In-depth reviews of classic or neglected albums, mainly from the 1960s and 70s, plus a weekly newsletter featuring all the latest news, views and music. Artists covered include Beach Boys, Beatles, Belle and Sebastian, Buffalo Springfield, Byrds, Crosby Stills and Nash, Dire Straits, Grateful Dead, Hollies, Jefferson Airplane/Starship, Kinks, Nils Lofgren, Monkees, Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Searchers, Simon and Garfunkel, Small Faces, 10cc, The Who and Neil Young.
Monday, 18 April 2016
The Monkees: Surviving TV Clips (Interviews/Live/Promos) 1956-2012
The Monkees, are of course, the AAA band most associated with television. Conceived from the first as a 'visual' band with four central characters who were equally at home acting as singing, it's no surprise that our AAA list of TV clips features another bumper crop this week. Given that The Monkees were only together a very short period (late 1966 to early 1970) and that they had a TV series offering them promotion for two of those years, however, there aren't actually that many clips of the band together as The Monkees (there actually isn't any featuring all four, adverts aside). According to our usual rules of only featuring band members when they were actually in a group and not appearing solo, this would be one of our shortest columns and I'd have to find something more interesting to do for the rest of the night. Given that there's nothing more interesting than watching AAA stars on youtube, however, and given what a visually creative and fascinating collection this little lot consists of we've gone for the longer option, even though it means more writing. After all, television is as integral to The Monkees story as the record player and to be honest I'm astonished that nobody's put together a list of these great clips before (as far as I know).
There's a particularly fascinating crop of clips from before The Monkees were famous, for instance, where all four prove their acting credibilities in one way or another. After The Monkees ended some of the band continued to act occasionally, notably Micky and Davy who were forever cropping up in small parts on TV (or, in Micky's case, as a regular voiceover artist - to be honest I'm amazed at the amount of work he did). Micky and Mike also continued their love affair with the camera from the other side of the lens, Micky becoming a television director and Mike re-establishing the music video as a creative force with 'Rio' in 1977, before going on to establish his own all-too-brief TV series. There are also some highly revealing appearances featuring The Monkees as themselves, often the only time fans got to see the band in the days when repeats were fallow and no videos or DVDs yet existed. Finally, we usually don't count home movies or adverts made by our AAA bands but both sections are particularly fascinating in The Monkees' case so we've included a couple of 'extras' at the end of our main text.
As ever, this list doesn't pretend to be complete and no doubt I've missed something somewhere. I've also restricted myself in this list to things that I know exist (because I've seen them) rather than programmes I know The Monkees appeared on which were either wiped or are sitting in the back of some collector's cupboard somewhere having never seen the light of day in several decades. For once, very little of this material is officially available, although the two official DVD sets do include a small handful of clips (sadly heavily edited) which we'll point out when we get there. Otherwise, until that bumper 'Monkeeshines' official DVD full of rarities and obscurities comes out (and it will be a killer to license) we'll have to make do with Youtube. Do not despair of finding it all though, dear reader, because I used my summer break last year wisely to put as many of these clips together as I could - and if you're reading this on our website we've even embedded our Monkees playlist into this article so you can watch while you read (just don't get eyestrain!) If for someone it's not working ('oh Peter - what plug have you pulled out now?!') you can view it direct at https://www.youtube.com/user/AlansArchives - just have a look for the playlist marked 'Monkees'. Hey hey, roll film!
1.Circus Boy (Micky,1956-1958)
It's the best show on Earth! (Well till The Monkees at any rate!) Most Monkees fans' first thoughts on watching a 12-year-old Micky (then credited under his chosen stage name 'Micky Braddock') is 'ah, isn't he sweet?' Their next thought is often 'blimey he's good' as Micky steals every scene he's in, despite the equally cute array of animals behind him. The series is set in the late Victorian days when running away to join a circus was still vaguely feasible and circuses were the height of sophistication and drama. Micky plays Corky, a young boy adopted by his circus 'family' after his parents die together in a trapeze accident, but Corky repays his circus family's love several times over by helping to save the circus from closure in a variety of unlikely ways. It's all good practice for later Monkee romps especially and there are references back to this popular series in both the 'Monkees At The Circus' episode ('What's that you're singing?' 'Oh just something from an old TV series') and the lines in Carole KIng's 'Porpoise Song' written for Micky ('Riding the backs of giraffes for laugh's alright for a while'). However what really hits you about the series all these years on is its emotional impact, with Corky going through several emotional dilemmas during the run of the series, all of which the young Micky handles superbly well (he also pulls several of his 'Monkee' faces through the course of the series!) In total forty-nine episodes were made across two years, with Micky in all of them, and the show was even big enough to have its own annual made. The show was originally broadcast on ABC but some repeats were shown on NBC, marking the first time any of The Monkees would appear on the channel that later screened their show. Though as much a part of its time (the mid 50s) as The Monkees will be a decade later (the mid 60s) this is no bad thing: Circus Boy is a charming series that's aged well. Alas, while every episode has been kept in the archives, very little of it has ever been made officially available - a few clips on Monkees documentaries is about all (though quite a few extracts are on Youtube, including a rare doo-wop version of the show's theme tune with a squeaky Micky on vocals and a strangely prescient clip where Micky gets taught how to play the drums so he can join the army - all good practice!)
2.Coronation Street (Davy 1961/1972)
Meanwhile, over in Manchester, Davy was appearing in another much-loved institution. Though Davy was originally only in Coronation Street for one episode (as Ena Sharples' grandson Colin Lomax), he made a big impact with his appearance. Even by Davy's standards he's, well, short, not to mention loveable, with sticky-out ears. Though mentioned on the series a few times, Davy wasn't seen again after some babysitting antics by his granny until post-Monkees in 1972 when he returned for four appearances. By now he had a wife, Karen, and a son, Jason, and wanted to make up with his estranged family (though he spends most of his appearance waiting for his granny in the Rover's Return). Typically with this series, something dramatic and unlikely happens straight away - Karen accidentally leaves their son outside in a pram, unattended. Cue a trip to the police station and - months later - the revelation that a mentally unstable Emily Bishop 'stole' the baby to make up for not being able to have one of her own. Reet peculiar, like most of Corrie, though our Davy has nowt to be ashamed of.
3.Love Potion (Peter Tork College Film Circa 1962)
Peter's first flirtation with film is, characteristically, something a bit more cerebral. Though never actually 'released' anywhere, this ten minute class project was kept safe by one of Peter's classmates and let loose on the world thanks to Youtube some forty-odd years after being made. A silent movie, the film features a remarkably short-haired Peter getting close to Monkee romps as he poses for the camera and makes big gestures, though for some reason he spends most of the film in the background, hiding behind a big car. I can't understand the plot at all (is it edited?), which is good practice for 'Head' I suppose...
4.Z Cars (Davy 1962)
Here's Davy in yet another British institution, with no less than three appearances in Britain's premier cops-and-robbers series. The episode I know is 'The Best Days' and stars Davy as Frankie Sale, a character not far removed from his famous 'Artful Dodger' character. Davy has been a very naughty boy, hired as a lookout for some older boys on a robbery that went wrong, and the police are round 'like a plague of locusts' interviewing his poor worried mother. I've never seen Davy's other two appearances in the episodes 'Four Of A Kind' (the very first episode of the entire series) or 'On Watch - Newtown', although all three exist (only somewhere around half the 800 episodes do, so this is a rarity in itself!)
5.Merv Griffin's Talent Scouts (Davy Jones c.1963)
'Oh he's got fans, how marvellous!' With that patronising introduction and attendant cheer from the audience young Davy makes his first TV appearance in what will be his new homeland of America, promoting the touring company version of 'Oliver' that's doing the rounds a full year nine months before his more fampous appearance. Unusually, 17-year-old Davy's career is 'discussed' first by Georgia Brown, the actress playing Nancy, before singing a sweet and rather high-pitched rendition of the show's tune 'Where Is Love?' (which is odd, because Nancy sings it in the musical, not the Artful Dodger!) Note Davy's very perfect and English diction in the year before regional accents become 'hip!' before he goes all Mockney on 'Consider Yourself'. He finished by doing an early version of the 'Davy dance'!
6.Ed Sullivan Show (Davy 1964)
Many people can recall where they were the night they saw The Beatles' first appearance on American television in February 1964. Davy could recall it better than most - he was waiting in the wings to come on as part of the touring cast of 'Oliver!' once more and said later that his life was changed forever by seeing the hordes of screaming teenagers and the electricity of the fab four' performance. Thankfully when these shows were put out on DVD in the 2000s as 'The Beatles: Complete Ed Sullivan Shows' each episode was left unedited, complete with all the weird and wacky and often excruciating acts that comprised the rest of the band's four appearances (waddya mean you made The Beatles leave the stage so we could have another ten minutes of Soupy Sales?!) Davy's segment as The Artful Dodger is one of the more interesting and entertaining extras, with a version of 'Consider Yourself sung with gusto as a by-now eighteen-year-old Davy's voice has finally broken and become more recognisable to most Monkee fans. Consider yourself one of us, indeed!
