harpoHarpo was an alpha male, whitefaced capucin monkey. He was the most intelligent, and sensitive monkey that Mr. Gurdy had ever met up with. There was no end to the tricks that Harpo made up for the public. Among his many tricks and outrages, he enjoyed sitting in an old-fashioned baby buggy. There, he would shake the little carriage with mock anger, until it nearly came off its wheels. He tipped his hat in thanks for money, and also enjoyed posing for pictures with people.

Harpo had been a private pet. His owner had found problems with housing the monkey, and with landlords who would not rent to someone with an exotic animal. Harpo was given to Mr. Gurdy by a private animal exhibition. This exhibition was mainly concerned with big cats, and they had a shortage of housing for monkeys. Next to Jimmy, Harpo became the most talented performer that Mr. Gurdy ever owned. He was a candidate for the greatest organ grinder monkey of all time, and lived to be at least 35 years of age.

picante-travelsAdvertisement for Harpo, and Picante! Travels.


monkeymodels-06Harpo poses for a picture, about 2002. Pictured is Hurdy Gurdy’s second hand-cranked barrel organ. The organ is a rare Molinari & Sons hurdy gurdy, made about 1920 in New York. It was purchased from the daughter of an organ grinder with two monkeys, who happened to live in the house behind Mr. Gurdy’s. Are there really coincidences in this world?


monkeymodels-03Harpo in his old-fashioned baby buggy, also known as a bassinet stroller, or perambulator.  About 2004. Harpo became quite possessive of his buggy, and would shake, rattle and roll it, to make sure everyone knew to whom it belonged.


monkeymodels-07Mr. Gurdy about to rob Harpo in front of an audience. Photo taken about 2001 at the Custom House, Monterey, CA.