The suitcase…

“Dear clumsy bell boys, brutal cab drivers, careless doormen, ruthless porters, savage baggage masters, and all butter-fingered luggage handlers all of over the world. Have we got a suitcase for you…”

If you watch Mad Men, you will know the episode I am talking about from last year when Peggy stays late to work on a Samsonite luggage campaign, and I know you had the same thoughts I did – that she was going to come up with the famous gorilla ad… Well, it turns out that the Gorilla ad wasn’t thought up until 1969, and it was for American Tourister, not Samsonite (shows you how good advertising works on me – I was crediting the competition!)

The advertisement was first aired in early 1970 and ran for 15 years, but here’s something I bet you didn’t know… the gorilla is actually an actor in a suit. The character is Oofi, played by Don McLeod, who got a lot of work playing gorillas in movies, including 1984’s Trading Places.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
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2 Responses to The suitcase…

  1. Lizzie says:

    And I always thought it was an actual gorilla. Another childhood memory bites the dust!

    • Jonathan says:

      I notice they cut to an ape’s face between the shots of the gorilla to create the illusion of the gorilla being real – except that I don’t think it’s a gorilla they use in the face shots – but I am not a zoologist….

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