Archive for the ‘Apes’ Category
My wife must really love me. Not only did she DVR the original “King Kong” for me tonight, but she let me watch the last half hour when I got home after a long day. She even said, “I recorded this for you, so you’ll watch it later, right?” but went ahead and left it on. For her to sit on the couch with me while an old ape movie is on, and while I’m reciting lines, making jokes and going, “Oh, man, what a cool movie!” — it’s gotta be love. And I really needed that kind of escape at the end of a Monday. Did you know that Jean Harlow and Joel McCrea were originally considered for the leading roles of Ann Darrow and Jack Driscoll? That’s what TCM’s Robert Osborne said.
I’m crazy about movie apes. I’ve always loved the “Planet of the Apes” movies and the realistic makeup that was used, but I also get a kick out of the cheap-looking gorilla costumes used in the B-movies of the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s. Yesterday, on the Cat Channel 29, the Son of Ghoul showed “Ghost Crazy” with Billy Gilbert, voice of Sneezy in Disney’s “Snow White,” and Shemp Howard, before he rejoined the Three Stooges.
I had never seen “Ghost Crazy” before. When it came on, I thought it was an East Side Kids movie, along the lines of “Ghosts on the Loose.” But it was a Monogram Picture directed by William Beaudine, who went on to director TV’s “Lassie” and “The Lone Ranger,” teaming Gilbert, Howard and former boxer Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom. What hooked me, though, was the fact there were two gorillas in the movie. One was “real” and the other fake.
Billy and Shemp play two carnies who put on a show where Billy’s the jungle hunter and Shemp is the gorilla. They also have a real gorilla, which gets away. Hijinks ensue when Billy can’t tell the difference between between real and fake ape.
Seeing the movie brought to mind a book-club book I bought years ago called, “Behind the Ape Ball”. Written by Phil Hirsch who authored a lot of books for young readers, the book is full of stills and publicity shots of movie gorillas. Each shot has a humorous “balloon” giving the look of a cartoon. Ape Billy 1 Ape Billy 2