Trivia / The Monkees

  • Actor Allusion:
    • Micky sings the theme from Circus Boy, the series he starred in as a child, in "Monkees at the Circus." He also mentions that "I haven't been to the circus since I was a kid!"
    • After The Monkees, Dolenz was cast as Wally, the drummer of Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kids—who bore a passing resemblance to Dolenz.
    • Joey Forman guest starred in "Monkee Chow Mein" as The Dragonman, a parody of Forman's character Harry Hoo from Get Smartnote .
  • Adored by the Network/Screwed by the Network: The series was unavoidable on MTV in 1986, running several times a day, plus weekend marathons every couple of months. Davy, Micky and Peter did lots of on-camera work, and even starred in the annual MTV Christmas video (with a surprise cameo by Mike). Then they pulled out of an appearance on an MTV Super Bowl Sunday special.note  After that, The Monkees suddenly became personae non gratae on MTV. They refused to play the video for "Heart and Soul" despite it being among the most requested, which played a big role in both the single and the reunion album Pool It! tanking. In the 1989 The Decade in Rock special, MTV voted The Monkees as "Most Unnecessary Comeback of The 80s", blissfully ignoring their important role in that comeback.
  • Cash Cow Franchise: Since 1970 they made an unusual journey from being Deader Than Disco to being considered a Cult Classic and finally ending up as this trope. It helps that the fandom now spans several generations: the original fans from The '60s, the fans they picked up via the syndicated reruns that began in 1975, and of course the MTV-fueled 1986 comeback, alongside those discovering them today. Rhino Records, who first reissued Monkees music in the The '80s, gained full rights to the Monkee music and video catalog in 1994 note  and has issued numerous well-received collections, curated by Promoted Fanboy Andrew Sandoval.
  • The Cast Showoff:
    • Davy was once a jockey in Real Life, a skill he gets to use on camera in "Don't Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth".
    • Mike takes up motorcycling to impress April Conquest in "Monkees Get Out More Dirt". Mike was an experienced biker, as he rode a motorcycle in his pre-Monkee days since he was not yet able to afford a car.
  • Channel Hop: The show originally ran on NBC. The Saturday morning reruns were broadcast on both CBS (1969-72) and ABC (1972-73). Then came syndication, the 1986 MTV run, Nickelodeon/Nick At Nite in the late 80's and 90's, more syndication, and as of 2010 Antenna TV...
  • Creative Differences:
    • One reason that the group didn't last long past the end of the TV series was that the four members brought radically different musical preferences to the table. Tork was a folk singer, Jones favored showtunes and ballads, Nesmith favored either country-rock or straight-up country, and Dolenz was into rock and soul.
    • By the time the band recorded its fifth album, The Birds, the Bees, and The Monkees, the group had completely abandoned recording together. Each member chose his own songs and produced his own sessions with his own musicians of choice, then the results were pooled and the best songs chosen for the album.
  • Creator Backlash:
    • None of the four were pleased with the album More of the Monkees, and Mike Nesmith especially has never had a kind word to say about it. The album was compiled without any input from the group and released behind their back; reportedly, the band didn't find out about its existence until one of them saw it in the record store. Additionally, the album contained a few tracks which they felt were substandard. They also hated the cover shot, which featured them in what they considered to be extremely tacky JCPenney clothing.
    • Davy hated Changes, the only album he and Micky recorded as a duo, calling it "Jeff Barry and Andy Kim doing an Andy Kim album". Micky hasn't criticized the album directly, but admits that it was only recorded to fulfill a contractual obligation.
    • In the mid-80s, Micky and Peter teamed up to record some new songs for a Monkees compilation album. Peter expressed displeasure at having to record "Kicks", a Cover Version of a hit by the group's 60s contemporaries Paul Revere And The Raiders, comparing it to The Beatles reuniting and being forced to record "Ferry Cross the Mersey".note 
  • The Danza: Each character was essentially a Flanderized version of the actor, with the exception of Peter, who played The Ditz on the show. However, they did all use their own names.
  • Dawson Casting: Some episodes indicate that the boys are supposed to be teenagers. Davy was 20 at the time filming began, Micky was 21, Mike was 23, and Peter was 24.
  • Defictionalization: One of the most wildly successful examples.
  • Development Hell: In the wake of their 80s comeback there was talk of a movie, called The Monkees Save The World, with Mike even penciled in to rejoin the others for it, but it never got past the planning stage.
  • Directed by Cast Member: Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork directed TV episodes. Dolenz later had some success as a TV director in Britain.
  • Edited for Syndication:
    • The CBS/ABC reruns replaced some songs with tracks from the band's current releases.
    • When the show went into syndication, MTV and Nick At Nite kept the episodes intact, for the most part, but local stations tended to cut out stuff. The interview tags were always the first thing to go, and sometimes even a song would be cut if it was featured separately rather than integrated into the body of the episode.
    • Later syndication packages avoided the deletion of songs and interviews by Ramping; that is, randomly speeding up the film and songs to save time...except this gets extremely ANNOYING.
