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MR. JIGGS

While living in Hillsdale, New Jersey in the mid 1970s I found out that one of my neighbors was none other than the talented and enormous in size chimp, Mr. Jiggs.  This animal was famous for doing Polaroid commercials and for several years was one of my most popular models that I photographed to promote my product line.  He would play the congas and hit the timbales harder than any musician I have ever encountered.  Each photo session required that my young children, Wayne and Andrea, sit in the mezzanine of the photo studio while I conducted the photo session.  Each session was concluded with us having to make a cup of coffee for the chimp who would sit on the kitchen chair and drink it.  Before leaving, this amazing animal had to pick at the hair of my arm, something I think they do to one another in the wild and I was quite flattered that he felt like I was one of his own.  Actually, Jiggs was a female.

Jiggs was owned by Ronald Winter who trained the animal to do amazing things from riding motorcycles to smoking cigarettes to roller skating.  While traveling with Jiggs to New York one day, something spooked Jiggs while on the approach ramp to the Lincoln tunnel and the chimp opened the car door and tried to get away.  Somehow Ronald was able to subdue the animal (this 165 pound chimp was far stronger than any human) and shortly thereafter he hooked a radio controlled device to Jiggs's back and whenever there was an indication that he was loosing control of the chimp, he would send a shock to the animal that prevented the reoccurrence of the Lincoln Tunnel incident. 

All photos of Jiggs were well received accept one.  In anticipation of the Jewish New Year I got out my bar mitzvah religious attire and dressed Jiggs in this outfit.  The resulting Happy New Year card offended a great number of my Jewish dealers and I was sure never to make such a mistake again.