DVD Tuesday: Tales of the Gold Monkey

Every Tuesday I take a look at obscure and/or classic television programs, specials, miniseries or made-for-TV movies being released on DVD. For the record I consider anything broadcast prior to 1980 to be classic or else there wouldn’t be much to discuss. The releases referred to in these posts are encoded for Region 1 use in the United States and Canada.

There’s only one release of interest this week and technically it falls outside my time frame for classic television. But to be honest I never expected to see this show out on DVD. Shout! Factory is releasing Tales of the Gold Monkey: Complete Series today. The action/adventure series ran for one season on ABC, from September of 1982 to June of 1983. A total of 22 episodes were produced (23 if the two-hour pilot is counted as two episodes). The complete series was released on DVD in Regions 2 and 4 (Europe and Australia, primarily) in November of 2009 and today is available in the United States and Canada.

In addition to all 22 episodes, the DVD set includes a new documentary, audio commentary on five episodes, a variety of photo galleries, a collector’s booklet and more. Tales of the Gold Monkey starred Stephen Collins, Jeff MacKay, Caitlin O’Heaney and Roddy McDowell. There was also a one-eyed Jack Russell terrier named Jack. After it was canceled by ABC, the show was aired on USA Network in the late 1980s. TV Land showed a select number of episodes in 2000. So it isn’t a truly obscure show, just another one-season wonder with a small yet vocal group of fans that is finally coming to DVD. What’s next? AfterMASH?

6 Replies to “DVD Tuesday: Tales of the Gold Monkey”

  1. Just a quick correction. The fan base for “Gold Monkey” was not “small”. I worked at Universal for years, and used to deal with mail (remember that?), and was there long enough to also deal with e-mail from “fans” and the like… and Gold Monkey had the largest list of demans from people wanting it first to come out on VHS, and then DVD when that became the norm. And this wasn’t like one big push for a week, this was every week for years. I’ve spoken to friends who still work there, and Monkey is still on the top five most requested shows. There have been many conventions for this show (I was went to one in Oklahoma that was sold out), and saw Jeff MacKay, right before he passed away. The DVD is a wonder. And so was the show. Get it, and you’ll see what all the fuss is about!

  2. Again, NBC/Universal wasn’t interested in marketing their own series, and licensed Shout! Factory to release it on DVD. My guess is, and please don’t think I’m insulting you, ‘RGJ’, that key executives felt, like yourself, there isn’t enough of an “audience” [other than what perceive as the “fan base” and those who remember it] to make a profit from home video by releasing it themselves. Not while there’s money to made from, say, “THE OFFICE” and “HOUSE”, which is what they THINK most people want to buy on DVD. And that’s a damn shame…

  3. I admired ‘Tales of the Gold Monkey’ for what it was, ABC’s noble attempt to create a RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK-styled action-adventure series for the small screen, an attempt that would be followed up nearly a decade later with ‘The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles’ series. I’m looking forward to getting my DVD from Amazon so I can watch all of the episodes (I only saw about a third of them in its original run).

    When it’s two-hour pilot premiere garnered a 20.2HH/31%, I have to think ABC was dismayed, as the series went up against two shows that Alphabet schedulers thought were highly vulnerable, the brand new CBS series ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ and NBC’s reality series ‘Real People’. ABC had made the series a centrepiece of its 1982 fall promos, but the series didn’t deliver the big audiences that were expected.

    ‘Tales of the Gold Monkey’ never grew from that number; instead it fell off, going to second place behind ‘Real People’ just one week later. Despite ABC’s ample and creative promotions, the series sort of withered on the vine, finishing the 1982-83 season with a 13.5HH/21% average, the same rating as ‘Joanie Loves Chachi’ (which also got cancelled by ) and ‘Remington Steele’ (which got renewal papers from NBC).

    I do hope the success I anticipate for this DVD release prompts NBC-Universal to undertake a careful assessment of their library to identify further limited-episode series for release like ‘Tales of the Gold Monkey’, even if only via sub-licensing to Shout!

  4. Don’t hold your breath waiting for 20th Century-Fox Home Video to release ANY future volumes of “HILL STREET BLUES’ any time soon, ‘jb’ {unless you “light a fire under their ass” in order for them to do so}- for some reason, they’ve always treated their MTM library with indifference and disrespect [look how long it took for them to release the first six seasons of “THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW” on DVD- without “extras”, or commentary]…mainly because they feel it isn’t “theirs”.

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