7.The Farmer's Daughter (Davy Jones sings 'I'm Gonna Buy Me A Dog' 1965)
Another fascinating bit of history comes from a guest appearance by Davy on the NBC show 'Farmer's Daughter'. The closest thing an American teenage audience had to The Monkees before they had The Monkees, it's subversive humour and young characters were a step in the right direction, though the humour was rather more forced. The show had a lot of Monkee links though, with Davy's screen test audition taking place on a Farmer's Daughter set. Funnily enough Davy is playing a musician not unlike himself in this episode, part of a wannabe rock group 'Mohawk and the Mountains' who are struggling to get by. It's a parody of the sort of band The Monkees will be, full of desperation and gimmicks, and Davy (playing 'Roland') wears a very bad 'Sonny Bono' style wig, acting alongside a pretty near mirror of 'Mike'. The plot follows the band's attempts to get a manager - they settle for regular character Katy - and rehearse. Hilariously, too, the second half of the plot revolves 'miming' and the band not playing their own instruments with Davy (the only 'real' musician in the group) hidden behind a screen to make the rest of the band look good! The song they sing is familiar too, Davy's first Boyce and Hart song - a 'sensible' rendition of 'Gonna Buy Me A Dog' which sounds quite, quite different!
8.The Lloyd Thaxton Show (Mike Nesmith as Michael Blessing US TV 1965)
So far we've seen Micky and Davy as younger caricatures of what they'll become later on, but nothing quite prepares you for what a 22-year-old Mike Nesmith was up to in this period. Using his stage name 'Michael Blessing', Mike appears as a romantic crooner, publicising one of his early singles - a cover of Buffy St Marie's 'Until It's Time For You To Go'. Thaxton talks about Mike's as 'a name you'll be hearing - this is his sort of debut' (comparing him to an earlier debut by Sonny and Cher) and for once he's right, even if the name won't quite be the same. It seems odd to see Mike this young without a wool-hat on his head but he already sounds great, miming along to a record that deserved to do well. He's less sure about himself in the interview, nervous and monosyllabic in replies to simple questions about the record's name and availability. Mike won't be this shy for much longer!
9.Peyton Place (Micky 1965)
Proof that back in 1965 most depictions of teenagers on television were of long-haired weirdoes comes with the unusual casting of Micky as a hoodlum. 'Peyton Place' was a long-running soap opera (largely considered America's first), not unlike 'Coronation Street', which features outlandish goings on in a small community where every event causes ripples across society. Micky guested in three episodes where he played the memorably named 'Kitch Brunner', a no good beatnik in a green jumper who spends most of his time in a coffee bar chatting up the wrong girls. Micky gets a love rival and spikes his drink, causing all sorts of drama before getting beaten up by his rival's brother on board a ship (long story!) This episode's strange throw-forward to The Monkees: 'I suppose you thought it was 'good clean fun' huh?'
10.TV Advert 1966
'Those are Monkees? They look too hairy to be Monkees! They call themselves singer/musicians - I guess they couldn't decide which, huh?' The Monkees were advertised on telly with a simple trail, featuring an illustration of all four band members (which is more accurate than the Monkees annuals ever were!) surrounded by lots of girls and the first time anybody outside the band and production team heard that famous theme tune. The trail reveals that The Monkees premiere was on in between The Roger Miller Show and I Dream Of Jeanie.
11.La Jolla (News Reel 1966)
To promote the 'Royal Flush' premiere on September 2nd 1966, all four Monkees spent the previous night on a Del Mar beach for an 'outside broadcast' radio competition and interview. Silent film of the event exists, though only in very poor quality and with a bootlegger maddeningly insisting on putting 'Steppin' Stone' played backwards over the top (this isn't the poor youtube poster's fault before you get mad at him by the way - I used to have an old video copy that did this too!) In the sequence you get to see The Monkees practising their 'hey camera!' poses for the first time, while even in black and white Micky's shirt is loud!
12.Newsreel UK Tour 1967
'Here they come, looking down from a balcony, surrounded by hordes of screaming fans, sounding so noisy!' British reporters were characteristically shocked and stunned about how many people turn out to see a visiting pop group in Kensington who - shock horror - aren't even British. Included in the news report are clips of The Monkees messing around at a press conference answering the usual questions (Davy - 'the Monkee who already speaks our language, being British' - : 'No I'm not leaving The Monkees and I'll be a Monkee for as long as there are Monkees!')
13.Emmy Awards 1967
There was a sense of joy in the air as James Frawley won an emmy for his directing work on 'The Royal Flush' and the band win best TV series,with all four members in attendance (Mike's in a very snazzy Vegas suit!) Frawley gets lots of hugs from his collaborators and even does a Monkee joke when he says 'I want to dedicate this to four funny guys' and as the camera cuts away to a proud looking Micky he then thanks 'Harpo, Chico, Groucho and Zeppo!' It's great to see Frawley rather than just hear him after the many times we hear his voice across the series. Sadly it's Bert and Bob rather than the band who take the 'best series' award although Bob does dedicate his to 'The Monkees, the ones who really won this award!'
14.Newsreel Australian Tour 1968
'If you're under 90 and don't know who these men are then you'd better hand back your 'hip' badge!' More newsreel hysterics, this time down under with a visibly older Monkees on their last full tour together. Peter has grown a beard and is on particularly OTT form while Mike is off on one during the press conference snippet. There's hilarity as a screaming fan is ejected and an awful lot of awful noise as the aeroplane takes off again!
15.Hy Lite (US TV 1968)
'Head...coming...soon! Where can you see it? All over the world!' With the TV show off the air, The Monkees have to plug their new feature film on another show and poor Hyman Lit is under the impression that the movie will be just a longer version of the band's TV episodes. Asking The Monkees to explain the plot they just look confused and umm and ahh a bit (Micky: 'It's like a collage' MIke: 'That was like a year ago - the movie is now!...It's character assassination, with a lot of fun at The Monkees' expense') The band also talk about the music making, Micky speaking about 'our individual roads - there's no group sound, there hardly ever was' and Mike about 'going back to our roots'. Mike also talks about Jimi Hendrix as 'the greatest living guitar player', which makes you realise with a jolt just how long ago this all was. A fun clip.
16.Glen Campbell Good Time Hour (US TV February 1969)
A sign of how quickly The Monkees had fallen from grace, the post-Peter trio turn up as throwaway guests, with their songs compacted into a brief unappealing medley and a badly mimed 'Tear Drop City' where Micky can't remember the words and instead appearing in two short sketches which really aren't that funny and are borderline insulting for such comic geniuses (the funniest one involves a series of telephones ringing like an orchestra - and that's it, that's the whole joke!) Both clips were included as extras on the 'Season Two' DVD box set, although you kind of wish they hadn't bothered. Even less interesting is the sketch with the band joking about how long ago their first hit was ('You remember the horseless carriage'?) and going on for five whole minutes about the old days of the Victoriana and music hall, complete with awful songs and period hats (Mike looks rather good as a French Revolutionary mind!) Peter was probably glad he missed it. Sadly a period performance on the Joey Bishop Show, which includes the only surviving anything of the band with soul band Sam and the Goodtimers, now exists only as audio footage.
17.The Johnny Cash Show (US TV 'Last Train To Clarksville' 'Nine Times Blue' Everybody Loves A Nut' July 1969)
Perhaps the best clip of The Monkees in this list, Micky Davy and Mike meet up with the country legend for a ten minute chat and a singsong, starting off with a surprisingly convincing mournful Cash rendition of 'Last Train To Clarksville' before Micky complains his 'vocal chords are rusty' after three years of singing that song. Instead the band decide to 'play something off our new album', but alas Mike's beautiful ballad 'Nine Times Blue' will be cut from 'Instant Replay' before release (how very Monkees to plug an album with a song you can't buy in the shops!) Though Mike produced versions featuring him or featuring Davy, this superior rendition features all three Monkees together, with Micky singing high and Davy in his natural range as a baritone. The effect is truly gorgeous and makes you wish they'd done a whole album like this, unplugged and with all the band singing. Sadly with that song out the way Cash is back to remind the band that they're not very popular anymore (charming!) and people think they're 'nuts'. Cue one of Cash's worst ever songs, the unfunny novelty track 'Everybody Loves A Nut', which people don't - at least judging by this nutty song (why Doesn't Cash sing 'I'm A Believer' or 'Mommy and Daddy, songs right up his street, or get The Monkees to sing 'Ring Of Fire' or 'I Walk The Line'?!) Even so this is a priceless gem with The Monkees at their informal, playful best.
