Apparently last night on Dancing with the Stars (Monday, 8PM ET on ABC), Bristol Palin and her dance partner Mark Ballas performed a routine to the theme song of The Monkees, dressed in a Gorilla costume (1). Where else has a gorilla suit made its presence known in pop culture?
Trading Places (2): In the 1983 comedy Trading Places starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, there is a scene in a train car where Jim Belushi is dressed in head-to-toe gorilla attire for a Halloween party (or maybe just a regular ol’ costume party).
Charles Gemora (3): Hollywood makeup artist Charles Gemora was the original “King of the Gorilla Men” for his roles on screen in a gorilla suit during the 1930s through 50s. He even studied gorillas at the San Diego zoo.
Steve Calvert (4): Old Stevie (as I like to call him) also made a name for himself during the 30s and 40s for his gorilla performances in films such as Bride of the Gorilla, Panther Girl of the Congo, and Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla.
Phoenix Suns Mascot (5): The mascot of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns is simply called The Gorilla. This dude in a gorilla suit first appeared in 1980 and is known for his high flying dunks. He was inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame in 2005.
These people are mean (6): Six days ago in New York, two dudes in gorilla suits (and one in a chicken costume) stole some poor kid’s bike.
Demetri Martin (7): He’s a comedian. And a damn funny one at that. Here he tells us why there’s nothing better than skiing in a gorilla suit.
The Venture Bros (8): Is the greatest show on television, by the way. They also had a reference to a gorilla suit in the recent episode “The Diving Bell and the Butter Glider“. The Monarch (arch nemesis and regular annoyance to the Venture family), says that fellow super villain and now cancer-stricken King Gorilla resembles a “gorilla suit with nobody in it wearing David Byrne’s Stop Making Sense Suit”. Lead singer of the Talking Heads, David Byrne, wore an over sized suit for one song during their 1984 concert movie, Stop Making Sense. A photo of Byrne wearing the suit was also featured on some of the promotional items.
Science! (9) More specifically, psychology. And even more specificallier, the one-of-the-ways-your-brain-plays-tricks-on-you phenomenon of inattentional blindness (or perceptual blindness). The most well known study on this topic involved, you guessed it, a gorilla suit:
“The best-known study demonstrating inattentional blindness is the Invisible gorilla test, which was conducted by Daniel Simons of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Christopher Chabris of Harvard University. Their study, a contemporized version of earlier studies conducted by Ulric Neisser, asked subjects to watch a short video in which two groups of people (wearing black and white t-shirts) pass a basketball around. The subjects are told to either count the number of passes made by one of the teams or to keep count of bounce passes vs. aerial passes. In different versions of the video a woman walks through the scene carrying an umbrella, or wearing a full gorilla suit. After watching the video the subjects are asked if they saw anything out of the ordinary take place. In most groups, 50% of the subjects did not report seeing the gorilla. Simons interprets this by stating that people are mistaken with regard to how important events will automatically draw their attention away from current tasks or goals. This result indicates that the relationship between what is in one’s visual field and perception is based much more significantly on attention than was previously thought.”
I’m sure I’m only touching the surface here so let me know YOUR favorite gorilla suit moments in the comments. Or shout out on Twitter (@SayKNOWtoTrivia).