This postcard is probably the first postcard that I ever saved. I received it before I started my first postcard collection and wasn't concerned with keeping it in nice condition. It has two big nail holes because I used it to decorate the wall of a neighborhood scrap lumber "fort" that I played in one summer. The card was sent to me by my Aunt Genevieve and my cousin Patty in 1955.
My Aunt Genevieve was my mother's sister. They also had an Aunt Genevieve, the Aunt Gen referred to in the postcard message. My mother's family was originally from St. Louis, and most of their relatives still lived there. My Aunt Genevieve took her children to visit St. Louis the summer before they turned five, and were still young enough for free train travel. Patty was my oldest cousin.
The year (1958) that my youngest cousin was taken to St. Louis, I accompanied them. One of the things we did there was visit the zoo and watch the Chimpanzee Show (also known as the Monkey Show). By that time, I had started my first postcard collection, so I bought a bunch of postcards at the zoo, including the next one of the chimps in the show.
I have a couple of other postcards of the chimpanzees in the show that I bought for my collection many years later. The one of the chimps performing on the piano was mailed in 1943. The one of the chimps in the car is from the early 1950s.
The St. Louis Zoo Chimpanzee show was a popular attraction for many years. The chimpanzees were dressed in cute costumes and performed a variety of stunts, including riding ponies and bicycles. The show was phased out in 1982, after zoological attitudes shifted toward displaying animals in more naturalistic habitats. Now the emphasis is on conservation, education, and research.
The first video below is rather long, but is entertaining. It is an Animal Kingdom TV show from 1963. The second video is an "educational" documentary movie from 1951.
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