Sunday, May 13, 2007

Talking Monkeys

(Sabbath Blog #17)

Next, Michael Crichton’s latest novel, features, among many other interesting characters, a couple of talking monkeys.

While Crichton’s book is a timely precautionary tale about genetic manipulation, he is hardly the first one to create simian characters that are fluent in English.

Cheetah, Tarzan’s sidekick in the Johnny Weissmuller movies, comes to mind, but he didn’t actually talk. He expressed human emotions and mannerisms but did not speak.

Not too many years ago cable channel TBS aired a series of “Monkey Movie Shorts,” which were movie parodies starring talking chimps. The send-ups of Braveheart and Forrest Gump are hilarious (you can find them on YouTube; search for “monkeyed movies").

My wife says that talking monkeys are funny.

That’s why I chose the Mother’s Day gift for her that I gave her this year: Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp on DVD. This chimpanzee-starring series aired on Saturday mornings on ABC in the early 1970s. The main character was of course Lance Link, a rather hairy James Bond type. He and his partner, the exotic Mata Hairi, worked for APE (Apes Preventing Evil). They worked tirelessly to thwart the plans for world domination of CHUMP (Criminal Headquarters for Underworld Master Plan). In addition to those tales of espionage and suspense, the show featured performances by Lance’s rock group The Evolution Revolution.

I’ll be the first to admit that the plots, dialogue, and characterization did not rise to the level of, say, Get Smart. But, to quote my wife, talking monkeys are funny.

I’m not a gambling man and there’s no way to find out, but I’d just about be willing to bet the farm that no other woman in the entire world received Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp on DVD for a Mother’s Day gift this year.

That Debra is one lucky woman.

She’s insightful, too. Talking monkeys are funny.

So are silly husbands.

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