18.Happening '69 (US TV)
The last Monkees TV appearance (outside adverts) features a lot of jokes about 'monkee-ing around' and has the band on as co-guests with their old-time rivals Paul Revere and The Raiders (The Monkees jokingly protest when the Raiders get top billing!) Later Davy walks past the band and shakes his head as they're trying to play and Micky starts 'stealing' their instruments - even the ones they're 'playing'! The result is complete chaos and anarchy, which is the sort of conditions The Monkees thrive in and they turn in one last great unified performance gurning for the camera and having fun, though with Davy taking charge and Mike largely keeping quiet. Towards the end The Monkees turn the tables on the hosts and ask them questions ('If you were the president of the United States what would you do?' 'Move to Russia!') Davy's favourite TV programme? 'Happening '68 - I'm living in the past, man!'
19.Music Scene (Davy Jones 1969)
Though The Monkees still had another year or so to go, Davy can see the end in sight and picks up whatever other TV work he can find to keep his name out there and make people get used to seeing him outside the group. The first appearance (at least that I can find) comes with Davy singing on a music variety programme. He doesn't choose any Monkees songs, instead picking 'Together', a song perhaps best known from Keith Moon's version on his 'Two Sides Of The Moon' album. Alas the band start a bit fast and Davy struggled to keep up, singing a little flat by his usual standards. His backing band are Sam and the Goodtimers, re-hired briefly after their Monkees tour.
20.Peapicker In Piccadilly (Davy Jones 1969)
Even stranger is this rare return to England, where Davy appears in the chorus of a Tennessee Ernie Ford TV Special all about, erm, England. The show is a loose interpretation of Charles Dickens novel 'The Old Curiosity Shop' with everyone dressed up in period dress. Inevitably Davy gets to sing his old warhorse 'Consider Yourself' alongside Harry Secombe (it must have seemed as if the past four years hadn't happened!) before moving on to 'HMS Pinafore' and even 'Scarborough Fair' (which sounds rather good Davy-fied!)
21.Love, American Style (Davy 1970-1973)
With The Monkees officially over in late 1970, Davy was the first Monkee to get a regular acting job. However it wasn't a job that stretched him very much - Davy was the natural casting as a romantic lead who falls in love every week in a long line of various ways as part of a sort of Mills and Boon anthology version of 'The Twilight Zone'. Though Davy wasn't in every episode, he did turn up in an awful lot of shows across the three year run, usually as the hapless romantic who can't get girls to date him. The 1973 episode 'Love and the Hidden Meaning' is particularly noteworthy as Davy stars alongside a very young Diane Keaton, accidentally getting the wrong house when he tries to rush in and elope with his girlfriend. Davy plays more slapstick than usual, even by Monkees standards.
22.Unknown (Davy Jones Australian TV 1971)
'I've pretty much got it together - I know what my direction's gonna be'. The Monkees remained popular in Australia long after the band had faded in America and Europe with Davy a big enough name for an in-depth interview. Unfortunately for Davy it's an 'outside broadcast' interview where the cameraman has to be rescued from falling over! It's fascinating to hear pretty much the only lengthy interview with one of the Monkees in the aftermath of the band. Davy admits that The Monkees won't make anymore personal appearances but might make some more recordings (sadly they won't) and a group he's put together which sadly never did record or tour. Davy also discusses Mike's recent hit with 'Joanne' and sounds wistful about not having had one himself or as the interviewer suggests 'being invited to appear on it'. Interestingly the interviewer speaks of a Monkees continuing 'just without all four original members' - the scale of The Monkees' split doesn't seem to have quite hit Down Under yet!
23.The Brady Bunch (Davy 1971)
By far Davy's most popular post-Monkees moment came with an appearance in a programme that could be considered a show for younger siblings of Monkees fans (just as The Monkees were for younger siblings of Beatle fans!) The Brady Bunch started almost a year to the day after The Monkees went off the air and was in its stride by the time of Davy's cameo appearance. Davy even gets an episode named after him, with 'Getting Davy Jones' available in the season three box set of 'The Brady Bunch' (it's episode twelve). In the show he befriends Marcia Brady who longs for him to be her 'prom date' and takes her to a school dance after showing her round his recording studio where he sings 'Girl' for her (was this a role turned down by Jimmy Saville?!) 'Girl' was such a popular song Davy often sang it at Monkee concerts, along with 'Rio' the only solo original any of the reunion era Monkees ever performed, as well as releasing it as his last single on the 'Bell' label.
24.Roger Whittaker Show (Davy Jones 1971)
A sign of just how far The Monkees had come from long-haired weirdoes representing teenage culture to sceptical adults to an institution comes from Davy's appearance on this oldies variety hour with the veteran whistler alongside fellow guests Val Doonican and The Tremeloes. Davy sings a slightly cautious version of his single 'Rainy Jane' while a load of girls with umbrellas dance behind him. It's nice to have a rare clip of Davy singing rather than acting and he copes with the rather odd choreography well, although you can tell a lot of the joy has gone out of his performances now he's on the 'has been' circuit.
25.Night Of The Strangler (Micky 1972)
After a lean spell it was Micky's turn to rise, with a feature film no less. However it's a rather odd feature film - as the person who posted this on Youtube puts it, this film isn't set at night and no one does any strangling - it is instead one of those long slow suspenseful horror films where actually not a lot happens and you fall asleep long before the end. Well, actually, no - if Micky is your favourite Monkee then you'll like this film quite a lot, if only because its the closest thing to a 'sex' scene in the Monkees filmography! Micky and his young bride are getting married, much to the disgust of her rich dad and a racist brother, who gets punched by Micky early on. The film kinda goes downhill from there, although Micky is easi;ly the best of a bad bunch. A 1975 re-release of the filn called it 'Ace Of Spades', which made about as much sense as the original title, but nobody watched that film either.
26.Treasure Island/Oliver Twist (Davy 1973-74)
With work drying up and his perennial young looks fading (well, Davy looked twenty rather than twelve) Jones found himself getting more and more involved in voiceover work including two major feature-length cartoons made in England. Davy's voice still sounded young though and he makes a good casting as Jim Hawkins. This is, however, not the best adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel - its full of the 'shiver me timbers me hearties' dialogue that isn't actually in the original and the ship's mouse gets more to do than the humans - he isn't even in the flipping book! Not much better is Davy's turn as Tiny Tim in the following year's Dickensian sequel, which is a shame as with Davy's beginnings in 'Oliver' a return to Dickens should feel more like a homecoming. It's less a case of 'God bless us everyone' and more 'please sir - we don't want anymore!'
27.Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart: I Remember The Feeling (Music Video 1976)
The guys who wrote 'em and the guys who sang 'em bounced back to celebrate the tenth anniversary of 'Clarksville' with a new album and a concert tour - mainly in Japan where the crowd were less likely to throw things. Alas The Monkees still hadn't quite been forgiven yet for something that wasn't even a problem in the first place (honestly, barely anybody played their own instruments by 1976!) The music video for the lead-off single is still a must-see, however, a rare chance to see Micky and Davy duetting on film. Alas both singers seem to have forgotten the art of miming down the years (they were probably rusty - it had been a while) while all four singers seem to be enjoying upstaging each other rather than taking this nostalgic song seriously. It's all good fun, however, with a bit of a Monkees vibe about both song and clip. This won't get you as high as the ceiling, perhaps, as promised in the song, but pretty high all the same.
28.Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart (TV Special 1976)
Somebody in telly still had a soft spot for The Monkees, though, hence this 25 minute special which is kind of the sketch show the band had planned for their third season but comes off as uneasy musical version of The Two Ronnies. The show starts with a joke that misses - an offer for a record that doesn't exist - and goes downhill from there really, with a sketch where every speech rhymes (well most of the time) as Boyce and Hart try to write a song and Micky and Davy get sucked right along. The sketch then leads into a dotty medley, which comes across and unenthusiastic and under-fed(ly), full of Monkees Boyce and Hart and rock and roll, full of the sort of scenes that 'Grease' later stole. The quartet then play 'Keep On Singing' which goes on and on, a 'Vaudeville' Cuddly Toy that goes on too long, a heavy version of 'Steppin Stone' that Micky turns into one great drone, and 'I'm A Believer' which is ragged but sweeter. Overall though it all comes off a bit half-cocked, a strange mixture of vaudeville and glam rock! After the show was aired Dolenz Jones Boyce and Hart's careers came to a standstill and they knew they had to part.
