Tales of the Gold Monkey: The Complete Series
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Broadcast on ABC in early 80s, the series became a massive hit following the success of Indiana Jones’s ‘Raiders of The Lost Ark’. This 22-hour long series is set in a backwater corner of the South Pacific a young American adventurer and his ragtag group of friends become involved in death-defying hi-jinx, transporting people-on-the-run in a well-worn Grumman Goose seaplane. Set in 1938, this series captures the ambiance and character of a mysterious romantic era. Directors: Harvey S Laidman, Virgil W Vogel, James Frawley, Winrich Kolbe, Ray Austin, James Fargo. Stars: Stephen Collins (Private Practice, 7th Heaven, Blood Diamond), Caitlin O’Heaney, Roddy McDowall (Planet of The Apes), Jeff Mackay (JAG, Magnum PI, Black Sheep Squadron.) Show Created by: Donald P Bellisario (Magnum, Airwolf, Quantum Leap, JAG, NCIS).
Stephen Collins heroically tries to keep up with the (Indiana) Joneses as rakishly charming soldier of misfortune Jake Cutter, who works as a pilot for hire on the South Pacific island of Boragora in 1938. Comparisons with Raiders of the Lost Ark are inevitable, but according to the series retrospective included as a bonus feature on this six-disc set, producer Don Bellisario (Quantum Leap, Magnum P.I., and NCIS) pitched this to the networks before Indy ever cracked his whip. It was only after Raiders became such a colossal hit that ABC saw gold in Monkey. Alas, this series never really took off, but nearly 30 years later, it's a grandly entertaining bit of escapist fare that packs old Hollywood Saturday matinee thrills and adventure into every episode. The colorful characters include Corky (Jeff Mackay), Jake's trusty (when he's not drunk) mechanic and sidekick; Bon Chance Louie (the peerless Roddy McDowall), the ethically questionable French liaison and governor, and owner of the disreputable hangout the Monkey Bar; and Sarah Stickney White (Caitlin O'Hearney), chanteuse and spy. Stealing nearly every scene he's in is Jack, Jake's one-eyed dog, always good for a comical cutaway. You can't beat the Nazis for villainy (check out John Hillerman's outrageous accent in the feature-length pilot episode), but Monkey steps over the PC line with deadly dragon lady Koji (Marta Du Bois) and her samurai henchman. These Tales are told mostly tongue-in-cheek. Expensive for its day, the series nevertheless has a B-movie look, which enhances its hokey charms. In addition to the newly filmed interviews with cast and creators, the bonus features include five immersive audio commentaries, as well as detailed character bios and a series "fact file." Virtually unseen since its original broadcast, Tales of the Gold Monkey is of more than nostalgic interest. Stephen Collins fans will surely be in--wait for it--7th Heaven. --Donald Liebenson
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : s_medNotRated NR (Not Rated)
- Product Dimensions : 7.5 x 5.5 x 1 inches; 9.6 Ounces
- Item model number : 7305456
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
- Run time : 16 hours and 30 minutes
- Release date : June 8, 2010
- Actors : Stephen Collins, Jeff MacKay, Marta DuBois, John Calvin, John Fujioka
- Language : Unqualified
- Studio : Fabulous Films/Shout! Factory
- ASIN : B00005JOJP
- Writers : Donald P. Bellisario
- Country of Origin : USA
- Number of discs : 6
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,373 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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It's baffling. The case is strong, The discs look good. There's a booklet with a synopsis of each episode... but the discs will not play. Somebody really screwed up when they bulk burned the sets. They need to run them again from scratch.
Being a television show from the 1980's, it's as unpolished as you would expect and a bit melodramatic in spots, but less so than most shows of the period. This was before the terrible decline of quality in network television storytelling that began in the 1990's and has continued to this day; there's none of the mindless political baggage or sociopathic behavior that dominate today's television shows. It's just grand adventure and noble heroism throughout.
Tales of the Gold Monkey is not historically accurate, and really does not attempt to be. While the characters, sets, and equipment are all accurately from the late 1930's and early 1940's, the events appear to be taking place in the uncomfortable period when the United States had an antagonistic relationship with the Empire of Japan and the Third Reich of Germany, but had not yet declared war; yet the heroes' back story had them battling Japanese fighters at a time when, to the best of my knowledge, no American pilots were in the war against Japan.
The episodes run about 45 minutes each, except the first one (the pilot) which is twice as long. All 21 episodes are on the six DVD discs in the package. After watching 21st century movies on Blu-ray, it took a while to get my head around the much lower video quality and 4:3 aspect ratio of NTSC television, but some time during the first episode, I no longer noticed.
The menus on the discs were a big confusing to navigate. I expected that the brightest text would be the item I had selected, but eventually I realized that when you select an item, its text turns dark. Oh well. It's all part of the entertainment, folks!
Saw that many people complained that they could not get the dvds to play in their system when they received them. I think I have figured out why.
When I first got them, I also had a little problem getting them to play in my Blue Ray system. The player couldn’t recognize the dvds and wouldn’t read them. I also have an older DVD player and decided to try them in that one as well. I found it worked fine, at least so far.
I do like having the DVDs of the show now. I remember when the show came out on TV originally and thought this was a bit above its time. Though the episodes did seem a bit predictable and the characters were cliché. But the show was a bit fun to watch. You can see where Raiders Of The Lost Ark, and Disney’s Tail Spin either got their influence or gave it.
It’s a fun show if you have the player. Sadly it seems that the DVDs will only play in certain players.
I only gave it four out of five stars because of the fact that it only plays on certain DVD players. Other than that is a great show.
Top reviews from other countries
The set itself is well up to par & some effort has been made here. Its a 6-disc set with a nice colourful booklet....just a word of warning though the spindles that hold the floating disc trays inside the case are very easily broken as are the lugs of the trays themselves that fit into the spindles. I got my set 2nd hand & they broke in transit (£1.99 to replace & is a 24 mm spine box not the 22 mm I bought which meant I had to shave a mm or so off both the slip cover edges for it to slide in.......).
Anyway the stories are still amusing & am currently working my way through the series.....if you were a fan before then its worth having another look - I always liked the little dog! Ahhhhhh....lol
NOT the case here. The quality is great. They may well be "B" film stories and the fight scenes are definitely "theatrical" as someone else wrote, but it's GREAT. Really Great stuff. If you are a fan of "pulp" type novels and fiction or even the modern equivalent like say Hellboy graphic novels, then get this DVD. It has it all. Evil Nazis up to no good, a "goodish" nazi, a cruel and super sexy evil princess, the various "good girl" hotties and interviews with the cast presently, many years later.
Don Bellisario still makes the best stuff, like NCIS and this shows why. Oh and yeah...this Gold Monkey stuff PRE_dated Indiana Jones, so THERE Steven Spielberg!