His time on the road included working as a ringmaster and costumer for the three-ring Royal Hanneford Circus. A sideshow needed a costume for a girl-to-gorilla act, and a specialty was born. [...]
Once on a "ghost show" tour in Canada, Philip Morris somehow got arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police -- while wearing a gorilla suit. Charges were dropped, Scott Morris recalled, but "he wouldn't take the head off the costume until we got to the police agency because he didn't want anyone to know it was him."
In 1967, the company says, a customer named Roger Patterson bought a custom gorilla suit that was used to film the famously grainy footage of a hairy "Bigfoot" striding through the northern California woods. [...]
With Halloween approaching, it's the company's busiest time of year. The 250 employees are shipping costumes all over the world. "I don't know what he was thinking, leaving us at this time of year," Scott Morris joked. "He just passed away last night and at 8 o'clock this morning, I was at work. We have to do what we have to do, and he just loved what he was doing."
Philip Morris, the one-time circus ringmaster who made gorilla suits in his basement as he built the world's largest costume distributorship, died late Sunday at his Mooresville home.