Thursday, May 27, 2021

Are You Old Enough to Remember the Monkees?

My wife and I watched Daydream Believers the other night. It starts out with an intentionally anachronistic sequence I think intended to hook people under 40.  From then on, it is a mixture of what made their TV show so fun for kids of my generation, while telling the story of how four young men who could not even play their instruments decided that they really did need to learn how to be the band that Don Kirshner created in a studio with anonymous musicians; how they threw away a fun and profitable show; and a disastrous pairing with drugged out Jack Nicholson to make a movie that by comparison, 200 Motels made sense.  (As a girlfriend of the time whispered in my ear as we watched it at the Fox Theater in Venice, "It makes a lot more sense if you take acid first." I am sure it did.)

If you have the chance to watch how four lucky guys briefly became successes, do so.  "Last Train to Clarksville " will always hold warm memories for me of the 1960s before they went completely crazy!


  1. Hey hey, we're the Monkees...

  2. Queued up on Prime for later viewing. I watched "The Monkees" as a kid and thought the show was just goofy, but I always watched anyway. My favorite Monkees song is "Steppin' Stone."

    Peter Tork lived only a few miles away from me until his death in 2019. Like other celebrities in the area, they keep to themselves and people tend to leave them alone.

  3. The Nu-Art or the Fox? The Fox was in Venice, and the Nu-Art was in West LA, across the street and down the block from the Royal, another art theater.

    A coworker told me once that the hot tip back then was to smoke Marijuana before watching 2001, a Space Odyssey. That other films needed other psychotropic assistance to make sense does not surprise me.

    1. 2001 needed no acid. The first time that I saw it, the acceleration in that closing sequence locked me to the seat.

  4. Fox. Yes, I went to the Nu-Art to watch Emanuelle, a film too pretensious to be porn and too stupid to be a serious film.

  5. The only one who had to learn an instrument, for the show, was the drummer. IIRC, they decided not to have Davy Jones do the drums, because he was so short he wouldn't be visible to the audience. Three of them were already musicians, I'm not sure about Jones, the vocalist. The drummer should have been their main voice, he had a very good, very distinctive singing voice. He also was the star of a previous tv show. Circus boy? Something like that. Jones did stage shows. Peter Tork performed his own music shows in NYC, recorded some songs that got played on radio, IIRC. Mike, the tall guitarist, was in several bands prior to the show, like Peter, trying to make it big.

    After the fact, being musicians may have been the downfall of the group. Mike was the biggest factor in them pushing for their own music. Turns out he didn't really need it for money, as he later inherited ~$50M from his inventor mom, a few years later. She developed "whiteout". He ended up "inventing" music videos for MTV, and album sales. The drummer worked in England as a program director for the BBC, IIRC.