Summer of the Monkeys

Summer of the Monkeys is a film about Jay, a young boy who discovers 4 chimpanzees who have escaped from a circus group after a train crash. Jay learns that there is a reward for the chimps, and sets out to capture them, in hopes of using the reward money to buy a pony. In the end, he does save the chimps, but uses the reward money to pay for an operation for his sister.

  • Starring: Michael Ontkean, Leslie Hope, Wilford Brimley and Corey Sevier
  • Director(s): Michael Anderson
  • Producer(s): Summer of the Monkeys Productions, Inc.
  • Screenwriter(s): Greg Taylor
  • Release Date: Friday, October 30, 1998

Featured Animal Action

In the opening scene, four chimpanzees (Henri, Antoinette, Jacques, and Dominique) sit with their human circus companion, Jobert, on a moving train. The chimps are eating and are all in costume. The train crashes and we hear sounds of panicked circus animals. A zebra is lead away from the train. The chimps jump of the train and try to wake their trainer, Jobert. Henri removes Jobert's pocket watch and joins the other chimps as they all flee into the woods. Next, we see a buckboard with a mule hitched to it and a hound dog in back parked in front of a school. The dog, "Rowdy" jumps out of the buckboard and runs toward Jay. We next cut to a field with four horses, one being ridden by Mr. Patterson. Jay is petting a pony named "Annie" that he wants to buy. Rowdy sits next to Jay. Rowdy and Jay run home together through a field. A morning scene, a rooster standing on a fence crows. We see some chickens in a field and hear cow & goat noises. We then see that there are goats and cows in the background eating. Rowdy and Jay run across a field along a trail. Rowdy heads for "the bottoms" (a swamp area) - he stops, turns and barks at Jay. He then sits down on a bridge. We hear chimps scream in the background and Jay runs the other way, with Rowdy following him. In town, we see a man riding a horse (a walk). Jay and Rowdy run into Grandpa's store. We next see Rowdy lying outside of the store. He gets up and walks along with Jay. As they pass the bottoms again, Rowdy takes off barking and whining. Both Rowdy and Jay head into the bottoms. They hear another chimp scream - then, one of the chimps jumps down from a tree and screams at Jay. Jay and Rowdy (who is barking) run home. We see two chickens eating in the grass in front of Jay's house. We next see Rowdy laying on a bail of hay in the barn. Three chickens are in the background. Jay "catches" Rowdy in his homemade noose. Rowdy and Jay walk to the bottoms again. One of the chimps climbs out of a tree and Rowdy barks at it. Jay offers the chimp an apple. The chimp reaches for the apple and Jay tries to grab the chimp in his noose. The chimp leaps back into the tree, and Jay and Rowdy chase him as he swings through the trees. Rowdy and Jay next come upon all four chimps sitting around in the trees. One of the chimps screams and Jay holds up his hands. The chimp imitates him. Jay offers another apple. The chimp does two back flips and jumps up on to a tree stump to retrieve the apple. The other chimps clap. They then hear a gunshot and scatter into the brush. Jay and Rowdy hide while the chimps climb up high into the trees. In another scene, Rowdy and Jay run into town. We see a horse being led across the street by a man. Another horse is ridden through town at a trot, and yet another standing near a building tied to a post. At home, Jay builds a Monkey trap. We see five cows in a corral in the background and a goat is in the yard eating grass. Later, the chimps come to the farm. They climb up on the fence eating apples and sit on the fence. Henri goes to inspect Jay's "monkey trap." (The same cows are in the corral eating hay). In the next scene, a man rides up to the farm at a full gallop. Jay's dad goes to hitch up two horses in their corral to a trailer. After they are hitched, they ride off. We see chickens in the background. At the bottoms again, Jay and Rowdy are hiding in the bushes from some bully kids. Jay sets up a large metal trap to catch Henri. Meanwhile, the chimps are back at the farm (while no one is home) getting into all kinds of trouble. They take a pie out of the window where it was cooling and stick their fingers in it and taste it. Another chimp walks in the house through the screen door. The chimps proceed to destroy the kitchen, throwing things, emptying drawers, jumping on the bed in the bedroom, having a pillow fight, playing the piano, dumping a bowl of flower on one of their heads, and throwing pottery. Meanwhile, as old man Bayliss, who lives in the bottoms, gets caught in Jay's metal trap, Daisy, Jay's sister falls off a cliff nearby. Jay and Rowdy run to save her. Rowdy runs to the top of the cliff and barks and whines, while Jay climbs up from the bottom to save Daisy. In another scene, we see two mules hitched to a trailer in front of a house, just standing there and then we see a goat in