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Monkey Business

The escapades of Curious George, the forever-young and inquisitive monkey that has become one of the most popular characters in children’s literature, are coming to Hollywood.

Imagine Ent. just cinched the rights, and plans a live-action feature, to be produced jointly with Hanna-Barbera Prods. The blueprint calls for a leading actor as the monkey’s sidekick, a zookeeper dubbed the Man in the Yellow Hat, and a screenwriter is soon to be assigned.

Imagine co-chairman Brian Grazer tells us he read “Curious George” as a child--"I thought he was just the coolest"--and recently introduced son, Riley, 4 1/2, to the mischievous monkey. Grazer reports that co-chairman Ron Howard and his kids are also “major” George fans.

A favorite of preschoolers and elementary students worldwide, “Curious George” first appeared 52 years ago, written and illustrated by the late H.A. Rey, who wrote subsequent installments with his wife, Margret.

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“We want our movie to be like the book--warm and positive, and totally entertaining,” says Grazer. “It will also be funny and hip, appealing to the kids of the ‘90s as well as their parents.”

As for possible sequels--and merchandising: “Both are naturals.”


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