I recently received an email from a visitor who owns a gorilla exactly like the one used at Lagoon’s Haunted Shack and Terroride. His gorilla came from an auction of items from War Memorial Amusement Park in Arkansas. If possible, we’d like to find out at least who manufactured these gorillas. Here’s his description of the mechanical creature.
“His head moves from side to side and both arms raise and lower independently – he also rocks side to side at his hip. All that action is produced by one strong and slow geared electric motor. He stands about 100 inches tall (well over 8 feet) and was covered with the worst condition fake fur, so it was removed, but he has so much detail under that fur that he doesn’t really need it anyway.”
“I’ve only contacted one other guy who owns an identical one that was in the Palace Funhouse at Asbury Park that closed down. His was made of papier mâché, but looked exactly as these do. Mine is made of a thick fiberglass resin type material which will hold up for generations of display and animated use! I love this guy and wonder more about a possible company that may have made him? I read about Van Orkin and the Animated Display creations he made on the Laff-In-The-Dark website. Obviously, these HUGE gorillas were meant to be impressive draws to the spookhouses and were made by some company for that very purpose.”
“I do know that there is a weight inside the head that counter-balances when the Gorilla rocks side to side making his head move left to right on its own. Also, one arm raises and lowers before the other does the same. It took someone with real understanding of mechanical devices to make everything move by rods on one motor.”
Lagoon’s gorilla (nicknamed George by employees) was first part of the Haunted Shack and later used in Terroride. He was removed some time after 2007 and became a part of the Psycho Dave’s Junkyard walk-through during Frightmares until 2011. He popped up again in the Pioneer Village Scare Zone from 2014-16 and was placed in Dracula’s Castle in 2017.
If you know about the manufacturer of these gorillas or have any helpful information, please comment below or contact me and I will pass the information along.
UPDATE: The manufacturer has been discovered!
more from lhp
Haunted Shack Gorilla. Email messages to author from John C., 25 & 26 Feb 2011.
Frightmares- Gorillas & stuff. LagoonIsFun.com Forums, 8 Mar 2011.