Captain Simian & the Space Monkeys is an American animated television series that premiered on September 7, 1996 and ended after 26 episodes on June 21, 1997. It was produced by Hallmark Entertainment, Monkeyshine Productions, Inc., and distributed by Bohbot Entertainment and aired as part of a syndicated animation block known as BKN. After its cancellation Captain Simian & the Space Monkeys aired in reruns for four years on American and international TV.
The series includes many references and parodies of science fiction films and TV shows, such as the episode "Plan Ape from Outer Space." One episode has a creature hatching from an egg and stalking the crew in a manner similar to Alien. Captain Simian and his enemy Nebula were voiced by Jerry Doyle and Michael Dorn who had previously played the security officers in the sci-fi programs Babylon 5 and Star Trek: The Next Generation respectively. Despite the title only two of the members are technically monkeys, the others being apes.
During the monkey-manned spaceflights of the 1960s, one rocket veered off course, sending a chimp named Charlie off into the outer reaches of space. After many years, Charlie's craft was discovered by the most intelligent race in the universe, The " " (pronounced by not saying anything. Then followed with the explanation that their race is so advanced that their name cannot be pronounced; only thought. The running joke then had the other space monkeys asking, "The who?")
Charlie was given enhanced intelligence, weapons, and futuristic technology, along with a charge to protect the universe from the evil Lord Nebula. One of the more unusual villains in cartoon history, Nebula was a half-human, half-black hole who hoped to become a complete black hole, swallow the universe in a "Big Crunch," then remake it in his own image. His one problem was that, being half human, he was still susceptible to human ailments, such as the common cold and tummy aches.
To aid Charlie (who was given the title "Captain Charlie Simian"), The " " allowed him to recruit a team of fellow earth monkeys: Shao Lin, a chinese golden monkey with swift fighting skills and serene wisdom; Spydor, a wisecracking little spider monkey with a long prehensile tail; Dr. Splitz/Splitzy, an orangutan with a scientist/madman split-personality; and Gor, a big, strong gorilla who wrecked the intelligence-enhancing machine before he got a full helping.
The group cruised the stars in their ship, the Primate Avenger, battling Nebula and his cyborg monkey henchman, Rhesus 2, and searching for the ever-elusive bananas. The monkeys mixed fast-talking humor with fast-paced action.
Captain Charles "Chuck" Simian (voiced by Jerry Doyle) — Originally a chimpanzee named Charlie, sent into space in the 1960s by NASA. After drifting off course and being frozen for many years, he was discovered by The " ". They believed he was sent by earth as the most advanced species of the planet. When they realized he was not, they used a machine to evolve Charlie into a sentient being. After being told about Nebula, Captain Simian (as he now called himself) recruited a team of fellow earth monkeys and apes to help him save the universe.
Gor-illa/Gor (voiced by James L. Avery, Sr.) — A mountain gorilla originally from Uganda as a dominate male, and the crew's strongest member. During the evolution process he accidentally wrecked the intelligence-enhancing machine before its completion. This left Gor rather naive and childlike, while at the same time possessing extraordinary strength. Gor is naturally quite peaceful and does not wish to do anyone harm; unless his friends are in danger whereupon he goes into a rage and will do anything to help. In an early episode Apax kidnapped Gor to make him a prize fighter, but since Gor's peaceful nature did not permit him to fight needlessly, Apax experimented on him, turning him into a mindless, raging gigantic King Kong-like gorilla named Gormongous. Dr. Splitz was unable to reverse the effect of Apax's isotope, meaning that Gor turns into Gormongous whenever he gets angry, in a manner similar to that of the Incredible Hulk.
Orbitron (voiced by Jeff Bennett) — A small ball-shaped robot, given to Charlie by The " " to help him on his mission. Its role was to provide the monkeys with the additional knowledge they required for their journey. Already quite cynical and unpleasant, it was accidentally damaged by Gor and subsequently went quite insane, floating around sputtering nonsense that only occasionally makes sense. This leads Captain Simian to often say, "Gotta get that thing fixed." Because it is so technologically advanced Dr. Splitz was unable to repair it despite trying.
Spydor (voiced by Dom Irrera) — A wisecracking spider monkey, originally the property of an organ grinder from New York City. Spydor would also pick the pockets of audience members, but did not share with his master. After enhancement, Spydor is often shown being greedy, manipulative and lazy. He often tries to take advantage of Gor, by trying to get him to do his work, and trying numerous get-rich-quick schemes which get him into trouble with the Captain. Despite these flaws, Spydor is loyal to the mission, and will never betray his friends or the universe for money. He is especially close to Gor, and will not let anyone else take advantage of him. Spydor is in charge of communications.
Dr. Splitz/Splitzy (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) — Originally a crazed and teased zoo orangutan, with a split personality, alternating between a formal scientific tone ("Dr. Splitz") and a good-old-boy southern drawl ("Splitzy"). He was originally picked up from a zoo, where he was kept alone; stories in the show imply that he developed the dual personality to give himself some company. However, the two personalities have taken lives of their own and frequently quarrel: Splitzy seeing Dr. Splitz as a windbag, while Dr. Splitz looks upon Splitzy as uncouth. They also demonstrate differing skill sets at times, with Dr. Splitz excelling in scientific theory while Splitzy specializes in repairing and building the machines Dr. Splitz comes up with. Splitzy's other main job is to manifest and translate Dr. Splitz's scientific jargon into terms more understandable by the other crew members.
Shao Lin (voiced by Karen Maruyama) — A chinese golden monkey, who originally lived at a Buddhist temple where she was worshiped as a goddess. She continues to act as a goddess with the rest of the crew even, on occasion, addressing herself in the Royal "we". This leads to considerable tension at first, though over time she warms to the others and vice-versa. Skilled in martial arts and knowledgeable in Buddhist wisdom, she is Captain Simian's first officer. There are occasional hints of a romantic attraction between her and the Captain, though this was never developed. She is named after the Shao-lin Monastery, famous for its association with chinese martial arts. In one episode it is shown that she was separated from her mother as a young girl. This traumatized her.
Lord Nebula (Voiced by Michael Dorn) — Nebula is a half-humanoid, half-black hole who hoped to become a complete black hole, swallow the universe in a "Big Crunch," then remake it in his own image. His one problem was that, being half human, he was still susceptible to human ailments, such as the common cold, tummyaches and hemorrhoids.
Captain Simian & the Space Monkeys has a total of 26 episodes spread over 1 season that was produced from September 1996 to June 1997.
In 1996, Mattel released a collection of action figures based on Captain Simian & the Space Monkeys. Designed by Bluebird Toys of the UK, the line included 9 basic figures and 4 large vehicles or accessories, The figures, armed with several accessories, were unusually packaged so that the consumer could rotate them inside the card bubble as though they were floating in space.
- "Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys (Mattel) Action Figure Checklist ". Figure Realm. http://www.figurerealm.com/checklist.php?action=checklist&seriesid=52&figures=captainsimianandthespacemonkeys. Retrieved on September 1, 2014.