Welcome back to JPFmovies. Yeah, it’s been a while, but we’re back and ready to review. The JPFmovies staff was going through the DVD collection and found a 1980’s series still in the cellophane called: Tales of the Gold Monkey (1982-1983). It ran for one season and was lucky to get that. It is such a cheap rip-off of the hit movie Raiders of the Lost Arc, it is laughable. Tales of the Gold Monkey ran 22 episodes and unbelievably won a Prime Time Emmy for Outstanding Art Direction for a series. And we say unbelievably because this is one of those “works of art” that is so bad it crosses the spectrum and becomes good even and if they’re lucky a cult classic. One has to ask: what was the JPFmovies acquisition staff thinking when it invested in these DVDs?
Tales of the Gold Monkey was one of creator Donald P. Bellisario’s projects– the famed 1980s TV producer known for shows such as Battlestar Galactica, Magnum, P.I., Airwolf, and Quantum Leap. How can someone who produced Magnum P.I. and Air Wolf turn out something as bad as Tales of the Gold Monkey? Let’s stop pointing fingers and get down to business.
The show is set in 1938 in the South Pacific on an island called Bora Gora (a cheap rip-off of Bora Bora). The main character supposedly is an ex-Flying Tigers pilot, but the Flying Tigers operated from 1941–1942—so I guess the show was three years early on that angle. The creators couldn’t even get that right. Then there is the main character, Jake Cutter (Stephen Collins) dressed as Indiana Jones who owns an air cargo delivery service, he flies a red and white Grumman Goose called Cutter’s Goose. The side kick is an alcoholic mechanic named Corky (Jeff MacKay) and possibly is the most annoying side kick ever. And of course, there’s the T.V. staple Jack Russell Terrier with one eye and an eye patch, who barks once for “no” and twice for “yes”—the dog even advises Jake on how to play poker. Are you kidding me?
I have to tell you, we here at JPFmovies love to watch a pilot but this pilot was agonizing to get through the full hour and ½. This flimsy cast of characters was so obviously stolen from numerous good movies like Casablanca, Indiana Jones and more. To make matters worse these chumps are supposedly tied up in espionage, what is arguably the worst espionage plot we’ve ever seen, and on top of that they are on the hunt for a giant gold monkey. The monkey they do find, however, is made of brass but in a scintillating ending the viewer discovers that there actually is a giant gold monkey; due to neglect, however, it is covered in vegetation and is hidden from the world. Cheesy espionage plots, cardboard characters and what is obviously copyright infringement is what the rest of the episodes consist of. As you can see from the clips, Tales of the Gold Monkey was spared a dog’s death because it was canceled after its first season. We can only imagine the torture the viewer would have to go through to watch additional seasons of this lousy excuse for the golden age of 80s T.V.
SJ Bonus! That’s right folks, long time consultant SJ had the opportunity to watch these gems with the JPFmovies staff and here were some of her thoughts:
“Oh my god how many times are we going to see that stock footage?”
“That is a guy in a monkey suit?”
“Someone should take that dog away from him.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“These women are stupid!”
“What is that guy waving his arm around for?” Note. See Clip where guy gets bit by cobra.
“Is he wearing a plastic samurai battle helmet? Oh my god I think he is!”