Hofmann Monkey Show

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Hofmann Monkey Show 

General Info

Type of Business: Amusement Parks
Years Active: 1977-1983 (Phantasialand); 1983-1984 (Liseberg); 1989-2003 (Hellendoorn); 1980's-2008 (Edenlandia);
Status: Closed
Number of Characters: 22 (Phantasialand & Edenlandia); 21 (Hellendoorn); 18 (Liseberg)

Manufacturer Info

Show Manufacturer: Hofmann Figuren


The Monkey Show is an animatronic show type that has been manufactured by Hofmann Figuren since 1977. These ensemble shows are best known to be the first of Hofmann's animatronic creations, as well as the first animatronic shows to debut outside of the United States.

Die Klimbimski Affentheater

Phantasialand (1977-1983)

The first of the Hofmann monkey shows, Die Klimbimski Affentheater Show was built especially for the Phantasialand theme park in Brühl, Germany. Premiering with the inception of the park's Scala theater in 1977, the show consisted of 22 animated figures (2 parrots, 2 bears, and 18 monkeys). The stage design was a direct rip-off of Disney's Country Bear Jamboree stage, with one large center stage in between four side stages (5 stages in all) all topped with detailed prosceniums. The original German soundtrack for Die Klimbimski-Show is estimated to have a runtime of 30 minutes, structured in a similar format that also mimics Disney's Country Bears. Although the characters were never given proper names, their documented names and stage placements are as follows:

Outer Stage Right

  • Western Monkey on Washboard
  • Old Captain Bear

Inner Stage Right

Center Stage

  • Gorilla Pianist (Lift)
  • Hawaiian Monkey Trio (Lift)
  • Saxophone Monkey
  • Upright Bass Monkey
  • Banjo Monkey
  • Drummer Monkey
  • Violin Monkey
  • Accordion Monkey
  • Bavarian Parrot (Off-Stage)
  • French Parrot (Off-Stage)

Inner Stage Left

Outer Stage Left

  • Primadonna Monkey
  • Drunken Bear with Lantern

The original soundtrack for Die Klimbimski-Show was never released in its entirety. A vinyl LP released by Phantasialand shortly after the show's premiere only included four songs from the soundtrack. Three of these songs were individually performed by the Bonvivant Monkey, Hawaiian Monkey Trio, and Drunken Bear characters, with the show's finale (set to the tune of When the Saints Go Marching In) tagged on at the end of Side A. The record's Side B, meanwhile, was entirely dedicated to "Das Phantasialand-Lied," the park's theme song at the time. Reinhard Hofmann has confirmed the soundtrack's original reels to be in storage at Hofmann Figuren, but have yet to be digitized and approved by Phantasialand for public release.

Avonturenpark Hellendoorn (1989-2003)

By 1983, Phantasialand sought for a replacement of Die Klimbimski-Show to install within the Scala theater, which arrived in the form of Hofmann's Phantasialand Starparade three years later in 1986. When the Klimbimski-Show was removed from Phantasialand, all of the animatronics and stage pieces were sent back to Hofmann and were left unused in their facilities for several years. The show would then be purchased by Avonturenpark Hellendoorn in the Netherlands, leading to a complete refurbishment, reconfiguration, and relocation to the Dutch park for the 1989 season. Similarly to Phantasialand, an all-new building was constructed to house the show, replacing the park's original Autoscooter attraction, named the Broadway Theater. The newly-renamed Hellendoorn Magical Monkey Show premiered on March 29th, 1989, with Dutch comedian and actor André van Duin in attendance. Dutch chocolate milk brand Chocomel sponsored the Magical Monkey Show in its initial year.

Hellendoorn Magical Monkey Show Logo

Although the animatronics and stage design were unchanged overall, some characters were either removed or modified. Hellendoorn's mascot, the Pirate Parrot, was added to the show as an all-new animatronic, leading to the removal of the Bavarian and French parrots. Center Stage and some side stages were given painted backdrops appropriate to their respective characters (though not every character was given these painted backdrops). The Old Captain Bear was redressed to become a cowboy character, while the "Kisses For Me" Monkey Trio were also redressed to seemingly resemble that of female flight attendants. Some characters were repositioned from their original placements on stage, which are as follows:

Right Balcony

  • Pirate Parrot

Outer Stage Right

  • "Kisses For Me" Monkey Trio
  • Western Monkey on Washboard

Inner Stage Right

  • Showmaster Monkey & Bird
  • Louis Armstrong Monkey

Center Stage

  • Gorilla Pianist (Lift)
  • Hawaiian Monkey Trio (Lift)
  • Saxophone Monkey
  • Upright Bass Monkey
  • Drummer Monkey
  • Accordion Monkey
  • Banjo Monkey
  • Violin Monkey