29.Dinah Shore Show (Dolenz Jones Boyce and Hart 1976)
The quartet had one last bit of promotion on our list though, by far the best of the DJBH team's appearances. The band joke that Davy can't get onto the high stools put out for them, that they've all been 'recuperating' since the band broke up and winning a celebrity tennis tournament. There's a fun part where Micky spotted Elizabeth Taylor while on holiday and got his girlfriend to snap a photo of him 'pretending' to be going out with her - the actress was game enough to play along and give him a kiss! The foursome perform some nice acoustic versions of old classics including a pretty fair attempt at an unplugged Monkees Theme, an upbeat 'Clarksville', a folky 'I Wanna Be Free', a stripped bare 'Pleasant Valley Sunday', a clapalong 'I'm A Believer' and best of all a duet between Micky and Davy on a unique 'Daydream Believer'. At long last Micky gets to show off his guitar skills and the harmonies are so much better than the album: the whole tour and record should have been done like this. The Monkees fare less well at a chaotic spelling bee alongside the show's other guests, but have typical Monkee fun getting everything as badly wrong as they possibly can! A great clip.
30.Rio (Mike Nesmith Music Video 1977)
When Mike Nesmith told his record company he wanted 'Rio' to be his next single they asked him if he'd consider making a music video to help promote it. Now Nez hadn't paid much attention what the pop world was up to and was given no real direction so he took the company at their word, creating an epic mini movie that was utterly different to anything that had been seen before (including what The Monkees had been up to). The result was very popular and helped push the single high up the rankings as Mike and his backing singers fly round the world, dances on the moon, appear as a roaring twenties band making a radio broadcast and take a picnic at the beach. The result, Mike's first return to the TV world since leaving The Monkees behind, is a dazzling array of colours and still fondly remembered to this day. The video is available officially as part of a compilation of Nez' videos 'The Pacific Arts Box Set'.
31.Top Of The Pops (Mike Nesmith 'Rio' 1977 UK TV)
More stripped down but just as lovely is a rather lumberjack-style Nesmith appearance on Britain's most popular music show during a rare appearance in the country after 'Rio' sold so well there. In an uncomfortable interview Mike says that he was inspired to watch the song by viewing old Hollywood movies and that he still hasn't got round to going to Rio and hangs around to introduce the next act ('This week's number one is a song by Abba. What's it called? I haven't a clue...')
32.Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels (Micky 1977-1980)
With DJBH shunted to a siding, the foursome went their separate ways. Micky was first out the box with the first of many voiceover work for cartoons, this time for Warner Brothers luminary Captain Cavema-e-a-e-a-e-an!' (phonetic pronunciation). The show ran for four years and contained fouirty-two eleven minute episodes, most of them revolving around the antics of stone age super-hero Captain Cavema-e-a-e-a-e-a-e-an. The legendary Mel Blanc actually portrayed Captain Cavema-e-a-e-a-en; Micky was one of several regular voices which changed every week and appeared in (or at least got credited for) every episode. He probably got the break after playing similar characters in the 1973 animated version of 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids' and a guest part in Scooby Doo.
33.Deep Inside: Peter Tork (US TV 1979)
Erm, we weren't quite sure what we were getting ourselves in for after hearing the title of this next piece but, relax, it's just an interview, ok? Peter's first TV appearance in eleven years was a big event for Monkeefans, rather oddly shot for the Public Broadcasting Service in black and white although it's a much deeper interview than most - more like 'Face To face' if you're old enough to remember it. Peter looks good but seems frustrated by always being associated with his old band ('A Monkee' my primary means of recognition? It's my only reason for recognition!') Peter says that he never did get his 'realisation' with The Monkees and wasn't good at keeping his money ('That is to say there's a lot of people walking around who had some stoned times they might not otherwise have had'). However he loved the chance to make records on his own with the studio paying for the time even if he is notably reluctant to talk about the old days and even more reluctant to talk about his present. This 'reasonably spontaneous' interview has some real highpoints (Peter slagging off capitalism! As ever he's passionate and articulate on one of his favourite subjects and less obviously talks about becoming more religious with age) but Peter seems reluctant to speak and too busy laughing to take the interview seriously.
34.Lovelight (Micky Dolenz Music Video 1979)
Micky and his second wife Trina both star in the singer's long hoped for comeback. Poor Micky put a decent song and an interesting video together, clearly inspired by what his old colleague Mike had done with 'Rio'. Trina dances like a Buddhist statue with lots of arms thanks to the wonders of late 70s graphics while Micky tries to sing up front. Most of the song/video is romantic, but be warned about the creepy shot of Micky physically added to his wife's eyes socket in an effect that should have been kept for a Hammer Horror film.
35.Pop Quiz (Davy Jones UK TV c.1980)
'Pop Quiz' was a short-lived attempt to hook a teenage audience into pop records into watching celebs answer questions about them - a sort of cross between Trivial Pursuit, Radio Four's Counterpoint and Never Mind The Buzzcocks. The idea could have worked, but the guests - though Davy is technically only thirty-three and the youngest here - is to most teenagers watching from another era altogether and something to make their mums and dads watch rather than them. Davy seems uncomfortable, but less so than fellow panellist John Entwistle of The Who, paying off yet another debt he's racked up by arching his eyebrows and trying to stay above it all. Davy gets questions on the intro of The Beatles' 'Drive My Car' and
36.Saturday Superstore (Davy Jones UK TV c.1980)
Davy is the latest AAA star to turn to this British kiddies TV programme to plug their wares, even though none of the under tens watching know who he is. Davy's plugging his treasure hunt show (he was the first 'Challenge Anneka', in a way!) and seemingly enthusiastic although he answers the blunt question 'is it difficult to know what to do next after all that fame?' with a sigh. As ever, Davy is happier talking about his beloved horses and his plans to ride at the Grand National in 1981, though he chats quite happily about how many modern TV programmes look like The Monkees. Davy returned a week later for the results of a competition to give away his precious maracas (presumably without any microfilm left inside!) and gives out the answers (all related to horse racing) while dressed in a wetsuit for no apparent reason. Next up, Davy sings a very out of tune version of 'Cuddly Toy' with presenter Mike Read for all the children present (presumably nobody present knew that Harry Nilsson wrote the song about a Hell's Angels gangbang or they'd be in trouble!) The only reason anyone remembers Saturday Superstore anymore - is the phonecalls from the nation's children (actually using big phone handsets!) which as ever provide some fascinating questions: 'Did you ever have a crush on a teacher?' 'Yes I had a science teacher called Miss Dickinson, I was kept in for doing something naughty with me bunsen burner!'; 'Do you keep in touch with the other Monkees? 'Yes I talk with Micky who lives here and Mike I speak to sometimes but he lives in America and Peter does about what I do and at Christmas we send each other cards and late at night the phone rings and we'll have a chat!'; 'What did you enjoy most about The Monkees?' 'It was one of the best times on my life - I loved meeting the other guys and travelling to all sorts of places I wouldn't have got to and to be able to fool around and be a clown on screen and not just at home!' Whoever won Davy's cuddly toy Janet Rabbit by the way? I'd love to know if The Monkees' hare is still around...Finally Davy's on the 'pop panel' alongside Julian Lennon and the pair team up to savage Elton John's latest and is dismissive of Giorgio Moroder.
37.The Little and Large Show (Davy c.1980)
Sid Little's trying to sing 'Daydream Believer' but Eddie Large thinks it's awful, so gets in the real singer Davy. He's not impressed - until Davy mentions working the alarm clock on the original. Poor Davy having to watch a second-rate Morecambe and Wise murder his favourite song, although he sounds rather good singing deeper on the only verse he's allowed!
38.Metal Mickey (Micky 1980-1983)
'Boogie Boogie!' The robot Metal Mickey was originally built as a one-off segment of the children's show we're not allowed to mention anymore (*whisper*Jim'll Fixit). The robot proved to be such a success and got so many letters that a whole spin-off series was commissioned, with a second 'Micky' brought in to produce and direct it. Since the end of Dolenz Jones Boyce and Hart Micky had been growing more interested in behind the scenes TV work and was given this show partly because it aped the Monkees humour style so well. Micky - the metal one - was a robot who'd come to live with a family and much in the vein of period drama (he looks like R2D2 and has a back story like ET's) and starred Irene Handl as the family grandma. The show was a big success almost instantly - probably the second biggest project a Monkee was ever involved in - and often got twelve million viewers (which is more than, say, Dr Who was getting at the time!) Some forty-one episodes were made, with some excellent early shows although the formula becomes more 'robotic' as time wears on. Micky even used his old record business contacts and made the show a 'multimedia' enterprise with the robot getting his own record label (Mickeypops) and releasing a total of six singles while the programme was on the air, including a cover of The Beatles' 'I want To Hold Your Hand' that's so 'wrong' it's very nearly 'right'. The show is slowly being released onto DVD although 'slowly' seems to be the word as there's now been a very long gap after the second series with two more still to go. Sadly the robot star hasn't been seen since, although rumour is he's teamed up with Marvin The Paranoid Android and the pair are currently touring as a double act in Alpha Centauri and Zigirous Three.
