Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp
September 4, 2011 3:55 AM   Subscribe

Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp was a Saturday morning live-action film series featuring a cast of chimpanzees given apparent speaking roles by overdubbing with human voices. Previously. For example; Episode 1, pt 1, pt 2, etc.
posted by twoleftfeet (38 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wally Walpamur > Lancelot Link
posted by uncanny hengeman at 4:18 AM on September 4, 2011


Two of the three producer/creators — Stan Burns and Mike Marmer — who had been writers for Get Smart, quit their jobs as head writers on The Carol Burnett Show to work on Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp.

This is what we call a career move.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:19 AM on September 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


Oh my gosh. I had forgotten this. Why did you remind me of it?
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:21 AM on September 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


From the Wiki link:

Unnamed Orangutan - Appeared in cameos as a picturesque extra. Often referred to by Lance as "that weirdo."

LULZ! I'm picturing in a Eddie Booth, Ted Bullpit racism-was-funny-in-the-1970s kind of way.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 4:30 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cue trailer for Lancelot Link CG movie in 3D in 3.. 2...

Joking, but I wouldn't be surprised...
posted by jozxyqk at 4:38 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is what we call a career move.

Made me chuckle and wonder, so I checked both Stan Burns and Mike Marmer out on imdb. They were evidently rehired by The Carol Burnett Show - they're listed on episodes up to 1972, and on the special in 1978. They then went on to write for many sitcoms (including such gems as Punky Brewster and The Dom Deluise Show) for many more years, totally relinquishing their creator/producer dreams... Ah, Hollywood. Oh, Burbank.
posted by likeso at 4:39 AM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Given the time period, I get the feeling Lancelot Link owes a lot to the Planet of the Apes.
posted by datter at 4:41 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


My dad would laugh his ass off whenever he watched Lancelot Link. I never cared for the show, myself.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:03 AM on September 4, 2011


How did they get the monkeys to do all that stuff?!?! Eating with chopsticks, skiing.. it's incredible!
posted by Joe Chip at 5:19 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good grief. I read both this FPP and the Wikipedia page and finally started watching the episode, and THEN realized that this involves Chimpanzees, not Chipmunks.

This cold I have must be affecting me.
posted by hippybear at 5:19 AM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


There is a chimpunk FPP just below this one - it confused me for a fraction of a second. That might be it.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:33 AM on September 4, 2011


It was sort of a mashup of the Planet of the Apes crossed with Get Smart. Bernie Kopell was one of the voice actors. They would ad lib based on what the chimps were doing in a particular scene, which lead to some really funny stuff.
posted by midnightscout at 5:38 AM on September 4, 2011


Bloody hell, I just posted the word "chimpunk."
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:41 AM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Need more bad humor from 1960? Lancelot Link was voiced by borscht belt comedian Dayton Allen. Dayton used to hang out at our house when I was growing up (we laughed at his jokes and the food was free). Here is a three part pilot he self produced for TV that never aired, entitled On Real Estate, On African Tours and On Catering Service. Oye Vay.
posted by Dean358 at 5:53 AM on September 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


That theme song was a minute and 20 seconds long! These days that's like half an episode!
posted by to sir with millipedes at 5:55 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Enjoy!
There's No Business Like Show Business part 1 part 2
the missing link
Lancet Link The Surfin' Spy
the royal foil
Lancelot Link The Reluctant Robot
Lancelot Link The Great Plane Plot
Lancelot Link Missile Beach Party
Lancelot Link The Lone A.P.E.
Lancelot Link The Great Water Robbery Part 1 Part 2
Lancelot Link The Great Great Race
Lancelot Link The Chilling Chump Chase
Lancelot Link The Golden Sword
Lancelot Link The Great Bank Robbery
Lancelot Link The Dreaded Hong Kong Sneeze
Lancelot Link Landlubber Lance
Lancelot Link The Greatest Chase In The World
Lancelot Link The Doctor Goes A.P.E.
Lancelot Link The Greatest Chase In The World
Lancelot Link Bonana Ranch
Lancelot Link Thanksgiving Turkey Truce
posted by robbyrobs at 6:10 AM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Thanks for that, robbyrobs. Last time I tried to be that complete they deleted my post.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:14 AM on September 4, 2011


Oh man, we loved this show when I was young! It was popular enough in my neighborhood that one kid who happened to be named "Lance" was known as "Lancelot Link" for years, much to his chagrin.
posted by TedW at 6:16 AM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Should we be thanking Dean358 for the additional Dayton Allen content in spite of its cringeworthiness? WHY NOT?
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:25 AM on September 4, 2011


Bloody hell, I just posted the word "chimpunk."

Steampunk and dieselpunk are so over -- chimpunk is the new graphic-novel pulp aesthetic.

I remember seeing Lancelot Link on Nick at Nite, but as a kid, I was just confused as to how it could possibly be entertaining -- I didn't understand that it was a timely parody in its way. Still, I find it a little unnerving, considering how it's impossible to know how the chimps were treated, and rather unlikely that they were treated well. It's like that video of the note-perfect three-year-old North Korean xylophonist, who never ceases to smile.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:49 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: It's like that video of the note-perfect three-year-old North Korean xylophonist, who never ceases to smile.
posted by hippybear at 6:54 AM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I remember watching this with my mom, Saturday mornings on some local channel that I figure had syndication rights. To this day, we still laugh about, "Oh, Mata!" and "Oh, Lancelot!". The rest of the family thinks we're nuts.
posted by fijiwriter at 7:19 AM on September 4, 2011


MetaFilter: The rest of the family thinks we're nuts.
posted by hippybear at 7:23 AM on September 4, 2011


I try to stop myself, but sometimes I find it's happened before my conscious brain even realizes.