Inner Stage Left

  • Primadonna Monkey
  • Drunken Bear with Lantern

Outer Stage Left

  • Bonvivant Monkey
  • Cowboy (Old Captain) Bear

The Dutch soundtrack for the Magical Monkey Show was produced exclusively for Hellendoorn, with an all-new script written by Willem Wilmink, a famous poet and writer in the Netherlands. The Dutch soundtrack has a runtime of about 15 minutes, approximately half of the estimated duration for the German Klimbimski-Show soundtrack. Unlike Phantasialand, Hellendoorn released the complete soundtrack to the Magical Monkey Show on audio-cassette, which had been digitized and uploaded to YouTube by Pretparknostalgie with permission from Avonturenpark Hellendoorn on November 10th, 2023 (20 years since the closure of the attraction at Hellendoorn).

While the Hellendoorn Magical Monkey Show was a success, Dutch park-goers found the attraction to be "repetitive" after viewing more than once. Popularity of the Magical Monkey Show diminished by the early 2000's, in conjunction with rising maintenance costs to operate the show. As a result, the decision was made by Hellendoorn to close the Magical Monkey Show at the end of the 2003 season, gutting the stage and animatronics in favor of live performances inside the refreshed "Golden Palace Theater." The existence of the animatronics past 2003 have been unconfirmed, though some sources claim the animatronics were destroyed upon the attraction's closure. Few remnants of the Magical Monkey Show have remained, despite this, as the Pirate Parrot's balcony remains in its original spot on the left side wall (albeit empty). One side stage proscenium was kept intact, repainted, and installed above the marquee of the Golden Palace Theater as a tribute to the Magical Monkey Show.

Ap-O-Teket Variety Show

Liseberg (1983-1984)

About five years after the premiere of Die-Klimbimskis at Phantasialand, The theme park Liseberg in Gothenburg, Sweden commissioned a Hofmann monkey show of their own. This version, initially premiering as Ap-O-Teket in 1983, downscaled the aforementioned show to a modest 3 stages and 18 animated figures. As Liseberg installed Ap-O-Teket in the pre-existing Veckans Revy theater, this condensed monkey show could be considered fit for theme parks seeking a more cost-effective and compact option from Hofmann. The condensed cast of characters and stages are as follows:

Stage Right

Center Stage

  • Gorilla Pianist (Lift)
  • Hawaiian Monkey Trio (Lift)
  • Saxophone Monkey
  • Upright Bass Monkey
  • Banjo Monkey
  • Drummer Monkey
  • Violin Monkey
  • Accordion Monkey
  • Red Parrot (Off-Stage)
  • Blue Parrot (Off-Stage)

Stage Left

Although the 1983 Swedish soundtrack has never resurfaced online, information from Lisepedia suggests the script was written by Peter Flack, a Swedish revue writer and comedian, and featured a song called "Monkey, Monkey, Monkey" (a parody of the ABBA song Money, Money, Money). Despite the park's satisfaction with Ap-O-Teket, even deeming it as an "electronic wonder," it was not well-received with park guests. To remedy this, Liseberg hired Sten-Åke Cederhök, the host of the previous Veckans Revy show that Ap-O-Teket replaced, to write an all new soundtrack for the 1984 season. The new show, renamed Jubel i busken (as a reference to Cederhök's famous television series) was also unsuccessful, resulting in a permanent closure of the attraction by the end of 1984. The theater was then said to have transformed into an arcade the next year, with Boom-Ball and other skill games replacing the failed "electronic wonder" of Liseberg.[1]

Edenlandia (1980's-2008)

Similarly to Phantasialand, the animatronics were shipped back to Hofmann where they sat unused for several years. The Edenlandia theme park in Naples, Italy purchased the Ap-O-Teket / Jubel i busken set of characters and supposedly requested Hofmann to include characters from the Klimbimski-Show that were previously omitted from Liseberg. The Variety Show premiered at Edenlandia sometime between the late 1980's and early 1990's. Although pictures and videos of the animatronics are scarce, it is presumed this incarnation had 5 stages (albeit with flower-shaped prosceniums and substituting revolving doors for curtains) and all 22 characters seen at Phantasialand. The estimated (unconfirmed) character placements could be:

Outer Stage Right (?)

  • Old Captain Bear
  • Drunken Bear with Lantern

Inner Stage Right

Center Stage

  • Gorilla Pianist (Lift)
  • Hawaiian Monkey Trio (Lift)
  • Saxophone Monkey
  • Upright Bass Monkey
  • Banjo Monkey
  • Drummer Monkey
  • Violin Monkey
  • Accordion Monkey
  • Red Parrot (Off-Stage)
  • Blue Parrot (Off-Stage)

Inner Stage Left (?)

