Friday, September 13, 2002

ROLLER-SKATING CHIMPANZEE'S TRAINER NEEDS WHEELCHAIR NOW

Still on a roll: After a career on skates co-starring with a chimp, and a lifetime of memories, Kathleen Parry needs a wheelchair these days, but she's zipping along as gracefully as ever.
By Jan Jonas Tribune Reporter

...As one-third of the Quinlans, a roller and ice skating group in the Õ50s, Parry and her husband, Ralph, and Zippy, their chimp, toured Korea, Russia and Europe for 2 1/2 years sponsored by Camel cigarettes.

Before Zippy, Parry was beginning to tire easily from each performance. The tricks were taking a toll on her physically.

One day her husband suggested they get a trained chimpanzee to add to the act. It could do lots of tricks, he said, so Parry wouldn't have to do them.

"It's either this or kill ourselves," Parry said her husband told her in 1952.

So they scraped together every penny they could, gathering $10,000 to buy a small chimp from a trainer in Africa through some stateside show business connections.

Shipped from Africa to New York in a cargo plane during the winter, the tiny chimp - not technically a pygmy but small for a chimp - was left on the runway overnight.

By the time Parry and Quinlan got to him, the chimp's nose and ears were filled with mucous. A friend who was a pediatrician took a look at the animal and said it had a severe ear infection.

After treatment and some children's vitamins, Zippy's health improved and Parry began to train him.

She says she had no idea how to go about it, but she did what she thought was right.

Zippy lived 20 years. Parry and Quinlan had no children because Zippy was "like a baby."...