Not to be too much of a downer, but it was revealed not so long ago that a certain individual named Louis passed on at the age of 37. I omit his last name because I gather that he didn’t have one. Louis, one of the beloved PG Tips chimps, was living out his twilight years at the British zoo where all of the chimps apparently resided and he shuffled off this mortal coil after a short illness.
If you wonder if this is really newsworthy or if you doubt the popularity of this troupe of tea-hawking chimps, consider that most of the major British papers picked up on this piece of news. The Telegraph shelved it in their celebrity news section and noted, as did many of the stories, that among the many characters Louis portrayed during the chimps’ long run of “adverts” was James Bond.
A little over a decade ago, the Telegraph reported that the chimps were retiring, after 45 years in the business of bringing their tea-centered antics to TV viewers, though there was a short break in the Seventies when animal rights groups complained about the ads. Said antics were part of what was said to be the longest running ad campaigns in TV history. After the chimps were put out to pasture they were replaced for a short time by the T-Birds, a pair of Claymation birds, and more recently by a sock monkey (appropriately) named Monkey, who often appears with his human pal, Al.
For more about what it was like to actually work with a gang of chimps take a look at these reminiscences from one of the many people who worked with them over the course of five decades. According to lighting technician Terry Gillan, whose company worked on the chimps commercials in the Seventies, “Louis was the biggest of the chimps and especially comical.” Louis is survived by his partner and fellow PG tips chimp, Chopper, who is 42 years old.
For more on the chimps and PG Tips be sure to take a look at this history of the company, as well as this overview from the company themselves. Truly avid fans will also want to keep tabs on Just PG Tips, who describe themselves as a “community for all those who enjoy PG Tips Tea.”
See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.
© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.