THE MONSTER AND THE GIRL - "Gorilla Suit Blues" (1941)
If you have one nostalgic bone in your body, you've got to miss the good olde 'Gorilla Suit' days of yesteryear! I know I do! I waited a long time to see tonight's feature film, because "The Monster And The Girl" is a hard little movie to hunt down, but it's worth the effort!
"The Monster And The Girl" is not as lively as "The Monster And The Stripper," but then how could it be, but it's a good little film. This is almost the most basic story line you could ever imagine, but just like three chord rock songs, simplicity can be perfection if properly applied!
The 'Girl' in the title is the enchanting Ellen Drew as Susan the bad penny Webster! Ellen bantered around Hollywood for a couple of years in the 30's doing uncredited or bit parts sometimes using the name Terry Ray in roles such as secretaries, switchboard operators, and party guests, but in 1941 she was in "The Mad Doctor" with Basil Rathbone and then in 1945 she co-starred with Boris Karloff in "Isle Of The Dead!"
This is the story of a small town brother and a sister who really have a close relationship, maybe too close! Scott Webster is the post office working, organ playing in the church brother as played by Phillip Terry of "The Leech Woman" fame!
But Susan is tired of small town life, and leaves her brother behind to move to the big city, where she almost immediately falls in love with a scumbag con man!
Said scumbag con man is Robert Paige as the charming Larry Reed! Robert's 87 credits include "Hellzapoppin,'" "Abbott And Costello Go To Mars," and "Son Of Dracula!"
Susan marries Larry, and wakes up the next morning and this guy is in her room! So, just what the Hell is going on here? Her husband has disappeared and Susan needs to pay for the wedding party and the room, and the only way she can do that is to work for these mobsters entertaining men! This guy is Giuseppe Maria Spurrin-Calleja, ask consummate bad guy, Joseph (Johnny Cool) Calleia!
Susan breathes the words, "WTF?" I think most men would agree, women always look beautiful when their hair is not perfectly coiffed!
Cut! Back to the first picture! Where'd the story go? Scott Webster is in court for a murder he was framed for, when he was trying to find Larry Reed! His sister Susan is in court testifying, and telling the whole back story, but the court doesn't believe it, and Scott is sentenced to death..........
.........But he is given one last option! He can give his brain to science!! Enter the always great George Zucco as the mad scientist with a plan to transplant a man's brain into a gorilla for the good of mankind!
If this gorilla looks like he has a little more character than your run of the mill simian, it's because it's makeup artiste Charles Gemora inside that skin! Besides his many appearances inside a gorilla suit, Charles was also the Martian in "The War Of The Worlds," AND the alien in "I Married A Monster From Outer Space!"
I'm thinking that the headline "Mangle Murderer Strikes Again" to this day has never been used again! The monster is on the loose, and George Zucco doesn't seem to notice or care at all!
The last movie we tried to make was titled "Voodoo Club!" We only got about 25% done when the whole thing imploded, but we were planning on using a gorilla in some of the final scenes, so I started looking into costs of gorilla suits, and this is what I found out!
On the left is a gorilla suit you can buy for about $100.00, and the gorilla suit like the one on your right is what you can rent for a week for about a thousand bucks!
The gorilla busts out seeking revenge, and reeking havoc on the mobsters that besmirched his sister, and got his human brain put inside a gorilla's skull! In this scene, this one hoodlum is feeling a little paranoid after a couple of his buddies have been knocked off, and he turns the radio on and up loud, and the swinging music by the prolific Gerard (Dr. Cyclops) Carbonara kicks in. This guy was so far down that after the gorilla crushes him, one of his mobster buddies comes in an shoots him too!
Hard to believe by today's standards, but at one time not that long ago, gorillas were just as popular as vampires and werewolves!
Here are some classic comic covers to illustrate how popular gorillas were in the 40's, 50's, and 60's
Well, just like the rest of the Bozos in the gang, Larry Reed gets what's coming to him too!
Susan's a little slow, but by the time it's over, she figures out that it's her brother inside that great big ape's head! To put an exclamation point on the whole subject, here's a catchy little ditty from a musical pal of ours!