On this date in 1925, the famous Scopes "monkey trial" began in Dayton, Tennessee. High school teacher John Scopes was prosecuted for teaching evolution in public school.
The lawyer for the World Christian Federation blasted evolution for suggesting that humans were descended "not even from American monkeys, but from old world monkeys." The lawyer defending Scopes, Clarence Darrow, told the court his goal was "preventing bigots and ignoramuses from controlling the education of the United States."
It was the generals who proved most persuasive. Following the Soviet Union's 1957 launch of Sputnik, the US government became so alarmed by the state of science education it passed the National Defense Education Act. The resulting textbooks included the theory of evolution, but even that didn't stop the resentment. Texas newspaper editorials and church sermons angrily insisted on the right of Texans to disbelieve science.
The only group that seems to make out well in these kinds of protracted disputes are the cartoonists. At least they get to have fun drawing cool pictures of monkeys. So in commemoration of the Scopes trial, here are some of my favorite drawings of apes:
From the great Walt Kelly:
The brilliant Mort Drucker drew dozens of wonderful monkeys in his story about Mighty Joe Kong in MAD no. 94:
From Peter de Seve:
And for those who enjoyed last week's panels from Prince Valiant, here is another elaborate (although somewhat stiff) image from Hal Foster: