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LAistory: Monkey Island

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Image from "Hollywood 1900-1950 in Vintage Postcards" Arcadia Publishing/ (No publisher of image given)

As Los Angeles began to reach out in all directions from its tenuous core in the early part of the 20th Century, the city became a place for families and for visitors, and finding ways to make money off keeping them entertained was a frequent pursuit of many visionaries and entrepreneurs. Although a massive theme park like Disneyland didn't come on the scene until the 1950s, in the 1940s animals were the stars at many local attractions.

Sitting on prime real estate where the Cahuenga Pass at opens its mouth into--what was then the largely untamed land of--the San Fernando Valley was an attraction called Monkey Island. Home to hundreds of monkeys who mostly just cavorted as spectators watched, the attraction--a "Paradise of Primates!"--opened in 1938 and enjoyed a brief period of great success, then ostensibly disappeared and was forgotten.