39.Unknown (Davy Jones Japanese TV c.1981)
It's Davy's turn to peak about the past and a chance to catch up with his four years away. Davy actually made lots of appearances in Japan. which always had a special soft spot for The Monkees, but this is the only one I've seen. Davy invites the Japanese interviewer into the house where his family are staying and introduces him to his wife and daughters. The communication issues are a problem, but it's good to see Davy's nearest and dearest talking and to see Davy fooling around with the newest member of the Jones clan, daughter Jessica. We then cut to Davy in the studio where the Japanese fans mobbing him make it seem like 1967 all over again. He seems a bit fed up to be honest and not his usual bubbly self at all, but then he does have to wait hours while the interviewers talk between themselves in between questions!
40.Elephant Parts (Mike Nesmith TV Special 1981) includes cruisin' lucy vid/the night is magic/light
'Even the nicest neighbourhood can be spoilt by...neighbours'. 'Rio' had re-awakened Mike Nesmith to the potential of television and after finishing his current commitments he started work on a bizarre TV pilot that sadly never turned into a full series and would again have been more like the third series of the Monkees TV Show, with sketches interspersed with song. It's all very early 80s and has dated far less well than, say, 'The Monkees' original show but was very groundbreaking for its day. The opening, for instance, has Mike singing a snatch from his hit 'Joanne' before we pan down to his legs - and see he's more, well, amphibian than we remember. The next sketch has a man with 'Bee Gees' disease that leaves him going 'ah ah ah ah' all the time. Another sketch appears to be an advert, but it's for Mike's new album which 'chops, dices, grinds, twists and agitates almost all your favourite foods', while a vinyl record is used as a knife. The most famous sketch has Mike as a drunken bore who hasn't noticed that his ladyfriend is dead ('I've set her on fire again - it's the third time this week, bring me a Margarita for my wife's alight hair!') The best sketch is a gameshow entitled 'Name That Drug' where rockstars try to remember what it is that caused them to love their memory in the first place! The show will be over the heads of most fans - a lot of its way above mine and as longterm readers of this site will know there aren't many humours weirder than mine. Most fans will just settle for the videos, all of which are treated to 'Rio' style makeovers and feature songs from the lesser Nesmith album 'Infinite Rider On The Bog Dogma'. 'Light' aka 'The Eclectic Light', is arguably the best and prettiest of the songs. The show was successful to win the first ever Grammy award for music video, although even at the ceremony nobody seemed to understand the extract much or to have watched the show when it was on. Two DVDs have since been released featuring this show - the first featuring a unique bonus audio commentary where Mike comments on a different show altogether, designed to be as out-of-synch with what we're watching as possible!
41.The David Letterman Show (Peter Tork 1982)
'You can get the Monkee records for $1.50 in all the bargain bins!'; 'Oh they've gone up have they Peter?!' Peter makes another rare appearance on an American talk show as he rather nervously chats about his past and his future. His first task was to declare the winner of a competition to have dinner with him, won by a lovely elderly lady named Esther Pollock who seems absolutely thrilled with her victory. Peter, gentleman that he is, spends a lot of his time chatting to her even though he's clearly upset not to be with a young groupie. As ever, though, when he gets nervous Peter garbles and it's sometimes hard to keep up. Peter is particularly interesting talking about the fact that he was 'playing' a character who happened to have his name. Peter quips to the camera 'if you're watching this Mike - eat your heart out!' Mike will in fact drop a few months later...
42.The David Letterman Show (Mike Nesmith 1982)
'It's really interesting having a pulpit of pop culture and people listening to what I have to say about the war and everything else and then it's printed - 'My favourite colour is green'. Mike's on to plug his 'Timerider' film and 'Elephant Parts', an extract of which gets a rather good response from the audience. He talks about the fact that all his projects are going to be videos rather than just albums (though sadly he'll end up doing neither) and jokes that Letterman is trying to reunite The Monkees by filming them one by one and making it as a special (alas Micky and Davy never show!) Mike gives a rare speech about his mum inventing liquid paper. Sadly, unlike his co-star, Mike doesn't get a date.
43.Live CNN (Mike Nesmith 1982)
1982 was Nez' chattiest year by far, as he jokes with CNN anchor Bill Tush about how 'big' his career is getting. Mike says that Peter has just rung him the other day about a possible reunion but he's got too much going on. He talks about his idea for 'Popclips' ('which turned into MTV') and how in the future 'I really think in the future you're going to watch music rather than listen to it', with pioneers Sony putting out a trial video with the music included in the 'lines' of the picture. Mike's on good form and is more at ease than he was with Letterman.
44.Geraldo (Peter Tork 1983?)
'The older I get the younger I was!' A long haired Peter jokes with chat show Geraldo Rivers that he hopes he was getting mature in his middle years but is told he's still making the same bad jokes. He seems happier to talk about the band's early days, how 'Headquarters' was 'all us - apart from a French horn because I couldn't play one of those back then'. He adds that he's still friendly with the other Monkees and quips 'I never hated any of them - for very long!'
45.The Tim Rice Show (Micky Dolenz 1983?)
'They cast musicians and actors' 'And which were you?' 'Neither!' For once Micky isn't being asked much about The Monkees - although he soon puts down ideas that he doesn't want to talk about them, saying he was 'proud' to be a member and it was 'the greatest thing that ever happened to me' - but about the hit stage play he's been directing, Bugsy Malone. Micky makes the fascinating point that The Monkees were cast as strangers because existing groups all tended to look and think alike and creators Bert and Bob wanted four contrasting personalities. He liked directing for the series 'because that's where the power was' and that he doesn't miss America at all, with the TV series in Britain much easier to make without committees and with the directors often solely in charge.
46.Luna (Micky 1983-1984)
Micky's sequel to 'Metal Mickey' was never as popular or as long-running but is just as fondly remembered. Luna' was a dimini-being (children's in English speak) science-fiction series set in 2040 where a faceless Government has worked out the best way of splitting the world's populations up into sections and the struggles of those trapped within each confine to cope with other views so different to their own. Luna, especially, is a strong creation with the same renegade anarchic spirit as The Monkees fighting against the more restrictive adult society of the 1960s. The show was especially remarkable for featuring an OAP punk who still refuses to become an adult - unthinkable back in the 1980s but a possibility that's getting nearer with every year! Patsy Kensit played the lead, long before her marriage to fellow AAA-er Liam Gallagher, but really it's an ensemble cast extraordinarily well written and directed by Micky. Sadly only twelve episodes were ever made before the series was cancelled and it's now become very hard to track down - a DVD release would be most welcome(it would make a great present for your next batch-day!)
47.That Was Then, This Is Now (Music Video 1984)
It's as if they'd never been away! Micky and Peter clown around just like they used to for the pair's reunion video (Davy and Mike stayed away) which is intercut with vintage clips of the band doing more or less the same gags. Which is a bit odd when you think about it, given that the theme of the song is that the present and the past are two separate things! There's even a similar amount of Monkeemania screaming the second time around! A bit of a bland video but it does the job, reminding people who The Monkees were if they vaguely remembered and being just exciting enough to check out if they were knew to you.
48.Puzzle Trail (Davy Jones UK TV 1984)
So what was Davy up to while his old collagues were putting their sparkly suits back on? He was playing a giant game of hide and seek. The 'Challenge Anneka' of its day, Davy interacts with lots of drama school rejects who offer him clues while the viewers at home try to work things out before him and learn something about compass directions/maths/interview techniques/coping with idiots in funny hats along the way. I can't tell if Davy's loving this job or hating it - chances are it's a little of both, with some great double-takes to camera along the way.
49.Pebble Mill (Davy Jones UK TV 1984?)
Though Davy had no new product to promote, he was still a popular TV draw. He went right back to his earliest years when he appeared on Pebble Mill (an ever so slightly less pretentious version of 'The One Show') and sang a big band medley of songs from Lionel Bart's show 'Oliver!', the musical that had given him his big break. Alas, rather than appearing with The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show in sunny America, Davy is playing to a load of bored presenters in the middle of Birmingham sandwiched in-between sections on cooking potatoes and fashions in Timbuctoo. 'Who will buy?' suddenly sounds rather apt.
50.Television Parts (Mike 1985)
Mike's long delayed sequel to the surprise runaway hit 'Elephant Parts' lacks a lot of the invention of its predecessor and the humour seems a little more forced in parts. The idea, though, are much the same - Mike 'cleaning' his new record by putting it in a washing machine and cutting to a scene straight out of a Persil advert, Mike playing a Swedish historian and anthropologist explaining that the similarity of restaurants between Scandinavia and America prove that they were founded by the same natives, Whoopi Goldberg as a surfer chick, the usual kind of stuff (wait - did I dream that last one?!) Alas there's less music this time around and what there is is shared between lots of artists rather than just Nesmith. Two videos, 'The Television Parts Home Compendium' and 'Dr Duck's Super-Secret All-Purpose Sauce', were both released soon afterwards though none of the show has yet appeared on DVD.
