The worldwide Blu-ray premiere of MONKEY
“In the worlds before Monkey, primal chaos reigned. Heaven sought order. But the Phoenix can fly only when it’s feathers are grown. The four worlds formed again and yet again, as endless aeons wheeled and passed. Time and the pure essences of heaven, the moisture of the Earth, the powers of the sun and the moon worked upon a certain rock, old as creation. And it became magically fertile. That first egg was named “Thought”. Tathagata Buddha, the Father Buddha, said, “With our thoughts we make the world.” Elemental forces caused the egg to hatch. From it then came a stone monkey. The nature of Monkey was irrepressible….” (Try explaining that to your children)
All 52 episodes have now been restored and are presented in this all new collection available on DVD and for the first time ever on Blu-ray.
Monkey took the country by storm when it was first screened on BBC2 on Friday evenings in 1979. Children around the country were kung fu fighting in the playgrounds and summoning fluffy pink clouds by fanning two fingers over their mouths. The BBC screened 39 of the original 52 episodes. Fabulous Films dubbed the “lost” 13 episodes with the original cast in 2004.
The hilarious dubbing was as much a part of the show’s success as the martial arts, panto special effects, magic tricks, 70s disco music and amazing theme tune. Scriptwriter David Weir was asked to re-work Monkey (a 1970s Japanese drama, based on a Chinese tale from the 16th century, about a Buddhist priest from the 7th century) for the 1970s British audience after he successfully adapted another oriental literary classic The Water Margin. Armed with a translation of the original dialogue (as he had no understanding of Japanese or Chinese), Weir wrote the original script which brilliantly appealed to a British sense of humour with the odd bit of Buddhist philosophy thrown in for good measure. David Collings who voiced Monkey sadly died in March this year, although a mainstay of the Royal Shakespeare Company he was a cult favourite for sci-fi fans appearing in Doctor Who, Sapphire and Steel, Blake’s 7 and UFO (produced by the Thunderbirds’ Gerry and Sylvia Anderson). The voice of Pigsy was Peter Woodthorpe who died a few weeks after Fabulous Films finished dubbing the “lost” episodes in 2004. Woodthorpe is recognised for his role as the grumpy pathologist Max on Morse and as Reg Trotter, the long-absent father, who turns up in the 1983 Christmas Day special of Only Fools and Horses. Miriam Margolyes voiced many of the female characters and Andrew Sachs voiced Horse (Tripitaka’s shy talking horse who’s really a Water Dragon). The “lost” episodes were narrated by Bert Kwouk who was best known for being Cato in the Pink Panther films. The dubbing director for the “lost” episodes George Roubicek , is well known for playing Commander Praji in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.
Netflix is now airing the second season of the new Monkey series The New Legends of Monkey. It’s huge worldwide success is sparking new interest in this classic series.
Synopsis: Three fallen angels: Monkey (the cloud-flying Monkey God, born from an egg on a mountain top), Pigsy (the pig monster and embodiment of gluttony and lust) and Sandy (the morose ex-cannibal and sea monster) have been thrown out of heaven for various acts of sacrilege and general misbehaviour, they hook up with a young Buddhist monk, Tripitaka and embark on an epic, adventure-packed pilgrimage to spread the teachings of Buddha throughout the world and to hopefully gain some enlightenment themselves.
Bonus features include: Documentary filmed around the dubbing of the lost 13 episodes and PDF scans of all the 39 original BBC dubbing scripts!
Cast: Masaaki Sakai, Toshiyuki Nishida, Shiro Kishibe, Masako Natsume, Tonpei Hidari, Shunji Fujimura, Mieko Takamine.