A real treasure, and one of my favorite TV series....ever..!!
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.