Created by Richard Donner for The Banana Splits Adventure Hour in 1968, Danger Island was a serial in the tradition of those which once played movie houses on Saturday afternoon. The action never let up over the course of the show's run, and it became the single most popular attraction on the parent show.
Professor Hayden seeks his missing brother and the lost city of Tobanya, for which his brother had been searching. He is accompanied by his daughter, Leslie and a young assistant named Link. An encounter with a fierce band of anachronistic pirates leaves them stranded on the island. They meet up with Morgan, the survivor of an earlier shipwreck, and a bizarre character named Chongo, who could not speak save for shrieks and birdcalls, but who could climb like a monkey, hold his own in a fight, and provide endless comic relief amidst the island's dangers.
Those dangers included Mu-Tan, clan leader of the pirates, and a band of Hollywood headhunters referred to as "Skeleton Men," because they painted themselves with skeletal markings. At least one other tribe made an appearance, making off with the scantily-clad (for a kid's show) Leslie, thus necessitating a rescue effort.
The show premiered on the first episode of The Banana Splits Adventure Hour
and ran until 1969
; it was rebroadcast in its entirety for the Splits' remaining seasons.
Individual episodes to do not exceed ten minutes, and always finish with a cliffhanger.
Frank Aletter: Professor Irwin Hayden
Victor Eberg: Mu-Tan
Kim Kahana: Chongo
Rockne Tarkington: Morgan
Ronne Troup: Leslie Hayden
Jan-Michael Vincent: Link Simmons
Kahana claims that he has never been able to shake, "uh oh Chongo!" He says that "when someone who remembers the series finds out" that he played that part, "that is the first thing out of their mouths!" The former Saturday morning star and indefinite racial stereotype now runs a stunt school and film production company in Groveland, Florida.
"Danger Island." The Big Cartoon Database. http://www.bcdb.com/bcdb/detailed.cgi?film=47132
"Danger Island." TV Tome. http://www.tvtome.com/tvtome/servlet/ShowMainServlet/showid- 10145/
Kahana Stunts and Film Productions. http://www.kahanastunts.com/
"Uh-Oh, Chongo! The Interview." www.thebananasplits.com/kim/chongo.html