WE LOVE THE MONKEES

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The Monkees Band When I was a kid I always wanted a pet monkey. You know what I am referring to, I'm sure you do. The small hairy creature who will throw it's poo at you. But what did I get instead? The Monkees. Four medium sized hairy creatures who will throw their songs at your gongs. Well, that is except for the fine chaps seen in this one hour documentary made in 2012 of course.


The Monkees - The Show : The Story


THE STORY:
In this one hour television special, narrator, Liza Tarbuck, chronicles the rise and the fall of sixties manufactured pop-band, 'The Monkees'. Now to complement her oration, there are also numerous video-clips, pre-recorded interviews, and, of course, the music baby, the music.

What now follows is a basic break-down on what this feature entails:
  • How was the band cast? By committee -- and via a newspaper.
  • What was it like acting in front of the camera for this fledgling group? Somewhat difficult for both the musicians, Michael and Peter. Somewhat easy for the actors, Mickey and Davy. And it was crazy for the rest of the crew.
  • How long did the guys spend on set? Twelve hours plus, per day.
  • Did the Monkees write and perform their own songs? Kind of. Davy and Mickey got to sing. But apart from concerts, Michael and Peter weren't allowed to ding-a-ling-a-ling. They did eventually though.
  • When was the show first broadcast in the UK? New Years Eve, 1966.
  • What was the bands time like touring in England? Like the children's song 'row-row-row, your boat'. Hormonal. Harmonious. And rather hectic to boot.
  • What song did the sit-com 'Till Death Us Do Part', inspire Mickey Dolenz to write? 'Alternate Title' -- also know as 'Lazy Scouse Git'.
  • When did the Monkees manage to get to write and perform their own songs? On their third album.
  • How was the second season of the show different to the first? More personal. More loose. And more alternate too.
  • Who was Davy Jones? Ena Sharples Grandson? A wannabe jockey? A cast member on 'Oliver!'? Or a secret husband and a father? Well, he was all of these things really. Plus much-much more.
  • What was the film 'Head'? Simply put -- the beginning of the end for the Monkees -- review coming soon.
  • What did the band do after the show was cancelled? David followed his passions. Mike gave birth to MTV. Mickey went metal. And Peter became a full-time musician. Oh! And of course, then theirs were the reunions as well. 

Here, just to give you some extra incite, please check out these quotes taken from the program.
  • 'We needed four insane guys aged between 17 and 21'  -- producer, Bob Raferlson
  • 'I have to admit, I felt awkward at first' -- Peter Tork
  • 'I was very relaxed around David, as he knew what he was doing in front of the camera' -- Mickey Dolenz
  • 'When we needed a drummer, Mickey was the only one of us who forgot to step backwards' -- Davy Jones 
  • 'The only thing I really wrote before were greeting cards' -- David Evans, Writer
  • 'I knew [insert Monkee name here] was mine as soon as I saw him' -- the fans
  • 'Does anyone know what that film was about?' -- Toni Basil, dancer on the film 'Head'
  • 'The Monkees was a television show about a group of musicians. When it came off the air, the band did not exist' -- Mickey Dolenz




THE REVIEW:
Hey you crazy cats. Before I get down and dirty with 'We Love The Monkees', please allow me splurge some trivia first, OK? (1) Filmmaker, Bob Raferlson, was inspired to devise 'The Monkees' after watching the Beatles film 'A Hard Days Night'. (2) When producer, Bert Schneider, came onboard this project, he originally wanted to cast an existing New York-based rock-group called 'The Lovin' Spoonful'. Fortunately, 'The Spoonful' were under contract with another producer at the time. (3) Over 437 applicants applied to be in 'The Monkees'. (4) 'Screen Gems', the production company that owns this concept, was once an animation firm, before becoming a subsidiary company of 'Sony Pictures Entertainment's Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group'. (5) The theme-tune for the television show was written and composed by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who also wrote 'Lazy Elsie Molly' for Chubby Checker, and '(I'm Not Your) Steppin' for Stone' for Paul Revere and the Raiders -- amongst others. (6) Peter Tork was a part of the folk music scene in Greenwich VillageNew York, during the early sixties. (7) Davy Jones was born in ManchesterEngland, and once made an appearance on 'Coronation Street' -- which is the world's longest-running soap opera. (8) Under the pseudonym, Mickey Braddock, Mickey Dolenz started his show-biz career as a child-actor on the children's television show 'Circus Boys'. (9) In 1951 Michael Nesmith's mother, Bette Nesmith Graham, invented Liquid Paper. In 1979 she sold her invention and her fledgling company to the Gillette Corporation for $47.5 million -- plus royalties. (10) Their first single, 'Last Train to Clarksville', was released a week before their television debut.


Hey! Hey! We're The Monkees


OK, so now all that's come tumbling off of my noggin', how can I express to you how I feel about 'We Love The Monkees'?

Well, I suppose the title says it all for me really. Just swap the 'We' for an 'I'.

Truthfully, I can't really say anything bad about this piece. It's just one of those shows that touches and not prods, whilst plucking at your heart-strings at the same time. Of course I am refereeing to the untimely demise of Davy Jones -- the English one -- who was one of the reasons I watched 'The Monkees' television show during the eighties.

Just picture the scene if you will; Saturday morning in my parent's house and I was sitting up and watching the television with my Dad. Then suddenly a lively sit-com appeared on the old goggle box. A sit-com that I was dieing to watch, but...

DAD: What's this sh*t supposed to be then? The Yank Beatles?
ME: No Dad. It's the Monkees. I saw it on the TV guide, it's meant to be about music or something.
DAD: Yeah. Sounds like Beatles music to me.
ME: Kind of. Just more 'jingly'.
DAD: One minute! I remember this sh*t! It's good shit. I watched it when I was a teenager. I'm sure that one of them is English.
ME: What one Dad?
DAD: Not the one with the hat on that's for sure. He looks like a thief to me.
ME: What about the monkey looking Monkee? Mickey or whatever his name is.
DAD: No. He's can't be English. He sounds too good and his chin's square.
ME: So it's either the pretty-boy or the one that looks like 'Shaggy' from 'Scooby-Doo'.

However, before my father or I could decide who out of the remaining two Monkees it was, my Mum burst into the room, pointed at the pretty-boy on the screen (Davy Jones), and said out loud 'Oh! Look! It's Ena Sharples Grandson!'.


The Monkees in Review


You see, what I am trying to get at here -- is that this program is a program that triggers off memories of the past by relaying 'memories of the past'. It's not an in-depth study in music or the formation as new type of manufactured pop-group. It's a halcyon trip down memory lane that provokes sentimentality and emotion to whoever watches it.

Fair enough, I am sure that there are those of you out there in cyberspace that would have liked something more... errr... more. But alas this is not the case. 'We Love the Monkees' is a documentary that says it all in the title. Agreed, chaps?




Yes. I am a believer.

THE RATING: A