Posted by Donn on December 24, 2000 at 18:39:13:
In Reply to: Re: Long before the TV show . . . posted by The Captain on December 24, 2000 at 13:52:06:
Several strands do indeed converge. How far back should we go? Hmmmm.
While "Adventures In Paradise" did claim Michener's "Tales of the South Pacific" as its inspiration, the link was indirect at best. Michener lent his name to the project at first and even acted as a series consultant for awhile but soon severed his relationship with the show. He was much too busy writing in 1959 to be obligated to a weekly TV series. The series owed more to the play and movie "South Pacific" than it did to Michener's book, anyway.
His "Tales . . .", published in 1947 was written while he was a naval officer assigned to a supply base in the Pacific. I believe it was on the island of Espiritu Santo. Somewhere in the Archives I have a videotape of a "60 Minutes" segment from about 14 years ago wherein he revisits the island for the first time since he left it in 1945. Lots of interesting info there but I am getting a little too far afield.
Back on the subject. Along with the influences you mentioned, I can't help but include the classic comic strip "Terry & the Pirates" by Milton Caniff. That began in about 1934 and was extremely popular across the country. It certainly helped further the "exotic noir" flavor of the Pacific Theater.
Then there was a 1950s TV show called "Soldiers of Fortune" starring John Russell and Chick Chandler. It only lasted for a year or two but it made a hell of an impression on me.
As you imply, Captain, we have a way of taking all these unconnected strands and plaiting them into something stronger in our minds. The gold monkey legend may be nothing more than the amalgamation of several influences or the theatrical embellishment of any number of historical incidents.
Idol worship among the Pacific islanders was practiced for hundreds of years before Captain Cook's arrival in the late 1700s. The islanders had many gods but no gold monkeys that I know about. Just as the Spanish explorers searched for "El Dorado" or the "Fountain of Youth" and found nothing but poor natives, the English, Dutch and Portugese explorers of the Pacific were always searching for plunder and coming up empty. They did loot many sacred sites, however, and hauled off the effigies as souveniers but none of the idols had any material value.
Again, I'm getting off the thread. Sorry. I'll quit rambling and post any additional comments under a separate heading.
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