You know how sometimes you can remember you really loved something from your childhood, yet for some reason you just can’t actually remember much of the detail about it? A good example of this for me is Tales of the Gold Monkey.
I can remember the title of the show and theme song as if it were yesterday. I remember the main character was an Indiana Jones type who flew one of those cool airplanes that can land on water. I remember a bar, which had a statue of a gold monkey on the bar surface (presumably where the title of the show came from) and I also remember there being a dog who wore an eye patch.
Not really high on detail I know, yet I remember lying on the sofa glued to the television whenever it was on. I even remember that it was on on Monday nights!
Before the Internet came along then that would probably have been that, but now a Google search or two later I can fill in some of the gaps in my memory, so for the rest of you out there scratching your head and going “hey, that rings a bell”, here goes…
The show was created by Donald P. Belisario, who is probably better known for Airwolf and time travel series Quantum Leap. It was set in the 1930’s, around the same time period that Raiders of the Lost Ark was set, and since Gold Monkey arrived on our screens it was often seen as being a Raiders cash in.
Apparently this is not the case though, as Belisario had been trying to get the show made since the 1970’s, but TV executives didn’t think that viewers would be interested in a show set in the Thirties, until Raiders came along of course.
The star of the series is Jake Cutter who runs an air freight business out of a fictional South Pacific island named Bora Gora. He flies a Grumman Goose (the sea plane I mentioned above) called Cutter’s Goose and he did indeed have a one eyed dog who wore an eye patch. The dog was called Jack, and he used to have a fake eye made from opal, until Jake lost it in a card game.
Jake’s best (non canine) friend is his engineer Corky, who is a fond of a little tipple or two (or three) which leads to him being more than a little forgetful at times.
The bar that Jake frequented was called The Monkey Bar, and it did indeed have a Gold Monkey within it. Well, that is, it appeared to be gold, but it was in fact made of brass. The bar was owned by “Bon Chance” Louie, who was played by the late Roddy McDowall, star of the Planet of the Apes films and TV series.
That’s about it for my memories then, and I’m pleased that I was at least in the right ball park with them. Here’s a little more though.
Jake also had a love interest by the name of Sarah Stickney White, who was a US Government spy working undercover as a singer in the Monkey Bar. Working for the Nazis was the (fake) Reverend Willie Tenboom, who used to spend a lot of his time trying to bless the natives of Bora Gora.
Other recurring characters were Japanese princess Koji and her bodyguard Todo. Koji was in part Jake’s enemy in some of the stories, although she kind of had a bit of a crush on him at the same time. Interestingly Koji and Todo both appear on the opening credits, despite only being in a few of the episodes.
Most excitingly though, it appears Tales of the Gold Monkey has even been released on DVD, although tracking down a copy might be difficult as it’s not currently in stock on Amazon, which doesn’t bode well.
To finish my little trip down memory lane, here’s a clip of the title sequence, and yes, I’m pleased to say that my memory of the theme tune was correct too!