Space Monkey Odyssey: Toys
by Mr. Stinkhead
This article is divided into two sections. First is the History of Space Monkeys, and then Space Monkey Toys. This is the toy page, click here for the history page.
Is there a cooler genre of toy than Space Monkeys? I love everything and anything that clearly depicts a monkey dressed as an astronaut. It's a simple concept: astronaut suits are kick ass because you can poop in them, and you can explore space in them! When I was younger, my family would take me to the Smithsonian's Air & Space Museum in Washington DC. I loved looking at all the space suits through the ages, the eyeless astronaut mannequins stared back at me, silently saying someone pooped in this suit and I hate being a mannequin.
After viewing the space suits, we checked out all the cool space gear. In one gallery, they have dehydrated M&Ms, a Coke can with a special nozzle, freeze-dried toothpaste, and a freeze-dried monkey in a space suit. WHA?! A freeze-dried monkey? That my friend, is bad-ass.
So now I collect space monkey toys. If it looks like a monkey, and he could visit space and come back safely with what he is wearing, I want one.
Escape from the Planet of the Apes Kubricks
One of the coolest space monkey sets out there is Medicom Toy's Planet of the Apes Kubricks series. (Kubricks are popular block-style mini-figures.) The sculpted POTA heads are some of my favorite. Anyway, in Set F (Cornelius as Astronaut), you get three astronaut chimps. Cornelius, Zira and Milo (pic). You know who they are, if you saw Beneath the Planet of the Apes, these are the very apes that fixed the crashed space ship and got into orbit moments before earth was completely destroyed. Their tale is detailed in Escape... the third movie in the POTA series. Anyway, besides the three astronauts, you get a Christmas tree - er miniature Icarus ship, and three replacement heads. Pop-off the sculpted monkey head, and pop on bulbuous helmet. Now they're ready for space. You can even open up the visor and see a little monkey head peaking out at you. I love you!
Though not as cute, Medicom has come out with larger versions of the ape-o-nauts in their Ultra Detail Planet of the Apes series. These figures are six inches tall and remarkably detailed. They have limited articulation however. The Escape apes have a removable space helmet... which is a necesity for escaping annihilation and traveling back in time to the 1970s.
Planet of the Apes Pericles
Ok, I won't use up this space to go off about Tim Burton's update to the POTA series. I will not go off on how horrible the bulk of Hasbro's related toy line was. Anyway, out of the dark pit of turmoil known as the 2001 Planet of the Apes comes the most pants creamingly sweet space monkey ever. The figure of the space chimp in the movie, Pericles, comes with an eight inch space pod and six points of articulation. They even painted the hair on his knuckles. You can put the space helmet on Pericles, open the space pod and put Pericles in his seat. That is what space monkey toys should be about. Spaceships, with removable monkeys who have removable helmets.
The problem in getting this gem is that he was released in the second wave of figures. Most retailers (and customers) were left so burned with the steaming pile of crap known as Wave 1, that there was little interest for Wave 2. However it is inventory time of year, and you might be able to find Pericles on the clearance rack. I did, I found two. And I'm giving them away.
Fisher Price Rescue Heroes' Comet
A few years ago, Fisher Price started a line of figures for younger children based on real-world rescue personnel called Rescue Heroes. It features police officers, fire fighters, life guards, and now a space monkey. They've expanded the initial line with resuce animals. $6 gets you a five inch tall space monkey with five points of articulation, this isn't a shabby space monkey at all. Plus he comes with a space rover and removable helmet. (Told you, that is a proper space monkey) He's getting a little hard to find these days, but he's part of this package at Amazon/ToysRUs.com. Also check out the official Rescue Heroes web site.
Mattel's Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys
Captain Simian was a cartoon in 1996 with a corresponding action figure line. I was not very entertained by the look of these guys... but the cool part about their action figure packaging was that the figures would spin around under their blister bubble, so figures appeared to be weightless or something. VirtualToychest.com has pics of the carded figures. SpaceMonkeys.net has more information on the cartoon than you could shake a freeze-dried monkey at.
Other Space Monkeys
What other space monkeys are out there? I did some crazy searching on the web and found this delightful Space suit sock monkey (right) from Sockit2me.com. Poking around some more, I found this plush space monkey at nmt.edu/~schlake.
I also found this monstrosity from StretchC.com... which techincally is not a space monkey in my book. Neither is that computer animated piece of crap from the Lost in Space movie.
Space Monkeys, though they give me a queasy feeling in my stomach, that feeling is not too far north from the queasy feeling that means I like something.
So, I've covered most of the space monkey toys I could find, if you know of any that I have overlooked, please let me know.
All images are copyrighted their respective owners. Article is copyright 2003 MillionairePlayboy.com