An actor renowned for his beloved role as the Monkey King in the first TV adaptation of the Chinese classic Journey to the West is spearheading a campaign to earn the show a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Zhang Jinlai, 55, recently announced his bids for "most broadcast TV show" and "highest rated TV show," claiming that the series has been broadcast in its entirety over 3,000 times on Chinese television, the Nanjing-based Jinling Evening News reported Thursday.
His decision quickly gained wide support as many Net users praised Zhang as TV's "best Monkey King."
First aired in 1982, the series features Zhang as the Monkey King, also known as Sun Wukong, a main character in the late 16th century novel about his adventures accompanying the monk Xuanzang on a quest westward to obtain sacred Buddhist sutras.
The 41-episode series starring Zhang was shot and remade over 17 years. Its last installment aired in 1999.
Zhang was a natural choice for the role, as he is the fourth generation of his family to play the legendary part.
His great-grandfather Zhang Tingchun, grandfather Zhang Yisheng and his father Zhang Zongyi have all famously portrayed the character on stage or film.
The legacy has inspired the actor to also try for another record: "most members of one family to play a single dramatic role."
The youngest Zhang also boasted he and the TV series already hold two records with the China-based Shanghai Great World Guinness Records for "largest Journey to the West art collection" and "longest production time for a single TV series."