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Lancelot Link Secret Chimp
by Billy Ingram
Lancelot Link Secret Chimp
Lance Link Secret Chimp and the Evolution Revolution
I Created Lancelot Link Secret Chimp

When I was in college, the Woolworth's in town had two large display cases full of cut-out 8-Track tapes for a measly $.99 to $2.99 (the kind with the holes drilled in the side).

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Every week I would buy a new 8-track, cram it into the dashboard of my 1968 Cutlass convertible and ride around the big city of Salisbury, NC blasting my latest discovery. Thanks to that Woolworth's, I got turned on to all kinds of groovy music, all of it from the various Motown and ABC labels.

One of those lucky finds was the LP, Lancelot Link and the Evolution Revolution. I had watched the Saturday morning show years before, but somehow failed to notice how clean those tunes were. Or maybe the music had a subconcious pull from years of watching this stuff as a kid.

Not currently available on CD, this recording is a rarity today - a copy was sent to me from the producer Bob Emenegger so I present the tracks to you along with some background info.

From You Tube - one of the musical numbers from Lancelot Link Secret Chimp:

THE TV SERIES

Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp debuted on Saturday morning, September 12, 1970 and was an instant hit.

With a cast made up entirely of primates, this live-action series chronicled the comical adventures of secret agent Lance Link; a silly simian version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. with fur puctuated with Laugh-in style blackouts, cartoons and music breaks.

Together with his female sidekick Mata Hari, the agents from A.P.E. (Agency to Prevent Evil) battled nefarious villains like The Duchess, The Baron, Wang Fu, Dr. Strangemind, Creto, Ali AssaSeen and other colorfully clad agents of C.H.U.M.P..

The narrator for Lance Link was Malanchi Throne, with the apes voiced by Bernie Kopell (Love Boat), Dayton Allen (Winky Dink) and Joan Gerber.

The creators of the program, the writing team of Mike Marmer and Stan Burns, sold ABC on Lancelot Link in part because of their stint writing for the clever spy spoof Get Smart, which had just left the air after five seasons.

Marmer and Burns were known for exceptional work, writing for the best variety programs of the Sixties and Seventies - including Flip, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and, in particular, The Carol Burnett Show, where their infamous Gone With The Wind parody won the duo an Emmy.

The budget for Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp was the highest ever (at that time) for a Saturday series - over a million dollars for a fourteen episode season. The chimps were trained by industry veteran Frank Inn (Petticoat Junction, Benji).

 

The sets and props were fairly elaborate and many new lighting techniques had to be devised to shoot the dark chimp faces. The best part of the show was the groovy rock band, The Evolution Revolution, whose music videos were at least as pop refreshing as The Archies.

For the first season, the Saturday show was an hour in length (9:00am - 10:00am) and included cartoon segments; the second season consisted of a half-hour of reruns (12:30-1:00) without the cartoons.

Sadly, both Mike Marmer and Stan Burns passed away in 2002.

 

THE MUSIC

Bubble gum tunes punctuating Saturday morning shows was a trend that peaked with the phenomenal success of The Archie Show.

The Archies scored a number-one hit single and the show's soundtrack LP sold millions in 1969. Before long, nearly every series on Saturdays had a 'rock' band component, from The Hardy Boys to The Bugaloos to Josie and the Pussycats - just three examples that debuted in 1970.

Part of the rerun-ability of these Saturday morning shows hinged on these embedded pre-MTV music videos. Millions of kids grooved to the tunes of Lancelot Link and The Evolution Revolution on the screen, but few bought the soundtrack album.

A near perfect pop album, Lancelot Link and The Evolution Revolution ranks as one of the best collections of horn-laden bubble gum tunes from that period.

 

NEXT: PART TWO:
Listen to the LP
...and the producer speaks!
...what was the connection with The Grass Roots?


Lancelot Link Secret Chimp
Lance Link Secret Chimp and the Evolution Revolution
I Created Lancelot Link Secret Chimp

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