Mr. Smith -
Talking, genius orangutan featured on the situation comedy MR. SMITH/NBC/1983.
The TV series told the tale of Cha Cha (played by C.J.),
a curious circus orangutan who accidentally drank a bottle of experimental
formula that transformed him into a genius with an I.Q. of 256.
Cha Cha soon learned to read, speak (voice of Ed
Weinberger) and then taught himself the intricacies of chess, law, medicine and
Thereafter known as Mr. Smith, the US Government used his
new found talents by bringing him to Washington and setting him up in a think
tank office. Mr. Smith wore a three piece suit, and a pair of spectacles (but no
Cha Cha was monitored by Dr. Judy Tyson (Terri Garber)
from the Institute for Primate Studies. Mr. Smith shared a suburban home with
his owner Tommy Atwood (Tim Dunigan).
Later in the series, Cha Cha's ordinary orangutan
brother, Bo Bo was introduced.
C.J. was born at the Dallas Zoo in 1971 and put up for
adoption at the age of seven at which time he was purchased by Boone Narr, a
head animal trainer and Bill Gage, his associate.
C.J. liked cookies and milk before going to bed.
Reportedly, C.J. received a yearly fee of $500,000.
C.J. also starred with Clint Eastwood in the
films Every Which Way But Loose (1978), Any Which Way You Can
(1980) and with Bo Derek's Tarzan, The Ape Man (1981).
TRIVIA NOTE: In
2005, the Virginia-based company Capital One ran a "non-human" themed ad spot
that showcased a number of simians dressed in human clothes. Animal activists
protested the use of simians in this manner and cried "Primates are not Props!"
In a spot called "Jungle," non-human primate babies party
with a lot of stuff purchased on a stolen non-Capital One credit card. Their
"Monkey Man" spot features six baby apes and a monkey celebrating wealth gained
from interest on a non-Capital One credit card.
Back to Top