51.Heart and Soul (Music Video 1986)
Clearly of all the groups making comebacks in the 1980s The Monkees just had to make a music video - they'd helped invent the flipping things after all. Luckily 'Heart and Soul' is one of the best. A gorgeous video that's oh so Monkees, which starts off in 1967 when the guys are at the peak of their powers - and who then have themselves placed in a giant refrigeration unit so they can wake up twenty years later 'Adam Adamant' style (presumably the fridge containing Mike broke down somewhere along the way). Awoken into this brave new world Micky, Davy and Peter reform the band and try to adapt to the new ways of going about making a record, with some spot on parodies such as putting coins in the meter of a 'make your own music video' booth. The punks making their own videos are as bemused by The Monkees as they are of them - even when The Monkees dress up in the latest fashions to try and get access! Very funny and very in keeping with the humour of the series. This clip used to be available on the home video 'Heart and Soul', a mis-mash of interviews, promotion and music videos from the band's 1986 reunion, but alas it's yet to appear on DVD.
52.Every Step Of The Way (Music Video 1986)
Like the single, this second release from 'Pool It' is almost as good but not quite. The Monkees are down and outs looking to put together a band when they come across a heap of junk - soon the bin lids are doubling as drums, Peter's playing a mean guitar solo on a mop and Davy - dressed as David Lee Roth - is singing into a mouldy carrot. The band are clearly having a lot of fun making this video and even briefly revive their old 'Monkee walk' and there's a new twist on jokes about Davy's height when the use of reflections makes him out to look really tall and threatening!
53.MTV (US TV 1986)
Though Mike Nesmith hadn't joined the band for the reunion (the death of his liquid paper inventing mother, who'd left her fortune to him, meant that he really didn't need the money) he gave it his (Michael) blessing (of sorts) with a brief reunion for an MTV Christmas special. The channel clearly had close links with The Monkees - they showed re-reruns of their old series and might not have existed at all had Nesmith not paved the way with 'Pop Clips', a pilot that strung lots of music videos together back in the early 80s (missing from this list because Nesmith is barely in it). Peter had already appeared earlier in the ear as a guest DJ (or 'VJ' as the channel irritatingly called it's 'video-jockeys'), where 'I'll show some of my favourite Monkee clips in between striking some of my favourite poses' and an interview with the dummy Mr Schneider that has to be seen to be believed (he's been married four times apparently - all at the same time to different women!) (warning: the links also include copious banjo lessons). Best quote: 'Are you still friends with Stephen Stills? Of course I am - and when I get my hands around him you'll soon find out how much of a friend I am!' As for the reunion, Micky Davy and Peter sing a load of Christmas songs including a wretched version of Lennon's 'Happy Xmas (War Is Over)' - probably taken in part from the unreleased 1976 LP of Davy's by the sound of it - and mime a lot of Christmas day shenanigans. Throughout it all a bemused Father Christmas stands at the back of shot and occasionally falls over. The pay-off comes at the end when he decides to take his hat off and underneath its...Mr Schneider! No wait, wrong episode, it's...Mike Nesmith! God bless you Monkees, every one.
54.American Music Awards 1987 (Micky Davy and Peter)
The Monkees are back to a trio again to hand out an their award for 'best reunion album featuring old primates in a pool' or something - I don't know, there were too many of these albums back then! The audience go nuts for the band, causing Micky to ad lib and Davy to quip that he 'always gets very nervous' when Micky goes off script! The band seem a bit sulky given that half of America seem to be screaming their names and you can see why there never was a second reunion album in the 1980s - even though they're meant to be acting annoyed by the corny humour even their acting's not that authentic! Micky looks good in glasses, the only time he's seen wearing them while not playing a 'character'. The level of the humour: 'Now listen, I'm the judge. Do you swear ?' 'Yes often, when provoked! Peter ends the sketch by declaring 'we're not getting paid anyway' and walking off.
55.Solid Gold (US TV 1987 Micky Davy and Peter)
The Monkees perform - well, mime - 'Every Step Of The Way' on a night-time music series that ran between 1980 and 1988. That's Nina Blackwood flirting with the band as she announces them, although sadly the band don't chat, just sing.
56.Fan Club (US TV Micky Davy Peter 1987)
The trio of Monkees are in deep discussion of Monkee songs when they suddenly notice the camera and say 'I know them!' before greeting all their Monkeefans 'and you know who we are!' 'I'm Micky Dolenz' says Peter, helpfully. There follows a fun selection of questions and answers. Peter: 'Do we miss Michael? Even when he's here we miss Michael!' Davy: 'He'd better join us - he owes me money!' Peter: 'The difference between fan mail then and fan mail now is...' Micky: 'You pay more postage today!' Davy, meanwhile, has been reading philosophy: 'Success is not measured by what you reach in life but what you overcame to reach that success!' (though he isn't credited in this interview, Davy reveals in another it's from a favourite book by Booker T Washington). The three then fight over what the most important thing is: a tour, a record or a film (which sadly never did happen!) Another very fun clip!
57.Mike Hammer (Micky 1987)
In a fight between comic book characters Mike Hammer would come out somewhere near the top (though perhaps a cow pie down from Desperate Dan). A tough brutal killer without remorse, he seeks revenge on the world's killers and ignores the word of the law through using his own morals. All of which makes this series an unlikely one for the cuddly Micky Dolenz to make an appearance in, during an episode titled 'Deadly Collection'. Micky plays a man in fear of his life who gets Mike Hammer to protect him - and no doubt wishes he hadn't as his life gets very complicated. Micky is rather good playing a serious role, although his gangster accent does come and go (I was so sure he was going to say 'alright you dirty rat' in his inimitable impression of the inimitable James Cagney!)
58.My Two Dads (Davy 1988)
The latest in our run of unfunny American sitcoms starring AAA bands for bewildering cameos is Davy's turn in this sitcom about Nicole, a girl with, you guessed it, two dads. Davy clearly hoped to emulate his guest part in the Brady Bunch here, in an episode entitled 'The Fallen Idol' where he plays a friend of one of the two 'dads' Joel and is a singer come part-time salesman who plugs products between songs. Davy sings a new track named 'Oh Nicole', which isn't bad actually, very in keeping with his Bell era recordings.
59.Tapeheads (Mike 1988)
Made by Nez' 'Pacific Arts' video company, 'Tapeheads' is a fun film about the growing trend of music video production companies. The hapless staff played by John Cusack and Tim Robbins back in the days before either was a big name can't sell their products so they 'steal' a concert telethon and accidentally get hailed as music production geniuses. The film is full of the 'Elephant Part's humour and as well as producing the film Nesmith has a cameo as a, umm, bottled water salesman (best not to ask).
60.Aspel and Co (UK TV 'I'm A Believer' Micky Davy and Peter 1989)
'It's not Chekov but...you know!' This short five minute interview features the trio of Monkees talking on a British talk-show and hardly seems worth the bus fare, to be honest. The band discuss embarrassing their children (Davy's daughters friends consider him a 'major babe!') Davy describes the band as 'a cross between The Beatles and the Barron Knights' and Peter discusses plans that have fallen along the way (such as a Monkees theme park and declaring their own independent nation!) Alas the film the band talk about never happened. Best quote: Davy - 'The show was successful in twenty-seven different countries...' Peter - 'And a failure in about thirty-five more!'
61.Pat Sajak (US TV Micky Davy and Peter 1989)
'They're still screaming for you!' 'Well there's no accounting for taste is there?!' Pat Sajak started his career as a weather reporter on a local news anchor - not unlike the ones The Monkees spoof in their TV series. The Monkees - well three of them again - play a funky version of 'Steppin' Stone' with all the band singing, complete with a great fake false ending where the band rush back to the microphones after being halfway to sitting down! They end with a similarly revved-up 'Pleasant Valley Sunday' that doesn't work quite so well. Once again the presenter only wants to know about Mike being missing but has at least done his homework enough to locate the original 'Madness!!! Audition!!!' notices. More worrying, he's dug up a rare article about the band being scared of girls ('It's a mis-print' corrects Micky, 'It's thrills!') The band discuss their family (Davy: 'I have four daughters, all girls!' Peter: 'My daughters are assorted!' Micky 'Only some are humanoid!') The band move on to girlfriends: 'I wasn't allowed to do certain things with them' says Davy, meaning being seen in public. 'Oh I was!' says Micky, grinning. The crowd are on particularly good form and play up well when Peter tries to choreograph their screams. They boo when the presenter talks about the abandoned series 'The New Monkees' but the band sound quite fond and apologetic for them. Another great clip.
62.Night Network (Davy Jones UK TV 1989?)
