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This monkey's doing the business; GOING APE: Cheeta with Tarzan and Jane.

Byline: nathan bevan

WHAT'S that old saying again?

Something about if you give an infinite number of monkeys an infinite number of typewriters one will eventually end up randomly typing the complete works of Shakespeare.

Not that we should knock our simian friends.

After all, there's been an infinite number of humans writing away for much longer than 2,000 years and only one of us has ever managed to produce the complete works of Shakespeare.

So we're hardly in any position to start feeling too superior just yet.

In any case, a monkey-well, a chimpanzee-has just written a book which is as good as anything I've ever read.

MeCheeta is a satirical showbiz memoir allegedly put together by one of the last survivors of Hollywood's golden age, the Guinness World Records' oldest recorded non-human primate and 76-year-old surviving star of the old black and white Tarzan films.

Actually, I think he may have had a bit of help (what with those small opposable thumbs).Either way, it's hilariously scabrous stuff - no doubt old Cheeta's ghostwriter resting easy in the knowledge that neither animals nor dead film stars can sue for libel.

Good job too, because if Rex "Dr Doolittle" Harrison was still alive and actually could talk to the animals I'd imagine most of what he'd say to his hairy former co-star in that 1967 film would consist of shouted four-letter words.

The pair clearly didn't hit it off, Cheetah first describing him as "that marvellous light comedian,"then as "universally despised, impotent, alcoholic", before finally "an absolutely irredeemable **** who tried to murder me."

His jungle Jane (Maureen O'Hara) didn't come in for much better treatment either.

After initially considering calling her "inimitable," Cheetah tries again. "Actually, I could do a reasonable Maureen O'Hara impression simply by screeching as loud as I can and flinging my excrement around," he says bitchily.

Now living in Palm Springs where he largely watches telly and paints, Cheeta also remembers the good old days - like when he got drunk on gin, stole Charlie Chaplin's hat and lost his virginity while wearing it at the star's own private zoo - only to discover that he has mated with a bonobo monkey, not a chimp.

And should renowned swordsman Callum Best be reading this and thinking about writing his autobiography, you're going to need some corkers to beat that, sunshine!
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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 12, 2008
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