Gorillas in popular culture
With other primates, like Orangutans, representations of the Gorilla are common in popular culture in the Western world - with the full range of electronic media having gorillas as mascots, gorillas behaving like humans, and humans behaving like gorillas.
Examples of representation
The following sections give an approximate sample of the many forms of representation of the gorilla in popular culture: -
The French sculptor Emmanuel Frémiet won a medal of honour at the Salon of 1887 for his masterly "Gorilla Carrying off a Woman". Although praised in its time, this work now evokes ridicule from some observers for its depiction of a gorilla abducting a nude woman, presumably with the intention of raping her - something totally alien to actual gorilla behaviour. Nonetheless, this act has somehow caught the public's imagination as witnessed by the repeated popularity of the King Kong theme.
- A gorilla is seen in Dumbo that was originated from Disney's 1939 Silly Symphony cartoon, hence both the animation of the circus parade and the animation of the gorilla character is reused in Dumbo. His roar is also originated in Disney's 1935 Mickey Mouse cartoon, Mickey's Garden, hence the sound effect is also reused in the Disney's 1939 Silly Symphony cartoon, and Disney's 1941 Goofy cartoon, The Art of Self Defense. A similar gorilla with a roar that resembles him with the same roar is seen in Disney's 1954 cartoon short that is very similar to Social Lion, where he is assuming the role of the lion, also in 1944's Donald Duck's cartoon Donald Duck and the Gorilla.The Ajax the Gorilla is potrayed as vicious beast, which frighten Donald Duck.
- Magilla Gorilla is a well known Hanna-Barbera cartoon from 1960s
- An intelligent gorilla named Grodd is a recurring supervillain of The Flash in DC Comics and the animated TV series Justice League and Justice League Unlimited.
- In the Dragon Ball manga series, as well as the anime, the protagonist Goku and several other characters known as Saiyans have the unique ability to transform into gigantic gorilla-like Great Apes. The apes are a combination of Mandrill (the head), Gorilla (the main body and limbs) and Monkey (the tail)
- In the animated Disney version of Tarzan, the hero's adopted family are gorillas (unlike the "Great Apes" of the original book), including the protagonists kind and caring overweight Kala, grumpy Kerchak, overweight Terk, and the antagonist African-American accented Tublat (voiced by Keith David).
- The Great Grape Ape Show
- In the Tarzan-parody animated TV series George of the Jungle, George's best friend is an erudite talking gorilla named Ape. In the 1997 film adaptation, Ape is voiced by John Cleese.
- Windsor, a supporting character in the animated Cartoon Network series, My Gym Partner's a Monkey, is a gorilla.
- In the anime series "Sakigake! Cromartie High School", a gorilla is one of the more powerful delinquents at Cromartie High. He (she?) also plays backup guitar for "Freddie," a fellow student who may or may not be Freddie Mercury.
- The Iron Kong in the Zoids universe is a mecha shaped like a gorilla.
- In the Beast Wars and Beast Machines TV series, the leader of the Maximals, Optimus Primal, adopted an organic-skinned "beast mode" of a gorilla; and later in the series a TransMetal gorilla, and then (Beast Machines) he became a techno-organic gorilla.
- In the animated TV series Ben 10, the future version of Dr. Animo has a detachable human head and the body of a gorilla as seen in the episode Ben 10,000.
- Ultimate Spidermonkey from Ben 10: Ultimate Alien is based on a gorilla mixed with a spider.
- Gor-illa/Gor is a Mountain Gorilla made sentient by an alien race in the science fiction cartoon Captain Simian & the Space Monkeys.
- In The Adventures of Tintin comic The Black Island, a gorilla called Ranko was featured, who people thought was a monster.
- Gorillas were frequently used as a gimmick to sell comics during the Silver Age of Comic Books: see Gorillas in comics.
- Marvel Apes, a Marvel Comics mini-series in which The Gibbon is transported into an alternate earth where all the Superheroes have simian counterparts (Captain Apemerica).
- In the Planet of the Apes comic books, normal-sized gorillas fill security/military roles.
- Grease Monkey is an entire science fiction series centered around intelligent gorillas.
- In the space opera webcomic Schlock Mercenary, one of the recurring characters is an uplifted gorilla (i.e. a gorilla that has genetically enhanced, human-level sentience). This gorilla also bears the name Kerchak.
- While he does not appear much in other media, Grodd's nemesis Solovar rules a city of hyper-intelligent gorillas.
- The giant gorilla is a recurring theme in film, especially in the various incarnations of King Kong and Mighty Joe Young.
