The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Romenesko misses media scoop of the day!!!

I don't believe it!

The guy links a NY Observer piece (screwy URL) for its animadversions on Howard Dean's TV performances. (Who? Ed.)

And fails to pick the real news:
J Fred Muggs is still alive!

"He has a little gray, mostly in his beard," said his owner and caretaker, Gerald Preis, 60, whom NYTV reached at his home in Citrus Park, Fla. "It’s like salt-and-pepper."

Mr. Muggs is now 52 years old, Mr. Preis explained, and lives in a 2,800-square-foot compound with his lifelong female companion, Phoebe B. Beebe, a 50-year-old chimp. The two lovebirds have their own swimming pool and a walk-in refrigerator.

On Feb. 2, 1953, the diaper-wearing Muggs, then 14 months old, began accompanying host Dave Garroway on the first incarnation of NBC’s Today Show—this was before Matt Lauer, mind you—and he did funny tricks like playing piano with Steve Allen, which pulled in big ratings. Legend has it that Muggs was such a huge boon to the show—Mr. Preis said that in 1979, Advertising Age reported that Muggs made $100 million for NBC during his career—that Mr. Garroway grew jealous and began spiking Muggs’ orange juice with Benzedrine to make him misbehave and deliver his human co-host back to center stage.

"He had to live with the issue that it took a quote-unquote monkey to save his show," said Mr. Preis. "And that bothered him very much throughout television history. And in a way, I don’t blame him, but Muggs was an animal that saved a TV show that is still in existence today. If it wasn’t for J. Fred Muggs, that show would not be on there."

As for those nasty, 50-year-old tabloid rumors that Muggs once bit Martha Raye: "That was bullshit—just plain bullshit," said Mr. Preis, who inherited the care of Muggs from his father, the late Bud Mennella, and Roy Waldron, who is now 80 and can no longer manage the old ape.

That's like finding Lucille Ball is alive. And still treading grapes.

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