If you grew up in the 70s or 80s, you’re sure to remember Monkey Magic – it was the must-see TV show of its time, along with Roger Ramjet and The Goonies, and remains a classic favourite for many today.
Seriously – what kid wouldn’t enjoy the tale of a half-man half-ape who was “born from an egg on a mountain top” and flew around on a magic cloud? The badly dubbed English voices only added to its charm.
But did you know these 10 facts about our favourite hero?
1. The show had such a low budget that all of the sets and even the cast were recycled!
If you were ever confused by the similarities between supporting characters, it’s because their actors all played multiple parts.
2. There are only 52 episodes, split between 2 series.
That means you could watch one a week for a year, though!
3. Monkey’s cast and crew were Japanese, but they filmed in China and Mongolia.
4. Unlike the rest of the show, which was dubbed, the theme sequence “Monkey Magic” was never recorded in Chinese or Japanese – it was sung entirely in English.
5. The monk Tripitaka was played by Masako, a Japanese model and actress who unfortunately passed away in 1985.
Masako was only 27, and died from Leukaemia.
6. Remember Pigsy, from season 1? His actor (Toshiyuki) can also be seen in 21 Japanese films!
7. Monkey Magic wasn’t only dubbed in English…
The show can also be enjoyed in Spanish and Zulu, presumably complete with its flashy sound effects.
8. If you ever want to hear the theme tune performed live by its original artist, you still can!
Yukihide Takekawa provided the music for the show, and is also known as the vocalist from Godiego. He still performs in Japan, and sings Monkey Magic without fail.
9. Monkey may have been popular, but budgeting issues cut its success short.
Filming was forced to a sudden end part way through the second series.
10. Jon Fukuda, the director behind the scenes of the show, also helped to direct some of the Godzilla movies.
11. Every main character got a happy ending at the end of the story.
Tripitaka and Monkey both achieved the status of Buddha, while Sandy transforms into the Golden Bodied Arhat, and Pigsy becomes the Cleanser of the Altars.