Tales of The Gold Monkey - History and Context

History and Context

Originally, the series was to be called "Tales of the Brass Monkey," but that was the name of an alcoholic beverage, so the name was changed to Gold Monkey. At the end of the pilot episode, it is revealed that the statue at the bar was actually brass and not gold. However, unknown to the characters (and revealed to viewers only just before the end credits), the island where the statue was found does contain a massive structure apparently made of solid gold that does resemble a monkey. They spend most of the episode looking at and/or climbing all over this colossal figure, but one thousand years of neglect had left it covered in vegetation and debris, and it is only exposed by the same volcanic eruption that forces the characters off the island.

As with most of creator Donald P. Bellisario's projects, there are links to his other shows. The most notable is of the character Gandy Dancer (played by William Lucking) an ace pilot treasure hunter who appears in the episodes 'Legends Are Forever' and - in flashback form - in 'Honor Thy Brother.' Although Gandy dies in 'Legends Are Forever,' Bellisario liked the character enough to adapt him to the present day. The third season episode 'Two Birds of a Feather' of Bellisario's hit Magnum, P.I. sees Lucking playing the very similar character of Sam Houston Hunter, also an ace pilot. The episode, which noticeably has little appearance of Magnum or any other regular characters, acted as a backdoor pilot for a proposed spin-off series starring Lucking. However, the series was never picked up, although Bellisario stripped down the 'adventures of an ace pilot' concept and worked it into Airwolf (1984–1986). Jeff MacKay had recurring roles on Magnum, P.I., and later JAG (1995–2005), and Marta DuBois played the role of Magnum's estranged wife Michelle, long presumed dead, in a story arc that spanned most of that's show's run. MacKay and Calvin both went on to play several guest roles in Airwolf; and McDowall, MacKay, Calvin (and stock footage of the Goose) all went on to have guest appearances on the Bellisario series Quantum Leap (1989–1993). Stock footage of the Goose was also used in The A-Team episode "The Island" (Season 3, Episode 8). Additionally, Jake's surname, Cutter, was previously an early working title and character name for that of Magnum, and Bellisario later re-used the name "Gushie", who in Gold Monkey was a wheelchair-bound waiter at the Monkey Bar, for a member of the Quantum Leap project team.

Although generally well received in both America and overseas (such as the United Kingdom, where it was broadcast on BBC One on Monday evenings), the show was not renewed for another season, mostly due to the ratings not justifying the high cost of production.

This show was an inspiration for the Disney animated series Talespin, according to that series' creator/supervising producer, Jymn Magon.

There is a fictional recursion in "The Sultan of Swat" in which - while waiting for the Boeing 314 Pan Am Clipper - Jake is reading a book with a dustcover titled "Murder on the Footbridge"; which is apparently a key plot reference from the 1941 Alfred Hitchcock movie Suspicion.

In episode 10 (The Late Sarah White), it is mentioned that Bora Gora is 3,251 miles (5,232 km) from Manila. Given that the Grumman Goose's airspeed indicator is in statute miles, this would be 2,825 nmi (5,232 km) from Manila. This would place the show closer to New Caledonia than any of the islands in French Polynesia. This would actually be more consistent with the constant run-ins with the Japanese, despite the apparent Polynesian names.

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