Video upload to YouTube by ladster3,
“Yup. You got that right. That’s Cheeta of Tarzan fame … and he’s still alive …or maybe not. Read on …”
Gypsy photo courtesy of KarenFayeth.
Well, some say he’s still alive and other’s debunk the claim. We did find an article from earlier this month saying he is alive. The video below is a 2007 news broadcast made when the little guy (or a little guy) celebrated his 75th birthday … This is longer than chimps generally live in captivity, usually sixty years. In the wild they live to be between forty-and-fifty years old.
… and HERE is an article on Cheeta’s 76th birthday …
Some reports claim that he was adopted by Dan Westfall in 1995 from Tony Gentry, who is said to be the original owner/trainer. Westfall has a Cheeta Primate Sanctuary in Palm Springs, California. Coinsident with that, we found that Cheeta is now at the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Florida. (Chimp bilocation?) In fact, I found an August 11, 2011 article “written” by Cheeta, the one in Florida.
In addition to playing opposite Bela Lugosi and Johnny Weismuller (Tarzan), a chimpanzee (some say Cheeta) also performed opposite Ronald Reagan in Bedtime for Bonzo. It’s rather amazing to go from one YouTube movie clip to another and see how “Cheeta” never ages. The original Tarzan the Ape Man was made in 1932 and Bedtime for Bonzo was made in 1951. The truth is that the chimp character we are told is the original Cheeta or Cheta or Chita … depending on who you’re reading … was actually played by a number of chimps. I started thinking it would be impossible to get the strait story until I found an article by writer and journalist R.D. Rosen who has done the off-line leg-work.
You can link HERE to read Rosen’s Lie of the Jungle: The Truth About Cheeta the Chimpanzee, published December 7, 2008 in The Washington Post. The feature is a five-page treat (more than a few chuckles), reads better than a good mystery story, and describes Rosen’s adventures in researching a proposed Cheeta biography. Ultimately he had to pass on the book his agent and publisher wanted him to write. He learned that not only was Cheeta not the Cheeta but that he probably isn’t 75 years old.