As a former Samsonite plastics engineer, I was saddened by the news of its impending plant closure (Page 6, March 12). I have many fond memories of the Denver facility.
I would like to correct a common misconception regarding the gorilla. Every time the gorilla ad ran, Samsonite´s sales went up. Great news for Samsonite, however, not so great for the company that ran the ad: The gorilla was actually the brainchild of American Tourister, Samsonite´s competitor!
Samsonite got all the recognition from the ad, and once American Tourister figured it out, it stopped running it. I remember interviewing for Samsonite in 1988, and wanting to impress my maybe boss, I asked where they kept the gorilla. Fortunately, he had been asked many times before, so he understood the phenomenon and hired me anyway. Later, I fielded the same question from many visitors, and even today, the gorilla from the old ads is associated with Samsonite and not the real advertiser.
When American Tourister was bought by Samsonite in the early 1990s, Samsonite brought the gorilla back with much fanfare. I don´t recall which brand of suitcase it pounded on in the later ads.
Valley Center, Calif.