AR-News: Black belt ape Charlie is the primate mover in TV
rumsiki at netvision.net.il
Fri Jul 4 23:25:43 EDT 2003
Jul 4 2003
Black belt ape Charlie is the primate mover in TV advertising
MEET Charlie - the black belt chimpanzee who makes the PG Tea chimps look like complete wimps.
The incredible 14-stone ape is set to become a star in his own series of TV ads that will pack more of a punch than the tea-loving, cheeky chimps of the British TV adverts ever could.
The 17-year-old chimpanzee is the world's only non-human martial arts black belt and has managed to perfect the sort of flying kicks, quick chops and smashes that kung fu stars such as Bruce Lee made famous.
He has been studying and practising the classic fighting styles for most of his life - and the 4ft 6in tall ape is about to become a huge star after signing up for a major advertising campaign.
He learned his flying trade almost by accident, after picking up the oriental skills from owner and karate instructor Carmen Presti.
He allowed the hairy-weight fighter and family pet to sit in on the classes and Charlie soon picked up a few tips.
After a few months of watching his master, the then one-year-old chimp began copying his moves.
And after some additional coaching, Charlie was taking on experienced black belts with ease.
Owner Carmen, from Niagara Falls in the United States, was amazed when he started aping his moves, but hasn't been surprised at how popular he is becoming.
He said: "He was jumping up and down and slapping punch bags, so I decided to show him how to hit them properly.
"Within five minutes I'd taught him how to make a fist, take up a fighting stance, throw a punch combination and perform a karate kick.
"It was an amazing combination of speed, flexibility and sheer brute force."
And despite suffering a few bruises, bloody noses and cracked ribs from his young protege's enthusiastic style over the years, Carmen has helped Charlie become the first chimp black belt.
They met martial arts movie star Chuck Norris, who was so impressed by his high-flying style that he showed a video of Charlie's greatest hits to other karate experts. They agreed he was good enough to fight for a black belt, which he achieved easily.
He has also met celebrities such as singer Billy Joel and American comic stars Whoopi Goldberg and Jay Leno, but is now on the verge of international stardom himself.
Charlie has just signed up to star in a series of ads for breakfast cereal firm Kellogg's, although the Presti family are not cashing in on their unusual star.
Instead, they will help fund a sanctuary for unwanted animals such as the 21 apes they are currently giving a home to.
b.mciver at dailyrecord.co.uk
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