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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It's Chimp-sploitation!

This has to be one of my strangest posts yet, but I so could not resist. Since Rise of the Planet of the Apes drops this Friday, I thought I'd take a moment and draw you all back to the 70's for some good old fashioned chimp-sploitation.

Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp was a sort of Get Smart action adventure comedy series centered around a chimpanzee (Lancelot) and his female spy companion, Mata Hairi. They worked for A.P.E. the Agency to Prevent Evil and did constant battle with C.H.U.M.P. the Criminal Headquarters for Underworld Master Plan. It ran from 1970 to 1972, a bit before I knew what television was. However, I do remember having the coloring books and the dolls. Courtesy of a relative or my godmother, I can't be sure.

The other members of A.P.E. included Colonel Darwin (the leader) and Bruce (an official courier). Parnelli Smith was their go-to car chimp. Lance and Mata even had a rock band called the Evolution Revolution. Blackie was the drummer and SweetWater Gibbons was on piano. They performed on the Ed Simian Show and their music was intended to be coded messages for A.P.E. agents. Groovy! I've often wondered if one these senseless little pop tartlets is perhaps the CIA equivalent.

Now for the forces of darkness. C.H.U.M.P. consisted of seven evil masterminds Baron von Butcher, Dragon Lady, Creto, Wang Fu, the Duchess, Ali Assa Seen and Dr. Strangemind.

Some interesting factoids:

*Bernie Kopell, best remembered as the doctor from Love Boat voiced Baron and Wang Fu.

*The show was created by Stan Burns and Mike Marmer who wrote for The Carol Burnett Show.

*They released an Evolution Revolution album on ABC/Dunhill Records with the singles Sha La Love You, Day Dreams, Magic Feeling and Blind Date.

*There was also a mysterious orangutan that never had a name, but Lance referred to him as "the weirdo."

So, are you ready for some Chimp-sploitation? I knew you were. Without further ado, here is Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp as well as a performance of The Evolution Revolution. Dig those funky threads! It's no wonder the apes take over the planet.


  1. Oh man! I didn't think anyone else remembered ol' Lancelot! I was planning to put him into a big pot of Random Stew over at LGOOH one of these days - probably still will, after all, you can never give too much love to Mr. Link! Terrific post, and great clips too! Now my wife will have to put up with my Lancelot Link impression for a couple of days - and she'll probably think I'm doing a bad Humphrey Bogart...but what can you do?

  2. @Craig LMAO I thought of you the entire time I was writing this. I figured if there was one other person out there who remembered Lance, it would be you. I could not resist posting when I found these clips. And in light of the new Planet of the Apes, it was tailor made. ;) And you do a Lance impression, too. How cool!

  3. Interesting post and interesting facts, my friend.
    Never watched this series but it should be a wonderful companion for the forthcoming Rise of the Planet of the Apes :)

  4. I didn't know chimps were such superstars over in USA :) Not sure I'd generally support the use of animals in this way, but chimps are awfully cute sometimes :)

  5. I think the spousal unit and I are going to see the new POTA movie. We saw the the others at the old drive-in, back in the day, so it won't be quite the same. But we agreed we're invested in the franchise, so we need to go see all the improvements and hope we don't feel old. :)

  6. Oh...my God, Melissa. I LOVED Lancelot Link when I was a kid!

    Also looking forward to Rise of Planet of the Apes - but unfortunately my movie-going budget is really, really strapped right now. I have to pay for the big New York trip I just enjoyed, so it's all for a good cause. I'm still thinking of little moments during that trip - can't believe I was really there.

  7. Never heard of Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp, but your awesome post made it seem quite intriguing.

    I'm not crazy about Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but I'll give it a shot anyway. ;)

    Hope you're doing fine, hon. Hugs!

  8. I watched that show as a child! Always wondered what they gave the chimps to make them move their mouths. Gum perhaps?

  9. Why don't I remember that show? Gees. I was nuts about the Planet of the Apes TV show. Loved that.

  10. ROFL, I watched that show but unlike the others, I cannot say I was a child. I forgot about "the weirdo," which is why I am laughing. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  11. This is an oldie, but goodie. I completely forgot about good ole' Lancelot.

  12. I've never seen the show but I'm sure I would have loved it!

    Ellie Garratt

  13. @Jacstev Thanks! I had a vague recollection of this show , but heard someone else mention it so I knew I had to do something in honor of the new Planet of the Apes movie.

    @Dez Yes, chimps are very popular here. We like to dress them up like dolls and chase them with movie cameras. :) I'm kidding of course, but I do love chimps. They are too cute.

    @KC I know what you mean. I have a healthy recollection of Charleton Heston and Roddy McDowell in the original. I saw it when I was junior high I think as a creature feature. This new one just looks meh. I prefer the masks myself. Have fun!

  14. @Julia I hear you on the movie budget. I am saving my pennies to see Conan and Fright Night. I love David Tennant and Jason Momoa. That is so exciting that you were at RWA. What a fantastic trip and isn't the best to connect with so many other writers?

    @Nebular Aww.. Hugs back. Glad you enjoyed the post. I think I'll have to wait on the Netflix for this one, though I do love Freida Pinto. Conan and Fright Night are calling to me. :)

    @Alex I wondered that, too. I know they really worked on the dubbing to get it just right. Maybe they just let them talk? Gum is an interesting theory, though.


  15. @MPax I vaguely remember a cartoon about Planet of the Apes. Was that the show? Or was there a live action? I didn't really watch Lance, but someone had given me a coloring book with Lance's adventures and I loved it. I found it not too long ago in a box of old stuff.

    @Jules I hear you. Most of my younger friends were like WTH when I mentioned this. :) The weirdo made me laugh, too as I watched some of these eps on You Tube. Now this was classic television. :)

  16. @msmariah Wasn't Lance awesome? I found my old coloring book recently and I was floored at what I remembered. I had to rely on someone else to supply more details, but I watched some of these old eps You Tube and it was fantastic.

    @Ellie Check out Lance on You Tube. The eps are great and the music is classic rock with that groovy late 60's early 70's vibe. I think you'll love them. :)

  17. I've always been a fan of chimpanzees, trained or not. They are funny to watch and so much like humans. I saw Lancelot Link a few times but I don't really remember it very well. I remember Zippy the Chimp when I was a kid in the 50s.

    Tossing It Out

  18. @Arlee I love chimps, too. They are just so cute. I don't have any real memories of Lance beyond the coloring book and doll, but it looks like it had been a fun show.

  19. Oh, Melissa, what an excellent post! I did one on Lance Link and other retro shows a year or two ago; I'm going to to link this up to it because yours has so many more details.

    I'm older than you and I really did love this show.

    Thanks so much for stopping by to say hi too.

    Kathy M.


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