a field with some chickens. Jay goes back to the bottoms and finds the chimps drinking from old man Bayliss' still. The chimps are jumping around, spinning and acting drunk. Jay tries to catch one in a sack and misses - the chimps run into the trees. Jay has brought a stuffed monkey and one of the chimps wants it. The chimp pounds the ground and Jay gives her the monkey. He then holds out his hand and the chimp touches it. Henri, the lead chimp throws something at Jay and hits him in the head. In town again, one horse rides through (w/ rider). Jays dad rides up on wagon pulled by 2 mules (horses?) There is a horse standing in the background. Another wagon with two horses is tied up. In another scene, we see Grandpa riding his wagon to the bottoms, pulled by 2 horses. He finds Jay eating fish on the dock (he supposedly caught the fish while fishing on the dock). They talk and Grandpa rides away again, in his wagon being pulled by the two horses. The next scene is a large city. We see 4-5 carriages being pulled by teams of horses along the streets. Grandpa and Jay stop their wagon in front of the library. Another horse is tied to a post in the background. Grandpa stays outside in the wagon while Jay goes in. A horse & rider walk by outside. Later we see another two horses tied on the street and a small carriage pulled by one horse runs through town. Jay and Grandpa ride home in their wagon, while other horse drawn carriages go by. Cut to the bottoms again. The bully kids are trying to catch the chimps with a steel trap. The chimp walks towards it, but Jay steps in. Jay and one of the bully kids start to fight. Rowdy runs up barking trying to protect Jay, and one of the other boys hits Rowdy in the head with the steel trap. Rowdy falls to the ground and Jay runs to him as Rowdy lies there whimpering. Old man Bayliss shows up and pets Rowdy. In the next scene, we see Rowdy sitting up and Jay is hugging him. Bayliss is there after having helped them. Rowdy and Jay walk off, Rowdy barking. For the above fight scene, a fake leg hold trap was made from neoprene, and another from foam. A striking motion to the side of the dog (very lightly) was performed to simulate a brutal blow. Night scene. There is a storm. We hear horses in the background. Cut to Rowdy with the rest of the family in the storm cellar. Rowdy is whining. The next day, the storm is gone and we see the farm with two goats, a pig and some chickens in the yard grazing. A horse is tied in the yard. We next see the buckboard being pulled by two mules, with Jay, his dad and Rowdy riding in it. Rowdy and Jay run into the bottoms. They find one of the chimps there. It pounds on the ground and runs so Jay will follow. She then stops and gestures for Jay to follow her. Jay tells Rowdy to stay and runs after the chimp (Dominique). They find Henri hiding in a cave with the other chimps. One of the younger chimps has been hurt in the storm. One of the older chimps is holding it in her lap. Jay picks up the hurt chimp and climbs out of the cave. Rowdy stands up on top of the hill barking. Jay carries the chimp back to the farm and Rowdy follows. Jay's mom feeds the chimp with a spoon in the barn as the chimp sits on her lap eating. For the cliff/cave scenes, camera angles made the cliff scenes seem very steep. Along side of the cave was a wide area to walk along in safety. A prop chimp doubled in scenes, where the boy carries the chimp along the ledge of the cave. We next see the other three chimps walking up to the barn and standing outside. Henri holds up a pocket watch and hands it to Jay smiling and screeching. They all follow Jay into the barn. In the next scene, the chimps are in the barn playing in the hay. They get excited and clap when they see Jobert, their owner, arrive. Henri runs out of the barn doing back flips and the others come running out and jump into Jobert's car. We see chickens in the background. As the Jobert drives away, we see two goats, 3 pigs and some chickens scatter in front of the car. The next morning, Jay comes riding up on the pony that he was admiring in the beginning of the film. Jay takes Daisy for a ride on the pony. As Jay and Daisy return from their ride, Grandpa pulls up on his wagon with his two mules. Jay leads the pony into the barn and then later, walks away leading the pony. We see a goat grazing in front of the house with some chickens. For most of the scenes where Rowdy and Jay are running, one dog trainer would release the dog, while the other trainer would call him to his mark- and they would shoot a series of shots like this. For the scenes where Rowdy is just sitting, he was placed in a sit/stay by one of the trainers. For the chimp scenes, the four chimp trainers would coax the chimps with hand/arm motions, as well as verbal commands, to do particular behaviors. For all of the farm animal background scenes, the wranglers placed the animals in position and then scattered food about to get the animals to stay and graze.