Blog: Strolling Bessie Street (9/20/22)

In early August, I used an item in my Out of the Past column about a squirrel monkey that escaped from its owner in Capaha Park in 1972.

A day or two later, I got a phone call from a woman who said she remembered the incident well, being young at the time and residing in the area. I requested a copy of the 1972 article.

The Missourian actually carried three things about the wandering monkey, as well as a photo. The unknown photographer filmed an almost entire role for the movie Pet and Bessie Street fans. I’ve included some of those at the end of this blog.

Posted on August 7, 1972 in Southeast Missourian:

The little monkey who’s been roaming the Bessie Franklin Street neighborhood since Saturday is taking a loud nap on a maple tree this morning. (Southeast Missourian Archive)

Monkey swings free in the trees of Bessie Street

Some monkeys run in the Bessie Franklin Street neighborhood. A foot-tall little monkey keeps coming back to the maple tree in Mrs. John X. Johnson’s yard, 1513 PC, and won’t leave.

The long-tailed gray squirrel monkey was first spotted on Saturday night by George T. Rasmussen, 1524 PC. Knowing his story would not be believed, he said nothing until she was seen again on Sunday night—this time by Miss Mary Jo Johnson, 1513 Pacey, in a maple tree’s front yard.

Attempts to capture the monkey were futile.

Kenneth Haas, employee of Sunny Hill Garden and Pet Center, Inc. Sunday night, try. Alfred Jones, 1509 Pacey, got a little closer when he put a banana on a fishing pole. The monkey grabbed the banana, but was not lured.

According to Cape Girardeau Police, the animal belongs to Mike Parker, of East Cape Park, Illinois, who went missing Saturday night in Kapaha Park. Mr. Parker can’t catch his roving pet either.

The monkey somehow swings, crawls, or walks on Broadway Saturday night into a car where he has received some reward. It is also fed by residents of the Bessie Franklin area.

The monkey seemed to have a temporary home and this afternoon was still jogging around the neighborhood.

Posted on August 8, 1972 in Southeast Missourian:

monkey The foot-long gray squirrel monkey that’s been roaming around the Bessie Franklin Street neighborhood since Saturday night is still up to his tricks. This morning, a monkey stole a peach from a cage designed to catch it. Neither owner Mike Parker, of East Cape Park, Illinois, who lost the animal at Kapaha Park, nor neighbors were able to hunt down the elusive little creature.

Posted on August 15, 1972 in Southeast Missourian:

17-day monkey hunt ends in pet captivity

The missing gray squirrel monkey that had been hanging around for the past several weeks around the Bessie Franklin Street neighborhood was caught late Monday afternoon after a 17-day hunt.

Police said they had received a tip-off from Mrs. BD Grimm, 151 S. Minnesota, late Monday afternoon that a monkey was attacking a dog. When the officers arrived, he found the elusive little animal in a barn with the dog.

The monkey’s owner, Mike Parker, of East Cape Park, Illinois, was contacted and picked up his monkey.

According to Ms. Parker, who would “only prefer the monkey to stay lost,” the new pet jumped out of their car on July 28 at block 300 in Henderson and escaped the man’s wire. The monkey was found approximately two miles from where he escaped.

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