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A man wearing a gorilla suit.

Gorilla suits are full-bodied costumes resembling gorillas. Gorilla suits have been used both to represent real gorillas in film and on stage, and also as a source of humour. The gorilla suit is a popular Halloween and masquerade party costume.

An actor in a gorilla suit spars with an actor in a Gamera costume at CONvergence (convention).

Gorilla suit performance involves pantomime, wearing a heavy costume, broad physical comedy skills, and a partial suspension of disbelief, while still playing on the very artifice involved. In this respect, gorilla suits are not far removed from puppetry.


The early history of the art of gorilla impersonation dates at least to the late 1920s, with the rise of Charles Gemora, an early practitioner of the art in such short films as Circus Lady and the Our Gang entry Bear Shooters. In later decades, in addition to abounding in B movies such as Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla, the gorilla suit came to prominence in television, in a wide range of series, from 1960s sitcoms like The Addams Family (as seen in the episode "Morticia Joins the Ladies League") and The Beverly Hillbillies, which typically attempted to present their gorillas as "real," to more recent series such as L.A. Law and Scrubs, which have contrived to have regular characters don the primate costume.

In 1869, Noah Brooks' short story, "Mr. Columbus Coriander's Gorilla" appeared in Bret Harte's "Overland Monthly Magazine." The story concerned a young man employed at a menagerie dressed in a gorilla suit. It is mistakenly credited to Max Adeler.

In recent decades, the work of performers or designers have altered the mechanics and effect of gorilla suits, often using animatronics, taxidermy eyes, realistic fur, and other aides. Jim Henson utilized typical gorilla suits and never a full-bodied gorilla Muppet in several productions (like in Time Piece, The Cube, some episodes of Sesame Street, and the "Avery Schreiber" episode of The Muppet Show). The person inside the gorilla suit is often uncredited. Jim Henson's Creature Shop has contributed to this development in its own way, through work on Buddy, George of the Jungle, and MirrorMask. Many suit performers of Jim Henson's characters portrayed gorillas in other productions.

A gorilla suit is usually used to portray a gorilla in some episodes of Gilligan's Island.

National Gorilla Suit Day[edit]

In 1963, Don Martin published National Gorilla Suit Day in a collection Don Martin Bounces Back, in which Fester Bestertester mocks the (then fictitious) concept of a National Gorilla Suit Day, and suffers a series of incredible assaults from gorillas and other creatures in gorilla and other suits.

Subsequently, Don Martin fans have celebrated National Gorilla Suit Day on January 31.[1][2]


A gorillagram is a gift message, similar to a singing telegram, but delivered by a performer dressed in a gorilla suit.

Many entertainment companies worldwide have offered gorillagrams and continue to do so. In Australia, the costumes include a heavy crash helmet, introduced after the recipient of one gorillagram, believing the gorilla to be real, rendered the actor unconscious by use of a typewriter (which was destroyed and the actor hospitalised).[citation needed] A gorillagram company run by Clive Gibbons has been an important plot element in episodes of Neighbours.

Great Gorilla Run[edit]

The 2013 Great Gorilla Run passing through Tower Bridge

This informal running event, organized by the Gorilla Organization, is held in September each year in London. The aim of the event is to raise funds for the preservation of the habitat of the wild mountain gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Participants receive a Gorilla Suit to wear and are encouraged to create a fancy dress to add to the suit. The run is approximately 7 km around the City of London and has raised almost £2m since the first run in 2003.[3]

Notable people in gorilla suits[edit]


  1. ^ "news from me - ARCHIVES - November 23, 2007". Newsfromme.com. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  2. ^ "It's National Gorilla Suit Day - VIDEO". Aoltv.com. 2007-01-31. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  3. ^ "The Great Gorilla Run". greatgorillarun.org. Retrieved 2013-04-14. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorilla_suit — Please support Wikipedia.
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67 news items

Sun, 23 Mar 2014 02:56:15 -0700

My Aunt Rose Mary has appeared in this column before. She was spotted most recently in a gorilla suit, planning to have a little fun and scare some kids on Halloween. Instead she ended up getting chased down the streets of Douglaston, N.Y., by a mob of ...

Above the Law

Above the Law
Tue, 15 Apr 2014 09:52:30 -0700

They'll even dress up to do it, in anything from a tuxedo and top hat to a gorilla suit! Singing telegrams spread cheer by bringing laughs into the workplace, home, public engagement, or party. You can hire 'Marilyn Monroe' to sing Happy Birthday to ...
WLWT Cincinnati
Sun, 30 Mar 2014 06:24:38 -0700

Each registration included a complimentary gorilla suit and entry to the Silverback After Party at the Montgomery Inn Boathouse, where participants enjoyed lunch, a beer garden with live music and an awards ceremony with additional fun family activities.
New Zealand Herald
Sun, 13 Apr 2014 15:41:15 -0700

He showed a BuzzFeed headline: "Man In A Banana Suit At Large After Attacking A Man In A Gorilla Suit." Tozzi talks proudly of how BuzzFeed has become known for coverage of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual transsexual) stories and for tackling the scourge ...

WKRC TV Cincinnati

WKRC TV Cincinnati
Thu, 27 Mar 2014 14:27:13 -0700

Race Participant Joe Zeinner said, "So how hard is it to run in a gorilla suit? It's not as hard as you think, and it's pretty fun, so it's worth it!" Gorillas and other primates are fun and fascinating to watch. But in addition to that, we all could ...


Wed, 02 Apr 2014 11:36:53 -0700

With a gorilla suit, an extremely creepy clown mask and a few unsuspecting co-workers, the Joe Gibbs Racing team really got into the April Fools' Day spirit. Post by Joe Gibbs Racing. Seriously, that clown mask is nightmare fuel. Shake And Bake \ Joe ...
Yale Daily News (blog)
Fri, 11 Apr 2014 00:37:13 -0700

A student in a gorilla suit accosted pedestrians as they passed Berkeley College on Elm Street, tossing banana peels at their feet. He chased one passerby down Elm Street, causing her to scream and take refuge in the bushes lining Berkeley College ...

Cincinnati CityBeat

Cincinnati CityBeat
Tue, 25 Mar 2014 11:22:08 -0700

A complementary gorilla suit is included, which should be reason enough to participate. Online registration ($15-$110) is available and race-day registration will be from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Race begins at 11 a.m. Montgomery Inn Boathouse, 925 Riverside ...

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