- Trading Places, starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, features a scene wherein a gorilla transported on a train meets 'Harvey', played by James Belushi, dressed in a gorilla costume. Later in the film, the protagonists Louis Winthorpe (Aykroyd) and Billy Ray Valentine (Murphy) are saved by the real gorilla when Clarence Beeks (Paul Gleason) tries to kill them; Winthorpe and Valentine then dress Beeks in the gorilla costume, and the real gorilla falls in love with the costumed Beeks.
- Bride of the Gorilla starring Raymond Burr who changes into a gorilla and torments his wife.
- Another 1950s classic is Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla a comedy featuring Duke Mitchell and Sammy Petrillo, as Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis clones, meet Béla Lugosi on a remote island who can turn people into gorillas.
- Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey was a drama which documented a scientist in Africa crusading for the rights of gorillas.
- Various non-human apes dominate the world in the Planet of the Apes novel and film series, among them gorillas, who act as the soldiers and laborers in ape society. Notable characters include General Ursus and Aldo.
- In the Marx Brothers movie At the Circus, Jeff Wilson, the circus owner (Kenny Baker), is robbed of $10,000 in full view of a gorilla on the train. In the last scene of the movie, the gorilla goes after the villain and retrieves the money, and counts it. "Is it all there?" Groucho asks; the ape signals Yes, it is.
- In the 1994 comedy, Baby's Day Out, Baby Bink evades his kidnappers by crawling into a gorilla cage in Lincoln Park Zoo
Magazines and literature
- Fester Bestertester, the protagonist of Don Martin's Mad strip "National Gorilla-Suit Day" is beset by gorillas (or persons dressed as gorillas). "National Gorilla-Suit Day" is celebrated every year on January 31.
- In the award-winning novel Ishmael, written by Daniel Quinn, a gorilla teaches the protagonist about the history of humanity and the effect "civilized" culture has had on other species.
- In J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle are frequently compared to gorillas.
- In The Uplift War, a science-fiction novel by David Brin, gorillas transported to the planet Garth for experiments in uplift play a significant role in the plot.
- In the North American Confederacy alternate history series by L. Neil Smith, gorillas (along with other greater primates) are recognized as sentient beings and are granted full citizenship in the eponymous political entity. In the first novel in the series, The Probability Broach, a gorilla, Olongo Featherstone-Haugh (pronounced "Fanshaw"), is mentioned as having served as the largely ceremonial Vice-President of the NAC. The second novel, The Venus Belt, states that he was then elected as the equally ceremonial President of the NAC from 1996 to 2000, retiring after one term.
- In the Animorphs book series, one of the main characters, Marco, shapeshifts into the form of a gorilla as his main 'battle morph'.
- Alice Cooper's Constrictor (1994) album carries a song titled "Thrill My Gorilla."
- The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band released an album called Gorilla
- On The Dead Milkmen's Big Lizard in My Backyard (1985) album there is a song titled "Gorilla Girl."
- The Flaming Lips's Telepathic Surgery (1989) album features a song titled "Shaved Gorilla."
- Ghostface Killah has a song titled "Gorilla Hood" The Pretty Tony Collection Chapter 2 (2008) album.
- Project Pat's Mista Don't Play: Everythangs Workin' (2001) album features a song titled "Gorilla Pimp."
- On the Spin Doctors' Here Comes the Bride (1999) album there is a song titled "Gorilla Boy."
- James Taylor has an album titled Gorilla (1975), which also features a track titled "Gorilla."
- Warren Zevon has recorded two songs about gorillas. On his album Warren Zevon (1971) there is a track titled "Gorilla" and his Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School (1980) album features a track titled "Gorilla, You're a Desperado."
- Z-Ro's album, Screwed Up Click Representa, features a song titled "Gorilla Till I Die."
- The Rolling Stones' compilation album, GRRR!, features cover artwork of a gorilla with their tongue-and-lips logo.
- The popular virtual band Gorillaz is named after the animal.
- There is an American Hardcore band called Gorilla Biscuits.
- Rapper Gorilla Zoe takes his name from the ape.
- Gorillas are also Beasts in the popular fantasy MMO World of Warcraft some can be tamed and used by the Hunter Class in the game though they are not nearly as commonly used as other potential pets.
- In the popular superhero-themed MMO Champions Online, Dr Silverback is one of the most important heroes of the setting and a contact for the players.
- The team-based multiplayer shooter Overwatch features a hero named Winston, a gorilla who was born and raised on a futuristic lunar colony and received an education in science, enabling him to become an advanced engineer and scientist himself.
- Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, is the only public college in the United States to have a gorilla as mascot.
- Several high schools and boarding schools also have a gorilla as their mascot.
