UPDATE: I now find the claim that this chip was Cheetah questionable based on studies of the longevity of captive chimps.
I can’t believe that Cheetah, the chimp who was in Tarzan movies in the thirties (remember Johnny Weissmuller?) was still alive. At least he was until last week. The early Tarzan movies were a staple of my youth, and Weissmuller (he’d surely have been renamed if he played Tarzan these days) died in 1984 at the age of eighty.
But chimps in captivity can attain a ripe old age, even living into their eighties. And Cheetah did: according to CNN, he died of kidney failure last Wednesday in a Florida primate sanctuary at the age of about eighty. Well, most of you weren’t alive then, and even so wouldn’t care much about the demise of a superannuated chimp. But the article is amusing for several things:
Cheetah was known for his ability to stand up and walk like a person, sanctuary volunteer Ron Priest told WFLA.
Another distinguishing characteristic: “When he didn’t like somebody or something that was going on, he would pick up some poop and throw it at them,” Priest said. “He could get you at 30 feet with bars in between.”
Well, poop-flinging isn’t all that rare among captive primates, but this is:
“I grew up watching Tarzan and Cheetah from a boy,” a man identifying himself as Thomas from England wrote on the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary’s website. “God bless you Cheetah. Now you and Tarzan are together again.”
Let us hope that not only that Animal Heaven and Human Heaven are together (assuming chimps have souls), but that chimps don’t defecate up there.
But we know Cheetah will go to Heaven because of this:
Cobb [Debbie Cobb, the sanctuary outreach director] recalled Cheetah as an outgoing chimp who loved finger painting and watching football and who was soothed by Christian music, the station said.
I won’t make any cracks about those species that can appreciate Christian music.
But it turns out that Doc Bill, one of our readers and owner of Kink the Cat®, actually got one of Cheetah’s paintings by making a donation to the sanctuary. He sent me a picture of it, and really, it’s not bad.
I always wondered how Tarzan managed a daily shave in the jungle.
h/t: Sigmund, Doc Bill