Difference between revisions of "Monkey Shines (TV show)"

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(Oh yeah, and bringing back a link to an actual song page)
m (Monkey Shines moved to Monkey Shines (TV show): Reinstating preexisting song page, moving whimsy to secondary page)
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Revision as of 06:51, 17 December 2008

This page is about the fictional TV show. If you are looking for the song, try Monkey Shines (song)

Monkey Shines is an American TV series that aired for one day in 1985 on ABC. It premiered as a 46-minute pilot at 8 A.M. and was cancelled during the first commercial break. Jonathan Coulton starred as well as writing and directing the pilot episode. Since its cancellation in the first 30-minutes, the show has achieved cult status, best-known for the fact that no one knows anything about it. Numerous myths about the show circulate the web, although few have ever been substantiated.


The series features Coulton as a middle-aged bachelor named Jonathan Crouton with an enormous inheritance. The monkey is a charming but unpredictable rake, who is also a master thief. In the pilot episode he is arrested while trying to steal Crouton's collection of jewels. He charms the judge, who, much to Crouton's dismay, orders that as a condition of his probation, the monkey must become his butler. They try to live together, each of them coming to learn and appreciate the other's perspective on life.


Although the show ultimately failed, the four cast-members who starred in the pilot have gone on to greater success elsewhere. They were:

Jonathan Coulton, Greg DiCostanzo, Paul Sabourin, Neil Gaiman

The most notable of these is, of course, Gaiman, who was little-known at the time and struggling to make money, but who went on the achieve worldwide acclaim for his comics, novels, and films.

Theme Song

The show's theme song, called "Monkey Shines (Wherever You Go)", was also written by Coulton and was a short-lived hit the year the show was cancelled. There were plans to release a full album of monkey-themed songs, but these plans were abandoned after the show failed.


In early 2008, in a sub-basement of the Yale University anthropological studies department, researchers unearthed a Betacam master video recording of the pilot episode opening credits. (Unfortunately, the remainder of the episode was apparently recorded over with footage of the Yale Whiffenpoofs "1991 Holiday Jamboree Singabration") To date, this remains the only authenticated footage from "Monkey Shines". (Reclusive star Coulton has not returned repeated requests for comment) The intro has been put on Youtube and the studio has so far made no effort to have it taken down. It can be seen here http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=uFsUg83cQAs

Cult Rumours

In the late 1990's, with the tool of the internet, rumours of Monkey Shines began to circulate, as well as speculation as to why the show was cancelled and why its existence is consistantly denied. It has been purged to the point that the then-CEO of ABC Grant Tinker had the show's IMDB entry deleted, it was shortly after this show that he left ABC to work entirely with NBC, where he'd been working in some capacity since 1981. Upon leaving he cited creative differences, saying that he'd had another vision for the show and that it wasn't up to his quality. "First be best, then be first," [1] he famously said, a quote which was later inscribed onto a bronze cup that he kept on his desk. The only information the IMDB page contained was the title, release date, and list of four cast members. However, speculation abounds, with many of the rumours gaining the status of 'fact' until being supplanted by others a few months later.

Animal Cruelty

One assertion that was believed for a time was that the ASPCA was launching an investigation into the production of Monkey Shines and filed a complaint that was processed as the show was airing. Although the report filed was never found (the main reason why this story is considered spurious) it was said to contain details on cruel housing conditions for the monkey as well as describing how the monkey was used gratuitously, being made to perform in shots when the stuffed monkey double would have sufficed.

Neil's Hand

Although this theory maintained that Grant Tinker had the show cancelled, it deviated from the theory that it was he, too, who had the show buried and asserts that it was Neil Gaiman who, after his rise to fame, had the show purged from the internet and had all copies destroyed. This rumour was eventually dispelled when Gaiman himself said that the fact the show had vanished was, "Great loss to the world of entertainment." [2]

Episode List

The show, although cancelled, actually shot and edited 12 episodes that have, up until this time, been unavailable. Here are the names of the episodes.


EPISODE #001: Hiding The Bacon

EPISODE #002: Gimme Some Oven

EPISODE #003: A Threesome, A Monkey And A Whole Lot of Ripple

EPISODE #004: What's That Baby Using?

EPISODE #005: A Very Special Monkey Shines

EPISODE #006: Christmas With A Simian

EPISODE #007: The Monkey's Pride Parade

EPISODE #008: Take Your Stinkin' Paws Off Me!

EPISODE #009: A Visit To The Old Country

EPISODE #010: The Very Best of Monkey Shines (Clip Show)

EPISODE #011: It's A Jungle In Here!!

External links