Sunday, July 4, 2010

Officer K. Kong

When I was in college I made a gorilla mask out of cast latex. It had a separate jaw with teeth cast out of fiberglass resin. I put black makeup around my eyes, so you couldn’t see the edge of the mask.

Around the same time I bought a security guard uniform at a thrift store. Walking around as an Ape-Cop gave me a little authority in my run-down neighborhood.

I joined the Fourth of July parade as an ape on a unicycle. I also rode that way around the campus of the University of California at Berkeley, where I was an anthropology major.

The gorilla mask proved useful during the final exam of my primate social behavior class. All through the semester, the professor had made a big point of proving that gorillas are really gentle, intelligent creatures, not aggressive monsters.

I arrived on day of the final exam day carrying the head and hands of the gorilla concealed in a paper bag. I sat in the back row.

Somehow I finished the test about 20 minutes early. I quietly pulled on the mask and gloves. I stood up and started down the aisle gripping my papers. With a growl and a little table-pounding in the front of the room, I handed in my exam to the professor.

Then I turned to the class, put my fists in the air and hit my chest a few times and marched out the door.

It must have taken a few minutes for the class to refocus.


jeff jordan said...

The Final Exam is an apocryphal JG story. Nice mask! It's great to see some photos and hear it from the Ape's side. Thanks for sharing the photos, and happy 4th, Jim!

draigstudio said...

As a professor I would have completely loved that!

Beth said...

That is all just *so* funny! Wonderful!


Steve said...

Wonderful story and pictures!

"When I was in college I made a gorilla mask out of cast latex." Can you say a little more about that for those of us who haven't done it? Somehow, you had access to a gorilla head to use as a form, yes?

Roberto said...

Jimmy G., yew da Gorilla mah dreemz!

Happy Birthday America!! (and don't forget to clean-up the mess when the party's over)-RQ

brownbird said...

With that security guard uniform, you look like one of the characters in the final scene of the "Planet of the Apes" 2001 remake (except those characters were heavier - do gorillas eat donuts?? =:o)

goat89 said...

HAHA! Awesome story! The bygone days of youth... :D

By Scott Flanders said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Claire said...

Bwahahahahahaha!!!! :D
Have a happy 4th!

Marianne said...

He he great story!

Blake said...

Very awesome. Always entertaining when people dress up in costumes to interrupt the flow of things. I'm also guilty of this behavior.

nana said...

I love you! (In a very decent and respectful way!)

The most devious thing I did in an exam was to draw on the test paper...

Anonymous said...

Ahahahaha! Excellent.
You were quite the rebel.

China Blue Rockett said...

Every time you post anything, you get a million times more awesome. Especially in this case.

I might never have known that you rock at maskmaking and unicycling.

That would have been very sad.

Erik Bongers said...

I fail to see the relavance of this post.
There is nothing abnormal about this behaviour.

Les said...

My favorite aspect to this post is that James doesn't take himself too seriously. Being able to publicly poke gentle fun at yourself says great things about you. FWIW.

James Gurney said...

Draig, my professors got a good laugh, too, thank goodness. They could easily have given me a zero for disrupting the class.

Steve, I didn't have any information on how to make a realistic mask, so I probably did it the hard way:
1. Life mask with plaster soaked bandages.
2. Fiberclass cast of my head.
3. Clay sculpt of gorilla face.
4. Plaster piece mold.
5. Cast in latex, reinforced with stockings.
6. Fake fur and hair inserted hair by hair.
7. Jaws made separately.

All in all, a lot of time, when I really should have been studying!

Matthew Meyer said...

Oh wow, this is one of the greatest stories I've ever heard! Thank you! :)