Introduction   On Racism   Epigraphs   A History of the Pulps   A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z   

Glossary and Character Taxonomy  Breakdown by Country of Origin   Bibliography   Table of Contents    The Best of the Encyclopedia


Pao-Pao. Pao-Pao was created by the Russian author Ilya Selvinsky (Umka) and appeared in the play Pao-Pao (1933).

A German scientist transplants the upper layer of a human brain into the head of an orangutan. The result is Pao-Pao, who the scientist teaches to become a proper communist. He succeeds, and Pao-Pao tries to help his primate brethren in the Moscow Zoo, but he is rejected by a gorilla, and when a Soviet scientist tries to rescue Pao-Pao the scientist is killed. The play ends with Pao-Pao holding up the body of the Soviet scientist, turning to the audience, and saying, “Now do you understand the meaning of life?”

* I'm including Pao-Pao in the Best of the Encyclopedia list because it's fun. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single person in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a play about a German mad scientist putting a human brain into the head of an orangutan and teaching the resulting creature to become a full Communist. This is a truth universally acknowledged because that concept is awesome. Selvinsky played it out to its logical conclusions, added some characterization, and included a great last scene and a killer final line. Well done, Ilya S. 

Table of Contents / Annotations / Blog / Books / Patreon / Twitter / Contact me