Sunday, September 06, 2009

Sailing Through Sundays on The JC: The Missing Gorilla

This gorilla, ape, bigfoot, or whatever you want to call it is no longer on the Jungle Cruise. The few photos that I have are not the best in quality; in fact, they remind me of the type of blurred and/or dark shots you’d expect of Bigfoot. The images I have roughly span from 1958—1963. According to Disney Theme Park blogger Foxxfur: “These fellows were right at the end of the ride, where the carnivorous fishsticks are now. There was one on each side of the boat, and judging from the angles of all the photos I've ever seen of them they were positioned in such a way on the river bend there that you couldn't see them until you went right past them. They probably raised their arms quickly and growled, as all the jokes mentioning them in my copies of vintage Jungle spiels make some reference to them grabbing you, the long arm of the law, etc. Latest spiel mentioning them that I have is from 1965, but I bet they lasted all the way until 1975, when the Davis scenes designed for Florida were installed. The old mother/baby Rhino gag was pulled and the gorilla camp scene was put there, and with much better gorillas earlier in the trip, these two stiff guys were pulled and replaced with the Python scene. I think most of this info came from The E Ticket, Mouse Tales, or both...”

First image is from September 1958:

Undated, but probably 1957/1958:

September 1961 shows that the Gorilla was either moved, the foliage was trimmed, or that there was more than one on the JC:

2 from the same batch, April 1963:

June 1963:

He does look a little stiff; it would appear from the pictures that he was a static figure. He also doesn’t seem to have any of the Marc Davis humor infused into him either. I can understand why he was a “casualty” at some point. If you’re going to do kitsch, go all the way!

This morning at 6am, weather and fires willing, I will be doing the Disneyland Half Marathon again. Hopefully this year I will make my goal of crossing the finish line in under 2 hours!

See more vintage (and current) Jungle Cruise photos on my regular website.


Viewliner Ltd. said...

Great series Dave. Enjoying the posts as always.

Major Pepperidge said...

Hmmm, interesting that there was more than one (which certainly seems to be the case, based on your photos). I think every photo I have is of the same gorilla!

Maybe I'm nuts, but I think I remember the gorilla (my brother and I were especially nuts about gorillas when I was a kid), and I think he just sort of bobbed up and down in a slightly threatening manner. I'm pretty sure that the arms did not move or raise up at all.

TokyoMagic! said...

I don't remember that Gorilla raising his arms either. I only remember him being static. I posted a publicity shot of him last month. Here's the link:


Hope you reached your goal during the half marathon today, Dave!

TokyoMagic! said...

Ugh! I forgot that links turn out all wonky when included the comment field. Here's an address to cut and paste for that shot of the Gorilla:

Dad.. said...

Wonder where he went? Wonder where he is now? Maybe a prop warehouse somewhere? I'll bet the upkeep on his fur was a pain.