A Life Fit For Me | Moe The Chimpanzee

Moe the chimpanzee st. james Ladonna

Moe was certainly livin’ the life, judging by these photos.  When St. James Davis found little Moe in Africa and brought him home to West Covina, CA back in 1967, it meant a new life completely devoted to caring for the chimp.  St. James had signed-on with a merchant ship as a deckhand to see the world and also to escape the glares of the hometown folk that had turned against him for leaving Ladonna (who would eventually be his bride and soulmate) at the altar.  You see, St. James was afraid that a wife would get between him and his hot rods.  A race car driver and a mechanic by trade, married life just didn’t seem to couple well with his plans.  Ironically, it would be Moe that eventually brought him and Ladonna back together, and they lived the life of a happy, albeit quirky, family for many years.  

I only wish I could say that it ended well.  The LIFE photos are of happier times back in ’71.


St James David Moe chimpanzee


st james david moe chimpanzee


st james david moe chimpanzee


ladonna st james david moe chimpanzee


dressing moe the chimpanzee


moe chimpanzee

Click here to read the Esquire story

Be warned, it is NOT a happy ending that you’re about to read in Esquire.  So if the pictures made you smile and that’s all you need, leave it at that.  Move on.

14 thoughts on “A Life Fit For Me | Moe The Chimpanzee

  1. Marcellus- I agree, man. It messed me up to read the incredibly detailed description of the attack and see the pictures too. You know the guy is tough as nails to survive something like that, especially at that age. I take my hat off to them as a couple.

  2. My buddy told me about this story a couple of years ago. He had met St. James at the LA Roadster show and he was selling copies of his book about his story. Tragic, yes– also inspirational, yes.

  3. That story just left me shaking my head. Unbelievable, really. But DAMN, that Model A roadster with the Casler slicks and the hemi is BITCHIN! Good hair on St. James–he always reminded me of a young Ed Roth…

  4. There was another chimp attack in Stamford, Connecticut in February 2009, with similar results. As it turns out, dismembering others and chewing up their faces is what chimps do.

    Chimps are wild, undomesticated animals. Adult chimps present a danger to humans. We forget this at our peril.

  5. Pingback: The Great 1950′s T-Bucket Hot Rod Rivalry | Kookie Kar vs. The “Outhouse on Wheels” « The Selvedge Yard


Comments are closed.