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The Palms in the Jungle, Anaheim, CA (restaurant)

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Name:The Palms in the Jungle
Street:1110 East Orangethorpe

The Palms was the restaurant part of Dutton's Jungle Gardens. The Jungle Gardens was a private zoo built by Jack Dutton, who also owned the Jungle Nursery in Anaheim.


Here is a nice view of the place from a matchbook:

Here is a great article about Jack Dutton and the place, from Charles Phoenix:

Several years ago at a yard sale I picked up an early ’50s map of Anaheim. Carefully unfolding it the tiki graphics in an ad for a place called the Jungle caught my eye. I had never heard of the place. The ad read: THE JUNGLE- Tropical Zoo, Exotic Gift Shop, Head Hunters Beauty Salon and “Home of Jerry, the World’s Most Human Chimpanzee”. Jack Dutton was listed as the owner.

Intrigued and at the time researching for my book, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA IN THE 50s, immediately I called 411 and asked for Anaheim, California - Jack Dutton. Much to my surprise, fifty years later, there was a listing. I called. I said “Is this the Jack Dutton that owned the Jungle? “Yes it is.” I was even more surprised when he said that he was 90-something years old and the manager of a trailer park in Anaheim. To hear the story of the Jungle he invited me to come see him. The next morning at 11am I was standing at the doorstep of his double wide. He was welcoming, feisty and sincere as he told me the story of the Jungle. He got a tear in his eye and said it never fails when he thinks of the Jungle he thinks of Jerry, his beloved-but-ill-fated pet monkey.

He was a ragman. He tells me he made a fortune selling rags after the war. Around 1952 he and his wife Dorothy “adopted” a wild chimpanzee to add to their ever-expanding menagerie of birds and other unusual pets kept at their rural ranch home in nearby Fullerton. They named their “baby boy” chimp Jerry and raised him like they would a child. Within a few months Jerry was toilet trained, ate at the dinner table, dressed himself and even slept in the same bed with the Dutton’s. As Jerry became known around the neighborhood for entertaining at children’s birthday parties other nagging neighbors began to complain about the “wild pet monkey.”

In response Dutton bought a five-acre orange grove in nearby Anaheim. He leveled it built a small zoo. He planted a lush, tropical garden to showcase Jerry and all of his other pets where the public could enjoy them. Jerry shared his new home in the spotlight with snakes, alligators, elephants, bears, ostriches, deer, apes, a lion and hundreds of exotic birds. Crowds enjoyed Jerry’s adorable antics as he played with Sunny the bear or swam with the ducks in the pond. “Jerry amused the guests in the daytime and help me water the plants and feed the other animals a night,” Dutton remembered. He added a restaurant called the Palms, a luau garden, exotic gift shop and a beauty shop called the Head Hunters.

Just a couple of years later in, 1955 when Disneyland opened, things were beginning to get out of hand at the Jungle. Late-night pranksters taunted the animals and evil thieves stole the flamingos. A series of lawsuits forced Dutton to sell his “dangerous” animals. He told me his wife ran off with their lawyer. Even Jerry wasn’t safe. Having grown accustomed to his human-like freedom in the Jungle, the “humanized” chimp needed constant supervision. He went berserk every time he was put in his cage. When he could no longer find “baby-sitters” to care for Jerry around the clock Dutton reluctantly offered his beloved pet chimp to zoos. He said nobody would take him. When Jerry became more and more impossible, Dutton with a tear in his eye told me of the dark day he walked Jerry over to a nearby orange grove and gave him a shovel. “I had him dig a deep hole,” Dutton said, “when he was finished, I told him to jump inside. Then a policeman friend of mine shot him in the head.”

Jack Dutton, among other things, went on to become the mayor of Anaheim. Not long after I talked with him he passed away. He told me “Never humanize a chimp.”

