C. I. Norris


Cal Norris

Ads in a couple of 1928 casting directories reveal that Norris and Norris could provide 'every type of trained monk' to movie studios. Their biggest claim to fame was the monkeys featured in Hal Roach's Dippy Doo Dads series a few years earlier. Presumably, since the Our Gang films featured more monkeys than usual during the same period, Norris and Norris had some involvement with that series, too. In addition to the occasional ads, the casting directories would list C. I. Norris, on his own, in their index of animal trainers, suggesting that perhaps he was the one running the business end of things. They were headquartered in Culver City.


The Dippy Doo Dads began filming in mid-January of this year. As already stated, the Our Gang series had a few extra 'monkey episodes' during 1923, which is probably no coincidence. It's possible that Norris and Norris were involved in "Back Stage" (no. 13), "Fast Company" (no. 16), "Stage Fright" (no. 17) and "No Noise" (no. 20).


Filming wrapped on the last Dippy Doo Dads episode in early January of this year, and that's the last verified involvement of Norris and Norris with the Roach studio.


The earliest casting directory in which I've seen the Norris ad is from September of this year. The ad was repeated in November, and makes mention of the Dippy Doo Dads. The photograph identifies the simians as the 'Norris Monkey Movie Stars.' In addition to specializing in monkeys, they could also provide 'white collies trained for stage and screen.'


A June 1930 casting directory is the last in which I've seen a Norris listing.


On November 14th of this year, Cal Norris brought six chimpanzees to entertain at the May Company's Circus, on their Roof Garden in Los Angeles.


According to IMDb, Cal Norris played a small part as a vaudevillian in the Burns & Allen feature "Here Comes Cookie." It isn't clear whether or not C. I. Norris was involved.

Here Comes Cookie (bit role: vaudevillian with monkey act)
Sep. 10, 1935 - Paramount - 63 min. - George Burns and Gracie Allen feature
©Aug. 29, 1935. UK title: The Plot Thickens. This part went to Cal Norris.

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© Robert Demoss.

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