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.