ghoulish gags. Neff was based out of Indiana and performed there well into the 1950's. The outlandish gorilla and girl photo was recently listed on Ebay and I offer my thanks to George Chastain for the heads up on the pic.

Bill Neff's Madhouse of Mystery - gorilla and girl

Bill Neff's Madhouse of Mystery 1952

Bill Neff's Madhouse of Mystery 1950 Indiana

Bill Neff's Madhouse of Mystery Indiana 48

Neff's spook show 1947

Bill Neff's Madhouse of Mystery 1948 girl

Dr. Neff's Midnite Spook Show

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

More Monster Matrimony

To accompany the Mighty Bongo's last post on Gemora and I MARRIED A MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE here's a nice complement of ephemera from the film.

I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958) still 2

I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958) still 1

I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958) Window Card

I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958) 6 Sheet

I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958) Lobby Card set

I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958) 1 sheet Belgian

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Married A Monster from Outer Space

A face only a mother ( or SCI-FI fan ) could love.

After the success of his beautifully crafted martian from War of the Worlds,Charlie Gemora followed it up with the memorable "space monster" from the 1958 classic ,"I Married a Monster from Outer Space". Tom Tryon and Gloria Talbott star in this odd story of creepy aliens possesing humans for arcane cross breeding "experiments".
After their honeymoon, Gloria Talbott starts noticing odd behaviour in her new husband (Tryon). Taking her concerns to her friends, all the women in town,who have recently had children, start notice all their hubbys acting in a weird, distant manner. All the men folk have been "replaced" by alien invaders who can assume the identity of anyone. The original husbands are secretly kept prisoner in a catatonic state back at the saucer( where else?) Soon the wives get the drift of whats going on, and the hunt is on to kill the aliens, and rescue the captured hubbys.

The aliens in the film were the handy work of our old gorilla hero, Charles Gemora.The look of the aliens was fantastic,with an organic, almost plantlike feel to it. Even today, the alien would not look out of place in any outer space cantina you may happen to find yourself in.
   Charlie not only designed and built the costumes used in the film, but played the alien as well. Charlies ability to use "Body English" was pushed to the limits here as not only could his eyes not be seen , to convey emotion, but he could barely move the head at all. Things like a simple tilt of the head can go a long way to help convey feeling, and without that as an option, Charlie really showed his skill as an actor, through the use of movement with the rest of his body to get his point across.

Note the size difference between Tom Tryon, and Charlie Gemora as the alien.
An infinitely more imposing shot of Charlie, who was standing on a box, while Tryon and Gloria Talbott are in a seated position.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Crash, the Terror from Beyond Space!

   One of my favorite pastimes as a kid was the weekly viewing of "Creature Features", on Saturdays at Midnight , followed up by "Science Fiction Theater", on Sundays at 11:00 AM. One film that rotated on both programs was the classic "It, The Terror From Beyond Space."

   Master monkey monster Ray "Crash" Corrigan played the title character in this fiendishly frightening flik! The human cast was led by heroic Marshall Thompson, with Shirley Patterson, Kim Spaulding and Dabbs Greer along for the horrifying fun.The rest of the cast are quite well acted, in this thriller that many have called the prototype for the movie "ALIEN".

  As the story unfolds, a spacecraft is on a rescue mission to find survivors of a previous expedition to Mars. They find a lone survivor (Thompson) who claims that the rest of his party was wiped out by an unseen creature during a sandstorm. The crew of the rescue ship aren't buying it and blast off intent on turning old Marshall over for a court martial, and murder charges to boot! While cruising back to Earth, members of the crew start disappearing, and they soon discover that Thompson wasn't the only one that they up back on Mars. You guessed it, "IT"was aboard ! (cue scary music). Before you can say "Sigourney Weaver" panic was running rampant through the ship as the crew searched desperately to find the deadly nemesis before "IT" decimated the entire crew! The remaining survivors then......sorry, I'm not going to tell you, you've got to see "IT" yourself, if you dare !

  But I WILL tell you about how Crash Corrigan became a monster from mars !.

  Paul Blaisdell and Bob"Kogar"Burns, had the job of creating the beastly costume for Corrigan. They had asked for Corrigan to come to Blaisdell's studio to have accurate measurements taken to assure a proper fit of the costume. Corrigan instead sent a pair of his long underwear to Blaisdell as a guide.

  With a near impossible deadline hurtling towards them,(and unable to wait for Ray to change his mind), Paul and Bob stuffed the long underwear as best as they could and proceeded to fashion a suit on it out of hundreds of rubber pieces they had molded to simulate the creatures reptilian hide. Since they didn't have a life cast to sculpt the head on, Paul used the cast at hand (His own head !) to sculpt the fearsome features of the creature. When the suit was delivered to the studio, the real nightmares began. The suit needed to be altered substantially to fit Ray, who was a good deal bigger than the had imagined. The worst part was the head. Remember , it was sculpted on a cast of Paul's head. Paul Blaisdell, was a little guy, both in stature, and in build. On the other hand Ray Corrigan was a huge guy, well over 6' tall, and a stocky muscular build. When Ray tried to put on the head, he nearly destroyed in the process. After several alterations and adjustments, the head finally made it on, but the mighty Corrigan chin protruded out of the mouth. Paul's solution was ingenious as he quickly fashioned a set of lower teeth that covered the bottom of Ray's chin, then he painted Ray's chin red to look like a tongue.

  Bob related to me his memories of following Ray around with a can of contact cement, to constantly repair the damage to the suit from Ray going full out destroying props, sets, actors, etc. The production caused a lot of grief for Paul as he did a lot of extra work to help out Ray Corrigan, (including building a separate arm for the monster, so Ray didn't have to wear the whole suit when only the arm would show.)
Even with all this effort put forth by Blaisdell, he was eventually not allowed on the set, per some union regulation , and Bob was left to attend to the repairs on his own.

 But despite all the traumatic goings on behind the scenes, "IT" still remains a true classic of SCI-FI cinema !




IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE (1958) lobby card 2


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ape from the Red Planet

WAR OF THE WORLDS - Pocket Book Movie Tie-In Paperback, 1953

Charles Gemora spent most of his time on film frolicking about in a fur coat but on a few occasions he used his modest size and effects wizardry to create creatures very different from the gorilla suits that became increasingly realistic as his talents matured. Perhaps his most widely known cinematic contribution would be his creation of the Martian from George Pal's THE WAR OF THE WORLDS. Charlie not only built the truly 'alien' suit but also crammed himself into it and executed a memorable performance with the assistance of his young daughter, Diana. Diana Fox Jones recollected the tale of the WOTW filming to film writer Tom Weaver, sharing her memory of the frantic last minute alterations that led to Charlie pulling a challenging all nighter at the Paramount studio. The barely finished monster from the Red Planet damn near fell to pieces as cameras rolled. You can read more about Charles Gemora and the filming of the classic farmhouse scene on the Google Books app below:

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS (1953) Martian costume construction

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS (1953) Martian costume construction

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS (1953) Martian costume construction - Charles Gemora enters the suit