Back With Brooklyn Gorillas
A guy named Steve Calvert played the titular gorilla in Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla. He'd bought the skin from Ray "Crash" Corrigan, a previous ape-enactor. Steve tended bar for a day job, according to the Tom Weaver/Herman Cohen sit-down. How many tavern keeps kept gorilla pelts for such moonlighting occasion? Alex Gordon assumed majordomo duty for Lugosi, holding his cigar off-camera and such. Alex was acutely sensitive to indignities visited upon his idol, Duke/Sammy being a continual affront. To my eyes, "Poor Bela" was here well in front of Poorest Bela of Black Sleep and state in-patient ordeal. He's in command and dwarfs the comics (tall guy, that BL). Maybe there was adlibbing on their part, but Lugosi grooves with it. He also streams pages of gobbledygook dialogue without a hitch. Unlike Alex, I never found myself pitying an old duffer ritually degraded. To the contrary, Bela seemed equal to whatever Gals, Goofs, and Gags (see the trailer) got thrown at him.
Scott MacGillivray and Ted Okuda did a nifty interview with Sammy Petrillo for Filmfax # 53. SP remembered Duke being "like a father" and about eight years his senior. Unlike Dean and Jerry, these two stayed friends. Herman Cohen said Jerry came over to Realart and got in a cuss fight with Jack Broder. Big-shot Hal Wallis wanted a piece of Jack too for imperiling jack the former was hauling out of Martin/Lewis tills. But for Broder's integrity (and the fact Wallis didn't offer enough for the negative) BLMBG might have been sold to the senior-league producer and destroyed. That certainly was Hal's objective. Reflect then, upon Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla sharing with Citizen Kane more than mere greatness. Both came perilously close to being lost forever to us!
|A Pressbook So Hurriedly Done As To|
Mix Up The Photo Captions
Jack Broder managed a tail-end of August '52 opening for Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla at Broadway's House Of Horror, the
Variety's review put the stiletto in deep, calling BLMBG a clumsily titled film that reaches hard for laughs which seldom eventuate (sez them!). M&P's copy of M&L was totally without success. They said Sammy lacked Jerry's "polish" (Wha?). Jack Broder meanwhile sought a co-feature to support wider release of Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla. What he got was Brit-made House Of Darkness, "a psychological murder film" with Laurence Harvey and Leslie Brooks. Broder wanted into first-run
Soft was most subsequent biz,