Mechanical Secrets of Movie Gorillas (Nov, 1933)

This magazine was published the same year King Kong was released. I wonder if this is one of the masks from the movie?

Mechanical Secrets of Movie Gorillas

EVER wonder how a Hollywood make-up man converts an actor into a terrifying-ly realistic gorilla in those fascinating jungle pictures you watch on the silver screen?

A study of the photos above will give you an idea of what goes on behind a gorilla face. Mechanics have devised a set of mechanical facial bones and muscles which act as the skeleton for a leather “skin” which make-up men put on.

A simple set of levers on the mechanism and a strip clamping over the lower teeth enable the actor to open and close his huge gorilla jaws like the real beast of the jungle. A special strap over the eyes gives the beetle browed effect.

3 comments
  1. MAKE: Blog says: August 2, 20061:34 am

    Mechanical secrets of movie gorillas…

    Here’s a little bit about how they made movie gorillas from Modern Mechanix 1933 – handy if you’re going to (re)make a costume – Link…….

  2. Keith says: April 15, 20086:36 pm

    The gorilla suit pictured on the right appears to be the one used in MGM’s “Tarzan and His Mate” (1934) and “Hollywood Party” (1933). No gorilla suit of any kind appeared in the 1933 King Kong, only 18 inch stop motion models of the ape, and an enormous head, hand and foot for shots with Fay Wray and other actors.

  3. Jeff Carlson says: March 23, 20099:08 am

    That apparatus is the handiwork of unsung Hollywood “Ape Man”, Charley Gemora who is also pictured wearing it.

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