The man with the yellow hat named Ted Shackleford works at a natural history museum that's fallen on hard times. The museum director's son wants to turn it into a parking lot, but Ted offers to bring back a mysterious idol from Africa that's guaranteed to pull in crowds. Unfortunately, the idol turns out to be three inches tall. But Ted accidentally brings back a lonely yet irrepressible monkey, soon dubbed George. They set off on a non-stop action, fun-filled journey through the wonders of the big city toward the warmth of true friendship.