Monkey Magic

New Years Day has turned into such a lazy day, basically just sitting at the computer and listening to music through iTunes.  Earlier the track Havoc In Heaven was played by Japanese band Godiego.  Those of us at that “vintage” age who were kids (mainly male) in the British Isles in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s will hopefully know Godiego from the theme tune that they wrote and performed for the programme on the 6pm slot on BBC2.  That programme was Monkey (or known by some as Monkey Magic). My wife loses “cool points” for her downright derision and hated towards the whole concept of the show! How cool would it be to be able to fly away on your own cloud? She basically bet me that I wouldn’t post this.  I have no shame.

 In the worlds before Monkey, primal chaos reigned. Heaven sought order, but the phoenix can fly only when its 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 all worked upon a certain rock old as creation, and it magically became fertile. That first egg was named Thought. Tatagatha 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!

The original Japanese series Saiyūki was based on the 16th century Chinese Wu Cheng’en novel Journey to the West. The abridged English translation is entitled Monkey (or Monkey: A Folk-Tale of China) and is considered a literary classic.

The synopsis of the programme, and indeed the book, is about a young monk named Tripitaka, who volunteers to endure a pilgrimage set by Buddha to retrieve sacred scriptures from India so that the Chinese people can be enlightened.  On his travels he frees the Monkey King and they recruit Sandy and Pigsy on the way. During their travels they rescue a captive princess, reinstate her father as king and fight numerous fierce monsters, all before returning to the palace.

To be fair, the programme hasn’t aged well, but for something that the BBC aimed at kids, who had no clue what the hell was going on, it was great fun to watch, just for the completely over the top acting, and we all wanted a flying cloud, didn’t we? This was definitely one for the boys from the library of the BBC’s  foreign dubbed archives as Silas and Heidi – both of German origin – appealed to the girls more. In my house they did anyway.

The dubbed UK version has a few ties to Doctor Who coincidentally, and that was also at it’s peak at the same time.  David Collings (Mawdryn Undead) voiced Monkey and Gareth Armstrong (The Masque of Mandragora) was the dubbed Sandy.

For a peak at this classic 70’s TV show heres a link to the opening credits.

Right I’m off to look on Amazon and hover my index finger over the add to basket button for the 13 disc compete series DVD set. A bargain at £39.99!