Agent Elvis has landed on Netflix this weekend, portraying the fictional spy adventures of The King with his cocaine-snorting, womanising monkey Scatter. Although the show takes liberty with history for entertainment purposes, Tom Kenny’s chimp is actually based on Elvis Presley’s outrageously behaved pet of the same name. The star bought his first spider monkey named Jayhew in 1956 to “liven up” the already animal-infested Graceland. Then in 1961, he decided to buy a larger one – a chimpanzee named Scatter who had originally been part of a local Saturday morning TV show in Memphis. According to Elvis superfan Eddie Deezen Scatter was a “very fresh, mischievous” monkey who was always up to no good. Although the King loved the pet, his joy was not shared by any of his Memphis Mafia friends or staff that surrounded him.
Scatter annoyed some of the people working on Elvis’ movies as well. During the early 1960s the star worked on a plethora of films in Hollywood, including G.I. Blues, Blue Hawaii and Jailhouse Rock. Deezen revealed the King frequently brought the monkey to the film sets and enjoyed walking with him and carrying him around between takes.
The naughty animal picked up some quirks from being on the sets, including wearing clothes, pulling rooms apart and even drinking whiskey. Elvis also bought the cheeky chimp a wardrobe full of suits and ties for the monkey to dress himself with.
Scatter’s antics did get a little out of hand, however, when he began walking up to women on film sets and pulling up their dresses. The animal’s drinking habits also got progressively worse as the years went on as the chimp frequently got drunk and disorderly in public. He would even begin masturbating in front of people and even biting them during his more intoxicated adventures.
But Scatter’s bad behaviour ultimately may have led to his dramatic death. According to Deezen, he was “reputedly poisoned in revenge by a maid he had bitten”. The King’s cousin, Billy Smith, the last surviving original Memphis Mafia member corroborated this shocking story.
According to an Australian Elvis blog, Smith said: “When we took Scatter back to Graceland, the maids had to feed him because we were gone so much. One day, a maid named Daisy went out there, and she had her wig on, and that damn chimp grabbed that wig right off her head. It scared a couple of years off her life. We always thought she poisoned him. And it wouldn’t surprise me. Because not long after that the monkey came up dead.”