Davy's feeling rather smug - he's just been voted 'sexiest guy on TV'...by the four-to-fourteen year old group range! (Who on earth commissioned that poll?! Creepy!) As the rather stilted presentation gives away (Simon O'Brien is an actor best known for Fraggle Rock, not a natural presenter), this is a programme from back in the days when British TV channels had to show something during the night that couldn't be a repeat and so chose to do things as cheaply but as painfully as possible. Davy talks about the varied age of their audience, discusses learning to play a little guitar ('it's about this big!') and his role 'staging' the current Monkees touring show. Best joke: 'We weren't the greatest musicians in the world - when we played the national anthem people from every country stood up!' He also compares Micky to a sniffer dog - with affection, I think.
63.Boy Meets World (Micky/Davy/Peter 1994-1995)
'Boy Meets World' doesn't seem the most obvious candidate for a mini-Monkee reunion - it's one of those 'coming of age' children's series that are on at least once a generation - but no less than three Monkees passed through the series' rank of guest stars (though sadly not all at the same time). What attracted them? Well they do all get a chance to play and become various mentors to the main characters, but other than that I haven't a clue - perhaps the catering truck was a particularly good one? Micky appears in series two, episode eight 'Band On The Run' which is out on DVD and is mainly notable for a funky performance of 'Good Lovin' . Davy's episode is titled 'Rave On' and dates sometimes later, apparently not from any of the series out on DVD yet. I still can't find Peter's!
64.Wings (Peter Tork 1995 cameo)
Wings was a sitcom about a rural airport manned by just two people in a town where nobody wants to go to - as you can probably tell from the description, it never really took off (it's the way I tell them!) Many celebs earned their stripes turning up in episodes, however, including one Peter Tork, although 'Cheers' and 'Frasier' stars were more normal (all three 'share' the same universe - presumbaly The Monkees is also in all three shows as Peter plays himself at an auction here. Mr Babbitt go on to run a pub one wonders?) Peter appears in an episode from season seven, near the end of the run, which was released on DVD in 2008 and buys up the Monkeemobile at an auction, betting against one of the main characters! Quote: 'I used to have a Monkees lunchbox!' 'Diddly squat - we got nothing from those things!'
I can't help thinking that the 1997 reunion was intended to be bigger and more permanent than it turned out to be. However a confusing television special and an underwhelming comeback album meant that there wasn't quite the drive for a new array of Monkee products into the new year. One of these spin-offs would surely have been a making of the 'Just Us' album, with lots of material shot of the band working together although in the end it was never edited into a releasable show. The footage has come to light however and while nothing that spectacular happens it is nice to see footage of what will now sadly be the last album featuring all four Monkees. In total nearly two hours exists, including rehearsals and vocal overdubs for 'Circle Sky' with highlights including Micky and Mike trying to perfect the harmonies on their new arrangement of the song, Davy busking a 'Las Vegas' off the cuff version of the tune, peter practicing his piano scales and a rejected mass Monkees chorus part that clearly doesn't work. In the control room Davy also plays through his new song 'Oh What A Night'. Like a lot of 'real time' documentaries there's a good twenty minutes in between two hours of the band looking bored and not doing much, but it's still fascinating for true fans to see. Alas the sound appears to have gone awol for the last 'reel' but there's still a good 90 minutes with sound.
66.This Morning (UK TV 1997)
More godawful UK daytime television - I feel so sorry for The Monkees coming down to the level where they have to put up with Richard and Judy (who even has the audacity to tell Peter off for being 'stroppy!') They are, of course, advertising JustUs perched uncomfortably on what looks like a giant chess set, with even a grumpy looking Mike taking part. Sample quote: 'Mike, why did you not want to get involved before?' 'I've been busy with other things'. The band all discuss quitting the band at various times, how well the TV show stands up (Richard and Judy's children saw it during research and assumed it was contemporary) and discuss the 'new trend for boy bands like Take That'. However this is far from the best interview out there and Mike particularly seems to be hating the experience. You can see the clock ticking down the end of the reunion in their eyes already...
67.7th Heaven (Peter 1998 and 1999)
Eleven years this show ran. Eleven years based around nothing more than a fictional Vicar living in a fictional town with his fictional family and having fictional mishaps. The Monkees, remember, only lasted for two years. How did this happen?!? Perhaps to get revenge, Peter popped up in a cameo role in the show's 100th episode, performing with his Shoe Suede Blues as the 'houseband' at a party and later turned up to say a few words in an episode from the following year. Both are 'blink and you'll miss them' cameos but it's nice to see Peter play and sing again and he vastly improves the usual theme tune.
68.The Secret Files Of The Spy Dogs (Micky 1998-1999)
With The Monkees now officially over again, Micky returned to television and to voiceover work. Spy Dogs was a cartoon that only ran a year despite involving some heavyweight names including Micky as Ralph, a Labrador/Dalmatian hybrid with purple patches and cute long ears whose the 'bossy' one of the group and keeps the other dogs in line (in other words, he acts more like Mike). A Monkee being a dog? Now I've seen everything! Actually this series was rather good - it's a shame it didn't run for longer, a cross between 'Dangermouse' and 'All Dogs Go To Heaven'. The edition we've included in our playlist as a sample is the pilot episode - in all twenty-two episodes were broadcast across two series.
69.LAAC Magazine (US TV Peter Tork 2002)
This hour long interview is most interesting for the shots of Peter's band Shoe Suede Blues in action at a blues club where they sound mightily impressive, especially Peter who could have used this as an audition tape for joining John Mayall's Bluesbreakers his playing is that authentic.
70.Spongebob Squarepants (Davy 2009)
Davy's last acting appearance was as himself (does that count as acting?) in the nauticual but nice hit children's comedy that did for him in the 21st century what being on The Brady Bunch had done for him in the 1970s. Ever ready to laugh at himself, Davy plays his namesake complete with locker which is dropping a lot of socks that need washing. You were squids in if you caught this unbilled cameo on the day of transmission! I'd never noticed before how scary Davy's manic laugh was...
71.The One Show (UK TV Micky, Davy and Peter 2011)
Reuniting for another tour, the three Monkees came to Britain hoping for a better reception than they got in 1997, but The One Show - a cross between 'Pebble Mill' and hitting your face into a wall repeatedly - isn't really the way to go (I've had some great online debates over the years about whether UK or US television is stranger - this programme has long been a thorn in my argument. Sample dialogue: 'When we heard The Monkees were coming on this show there was only one animal we could bring off our wildlife shelf - otters'. This, my American readers, is why Davy left for America. 'We start in Liverpool - and might well end up there the way this is going!' jokes Peter. Micky remembers being sent a note by Princess Margaret in 1967 asking them to keep the noise down! Davy also gives a rare talk about dodging the army draft back in 1967. Most interesting though is the discussion of their pre-Monkees work with lots of old photographs being brought out, much to the hilarity of whichever Monkee wasn't involved. Less entertaining is a quiz about what words were banned from songs the BBC censored - music aficionado Peter is great, the other two...less so. Best gag of the night: Micky - 'I've been in the business so long some of my pre-natal work coming out on ultra-sound'.
72.Loose Women (UK TV Micky, Davy and Peter 2011)
Sadly what turned out to be the final ever three-way Monkee chat was similarly frivolous and another of those modern UK TV programmes that will make viewers in future generations scratch their heads and ask what the hell we were thinking. faced with their first all-female panel Davy with his dyed hair flirts but looks retrospectively very ill indeed, while Peter is over-quiet and Micky is over-loud. The band are inevitably asked about the sixties. 'I'm told I had a good time!' jokes an amnesiac Micky.
73.Good Morning San Diego (Davy 2011)
Alas, this is the last TV interview Davy gave before he died. The good news is that it's one of the best on this list, with Davy on his own given more time and space to talk about things without the others cracking jokes or taking questions in turns (in fact the interviewer barely gets a word in edgeways). Pleasingly, Davy has rarely sounded happier about his lot in life, full of enthusiasm as he talks about his families, his horses and his future projects such as playing Fagin now in 'Oliver' and a new musical called 'The Core' set in WW2- it's just a tragedy how few of them he was able to do in the end. The interview takes place just down the road from the 'Monkee beach' in San Diego and Davy is in nostalgic mood, reflecting on signing autographs for a young Stella McCartney as well as being keen to pass on his advice to new actors and musicians. 'Thanks for the invite - hope I can see you again' are Davy's last words on screen before the camera fades to white. And with that The Monkees as a unit on film are gone.
74.Remembering Davy Jones (Micky 2012)
A moving tribute from a clearly emotional Micky who was the first of The Monkees to speak about Davy's sad loss, with a few stories we don't often hear. His tales of remembering being paired with Davy in the early days because of their similar backgrounds are great and also the memories of sharing a house together while the series was being filmed but before it was on the air. Micky remembers Davy's joy at hearing 'Clarksville' played on the radio for the first time and their shared experiences throughout their lives with children the same age. RIP Davy boy, you did good and so did Micky, just about keeping it together long enough to talk.