Here is the link to that page, which has a photo of the Jungle Nursery, and lots of reader's comments which have some more info in them.
One of the readers offered this:

A yellow pages ad for the Jungle Palms Restaurant from 1955 describes the restaurant: “An exciting new pleasure of dining amidst the tropical splendor of a very realistic jungle. Interior planting of lush tropical foliage with palm trees bursting through the roof, captures the essence of old world topics. Supreme cut of New York steak tumbled to rich chestnut hue, and filet mignon, skewered bacon bound, timed to perfection, constitute a part of the exceptional food served in this restful setting, and is enhanced by the serenity that can be yours when dining deep in the jungle. This feeling of being away from the great metropolitan area makes dining in THE PALMS a most unique experience.”

Beachbum Berry wrote that Ray Buhen of Tiki-Ti bartended here.

The Palms was right next to the Akua Motor Inn, but looking at the Google Maps Street View, it looks like it is all gone. Any one got pictures?

The Palms menu cover and a photo of the Akua Motel are in the Book of Tiki, with that matchbook map.

Poor Jerry.
I can't believe he couldn't find a home for him.

On 2008-06-15 18:23, Unga Bunga wrote:
Poor Jerry.
I can't believe he couldn't find a home for him.

I can't believe the poor bastard had to dig his own grave and then he got rubbed out like a 40's gangster. Jeez,
“I had him dig a deep hole,” Dutton said, “when he was finished, I told him to jump inside. Then a policeman friend of mine shot him in the head.”

Oh come on, I can't believe it;
They named their “baby boy” chimp Jerry and raised him like they would a child. Within a few months Jerry was toilet trained, ate at the dinner table, dressed himself and even slept in the same bed with the Dutton’s.
But he put a bullet in his head...
Could truth be stranger than fiction?


Looks like the Jungle Gardens is now an office park and the Palms restaurant site is a Calvary Chapel (that looks like an office park)

[ Edited by: nichols 2008-12-31 22:31 ]


Here's the cocktail menu from the Palms :

Dig that awesome menu cover!


Great menu influenced by Less Baxters album cover. Just a wee bit.

Wow, great drink menu. Does anyone have photos of the outside or inside of the Palms? I live not too far from here but have never seen a pic. The Aku motorlodge is all that left.


Tiki Tim posted this Mike Roberts postcard of Jerry the Chimp on another thread.

Here is a postcard I have from the Akua Motor Hotel located next to the The Palms. Slightly different look than the one that is in The Book of Tiki.

Here is a great piece of art made by Velvet Glass inspired by the Palms - I saw this Tiki Oasis this year.

(I think it is still for sale over on Marketplace)


Here's another piece of paper ephemera that features the famous cover rendering that inspired the Palms menu....

...and which indubitably led someone to make this plaster mask:

When we made the mosaic I'd only ever seen the logo as a half head, (even on the Les Baxter album it's only half a head) so I used that well-known 'Artist's License' to mirror the image. Same goes for the shirts we made.

It's nice to see the back of the menu posted above where they did complete the illustration. I can now put my License away again.

Oh, and Dustycajun, the mosaic is indeed still available :)

Mr. CH

Stephen Worth posted the Story of "Jerry, The World's Most Human Chimp," the Jungle and the Palms Restaurant on Boing-Boing today, along with a video of Jerry.


Cool video! I bet there's plenty of home movies somewhere out there of him, too.

I noticed the author got all of his images from the TC post here...


OC Public Library phone books showed these two ads.

Been posting a few photos of these old ads lately. Thought I had lost all of them when my Nikon was taken, luckily I backed them to disc.

Here is another matchbook variety I have from the Palms in the Jungle.

The restaurant was operated by the Dinnerhorn group which owned many other restaurants in Southern California.

This matchbook lists even more restaurants,

Also found a few photos on the Orange County Historical site.

The folded out menu with the full image of the mask.

A billboard sign listing the amenities.

And a classic crossroads directional sign.

Also spotted this ashtray.


A few more photos unearthed from the web.

This brochure shows a nice photo of the Palms A-Frame building.

An aerial photo of the compound.

Another brochure from the Jungle.

And Matterhorn had posted this picture on his website thinking that it may have come from the Palms in the Jungle.

I have seen no photos of the restaurant interior, so I can't confirm. Anybody else got a guess?



Another from the archive...just for some eye-candy. zzebaytiki 008a

Revisiting the story of Jerry is damned near saddest thing I can think of in tiki.

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