  • Executive Meddling: Largely the story behind the assembling of the group's second album, More of the Monkees. Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, producers of the first album, recorded what they believed was to be the follow-up to the group's debut, not knowing that Don Kirshner was having the boys record lots of tracks with other writers and producers as well. Kirshner then assembled his own version of the album and released it behind everyone's back. Only two of the tracks Boyce and Hart recorded were included.
  • Harpo Does Something Funny: The group was not only allowed, but encouraged to improvise, and gaps were often left in the script to facilitate this, especially where Micky Dolenz was concerned.
  • Hitless Hit Album: Headquarters, which had no singles released in America. ("Randy Scouse Git"/"Alternate Title" was a hit in England.)
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Reruns of Monkees episodes often replaced the songs from those episodes with more current ones in order to promote the band's most recent releases. Some songs were replaced multiple times. The syndication versions sometimes have the original songs and sometimes have the replaced songs, with no real pattern to it. Thus while all Monkees episodes are currently available on DVD with original songs intact, there are some fans who insist on trying to obtain copies of every variation of each episode they can, leading to a thriving tape trading market.
  • Klaatu Barada Nikto: Said by Micky in one episode.
  • Limey Goes to Hollywood: Davy, both in-universe and real life. He started out as Limey Goes To Broadway with Oliver! and spent the rest of his life living in the United States, including properties in Pennsylvania and Florida.
  • Marathon Running:
    • MTV ran a 24-hour marathon called Pleasant Valley Sunday on Sunday, February 23, 1986. The reaction was so positive that they ran a few more weekend marathons along with daily airings of the show through the rest of the year. Pleasant Valley Sunday is considered to be the event that launched their 1986 comeback.
    • Antenna TV aired every episode back-to-back followed by Head on March 3-4 2012 in honor of Davy Jones' passing.
  • Missing Episode: The 2-part Japanese special "The Monkees In Japan." A concert performance from their Far East tour only aired once in October 1968, and hasn't been seen since. However, the audio from both parts can be heard in the bootleg Made In Japan.
    • On the musical side, the first-ever Monkees recording session in June of 1966. Snuff Garrett, who was best-known at the time for producing Gary Lewis & The Playboys, brought all four members in to cut two songs (with arrangements by Leon Russell), but the group clashed with him (especially after he decided to designate Davy as the lead singer) and Garrett resigned from the project by mutual agreement after the session. While photos of the session have survived, the actual tapes have never turned up (and not for lack of searching, either).
  • Name's the Same: The Monkees' Davy Jones is not a character from nautical folklore or Pirates of the Caribbean. However, he was responsible for another Davy Jones changing his name to David Bowie.
    • This was referenced in the episode "Hitting the High Seas." The ship's captain learns that one of the boys is named Davy Jones and assumes he is the descendant of the famous character from folklore — Micky quickly plays into it: "...And when he's 25, he inherits the Locker!"
    • This was also referenced in the Spongebob Squarepants episode "Spongebob vs. The Big One," in which Davy guest stars.
    • Also referenced in an episode of the '90s remake of the Pink Panther cartoon (in which the title character was voiced by Matt Frewer). The episode had a pirate theme, so upon being threatened with being sent to Davy Jones' locker, the Panther deadpanned: "Wasn't he the lead singer of The Monkees?"
  • Newbie Boom: At the end of 1985 Monkee Business Fanzine, which was the main source for news about them at the time, had a few hundred subscribers. At the end of 1986, it had around 11,000!!
  • The Other Darrin: Frank Zappa (as Mike) interviews Mike (as Frank Zappa).
  • Screwed by the Network:
    • NBC gave the series a really odd timeslot (Monday at 7:30pm, a few years before the FCC required networks to start prime time at 8:00), and several affiliates decided to air local programming instead, which hurt the show in the ratings. NBC refused to move it in the second season even when Gunsmoke started winning the slot after CBS moved it there.
    • No one was happy with the band's post-series TV special 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee, least of all NBC, which buried it opposite the 1969 Oscars. On top of the hopeless scheduling, the network also managed to broadcast the show's segments out of order. No one noticed or cared, save for the boys themselves (especially Mike Nesmith, who was livid about the screw-up).
  • Similarly Named Works:
    • They recorded two unrelated Davy Jones-co-written songs called "You and I".
    • Changes was the original title of Head, plus a song Davy wrote and recorded for the movie (but it got passed over for inclusion), then became the title of their final first-run album in 1970. Not to mention a song by that other David Jones.
    • Mike's "Good Clean Fun" was a Non-Appearing Title but the phrase "here I am" features prominently in the lyrics. A couple years later he released a completely different solo song called "Here I Am".
    • The Peter Tork-penned "Little Girl" on Good Times! isn't the same song as Micky's "Little Girl" from 1969.
  • Throw It In:
    • The song "Gonna Buy Me a Dog" from the first album was intended to be a quirky novelty tune to wrap up the album on a light-hearted note. However, Micky and Davy found the song corny rather than funny, and used one take to goof off and just basically make fun of the song. This version was the one that got released.