75.Commericlas: Sugar Pops/Kellogg's/Yardley's Black Label/Kool Aid/Nerf-Balls/Safeway/Pizza Hut
A quick commercial break for you now with a run-down of all four Monkees sponsors down the years (including some episode re-runs) along with two specially filmed advertisements from the band's reunion years. Firstly, it's a fifteen-year-old Micky in between jobs running away with the circus and running away with a rock and roll group advertising The Monkees' future cereal rivals 'Sugar Pops'. Micky is sweet - but not as sweet as the cereal! 'They taste just right!' is Micky's only line, behind an insufferable adult version of a hip 50s rock song, with his flow of curly locks held in place by a baseball cap. Micky also shoots the camera with his fingers and the catchphrase 'bang bang!' (because 'they're shot with sugar through and through, see?')
Most hilarious are the Kellogg's adverts put together for the first series of the TV show and all of which were specially filmed (with a new jingle later released on 'Missing Links Three') - there are a whole six minutes' worth in total (many of which were included in the 'season one' box set). One involves a sick Peter being revived by Rice Krispies during an operation ('Does this mean he'll be able to play the bass again? That's weird - he never could before!') Next is a marathon narrated by Micky - poor Peter and Davy didn't eat Kellogg's cereal this morning so they lose to Mike, who has. Thirdly Peter fancies a midnight snack and reaches for the Rice Krispies without knowing they were alarmed - 'Take him to the cooler!' demands Mike as the 'heavy'. 'What for?' asks policeman Dolenz. 'For some milk!' he replies. Fourthly Micky conducts a survey between Rice Krispies and a rival brand - it appears to have gone wrong with Davy and Peter both preferring 'Brand X' but stagehand Mike has put the 'wrong' cereals in the bowl! Fifthly The Monkees hastily put up a table in the middle of the desert so they can eat Kellogg's Rice Krispies next to the Monkeemobile (they do come on sudden these cereal hunger pangs you know). Mike pours in so much sugar I'm surprised he has any teeth left! Alas the Monkeemobile is still in gear and trundles along in reverse at the back of shot, not that the snacking Monkees care given their delicious breakfasts. Sixthly The Monkees have just woken up and are acting like sleepy zombies - Peter even has his eye-mask still on!
'Yardley Black Label' get even more inventive. Using a specially recorded jingle featuring Davy and (I think) Boyce and Hart that runs 'some guys have it - soke guys never will', Mike parachutes into a field of corn (as you do). A girl rushes towards him but she's distracted by the sight of Davy, his parachute a mess, as his Yardley's Black Label proves to be hypnotic enough to lure her in. This advert was also featured in the 'season one' DVD.
Less well regarded but every bit as inventive are some adverts three Monkees (without Peter) put together for the 1969 show re-runs. This time the sponsors are Nerf-Balls, a foam rubber ball of the sort that used to be just the right size to get stuck in the guttering when you're trying to play tennis at the back of the house (this is a true story folks!) Micky suggests playing ball, Davy asks 'what? In the house????' (isn't it odd The Monkees' new pad has no breakable furniture by the way? Plus they've obviously upgraded since their old place - was it Peter holding them back?) and all three have fun throwing balls at each other (often with a mischievous glint in each Monkee's eye!) Micky nearly gets knocked out making his last speech while a sleepy Mike is nearly buried in the last scene. His deadpan line 'A nerf's enerf' says it all.
Next up are two adverts for Kool-Aid, sponsors of The Monkees re-runs in 1969 ('for fun that never ends...never ends...never ends...never ends...') The Monkees (minus Peter) are out in the sticks and feeling bored - until they hit on the idea of making some kool-aid and suddenly everyone comes running towards them from miles around! Suddenly there's a swinging party happening and The Monkees are all riding dodgems - shots from this advert will make it onto the back cover of the 'Changes' LP. There was even a sequel that teamed The Monkees up with Bugs Bunny (that other well known soft-drinker) who appears to the band in a very Head-looking desert (presumably as a mirage) and asks 'Erm, what's up Davy?' One drink later and the band are in tuxedos and the desert has turned into party paradise with hordes of screaming kids. Quick, get rid of that drink, bring back the peace and quiet! Astonishingly the last job Mike ever did as a Monkee was to dress up to pour out a drink without a word - a sad end to his years with the band.
Now we're on to the reunion years, when a Mike-less Monkees advertise UK premier supermarket Safeways - specifically a six-week food drive so shoppers can donate spare items to food banks. This is, it's worth pointing out, before the unheralded scandals of recent years where supermarkets put out special places to put these items - which then get out back on the shelf the minute you've gone home! The offer is in return you get $2 off a record, which was quite a bit in those days. Just make sure it's a Monkees one!
Finally, one of the funniest 30 second experiences of my life (seriously - I don't get out much) featuring Ringo promising to put his old group back together again ('I know the fans would dig it - I'd do it in a second!') Ringo has clearly done a lot of travelling to make this advert with several locations shown off before Ringo cries 'the time has come!' and the three other lads walk into the room. Only it's the 'wrong lads' as Ringo puts it and the Monkees theme starts playing instead as everybody eats pizzas from Pizza Hut. Trippy.
76.Silent Movies: Micky's in 1967, Chip Douglas' in 1968 and tour footage 1969
Finally, I'm not sure where I stand on including home movie footage into these articles - they were after all not meant for broadcast so by and large we ignore them. The Monkees, however, inspired many a fan with a camera to greatness and there is some terrific stuff out there (including one Micky Dolenz didn't know about till he found my tweeted playlist on twitter!) First up, three silent minutes of The Monkees filming debut episode 'The Royal Flush', presumably by one of the extras down at the beach in that episode. It mainly concerns the shooting of the very opening scene where the Princes Betina of Harmonica nearly drowns when her yellow lilo explodes - luckily Davy leaps to the rescue! Next director Jim Frawley talks to Davy about...something and his costume is brushed for stray bits of sand. A momentous day in Monkee history captured forever!
Next a home video by Micky titled 'Junkyard Movie' and dated 1967 - you wonder how he ever found the time that year what with four albums, a tour and a TV series to make! Micky yawns and gets out a car before peering at the camera through a car window, doing a bit of chewing and running away. Not the most enlightening home movie of all time maybe but, hey, 'Magical Mystery Tour' was done with less going on than this.
To follow, eight minutes of pure primal Monkees on stage during their first ever tour. Davy takes his jacket off and hurls it into the audience (is he singing 'Gonna Build A Mountain?' It's kinda hard to tell without sound). Next is Micky in a flash white Vegas suit as he does his 'James Brown Dolenz' routine to what surely must be 'I Gotta Woman'. A bobble-hatted sun-glass wearing Mike Nesmith is on afterwards for what presumably is 'You can't Judge A Book'. Finally all four Monkees groove out to what looks like 'Steppin' Stone' to me and a particularly energetic rendition at that!
Meanwhile, away from the road, Monkee producer Chip Douglas has a camera too and shoots two minutes of Micky chatting to songwriter Harry Nilsson(perhaps to discuss their cover of his song 'Cuddly Toy' or, more likely, a recording session the pair did together in 1972). The clip starts off in a recording studio and ends up in what looks like New York City.
Next some silent newsreel footage of the band in Australia in 1968 (overdubbed for youtube with a radio interview the band did over there) getting off a plane and performing on stage. The end features Davy cuddling a young fan whose as pleased as punch to meet her hero!
Moving on, we've ended up in Salt Lake City in mid 1968 for a concert the band are performing for their movie 'Head' - the bit where the band chant 'war!' and the band revert back to mannekins. To say 'thankyou' the band performed a short set for the crowd of extras and sensibly one of them decided to take along her movie camera (the sound was made available on the 'deluxe' edition of 'Head' if you want to know what it sounds like). The Monkees are seen in their dressing rooms (so this was shot by somebody with a lot of privileged access) before exploding onto the stage (it looks like they really are playing 'Circle Sky' from the 'beat', though not the take used in the film). It's definitely 'I Wanna Be Free' the band move on to play (Davy is enunciating most beautifully for the camera!)
And finally, another Chip Douglas home movie, this time spending the afternoon with Davy sometimes in the 1970s (1975?). My guess is that's his first daughter Talia Elizabeth having the birthday (she's have been seven years oldish at the time) and Sarah Lee (then aged around four) he can be seen playing with; she has her dad's beaming smile. Both girls clearly knows Chip well and aren't at all surprised to see him paying a visit.
And that's that for another issue. There'll be more Monkees manicness next week and another TV article on The Moody Blues in about a month or so's time. See you then!
Other Monkees related articles on this site you might be interested in reading: