Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Finding the Gold Monkey

Don't know if it makes me sad, a nerd, or just old...but I am giddy that the Tales of the Gold Monkey series is available now on DVD.

It was a short lived, but fun action show, with a bit of comedy from the late 80's. It starred Stephen Collins. Along with his adventurer pilot were spies, barmen, mechanics, tricksters, and all sorts you expect in a fun pulp tale.

Personally I loved the show, as it gave some of the period fun much like what was available through Indiana Jones, and other pulp adventure stories.

This show takes place in that fun magical near nonexistent time of the 20's, where major war was seen as a memory, and adventure, mystery, and  the future were exciting.

I do really like this particular period. It is, as said a magical time. The big memories (world wars) of the age are around it, a decade out from WWI, which colors most every character in stories, but is far enough in the past that most have moved on and have built lives again, had kids, lived their dreams, etc., but it is part of the background forever. And another war is looming. Scary Germans. Aggressive Japanese. Officious Italians. And so on. And the tales that is told is smack dab in the center, the world oblivious of what is to come.

For stories like Gold Monkey, it is a story of the South Pacific, drawing on a variety of Pulp (with natives, traders, explorers, etc.), and the history of expanding Japanese power, and the colonial interest. Another shows I love that's like this is Tailspin. It also took this time and made it playful use of the related tropes. I loved the island home and its defenses (large guns guarding high mountain walls with a narrow pass for planes to get through), Baloo and his plane, and definitely that version of Shere Khan (an enjoyable Charles Foster Kane/Lex Luthor with big claws). It is a fun show to take a chance to catch when you can.

Then other tales that used the period are Anastasia (animated), which used a fantasy evil wizard with a lost princess and a mystic and wondrous Europe that never really was. I really liked the film. It had good animation, and I enjoyed the songs. Also it gave us a 1920's fairy tale. We need people to play with fantasy in history in this fun way more often.

As well, there is the Universal Horror series, like Dracula, Wolf Man, Frankenstein, etc. On into the war years these also made use of this long gone idea of a foggy Europe that was fool of werewolves, not Nazis. But it is an impossible time, kinda Victorian and kinda modern (for the day). It marks are ideas of the sorts of movies til this day.

Crimson Skies offered a alternate America of the time, with a disrupted nation, with sky pirates, zeppelins everywhere, and independent and fun states and site.

It is a fun period to enjoy. So I am glad to have this series out for me to enjoy again after all these years.

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