People have been donning goofy ape suits for decades, often in some rather odd and/or inappropriate locations. Here are 11 of the most mind-boggling.
1. Fake Banana Caper Terrorizes Wisconsin
This 2009 news bulletin includes the greatest opening sentence in the history of journalism: “A bandit in a gorilla suit tore through Wisconsin convenience stores and tried swiping big, bogus bananas made of Styrofoam, police say.” After several unsuccessful raids, the culprit—a woman of indeterminate age—disappeared.
2. Bristol Palin Dances in A Gorilla Suit
During her stint on Dancing with the Stars, Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol decided to shake things up by putting on a gorilla suit and rocking out to the tune “Hey Hey We’re The Monkees.” Unfortunately, this performance netted her the evening’s lowest score.
3. Gorilla Climbs Broadcast Tower
Move over, Kong! In 1985, stuntman Donald W. Trest decided to scale a 2000-foot broadcasting tower … while wearing an ape suit. Trest’s previous escapades include dressing like Peter Pan and climbing atop the Houston Astrodome.
4. The Denver Gorilla Run
How’s this for a head-scratching Guinness World Record category: “Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Gorillas.” The distinction belongs to the Denver Gorilla Run, an annual event that’s been raising cash for the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund since 2003. Every year, participants embark on a five-mile race while clad in simian costumes provided by the contest’s organizers.
5. Driver Uses Monkey Mask To Dodge Traffic Ticket
After a number of photo-radar cameras were installed to automatically detect speeding drivers throughout Phoenix, resident Dave VonTesmar decided to confound the devices by covering his face with gorilla and giraffe masks to invalidate over 50 would-be traffic tickets, prompting a hefty backlash from the state’s Department of Public Safety. “You’ve got to identify the driver, and if you can’t, it’s not a valid ticket,” VonTesmar said.
6. Gorilla Thief Foiled by Meat Cleaver
When a thug sporting a hairy primate outfit attempted to burglarize the cash register of a Conway, South Carolina restaurant, one worker responded by warding him off with a meat cleaver.
7. NBA Fan Shows Up in Gorilla Suit, Gets Promoted to Mascot
In 1980, performer and motivational speaker Henry Rojas was hired to strap on a gorilla suit and deliver a singing telegram to an unsuspecting fan at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Arizona. “My dream was to play in the NBA, not go there wearing a costume,” Rojas said. At the Suns game in question, he couldn’t locate his target, so instead, he wound up amusing the entire stadium by shooting a few hoops and joking about with the referees. The audience liked his antics so much that “Go” the Gorilla became the Phoenix Suns’ official mascot, though Rojas himself retired from the gig in 1988.
8. Gorilla Creepily Watches Neighborhood Fire
When Kali Burns of Hampton, New Hampshire saw that his neighbor’s house was going up in smoke, he chose the only sensible course of action: He put on a gorilla suit and conspicuously stood behind a nearby fire truck.
9. Psychological Test Uses Gorilla Suit To Gauge Alertness
Watch this clip, designed to test selective attention. Be sure to count how many times a player wearing white passes the basketball:
Afterwards, you’ll be asked two follow-up questions: “How many passes did you count?” and “Did you see the gorilla?” According to the experiment’s designers, when the video was first shown at Harvard University many years ago, only half of the observers failed to notice the seemingly-obvious creature that walked directly through the shot.
10. Bicycle Stolen by Two Gorillas and A Chicken
Talk about adding insult to injury. A Long Island teenager’s bike was taken by a trio of crooks back in 2010. Two of the thieves were disguised in gorilla suits while the third wore a chicken outfit.
11. Banana Attacks Gorilla
It’s the primatological equivalent of “man bites dog.” A gorilla-costumed employee of one Strongville, Ohio cell phone store (who served as its mascot) was tackled by a prankster dressed as a banana in 2011.
This wasn't the last time a banana stirred up trouble. In February 2014, frightened motorists in Texas reported a man who was wearing a banana suit and holding an AK-47 while standing on the side of the freeway. Cops arrived and discovered he was acting as a gun store mascot. They issued him a citation—for soliciting alongside a roadway.