Friday, 18 June 2010

Fabulous Friday: Monkey Magic

Friday of Fabulosity is here once more and this week I am in a bit of a quandary.  Last weeks ode to the Dorothy Shoe's turns out to have been my biggest post ever.  It was like glitter appreciation went viral, and women world wide lost their glitter-deprived minds.  Thanks to all for the inundation of comments, messages and emails.  Glad my little pair of heels could brighten all your days.  If you took the challenge and broke out the wine and glitter I'd love to see pictures.

But how do I top that?  Frankly I doubt I ever can, so I'm just going to tap away on the keyboard and embrace my 'meh'.

Today I thought I'd celebrate one of my favourite childhood TV shows.  I don't know if it was ever a hit any where other than Australia, but it was TV gold and the world needs to know and appreciate the brilliance that was, MONKEY! (you have to shout it in a bad Asian accent or it's just not right).

(From left to right: Sandy, Monkey, Tripitaka, & Pigsy, photo from here)

(Monkey Opening Theme)

Now if you are Australian, and you grew up in the 80s, you know Monkey.  It was part of the after school line up on the ABC, along with other classics like, Dr Who (Tom Baker will always be my the Dr to me), De Grassi Junior High, The Goodies, You Can't Do That on TV, and various cartoons like Danger Mouse, Roger Ramjet, and Banana Man.

Monkey was an integral part of my childhood, and my after-school ritual.

Step 1: make up a plate full of dry Weet-bix, slathered in margarine and strawberry jam.
Step 2: make large glass of milk with chocolate Quik.
Step 3: sit in my parents bedroom and turn on their tiny portable black & white TV.
Step 4: sit on the edge of the bed and watch show after show until tea time. Or plead with mum to let me eat my meat and 3 veg in front of the TV.

Monkey at 6pm was always the highlight.  How can you pass up a show about a magical monkey king who flies around on a cloud? 

For those of you who have never experienced Monkey (and I do feel sad for you) I'll give you a quick synopsis.

Monkey was an English dubbed, Japanese TV program, based on a classic 630AD Chinese story.  It was only produced for two seasons (1978-1980), but thanks to repeats I swear I saw every episode about 20 times (which may explain why I can quote large sections).  Looking at it now I wonder how they ever got it on TV, but it was a product of its time and as a child you were simply mesmerised by the exotic fantasy of the whole production.  On a television dominated by British, Canadian and American content, Monkey stood out, and grabbed the imagination of a whole generation of children.

It had the perfect over the top Asian accents.  What Australian child didn't go around the school yard saying "Ahhhh Tripitaka" or "Oi....Pigsy"?  Or know how to summon their magical flying cloud or fighting staff?  The acting was as over the top as the accents and I loved it.

The whole show is about Monkey and his friends heading from China to India in search of holy scriptures.  Tripitaka, the virtuous priest (played by a woman for some reason) is the only pure one, or "Holy Fool" as he/she was frequently called, in the group.  The others Sandy (water monster and ex-cannibal), Pigsy (pig monster consumed with lust and gluttony) and of course Monkey had all been expelled from heaven for various reasons and part of their journey is to find redemption, whilst kicking lots of demon arse along the way.  They were later joined by Horse (an ex-dragon), but I was never a huge fan.

This site gives a better round up of the whole story than I could, so if you want to know about Jade Princesses, Heavenly Naval Forces, and the like head there for a wrap up.  The story took almost every fable and fairy story from the Chinese culture and packed them into an action packed, hilarious series.  Mind you as a child I was not really aware of the complexities of the story and they really aren't necessary to ensure enjoyment. 

Thinking about it now, Monkey was our 80s version of Buffy.  There were monsters and demons in all shapes and sizes.  Great fight scenes.  Evil was vanquished.  The Princes was saved.  Redemption was sort and found.  What more could you possibly need.  No wonder it has become a cult classic.  Even now, as a 37-year-old woman, I continue to love Monkey.  I may or may not, have wasted the better part of an afternoon watching episodes on YouTube, all in the name of research.  I may or may not, go back and watch some more episodes after I press the post button.  I almost think I can hear the chocolate milk and Wheet-bix calling me back to 1985:

"Born from an egg on a mountain top
The punkiest monkey that ever popped
He knew every magic trick under the sun
To tease the Gods
And everyone and have some fun
Monkey magic, Monkey magic........." 

I leave you with a fantastic compilation of all that made Monkey great. Enjoy.


Cheers
The Monkey Loving Michelle :)

*Two great fan sites for Monkey are:

Monkey Heaven

Monkey: Great Sage Equal of Heaven

9 comments:

  1. sunburnt_earth18 June 2010 at 18:14

    Michelle I had forgotten how much I used to love Monkey Magic so thank you!! My brothers and I used to spend hours practicing our ninga moves.

    My recent youtube addiction has been old clips from Full Frontal and Fast Forward - absolutely golden!! I almost pee my pants laughing so much...

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  2. Sunburnt Earth - Monkey Magic was brilliance. I did the ninja moves too LOL I watch old episodes of FF on the comedy channel. I wonder what people would make of Eric Bana's Ray Martin impersonation these days? I used to love the SBS take off and the Air Stewards, okay I may now have to hop on You Tube.

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  3. ha! yeah i encourage you to embrace your 'meh' - that's always a good move. Your meh seems to produce some magnificent things!

    And vive le Monkey!!

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  4. hi michelle

    we certainly got the show over here in the u.k. i can remember friday nights well in the early eighties. my dad was working away at the time, every fortnight he would return, i think he thought us kids would welcome him with open arms, yet the three of us would be glued to the box watching, yep you guessed it monkey magic. oh my youve bought some memories back. another classic for me is worzel gummidge, excellent saturday evening watching. loved the shoes. xxxx

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  5. My brain just exploded in an orgasm of glitter, badly dubbed English, and an intense craving for chocolate milk. LURV the new digs, doll.

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  6. MONKEY!!!

    Hello, fellow Aussie! I found you via the Vegetable Assassin's blog. I used to love Monkey sooo much. Even now my husband and I will randomly quote the opening monologue to each other: "Tathagata Buddha, the Father Buddha said "With our thoughts, we make the world"" or "Atatatatatat!" (the pain noise Monkey used to make when Tripitaka tightened his headband!)

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  7. I so loved this show - it made it to the UK and was a huge phenomenon there too. I am sure the 80's was by far the greatest time ever!!

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  8. Xerphile - "meh" and I are very close. I think this relationship is a keeper.

    Em -yay Monkey is not just an Aussie cult classic. I knew it was dubbed in the UK but not that it was a hit there too.

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  9. Elly Lou - you realise it's all just for you?

    Soda and Candy - hey there fellow lover of the veg. I love that you continue to quote Monkey, it makes me feel less weird now. Is there an Aussie kid of a certain vintage who can't quote the opening to Monkey?

    Eternally Distracted - 80s rule!!!

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All who are lovely enough to comment should be showered with cup cakes, glitter and macarons. I promise to use my spoon bending mind powers to try and get that happening for all who are lovely enough to share their words. Those who go the extra step to share posts should really get a free unicorn. Or at least the gift of finding the shortest and quickest line at the supermarket on a regular basis. xx