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Monkey Tale

Short Film (Full Length) – 1952

In the anthropomorphic (and non-PC) tradition of the chimpanzee tea party and PG Tips ads comes this contribution from the National Film Unit. Here chimpanzees provide safe cycling lessons for children. Chaplin-esque scenes ensue as Charlie the Chimp disregards road-rules: "if that young monkey gets to school in one piece he'll be lucky ... he'll get killed sure as eggs". Directed by pioneering woman filmmaker Kathleen O'Brien — who got the idea after seeing them in a visiting variety act — the film contrasts vividly with the brutality of contemporary road safety promos.

..Miss O'Brien was fortunate that she had the use of a troupe of highly intelligent chimpanzees that were visiting Wellington as part of a variety act. For their on stage performance the chimpanzees rode bicycles and motorcycles with great elan, giving Miss O'Brien the idea of incorporating them into the film she was making.
– Betty McKinnon in The Weekly News, 18 February 1959, page 10

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