Outer Stage Left

  • Bonvivant Monkey
  • Western Monkey on Washboard

Unlike Liseberg's Ap-O-Teket, Edenlandia's Variety Show was a massive hit with Italian audiences upon its premiere, seeing continual attendance for many years throughout its lifespan. However, due to rising operational costs and poor maintenance in the 2000's, popularity of the Variety Show diminished. By 2008 the attraction had been permanently closed, with the theater building out of commission since then. It is unknown if the animatronics still exist in storage as of the 2020's, though pictures of the abandoned Variety Show have surfaced online in 2022. The first video discovered of the Edenlandia animatronics, performing a song called "Ciao, Ciao, Ciao," for an obscure children's television series named "Starlandia," was uploaded on July 27th, 2023.

Animatronics

Phantasialand & Hellendoorn

Animatronic Manufacturing Date Status
Western Monkey on Washboard 1976-77 Unknown/Destroyed
Old Captain / Cowboy Bear 1976-77 Unknown/Destroyed
Louis Armstrong Monkey 1976-77 Unknown/Destroyed
Showmaster Monkey & Bird 1976-77 Unknown/Destroyed
Gorilla Pianist 1976-77 Unknown/Destroyed
Hawaiian Monkey #1 1976-77 Unknown/Destroyed
Hawaiian Monkey #2 1976-77 Unknown/Destroyed
Hawaiian Monkey #3 1976-77 Unknown/Destroyed
Saxophone Monkey 1976-77 Unknown/Destroyed
Upright Bass Monkey 1976-77 Unknown/Destroyed
Banjo Monkey 1976-77 Unknown/Destroyed
Drummer Monkey 1976-77 Unknown/Destroyed
Violin Monkey 1976-77 Unknown/Destroyed
Accordion Monkey 1976-77 Unknown/Destroyed
Bonvivant Monkey 1976-77 Unknown/Destroyed
"Kisses For Me" Monkey #1 1976-77 Unknown/Destroyed
"Kisses For Me" Monkey #2 1976-77 Unknown/Destroyed
"Kisses For Me" Monkey #3 1976-77 Unknown/Destroyed
Primadonna Monkey 1976-77 Unknown/Destroyed
Drunken Bear with Lantern 1976-77 Unknown/Destroyed
Bavarian Parrot 1976-77 Unknown/Destroyed
French Parrot 1976-77 Unknown/Destroyed
Pirate Parrot 1988-89 Unknown/Destroyed

Liseberg & Edenlandia

Animatronic Manufacturing Date Status Notes
Western Monkey on Washboard 1982-83 Unknown
Old Captain Bear 1980's Unknown Edenlandia Addition
Louis Armstrong Monkey 1982-83 Unknown
Showmaster Monkey & Skunk 1980's Unknown Edenlandia Addition
Gorilla Pianist 1982-83 Unknown
Hawaiian Monkey #1 1982-83 Unknown
Hawaiian Monkey #2 1982-83 Unknown
Hawaiian Monkey #3 1982-83 Unknown
Saxophone Monkey 1982-83 Unknown
Upright Bass Monkey 1982-83 Unknown
Banjo Monkey 1982-83 Unknown
Drummer Monkey 1982-83 Unknown
Violin Monkey 1982-83 Unknown
Accordion Monkey 1982-83 Unknown
Bonvivant Monkey 1980's Unknown Edenlandia Addition
"Kisses For Me" Monkey #1 1982-83 Unknown
"Kisses For Me" Monkey #2 1982-83 Unknown
"Kisses For Me" Monkey #3 1982-83 Unknown
Primadonna Monkey 1982-83 Unknown
Drunken Bear with Lantern 1980's Unknown Edenlandia Addition
Red Parrot 1982-83 Unknown
Blue Parrot 1982-83 Unknown

Gallery

Phantasialand Klimbimski Affentheater

Hellendoorn Magical Monkey Show

Liseberg Ap-O-Teket

Edenlandia Variety Show

Videos

Link Description Filming Date Publish Date
YouTube Die Klimbimski Show snippets at Phantasialand (audio off-sync with footage). 1977-1983 June 11, 2016
YouTube Die Klimbimski-Show snippets at Phantasialand, show audio replaced with stock music (3:34 - 4:18). 1977-1983 February 13, 2020
YouTube Die Klimbimski-Show snippets at Phantasialand (3:43 - 7:08). 1978 December 14, 2020
YouTube The Edenlandia Variety Show performing "Ciao, Ciao, Ciao" on the Italian children's television series "Starlandia." 1990 July 27, 2023
YouTube Almost complete showing of the Hellendoorn Magical Monkey Show. 1989-2003 October 22, 2017
YouTube Almost complete showing of the Hellendoorn Magical Monkey Show (footage in black & white). 1989-2003 December 4, 2020
YouTube Almost complete showing of the Hellendoorn Magical Monkey Show (17:47 - 30:02). July 24, 1992 May 27, 2017

References