MetaFilter: I try to stop myself, but sometimes I find it's happened before my conscious brain even realizes.

DEAR GOD I CANNOT STOP!

MetaFilter: DEAR GOD I CANNOT STOP!

posted by hippybear at 7:25 AM on September 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I watched this when I was a kid. In all the years since, I've hated monkeys with a passion.
posted by buzzv at 7:42 AM on September 4, 2011


Metafilter: Dear God I cannot stop posting Metafilter:
posted by 445supermag at 7:43 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


The chimps were provided and trained by Frank Inn, who was also responsible for Benji, Arnold Ziffel, and miscellaneous livestock from the Beverly Hillbillies. A very quick googling doesn't result in any specific allegations of cruelty regarding the late Mr. Inn.
posted by evilcolonel at 7:50 AM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can't speak to Mr. Inn's training specifically, but we should recognize that generally, chimpanzees in movies and films have been poorly treated. All of those are very young chimpanzees - certainly under the age of 5. Chimps in the wild are in close proximity to their mothers until they're 7 or 8. Many of these guys look like they have broken and/or missing teeth, which is a common way to deal with unruly, bitey, potentially dangerous animals. Once they get a little too big and strong to handle, they can have shock collars fitted under their clothes, or they can be euthanized, or they can end up in a roadside zoo sitting all alone for the next 55 years of their lives. There are only a few chimpanzee refuges in the US (there are far more chimps that need a place to go then there are good places to house them), and frequently chimps used in movies have no idea what being a chimpanzee actually is about, so they don't fit in well in refuges anyway.

And ... they're not monkeys. So hopefully, Buzzv, you've really hated apes. Otherwise, you'd have an unnecessary prejudice against primates that have tails and a bony disk behind their eye sockets.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:05 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


As an aside, I used to see the name Frank Inn in the Beverly Hillbillies credits and think it was some sort of hotel for trained animals.
posted by evilcolonel at 8:09 AM on September 4, 2011


"Reasons for the show’s untimely demise remain unclear. Rumors that PETA helped shut the show down because all the male chimps were castrated before filming appear to be untrue. (Well, the PETA thing is untrue, but the castration was very, very real.) Perhaps the show’s brief life had something to do with its unprecedented seven-figure budget. Or maybe it can be traced to the time ABC execs came to the set to see the show’s star, Tonga (a.k.a. Lancelot Link), literally taking a bite out of his veterinarian." (cite)
posted by jonp72 at 8:43 AM on September 4, 2011


Even watching this as a child, I thought it was about the weirdest thing on TV. An hour-long show with nothing but chimps flapping their lips. Must have been the early 70s...
posted by Windopaene at 9:34 AM on September 4, 2011


I believe I heard this story on the 1999 documentary short, "I Created Lancelot Link".

Yes, someone decided the male chimps would be easier to handle if the were castrated, so their vet did the operations.

The network execs from ABC had never been to the filming location of this very expensive show, so they hopped in a limo and arrived just as the apes were being walked back to their quarters after filming. The vet happened to be walking through at the same time.

Lance (Tonga) spotted the vet. The vet spotted Tonga. The vet took off running. Tonga broke ranks and took off in hot pursuit. The vet went down with a screaming chimp on his back. Tonga repeatedly exacted his revenge on the hated vet with his teeth.

The network execs promptly got back in the limo and never returned.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 9:57 AM on September 4, 2011


The only thing worse than a dubbed animal is one with a computer-animated mouth.

No, wait, a dubbed baby is also worse. And a dubbed baby with a computer-animated mouth is even worse than that.

So now that I think about it, I guess in the grand scheme of things this doesn't sound all that bad. But I'm still not going to watch it.
posted by rifflesby at 11:30 AM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


The only thing worse than a dubbed animal is one with a computer-animated mouth.

You forgot about the nightmare fuel that is Syncro-Vox!
posted by TedW at 12:34 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: Dear God I cannot stop posting Metafilter:

It's like in that movie, when they find a tunnel into John Metafilter's head and when John Metafilter goes through it everybody's John Metafilter, and they're all like, "Metafilter metafilter? Metafilter! Ha ha ha!"

Metafilter: Metafilter.
posted by stebulus at 3:04 PM on September 4, 2011


Metafilter: They're not monkeys. They're pedants.
posted by Daddy-O at 8:35 PM on September 4, 2011


I love revisiting these half remembered cultural artifacts from my youth. (Actual conversation from the 80s: "Wasn't there something once where they did a Get Smart thing with monkeys?" "yeah dude! Lance Link! Secret Chimp!" "Dude, how do you even remember that?")

The best part is the peace of mind brought on by discovering that they did not, in fact, make any sense. (See also: Yellow Submarine)
posted by whuppy at 7:13 PM on September 6, 2011


Glad someone mentioned Jeff Krulik documentary. I own a copy and it is worth tracking down (not the easiest thing to do) if you are interested in knowing more about Lance Link.

There are a few clips and a run down of the doc here.
posted by silsurf at 8:06 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


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