Every September at the Puyallup fairgrounds about 40 miles south of Seattle, occurs one of the Lapin family’s favorite fairs. On one special day each September, we would head to the Washington State Fair. We’d arrive early morning, soon after opening and leave only when the lights started going out late that night. We love that fair.
One attraction, popular at almost every fair in the country for the last seventy-five years, is the girl-into-gorilla illusion. The audience is shepherded into a dark tent. When the curtain opens, a girl is seen in a cage and before everyone’s astonished eyes she begins to sprout hair. Her features go from girlish to gorilla. Her delicate arms gradually turn into huge hairy appendages dangling from enormous shoulders. Then, just as the transformation seems complete, the “gorilla” breaks open the cage. Everyone flees in terror, their frantic screams helping to attract the audience for the next show.