The Singing Chimp

Original Airdate: 03/08/1961
Panel: Bess Myerson, Steve Allen, Henry Morgan, Betsy Palmer
Host: Garry Moore
Guest: A Chimp!

Opening Comments
This was another great secret! During the normal show, Betsy kept saying that she heard a monkey backstage or something. Well the very last contestant, Garry had to “entice out.” He took a banana behind the curtain, and brought out a chimp wearing a dress and a bonnet. It was a fairly large chimp, and she jumped up and down off the chair and whatnot. Her name was “Cocoa” (or maybe Koko?). Well Garry couldn’t keep her up there, and he said, “I think the lights are bothering her, could we turn them down a little bit?” So they turned the lights down just a bit, and Garry then asked her secret. It was:

“I’m going to sing a song”

So they went on with the questioning, and Garry kept giving her bananas (which she kept tossing up into the air). She mostly stayed on the floor, and kept pulling on Garry’s chair. At one point he just let go of the desk and let her pull him back and forth on the chair! So finally he brought her out on stage, and he told her to roll over, and she did a somersault. Then he said, “stand on your hands!” and she did a handstand and clapped her feet together. She was on a leash, but it kinda broke off, and she ran towards the camera. Garry quickly said, “Don’t be nervous, she’s perfectly all right!” Well she ran towards the panel, then back to Garry. Garry took her bonnet off, and told her to sing a song. She started blurting out various noises, and jumping up and down. Garry said, “well Cocoa, that’s not a very pretty song.” The Chimp reached behind her head, quickly stood up and pulled off a mask. It was really a man in a costume, and he said, “well what do you expect from a chimp?!” Garry said, “this is the great Janos, this is what he does for a living.” At the end he put his mask back on, and started chasing Bess around the desk!



Fan Comments
Tommy Gun: This was actually done quite well. When you look back on it, the “chimp” never looked directly at the camera or the panel. “She” was mostly behind the desk the whole time, and Garry even had them turn the lights down! What a great con.

TheKid965: Janos Prohaska is one of the legendary Hollywood movie-monster creators. (He also appeared on a color “What’s My Line?” episode, which was aired on GSN during the first Breakfast with the Stars week.)

willettd: Janos played animal rolls on television and movies. On Star Trek he was The Mugato in “A Private Little War”, Yarnek in “The Savage Curtain” and the Horta in “Devil In The Dark”. He also played animal rolls on Gilligan’s Island and Andy Williams and many others.
He made a return appearance to IGAS on the Steve Allen version of 1972. His wife was the contestant who had a cage with three apes. Her secret was “One Of the Apes Is My Husband” The panel guessed the secret. The episode was runlast year on BWTS.
The Koko episode was one of the few times the audience was not let in on the true secret until it was over.
Sadly Janos and his son Robert, who had followed in his father’s footsteps, died in a plane crash in 1974 while making a movie. Janos was 55 and his son was 28.

bgwill: Perhaps the most famous animal impersonation Janos ever did was on the Andy Williams variety show of the late 60’s and early 70’s. Every week, Janos wore a bear costume. The bear (voiced by another actor) kept begging Andy for cookies. Andy would angrily tell the bear “You’re not getting any cookies. Not now! Not ever! NEVER!”


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