- A gorilla is a mascot for a number of sports teams:
- World Wrestling Entertainment SmackDown! Superstar Mark Henry uses the nickname "Silverback".
- The Atlanta Silverbacks was an American soccer team.
- There was a Central Hockey League team called the Amarillo Gorillas.
- The Fitzroy Football Club, an Australian rules football team based in Melbourne, was nicknamed the Gorillas for part of its existence.
- The gorilla suit is an eternally popular gag costume on television series.
- Among the earliest examples is the gorilla-suited Nairobi Trio, a recurring-gag element of the 1950s TV comedy series, The Ernie Kovacs Show
- The Electric Company featured a gorilla character named "Paul", friend to Jennifer of the Jungle.
- On the Canadian children's cable network YTV, a recurring character on the series The Zone is Gorilla Stan, a person wearing a cheap Halloween costume.
- Several episodes of The Three Stooges include a gorilla in the plot, which is really a person in a costume.
- In the Oct. 31, 2002, Halloween episode of the NBC series Scrubs, chief of staff Dr. Bob Kelso (Ken Jenkins) wears a gorilla suit, unbeknownst to the doctors.
- In the first season of NBC's L.A. Law, Harry Hamlin's character wooed the Susan Dey character while wearing a gorilla suit.
- Tracy, as featured on The Ghost Busters--"trained by" Bob Burns III.
- Drs. Hawkeye Pierce and Trapper John McIntyre occasionally dressed up in gorilla suits during the first three seasons of M*A*S*H
- Silver the mobster Gorilla from Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation
- The British comedy series The Mighty Boosh features a talking gorilla named Bollo.
- The 2007 Cadbury advertising campaign Gorilla, featuring an actor in a gorilla suit playing a drum kit.
- The Canadian animated series Beast Wars features a character named Optimus Primal who transforms into a gorilla.
- The Gorilla chief of security, General Urko, served as the primary antagonist of the live-action television series Planet of the Apes while another version of the character was the primary antagonist of the animated series Return to the Planet of the Apes. Numerous other Gorilla characters also served as one-off antagonists in both series.
- The talking gorilla super-villain King Gorilla appeared in several episodes of The Venture Bros.
- The namesake of the Donkey Kong video game franchise is a gorilla, as is much of his supporting cast.
- The Crash Bash character Rilla Roo is a gorilla with the lower body of a kangaroo.
- Blizzard and Chaos from Primal Rage.
- Gorilla in Gekido
- Gorilla Mask, from God Hand
- Silverback and various apes from Duke Nukem: Land of the Babes
- In Rogue Galaxy, there are three gorilla-like species. A gorra is a simple gorilla found in Juraika.
- The Pokémon Slaking, is based on a gorilla mixed loosely with a sloth.
- A zombified gorilla, the Cosmic Silverback, appears as a boss antagonist in "Call of Duty: Black Ops" minigame, Dead Ops Arcade.
- Several types of gorillas appear in "Everquest 2", anywhere there is jungle, or in the Shard of Fear.
- Winston from Overwatch
- Harambe, a silverback gorilla who was shot after issues at the Cincinnati Zoo, has become a very popular meme.
- Gorillas in comics
- Gorilla suit
- List of fictional apes
- List of fictional monkeys
- Orangutans in popular culture
- Quammen, David (April 4, 2013). "Book Review: Planet of the Ape -'Between Man and Beast,' by Monte Reel". New York Times. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
- Cooper, Alice. "Thrill My Gorilla." Constrictor. [S.l.]: Premium Masters, 1994.
- Dead Milkmen (Musical group). Big Lizard in My Backyard. El Segundo, CA: Restless, 1985.
- Flaming Lips. "Shaved Gorilla." Telepathic Surgery. Culver City, CA: Restless Records, 1989.
- Ghostface Killah. "Gorilla Hood." The Pretty Tony Collection Chapter 2. n.p., n.p., 2008
- Project Pat. "Gorilla Pimp." Mista Don't Play Everythangs Workin. New York: Hypnotize Minds/Loud Records, 2001.
- Spin Doctors. "Gorilla Boy." Here Comes the Bride. New York: DAS, 1999.
- Taylor, James. "Gorilla." Gorilla. Burbank, Calif: Warner Bros, 1975.
- Zevon, Warren. Warren Zevon. Los Angeles, Calif: Imperial, 1969.
- Zevon, Warren. "Gorilla, You're a Desperado." Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School. [Miami, Fla.]: Columbia Pictures Publications, 1980.
- Z-Ro. Screwed Up Click Representa. Houston, TX: Presidential Records, 2002.