Tales of the Gold Monkey (1982) – Trunk From the Past & Once a Tiger…

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This week’s installment of the Bellisario classic features some high adventure as Jake (Stephen Collins), Sarah (Cailtin O’Heaney), Corky (Jeff MacKay)and Jack the one-eyed dog find themselves squaring off against an Egyptian curse.

Airing 3 November 1982, and written by John Pashdag and Brady Westwater, the story gives us some back story on Sarah, as it begins in 1937, and Sarah is working with her archeologist father in Egypt, alongside her fiancée, Ted (Jared Martin, who for me, will always be Clayton Blackwood from the War of the Worlds television show).

When her father is murdered by a member of an Anubis cult, Sarah is heartbroken, and we flashfoward one year later as Jake is returning to Bora Gora with an ancient trunk for Sarah… one that her father was working on when he was murdered. It’s not long until Ted reappears as well, sparking a jealousy and a rivalry with Jake, and the group is off to discover a lost tomb from a migrated Egyptian colony, pyramid included, and they rever Jack as a god.

This is the first episode to show Jake in his Duluth baseball jersey,  and it’s quite the comfortable look, and in the setting and with the rest of the attire truly does scream 1930s.

The voiceovers are incredibly welcome, and are working really well within the show, and continue to illuminate the characters and the humor. The characters are firmly established, especially Jake’s worrying over Corky’s alcoholic intake, though he never completely stops him, he just makes sure he works in moderation.

There’s a hilarious moment when Sarah has passed out and Louie (Roddy McDowall) calls for Gushie (Les Jankey) to bring him his medical kit. Hold on, I think, Gushie is in a wheel chair, and they’re on the second floor. Well when Gushie rolls in and Louie complains he took too long, Gushie says they don’t have an elevator… leaving us to wonder how Gushie got upstairs, wheelchair and all…

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This one was light-hearted, but begins to illustrate the fact that both Jake and Sarah care for one another quite a lot.

My only sticking point was that for a trunk that was supposedly thousands of years old, it looked pretty clean and unscathed, and the paint on it held up remarkably.

The second episode, Once a Tiger… aired 17 November, 1982 and was written by John Huff and L. Ford Neal and while entertaining, it doesn’t have the same romp and sense of fun that the previous episode had.

Bellisario favorite Lance LeGault plays Tiger (the same outfit Jake belonged to) pilot  Randal McGraw and is flying a mission with a top-secret cargo of state-of-the-art scopes to outfit the Flying Tigers. When his co-pilot Kramer (W.K. Stratton) is forced to bail out over the ocean, he’s rescued by a group of natives and brought to Bora Gora.

Sharing an allegiance with Kramer, and knowing McGraw, not to mention Sarah’s demand that he recover the much-needed scopes, Jake and the gang head out, flying into the dangerous Japanese mandate to recover the downed pilot and his cargo.

Through the episode they are pursued by the Japanese in the air and on land, they are threatened by a traitor, and encounter the fervor of a cargo cult, not to mention some strange, mostly unseen tentacled creature that lives in the cargo cult’s lagoon!

While not quite embracing the high melodrama of the 30s in this episode, it was still fun, but paired with the previous episode, it just doesn’t entertain quite as much!

But, it’s amazing how much I still love this show!!

More please!

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