More likely, it came from all those childhood trips to the Cincinnati zoo. In the 70s and 80s, the apes had the nicest part of the zoo. It was the only place that seemed to have shade, and you could cool down by standing near the waterfall feature in those days before misters were installed everywhere and air conditioning was used in the buildings. I loved visiting the apes though. Plus, one of the apes was named Samantha like me.
I can remember watching the apes and being both fascinated and appalled at their captivity at the same time. They have such humanly expressive faces and obvious intelligence. They interacted like human families do. You could see that they were not happy with their lot, but, even as a child, I could see that the Cincinnati zoo gorillas had it good compared to a lot of animals in captivity.
Remember Koko? She was an ape famous for learning to communicate in sign language. I saw a show or two about her when I was a child. (My father and I liked to watch animal shows together). How heartbreaking and awe-inspiring when she kept signing "baby" after her baby was taken from her. If she had spoken aloud, cursing the damn, dirty humans who kept her caged like Charlton Heston cursed his hairy captors in the film, who would be cast as the villain in this piece?
I am drawn to these kind of characters, even in their cheesiest incarnations. There's something intriguing about the line we have drawn to delineate human from beast, and the ways that line is crossed in both directions.