    • The band included "Band 6" and "Zilch" (both of which were short clips of the boys cutting up in the studio) in the final track listing for Headquarters to add to the off-the-wall, spontaneous atmosphere of the project.
    • Ad libs and outtakes were frequently left in the finished product of the TV series. This was designed to be a part of the show from the very beginning; when they were casting the series, the producers made certain to hire actors with strong improvisational skills.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: While a good chunk of their 60s music has a timeless sound, the synth-laden Pool It! is about as 80s-sounding an album as anyone ever recorded. Of particular note is "Midnight", which is basically a Miami Vice episode set to music.
  • Urban Legend: For years it was believed that Charles Manson (yes, THAT Charles Manson), was one of the aspiring musicians to have auditioned for a part in the show, but in reality Manson was in prison at the time.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The members felt the roles they had been assigned didn't fit their individual musical talents, particularly what instruments they were each good at. If they had had their way, Davy would have been on drums, Peter on guitar, Mike on bass, and Mickey as the frontman (since they all agreed his voice was a signature element of the band).
    • One of musicians who unsuccessfully auditioned for the group was Stephen Stills. Had he been accepted, there would have been no Buffalo Springfield or Crosby, Stills, Nash (And Young). As it happened, Stills wound up recommending his then-roommate, Peter Tork, for the gig, and the rest is history.
    • A fanciful Alternate History timeline following Stills' acceptance into the Monkees (with cataclysmic consequences for a huge chunk of subsequent rock history) can be found here.
      • Another auditionee who received serious consideration was Van Dyke Parks. Who would Brian Wilson have collaborated with on Smile if Parks had become a Monkee? And the relationship between Parks and Don Kirshner would've been...interesting.
    • One of the reasons the show was canceled was a disagreement with the network over the show's format. The band felt that the sitcom format had grown stale and tried to sell NBC on a variety show, with skits and special musical guests. Considering that they'd already managed to work appearances by Tim Buckley and Frank Zappa into the second season, the latter could have been especially interesting.
    • The series was originally going to feature the real band The Lovin' Spoonful, but lead singer-songwriter John Sebastian had already signed the band to another label, which meant the producers of The Monkees couldn't distribute their music.
      • The folk group The Mitchell Trio (formerly the Chad Mitchell Trio, but with a young John Denver filling in after Mitchell went solo) also auditioned but were rejected for being too mature.
    • Nick Lowe was the first choice to produce Pool It! but he was too busy and had to turn down the offer. (The job went to Roger Bechirian, an engineer who had worked with Lowe, Elvis Costello and other performers.)
    • See Development Hell above for another example.
    • Bob Rafelson briefly considered calling them The Creeps or The Inevitables.
    • All four of them agreed to reunite to present an award at the Primetime Emmys in 1980, but an actors' strike led to a mass boycott of the ceremony and Mike and Micky elected not to cross the picket line.
    • In 1968 there was talk of either a double album with each Monkee having a side, or even a 4-record set with each Monkee getting his own album, anticipating the 1978 release of simultaneous solo albums by each member of Kiss.
  • Word of God:
    • "For Pete's Sake" may have been written by Peter, but it was Mike who named it.
    • "Mijacogeo" is a Shout-Out to the first names of Micky's immediate family: Micky, his mother Janelle, sister Coco and father George. The name "Frodis" came to him in a dream.
  • Working Title: "Listen To The Band" started life as "Bonnie Jean and The Psychedelic Car".
  • You Look Familiar: Many guest stars appeared in multiple episodes playing different characters.
    • Monte Landis appeared seven times on the show, playing a different character each time. In six of his seven appearances, he played the episode's villain.note 
    • Rose Marie appeared twice - once as a new tenant who moves into the Monkees' apartment, and once as "The Big Man".
    • Rip Taylor appeared in "Monkees on the Wheel" as the croupier at a roulette table and in "The Frodis Caper" as the episode's villain, Wizard Glick.
    • Lea Marmer played fraudulent psychic Madame Roselle in "Monkee See, Monkee Die" and Mrs. Smith the policeman's wife in "Monkees on the Line".
    • Vic Tayback, best known as Mel Sharples from Alice, appeared in three episodes as a henchman: "Your Friendly Neighborhood Kidnappers", "Son of a Gypsy", and "Art for Monkees' Sake".
    • Joey Forman appeared in "Captain Crocodile" as the title character and "Monkees Chow Mein" as the villainous Dragonman.
    • Vincent Beck played henchmen in "Royal Flush" and "Son of a Gypsy" and the main villain in "Card-Carrying Red Shoes".
    • Henry Corden appeared in four first-season episodes as the boys' landlord Mr. Babbitt and Season Two's "The Wild Monkees" as hotelier Mr. Blauner.
    • Valerie Kairys played magazine assistant Toby Willis in "Monkees a La Mode", but also had bit parts in twelve other episodes.

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