Between 1984-1990, Bubbles The Chimp became a pop culture star as the frequent companion of music icon Michael Jackson. However, MJ was never content with a chimp who could simply dress himself and do the Moonwalk. The “Thriller” star reportedly forked over thousands trying to get leading throat specialists to implant vocal chords into his pet chimp….at least that’s the story from the singer’s always gabby big sis, La Toya.
“Michael always wanted to know how to make Bubbles speak and talk,” the former Playboy centerfold told British tabloid News of the World this week . “They definitely communicated. One morning Michael called me said ‘You got to see this – he mimics everything I do’. So Michael starts brushing his teeth and Bubbles looks up and gets a tooth brush and starts brushing his teeth too. Then he wanted to give him vocal chords and asked doctors ‘Can I give him an operation so that I can know what his thoughts are,’” she added.
The late King of Pop looked into having Bubble’s larynx moved further down his throat to let his airwaves produce word sounds. However, doctors warned that the operation could harm his hairy pal, as it had never been tried before. The worried singer refused to put Bubbles’ life at risk, but he persisted for four years with his dream – and splashed thousands more flying in ape experts to try to help his pet to speak.
Although the sessions worked well, Bubbles could muster no more than an occasional bark or grunt.
These days, Bubbles, now 27, lives in an animal sanctuary in Florida. Operators of the facility are seeking donations to cover the costs of Bubbles’ care, which is estimated to be around $15,000 annually.