From FILM+TV on 8/31/10
Shortly after the release of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" the TV networks rolled out their own Saturday Matinee Serials. On CBS we had "Bring 'Em Back Alive" starring Bruce Boxleitner and Cindy Morgan (That's right, those two good looking programs from TRON). And yes, I watched it, it was good, and who doesn't like Bruce Boxleitner right? But it wasn't as good or as fun as ABC's "Tales of the Gold Monkey".
This show had it all for me: Airplanes, dames and one-eyed dogs. I have not seen this show in years and will probably be horrified by how silly it really is (Have you watched "Airwolf" reruns? Hoo-boy!), but coming on the heals of "Raiders" I was thrilled with the pre-WWII setting, the exotic island local, the shady villains, the femme fatales and that awesome Grumman "Goose", I'm a sucker for vintage planes.
Stephen Collins starred as the square-jawed, everyman hero Jake Cutter. Jeff MacKay as Jake's sad-sack sidekick/mechanic Corky. Caitlin O'Heaney played Sarah White, Jake's girl and an undercover spy! Roddy McDowall was all suave coolness as Bon Chance Louis owner of the Monkey Bar. And let's not forget man's best friend the one-eyed canine wonder Jack. The little Jack Russell terrier was good for a laugh and made a great foil for Jake, after all Jake had lost his fake eye in a poker game!
Created by Donald P. Bellisario, "Monkey" had a lot of the trade marks of the Bellisario/Stephen J. Cannell action-adventure shows from the 80's and 90's like "Baa Baa Black Sheep", "Airwolf", "Riptide", etc. These included shooting locations, guest actors and an awesome 80's Mike Post/Pete Carpenter theme song! This should come as no surprise since Bellisario was a writer/producer on Cannell's "Baa Baa Black Sheep".
And, unfortunately, like "Bring 'Em Back Alive", "Monkey" only ran one season (21 episodes) dying at an early age of high production costs and low ratings.
goldmonkeydotcom on YouTube
Tales of the Gold Monkey on Wikipedia
Bring 'Em Back Alive on Wikipedia