Saturday, November 23, 2013

Dale Park !...Video Game Gorilla Man !

Hiya Gorilla Gang !

This time we're going to talk about a gorilla man you probably haven't heard of, but have probably seen before...assuming you were around in the70's and 80's that is.

Dale Park,!!  
Dale was primarily an actor stuntman in Hollywood who was originally from Decatur Illinois.
As a young man, Dale was an athlete, which no doubt helped in his stunt career.
Along the way he got the gorilla bug and had a custom suit constructed to his specifications.

Dale's suit was very unique in design, as the head and neck were tapered into the body.
This gave the suit a nice thick neck that looked very realistic, but it sacrificed any flexibility of the head.  Dales suit also was an early attempt so show the varying fur lengths of the real animal. The arms and shoulders were very long fur, while the body fur was about an inch long. While this was accurate to a real gorilla, it didn't always come off so well on camera , but overall I thought it was a pretty cool looking suit.
Dale did a fair amount of appearances as "Grunt" the Gorilla in commercials and television.
He also played apes in two movies, " Mistress of the Apes " ( 1979 ) , and also " Mr. Too Little" (1978 ).
 In the movie "Fire And Ice" (1983) Dale played a Subhuman.
His Television appearances include the Educational Television program, "Mathnet" ( A mathematical take off of Dragnet). Dale appeared as Grunt the Gorilla in the episode : "The Problem of the Missing Monkey" (1987)
In the TV sitcom "Rags to Riches", Dale got to be one of 3 gorillas in an episode. Dale teamed with Legendary Gorilla Man Bob Burns, and Gorilla man, special effects genius Steve Neill.
                           Steve Neill, Dale Park, and Bob Burns on the set of Rags to riches.
Bob, Steve, and Dale taking a breather between takes.
Cooling down !
Spoiled rich kids, about to get a gorilla dunking !

 Here are Bob's thoughts about Dale Park ;

[ Dale was a great stunt man. After his gorilla suit days he worked for Roy Rogers at his museum. He played Gabby hayes for the people who came through the place.
 When the museum closed Dale kept playing Gabby and continued that role or at least the last time I saw him in the photo below. Republic studios celebrated their 75th anniversary in 2010. I hadn't seen Dale in years and all of a sudden behind me I heard a voice that sounded Like Gabby Hayes say "How you doin Bobby".
 It was Dale looking very much like Gabby. It was so great to see him. He is one of the nice guys in the business. ]

[ The above photo is Dale in his gorilla suit. I don't know who made it 
for him. It's not the best gorilla suit but he put a lot of body 
English into it. He used to know Ray Corrigan so I'm sure that he got 
a few pointers from him.
I hope this puts some light on another gorilla man.]

Now you may be asking why I called this the Video Game gorilla ?
In the 80's Dale was the mascot for the Parker Brothers video game, AMIDAR.
Dale appeared both in print ads, and a national TV commercial.
This is where I first saw Dale's gorilla, and I made a vow to find out who this guy was.
Here are screen caps from the commercial..

And this is the commercial itself...Take note of Dale's body English, especially his loping run at the begining, he was a master !
I 'm glad I was able to find out who Dale was, and a little about him. Like all Gorilla men, each and everyone one of them, deserve a place in the spotlight !


  1. I have clips from both Rags to Riches and Mathnet in my gorilla video collection. Great to see the behind the scenes photos from the shooting after all these years.

    What isn't mentioned in this post is that the three young women in the Rags to Riches episode were masquerading as gorillas in this particular episode and so they had to wear these three gorilla suits as well in a few shots where their heads were off.

    I've always thought Steve Neill's suit was awesome. I have a couple of clips of his gorilla appearances in my collection as well and he always had a good 'take' on the role.

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