The Monkees were America’s answer to the British Invasion, and the answer was every bit as good as the question. They were quite literally made for television, but as a band, a show and a pop phenomenon, they became so much more than just four cute boys with instruments.
The idea for The Monkees as a TV show sprang from the success of those mop-topped Beatles in A Hard Day’s Night. Producers Bert Schneider and Bob Rafaelson wanted a foursome of fresh-faced young imps to play rock and roll music and act the fool in a half-hour series, and they auditioned more than 400 contenders for the parts. Eventually, the roles went to two musicians (Mike Nesmith, Peter Tork) and two former child actors (Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones), and The Monkees were born.
On television, The Monkees chronicled the adventures of a madcap rock and roll band, with Micky, Davy, Peter and Mike all playing cartoonish versions of themselves—Davy as the cute one, Micky the zany one, Peter the shy one, and Mike the smart one with the deadpan wit and the perpetual knit cap. Really, the whole show resembled a sort of live-action rock and roll cartoon, with the boys always being drawn into the strangest adventures. The Monkees had big hearts, always wanting to help out someone in need, but they always ended up in some sort of outrageous caper: heading to England to save Davy’s family estate, having to spend the night in a haunted castle, trying to win a horse race, promoting Davy as a prize fighter, and trying to help Micky after he was mistaken for a mobster.
The guys lived in a great loft on the beach and cruised around in the Monkeemobile, a modified GTO. Dreamboats that they were, along the way they managed to attract their fare share of romantic crushes, often resulting in a conflict with a disapproving father or a jealous boyfriend. Through it all, this band stood for one thing only, and that thing was having a good time.
To fill the rock and roll quotient, each episode featured two Monkees songs, usually set to a filmed accompaniment in a sort of early version of MTV. Like those videos, the style of the whole show was loose and inventive—The Monkees would address the camera, the action would sometimes leave the set, and even in the opening credits, those wacky kids were pushing a king-size bed down a busy street.
The show actually only ran for two seasons (enough to win an Emmy), but Monkee-mania was much larger than a weekly half-hour comedy. The band released several albums, headlined a major tour, and everywhere they went, adoring female fans mobbed the boys. Even more impressively, in 1966 The Monkees sold more albums than The Beatles and The Rolling Stones combined. With hits like “Stepping Stone,” “Last Train to Clarksville,” “Daydream Believer,” “I’m a Believer” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” The Monkees cemented their place in rock history. They also starred in a feature film, Head, co-written by Jack Nicholson and featuring the first screen appearance of Terri Garr.
A one off 1969 60 minute special(14 April) called 33 and a third revolutions per monkee also appeared and after the end of The Monkees on television, Peter left the band to pursue a solo career. The three remaining Monkees released another pair of albums, followed by one more album with just Micky and Davy after Mike left. After four years of wild success, The Monkees officially broke up in 1970.
The four former Monkees pursued their separate interests through the 1970’s, but a funny thing happened in the mid-80’s: as MTV began airing episodes of The Monkees to a new generation, the group entered a whole new phase of popularity. Peter, Micky and Davy re-formed The Monkees, released a few albums (including one more with a temporarily returned Mike), and watched the launch of The New Monkees in syndication (featuring a brand new cute foursome).
The new series didn’t take off, but the reunited Monkees became a highly popular touring act. They may have started as a made-for-TV band, but more than thirty years of success has proven that The Monkees were the real deal.
“Here we come,
Walking down the street,
Get the funniest looks from,
Everyone we meet…
Hey hey, we’re The Monkees,
And people say we monkey around,
But we’re too busy singing,
To put anybody down…”
USA / NBC – Raybert – Screen Gems / 58×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 12 September 1966 – 9 September 1968
Creator and Producers: Bob Rafaelson, Bert Schneider
Davy Jones as Davy
Micky Dolenz as Micky
Michael Nesmith as Mike
Peter Tork as Peter
Clochmerle (BBC-2 1972, Cyril Cusack, Roy Dotrice)
Period sitcom, based on a novel by Gabriel Chevallier that was adapted by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, that saw the French villagers of Clochmerle kick up a fuss over plans to install a new toilet.
CYRIL CUSACK as Major Piechut
ROY DOTRICE as Ponosse
KENNETH GRIFFITH as Ernest Tafardel
WENDY HILLER as Justine Putet
HUGH GRIFFITH as Alexandre Bourdillat
BERNARD BRESSLAW as Nicholas the Beadle
MADELINE SMITH as Hortase Girodet
GEORGINA MOON as Rose Biraque
PETER USTINOV as Narrator
Writers: Ray Galton, Alan Simpson
Novel: Gabriel Chevallier
Producer: Michael Mills
Network and Production Companies: BBC Two – Bavaria
Duration: 9×30 minute episodes
Aired From: 18 February – 14 April 1972 Fridays at 10.05pm
Clairvoyant, The (BBC-2 1986, Roy Kinnear, Sandra Dickinson)
In Roy Clarke penned sitcom The Clairvoyant used car salesman Arnold Bristow is knocked down in a car accident and suddenly finds himself with psychic powers – or so he believes. There was a pilot broadcast 27 Nov 1984.
ROY KINNEAR as Arnold Bristow
SANDRA DICKINSON as Lily
HUGH LLOYD as Burma
SHAUN CURRY as Newton
GLYNIS BROOKS as Dawn
CARMEL CRYAN as Carmen
Writer: Roy Clarke
Producer and Director: Alan J.W. Bell
Network and Production Companies: BBC-2
Duration: 6×30 minute episodes
Aired From: Pilot – 27 November 1984 and Series – 15 May – 19 June 1986
Christmas Princess (UP 2017, Nicole Munoz, Zak Santiago)
Christmas Princess is the true story of Donaly Marquez who, through a childhood of neglect and abuse, achieved her dream of becoming a rose bowl princess. An inspirational story of resilience, strength and finding a family to call your own.
Nicole Muñoz as Donaly Marquez
Rosa Blasi as Sara
Zak Santiago as Ignacio Marquez
Olivia Steele Falconer as Emily Marquez
Jaedon Siewert as Abraham Marquez
Lina Renna as Young Donaly
Paloma Kwiatkowski as Chloe
Ty Wood as Trent
Pendo Muema as Monique
Kalyn Miles as Maria
Kaaren de Zilva as Roberta
Garfield Wilson as Dr. Miller
Clay St. Thomas as Judge #1
Patti Allan as Judge #2
Natalie von Rotsburg as Judge #3
Director: Allan Harmon
Writer: Tracy Andreen
Network and Production Companies: UP
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: Sunday 10 December 2017
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