by Kevin Clarke
With THIS IS ACTUALLY WHAT HAPPENS we present you with a movie that actually exists, and proceed to describe events that genuinely transpire, regardless of how implausible they might sound.
The late actor Dean Jones made a career out of playing straight man to crazy animals trying his patience, in such classics as That Darn Cat!, The Ugly Dachshund, The Million-Dollar Duck and The Shaggy D.A. He was so famous for being annoyed with pets that he was even hired to play the villainous doctor in Beethoven.
In the 1967 film Monkeys, Go Home! Jones plays American ex-astronaut Hank Dussard, who inherits a picturesque villa in France, which comes complete with an olive farm! Naturally, he then thinks, “Hey, maybe I should get into the olive business!” But the neglected olive farm needs a lot more work than one man can muster. What to do!
Hank is soon informed by the local priest (Maurice Chevalier) that, since he has no children, he won’t be able to get his olive farm in working order. Desperate for laborers, he goes on a quest to find local widows with children to work his farm. When this somewhat monstrous plan fails–hilariously–he’s at a loss…until he remembers his pals, THE RETIRED AIR FORCE SPACE MONKEYS. He acquires the monkeys by pulling his astronaut card and quickly puts them to work on his farm.
But here’s the catch–when the locals find out about the new monkey farmers, they get seriously pissed, because of unions and labor rights and such. That’s when the real hijinks ensue, as Hank frantically tries to keep his monkey servants from being discovered by job-hungry Frenchmen.
So, to sum up: this is a Disney movie–for kids–about a guy who puts space monkeys to work on an olive farm because he couldn’t find enough child labor in a small French village.
That’s what actually happens.
Kevin Clarke is a Seattle-based filmmaker/comedian who loves the Police Academy movies and Howard The Duck, despite knowing better.