Monkey business takes on a whole new meaning in the live-action classic television series Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp, swinging onto DVD in a special, three-disc collector’s set, May 29 from Film Chest.
In the spirit of Get Smart, ABC’s action-adventure/comedy spy series (1970-72) aired Saturday mornings, starring a cast of chimpanzees whose performances were dubbed with human voices, including those of Dayton Allen, Joan Gerber, Steven Hoffman and The Love Boat’s Bernie Kopell, among others. All 17 episodes have been transferred from the original studio ABC masters.
In a world inhabited by chimps instead of humans, Lancelot Link (Allen), along with partner Mata Hairi (Gerber), is one of the top agents of the Agency to Prevent Evil (APE), a secret organization led by Commander Darwin (Allen) that protects the world from wrongdoers.
Their chief nemesis is Baron Von Butcher (Kopell), who leads the Criminal Headquarters for Underworld Master Plan (CHUMP), an evil league bent on world conquest. Assisting the Baron is a band of bad apes including Creto, Wang Fu, the Duchess, Dragon Lady, Ali Assa Seen and Dr. Strangemind.
Episodes also included musical segments featuring the psychedelic music group Evolution Revolution (even spawning the release of a soundtrack album).
Now in retirement, Lancelot has been enjoying his days at Los Angeles’ Wildlife Waystation (WWS), which will receive part of the proceeds from DVD sales. A famed institution that has been assisting wild animals in need for 36 years, WWS is now desperately in need of funds for renovations and to remain open.
“It was very exciting to find that Lance was still around after all these years and being well cared for in his retirement at the Wildlife Waystation,” commented Allan Sandler, producer of the original series and of the DVD collector’s set. “Bringing back all the memories of filming the series is a highlight for me and I am happy another generation of viewers will have the opportunity to enjoy the show.”
Added Martine Colette, founder and matriarch of WWS, “The Wildlife Waystation is very pleased and grateful to receive these proceeds to help us with the ongoing costs of maintaining the care of our chimpanzees.”
The only approved digital and DVD elements protected by copyright from the original producers and owners (SBM, LLC) with the approval of ABC, Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp is presented in full screen with an aspect ratio of 4 x 3 and original mono sound. Special features include interviews with Sandler and musical director Bob Emenegger; live video footage of Sandler with Lancelot at the Waystation in 2011; the 1999 documentary short I Created Lancelot Link by Diane Bernard and Jeff Krulik; picture slideshow of real-life Lancelot Link (provided by Sandler and Life magazine); and complete Evolution Revolution vignettes from all 17 original episodes.
For more information, visit www.lancelotlinksecretchimp.com and follow on Facebook (www.facebook.com/officiallancelotlink) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/LancelotLink70)