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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]


  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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95 news items

Thu, 21 Aug 2014 12:14:23 -0700

However, about half of watchers missed a person in a gorilla suit walking in and out of the scene thumping its chest. This test has been replicated many times with similar results. Several years later Simons repeated the experiment with a twist. This ...
The Patriot-News - PennLive.com
Sun, 10 Aug 2014 13:15:00 -0700

A guy in a chicken suit meets a guy in a gorilla suit at a bar. In Harrisburg - at least on Sunday - that becomes a race, an oddball 0.5K race sponsored by the Harrisburg Keystone Rotary Club, to be exact. The costume race, three-legged race, and ...
Flagpole Magazine
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 21:07:30 -0700

No, I'm not kidding: It's Aguar in a gorilla suit holding a guitar and singing over the top of classic rock jams while they play on old 8-track tapes. Whatever, bro; it's art. And for those of you already years in the know, congrats on being olds! Also ...
The Plain Dealer - cleveland.com (blog)
Mon, 25 Aug 2014 11:56:15 -0700

The "zombies" came courtesy of Bloodview Haunted House in Broadview Heights, while the woman in the gorilla suit represented Papandreas Orthodonics. Beginning at St. Albert the Great Church, 6667 Wallings Road, the parade lasted over an hour, and ...
The Missoulian
Sun, 24 Aug 2014 09:18:45 -0700

He even had a gorilla suit made for him that he used at the TV station and later to frighten grandchildren and many a delighted trick-or-treater. He lived and explained the Grand Essentials of life to all up until his very last day: Something to do ...
IAB UK (blog)
Thu, 28 Aug 2014 09:52:30 -0700

The age of content-only driven, social media-enabled advertising arrived in digital when Cadbury's threw a gorilla suit on a bloke to mime-drum to Phil Collins' 'In the Air Tonight'. My digital equivalent of BBH's Flat Eric for Levi's. 5. And, likewise ...
Billings Gazette
Thu, 21 Aug 2014 05:08:23 -0700

Wearing a gorilla suit, John Parkes rappelled off the First Interstate Bank Tower in Billings with his 83-year-old mother Mimi in 2012. And this year they're doing it again. Until recently, there was concern that Mimi, now 85, wouldn't be able to ...

Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney Morning Herald
Sun, 10 Aug 2014 20:55:40 -0700

The Sun-Herald City2Surf presented by Westpac is officially a 14-kilometre running course from the centre of Sydney to Bondi Beach, but Rob Stanley-Jones reckons he and his gorilla suit had covered at least 16 kilometres by the time they shuffled down ...

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