Jake Cutter is a pilot and adventurer in Boragora, the port in the Marivella Islands in 1938. He flies his Grumman Goose amphibian on inter-island flights and finds adventure every week. Written by
J.E. McKillop <email@example.com>
The series takes place in 1938 with some flashbacks to 1937 and 1936, and repeated references are made to the fact that Jake flew with the American Volunteer Group or "Flying Tigers" prior to his adventures in the show. The only problem is that the AVG did not see its first combat action until December 20th 1941 (that's three years after the events in the series are supposed to have taken place). We also see at least one flashback of Jake as a Tiger, fighting Japanese "Zeros". The Mitsubishi A6M. or "Zero" never fought against the AVG. Japan sent 15 Zeros to China in 1939, before the Tigers existed, two were shot down and the remaining 13 were recalled prior to that attack on Pearl Harbour, two weeks before the AVG saw its first combat action. The AVG only fought Ki-27 "Nates" and Ki-43 "Oscars". They shot down 290 of them. See more »
Contrary to popular consensus, TotGM was not an Indiana Jones knockoff, although the popularity of those movies was probably responsible for Gold Monkey getting its shot on television. No, Gold Monkey was much more in line with many older adventure movies, and creator Donald Bellisario insisted it was inspired mostly by the 1939 movie Only Angels Have Wings.
Regardless of where it came from, though, this was a very enjoyable series. As a boy of 9 at the time it originally aired, I was absolutely enamored with it (so much so, in fact, that my father still calls me "Jake" to this day). Now, as a man of 30, I have managed to find copies of all the episodes, and I find that I still love it. I may love it even more now that I'm older and more able to appreciate the historical references in the show, which is set in the Pacific in 1938. Spies and political intrigues abound in every single episode, and provide the perfect backdrop for an adventure story.
This series is clearly a product of early 80s American television, showing quite a bit of similarity in structure and production values with nearly every other series produced at the time. Gold Monkey, though, was far from formulaic, and very original. How many shows can you name that had an intelligent one-eyed dog that was regarded in every respect as an equal member of the cast?
I will never understand why it didn't last more than a single season, but at least I can enjoy what little there is. "Tales of the Gold Monkey" will always have a special place in my heart and on my video shelf.
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