While I am extremely excited to know that Tales Of The Gold Monkey will be coming to DVD next year, I can't help but wonder if we'll ever get 1982's other Raiders of the Lost Ark-inspired television series on disc someday. I'm talking about Bring 'Em Back Alive, of course, CBS' entry in the faux Indiana Jones sweepstakes, and a show that, for my money, was just as entertaining as Tales.
The tone of the shows were slightly different - while both programs traded in pulp adventure, Tales was more character-driven, like most Donald Bellasario productions. Bring 'Em Back Alive was more like old Republic adventure serials, with exciting stunts, a likable, two-fisted swashbuckling lead, and action-packed stories. Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5, Tron) played a highly-fictionalized version of real-life big game trapper Frank Buck, and the show was set in 1939 Singapore. It was fun stuff, with crocodiles, Nazis, tigers, spies, monkeys with guns (okay, one monkey with a gun) and a crimeboss/spymaster who was a dead ringer for George Zucco!
I actually have bootleg copies of both shows - they look like hell, of course - and while I think that Tales was probably a slightly better show overall, Bring 'Em Back Alive was/is damned enjoyable, too. Neither show lasted more than a season, which is a shame, and I may be wrong, but I think that for at least part of that season they aired opposite each other in some sort of numbskull network counter-programming that assured that both would fail.
I'm often accused of glorifying crap, or having poor taste in my entertainment choices, but I love adventure stories, and such tales are in short supply these days in print, movies and on TV. I would be a very happy guy if I could I have both shows, in high-quality DVDs, on my shelves to enjoy whenever I needed a little escape....