1720 N. Soto St., Los Angeles

The E&R Jungle Film Co.

One of three animal-oriented moving picture companies

Photo courtesy of Marc Wanamaker / Bison Archives     click to enlarge


1720 N. Soto. St., Los Angeles

Sally and Napolean were among the biggest stars in Hollywood that you never heard of.  They made over 40 movies together.  That you have never heard of them is not surprising, as they were Chimpanzees and stars at the E&R Jungle Film Co.

E&R Jungle Film Company was founded in 1914 by J. S. Edwards and John Rounan, renowned collectors of rare animals.  They were one of three companies in the Hollywood area that supplied exotic animals to the film industry and made movies of their own.  Their "zoo" was open to the public and located in an industrial part of Los Angeles not far from their larger competitor, the Selig Zoo and Studio.  Their zoo included lions, pumas, leopards, monkeys, elephants, pythons, a Tazmanian Devil, and many more species.

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Napoleon, who joined the studio in 1914, was considered one of the brightest chimps in captivity and was a vaudeville performer before coming to E&R. Sally joined Nap in 1915 and they quickly became a couple.  Napoleon and Sally made more than 40 movies together.

The pair of Chimps were known for their human-like behaviors, having spent many months in training and acclimating to being around humans.  and for their bright and clever costumes.  They were well mannered and could shake hands and bow, in human-like expression.  Napoleon was very outgoing and funny while Sally was the more reserved of the two preferring the confines of their enclosure at the zoo. Sally always followed direction very well, buy "Nap" always through in flourishes and ad-libs, sometimes appreciated by the director and sometimes not.  He was a character.  He also had a specially built car that he drove in several of their movies.  They could also roller skate and ride bicycles, and Napoleon could ride his backward.  He was also the only chimp that could skate with both feet.

They live in a special enclosure at the zoo.

Sally and Napoleon were mates and doted on each other.  In a publicity stunt, they had a mock wedding ceremony on Christmas Day, 1914 at the Pantages Theater.  It was attended by more than 2,000 fans.

Napoleon and Sally's favorite co-star was well-known character actress Lillian Brown Leighton, who had a career spanning more than 250 films.  In 1916 E&R acquired a new Chimp, a much larger animal named Fuller, who was to play Nap and Sally's father.

E&R continued in the business until 1924, when they closed their doors.

E&R Jungle Films on the Map

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