Saturday, December 31, 2011

Monkey Business

That birth year seems a little suspect to me, and to others too, as it would make this monkey 80 years old at his death.  Even in captivity, which Mike surely was, this would exceed his normal life expectancy by at least 20 years.  Why are we talking about this?  Because Mike the Monkey was better known by this name:

If the story holds true, Mike was one of over 15 chimps to play Tarzan's comic sidekick and snugglebunny.  The character was a highlight of the film series, acting as a comic foil as well as a loyal friend (Cheetah was fabricated by the film makers, as no such character appears in any of the Edgar Rice Burroughs books from which Tarzan the ape-man sprang).The zoo where Mike has been living for about 40 years claims that he was a gregarious, fun-loving chimp, but when he lost his temper, he would fling his feces. 

This temperamental behavior smacks of a star who does not get his way, and rings true to Mia Farrow.  Mia, you'll recall, is the daughter of Maureen O'Sullivan, who played Jane in the series of Tarzan films starring Johnny Weissmuller.  Farrow recalls that her mother referred to Cheetah as "that bastard," as he was always biting her.  The chimp was always affectionate with Weissmuller, however, leading Maureen to speculate that Cheetah was gay. Who else would want to nuzzle a swimmer in a loincloth?

O'Sullivan should have counted her blessings.  She was only bitten.  Apparently, she could have been pummeled with shit.

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