Heublein's Brass Monkey

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Posted by The Captain on December 23, 2000 at 22:10:15:

In Reply to: Long before the TV show . . . posted by Donn on December 23, 2000 at 10:02:36:

: Hello Folks,

: The first reference to the Gold Monkey legend that I ever remember seeing was a print ad campaign that ran in certain magazines (Playboy was one) during the mid to late 1960s. The product being advertised was a liquer (Kalua?) and the ad text made reference to the legend of the gold monkey which (according to the ad) circulated in the Pacific islands in the days before World War II.

: I have often wondered what was the original source of the legend? Was it in a book? I was once told that it originated in one of the Mr. Moto novels written by Marquand between the mid-1920s and the early-1940s. I've read as many of them as I could find and never saw any reference to this legend.

: After finding this wonderful website and lurking for awhile, I thought I might post this question to the members of this BBS. Any ideas?

: Donn


You are right on. Heublein did a campaign for a drink mix called the Brass Monkey (which it still sells)alluding to an exotic bar in the Far East which was the focus of intrigue on the level of Rick's American Bar. The Kempeitai (Japanese Secret Service) as a sinister force whose dark shadow plagued the bar. It was all fiction, but I have no doubt it was the germ of an idea that blossomed into the "Gold Monkey."

A brass monkey is a platform for storing cannonballs. In cold temperatures it contracts or expands (can't remember, its been years since I've fired cannonballs)and the iron cannonballs -- which also contract or expand but at a different rate -- tumble off. The seemingly off-color expression, "cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey" derives from this phenomenon.

It is a common enough name for waterfront dives.


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