It All Comes Back To Caddyshack...

I don’t’ know if La-La Land Records intended to release a Michael O’Keefe comedy diptych, but their limited CDs of Caddyshack (1980) and Nate and Hayes (1983) both co-starred the actor, and mark each score’s debut on disc.

In the case of Caddyshack, it’s a surprise it took so long, since music from the 1988 sequel, Caddyshack II, was issued on LP and CD. One would’ve thought the first film’s album would’ve been reissued in tandem with the sequel, but 1988 was still early for labels to be reissuing old scores again, and again, and again – like the Bond albums.

Nate and Hayes proved more demanding for fans of Trevor Jones’ score, since much of his early work rarely enjoyed commercial releases on LP and CD. Written by David Odell and a young snot named John Hughes, the swashbuckler spoof was made in the wake of Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), which rekindled an interest in period set, buddy-type action films.

You could argue Raiders had Nazi pirates, since there was a golden treasure of sorts everyone wanted badly, whereas Nate and Hayes had pirate ships, maidens, and treacherous treks over water and on land. As Jeff Bond points out in the CD’s extensive liner notes, the film was followed by a few swashbuckling duds, such as Roman Polanski’s bloated Pirates (1986).

Whereas the creators of Nate and Hayes tried to differentiate their action film by setting the hijinks in a pirate world, it still dealt with rebels, imperial villains, and maidens in need of rescuing – exactly what made Raiders such a success, and spawned several sequels.

Those elements also proved to be a lure for TV producers, which resulted in a pair of rival shows that lasted (unsurprisingly) one season: Tales of the Gold Monkey (1982), starring Stephen Collins, and Bring ‘Em Back Alive (1982), headed by Bruce Boxleitner.

Tales has enjoyed a small following for years (check out the detailed fan site), and their persistence is finally being rewarded with a Region 1 release of the complete series from Shout! Factory. Slated for a June 8 release ($49.97 U.S.), the 6-disc set comes with all 22 episodes, the original feature-length pilot, audio commentaries, photo gallery, costume and artifacts gallery, 24-page booklet, and a 36 min. documentary.

My only memories of this show was its’ run during the weekdays, Collins smiling a lot in big close-ups, his peppercorn-sized dog Jack, and Faye Grant looking very silly in a blue flower frock and yellow Shirley Temple curls, spouting whiny dialogue with a faux accent francaise. After that, the series disappeared.

I may well be compelled to review the show in June, though not for nostalgia’s sake; it’s purely the curiosity to see if the show had the chops to stand on its own and be distinct from Raiders. When TV producers and networks hit the “COPY” button, they tend to get sloppy, lazy, and dumb; one only need recall Fox’ rubbish show The Burning Zone (1996-1997), crafted in the wake of the virus thriller Outbreak (1995), itself a fast cash-in on Richard Preston’s 1994 best-seller, The Hot Zone.

No wonder Burning star Dennis Arndt fled after shooting the choppy pilot episode.

Of course, if Monkey can make it to DVD, then it’s only fair Bring ‘Em, Back Alive deserves a chance, since it’s actually based (very loosely) on the exploits of Great White Hunter Frank Buck, who hosted a trio of wildlife adventure films in the thirties: Frank Buck’s Bring ‘Em Back Alive (1932), Wild Cargo (1934), and Fang and Claw (1935) – each based on a book authored by Buck.

The 18-episode series starred Boxleitner, and added love interest Gloria Marlowe, played by Caddyshack co-star Cindy Morgan. Neither the TV series nor the feature films are apparently on DVD, which means someone should poke the owners of the morbid Buck franchise and get them cracking on some rival releases, since most writers (like me) will be referring to the show, now that Monkey is coming to home video.

It all comes back to Caddyshack, doesn’t it?

Cue the dancing gopher.



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