Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, June 5, 2023


 I am a sucker for gorilla movies.  More to the point, I am a sucker for cheesy gorilla movies.  And, ultimately, I am a sucker for cheesy gorilla movies with Ray Corrigan in costume.  White Pongo hits the mark on all three counts.

First, let' get the unpleasant suff out of the way.  This is a 1945 Poverty row film, so you know it has racist overtones (and undertones, and smack down the middle tones).  The head porter on the safari is a negro named "Mumbo Jumbo" (Joel Fluellen); let's all slink down in our seats when that comes up, okay?  Not much of a spoiler, but "White Pongo" (whose name is pronounced "White Ponga" throughout the film) is a rare white gorilla, suspected of being the "missing link" between ape and man.  Note that it is a white gorilla, and not a black one.  And there are stereotypical Nazis, but since it's 1945 we'll let that one slide.

Anyway, some scientists and adventurers are on a safari into the Congo (rhymes with Pongp) is serch of this rumored, rare white gorilla.  "Rare" means "hard to find," something that would not apply here if the jamooks on the safari opened their eyes -- Pongo is lurking  in the nearby bushes in almost every scene.  A diary of Fredrick Dierdorf, a murdered anthropologist, convinces the scientists that they are on the trasck of the missing link.  Leading the expedition is Sir Harry Bragdon (Gordon Richards), who brings along his eye candy daughter Pamela (Maris Wrixon) because she is qualified, having been born on a safari ('nuf said).  She is in love (for the moment) with namby-pamby rich snob Clive Carswell.  Also along is heroic bodyguard Geoffrey Bishop (Richard Fraser), who is really an undercover agent trying to suss out evil safari guide Hans Kroegert (Al Eben), whom Bishop suspects murdered Dierdorf.  Kroegert plans to use the safari to locate a hidden gold mine, then murder Bishop and the other safari members.

There's a fight scene between Pongo (the good gorilla) and a black (bad) gorilla.  Pongo smash jungle!

Do we even have to mention that Pongo has the hots (in a purely platonic way) for Pamela?  I though not.

Ray Corrigan, who got a lot of use out of his several gorilla suits, is the star of the movie, IMHO.

White Pongo was one of over 270 films directed by the prolific Sam Neufield.  The story and script were by Raymong L. Schrock, who has 159 writing credits on IMDb.  Look closely and you'll see Milton Kibbee (brother of Guy Kibbee) as Gunderson.

Here's the best way to experience White Pongo:  you'll need a lot of popcorn and a great deal of libations -- and, perhaps, some forgiving friends -- as you watch this one.

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