Monkees, The


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

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About

The Monkees, a situation comedy about a struggling rock-and-roll band of the same name, originally aired on NBC from 1966 to 1968. During its 58 episode run, the program was awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Program in 1967. The show's popularity continued and it was broadcast in re-runs on CBS from 1969-73 and cablecast on MTV in the 1980s.

Inspired by the success of the two Beatles films directed by Richard Lester, the show was aimed at 1960s American youth culture. Considerable controversy surrounded the show because the band, four young men who "portrayed themselves," was "manufactured" by Raybert Productions. In 1965 an advertisement appeared in Daily Variety, a major U.S. trade publication for the film and television industry, requesting responses from "4 insane boys aged 17-21." More than 400 individuals replied.

Though Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork, two of the young men selected for the program, had some previous musical experience, the other two, Davy Jones and Mickey Dolenz, had none. Several recordings, closely tied to the series, were released and became commercial successes, but it also became widely known that the actors did not play their own musical instruments--on the recordings or in the series. This controversy rising from this "revelation" was further exacerbated when the actors embarked on a concert tour. Despite these issues, The Monkees became teen idols, sold millions of records, and were heavily merchandised.

The show was innovative in both form and content, violating the conventions of realist television. Episodes were characterized by self-reflexive techniques such as distorted focus, direct address of the camera, the incorporation of out-takes and screen tests, fast and slow motion effects, and continuity errors. In all, however, the television version of "psychedelic" cinema was tamed for the domestic medium, and the boys generally engaged in wholesome, if quirky, fun.

"Monkee Mania" experienced a renewal in the 1980s when the program was re-run on MTV. The popularity of the show with contemporary youth audiences led to re-issue of recordings, fan conventions, and a concert tour by three of the original members.

-Frances K. Gateward

CAST (as themselves)

Davy Jones
Mike Nesmith
Peter Tork
Mickey Dolenz

PRODUCERS

Robert Rafelson, Ward Sylvester

PROGRAMMING HISTORY

58 Episodes

NBC

September 1966-August 1968   Monday 7:30-8:00

Highlights
Bernie Orenstein on writing for The Monkees
Eddie Foy III on casting The Monkees
Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing The Monkees episode "Monkees Race Again"
Custom car designer George Barris on his work for The Monkees
Treva Silverman on writing for The Dean Martin Show
Stanley Frazen on editing The Monkees; working with Carol King
Who talked about this show

George Barris

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Custom car designer George Barris on his work for The Monkees

Elias Davis

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Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing The Monkees episode "Monkees Race Again"

Stanley Frazen

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Stanley Frazen on editing The Monkees; working with Carol King

Eddie Foy III

View Interview
Eddie Foy III on casting The Monkees

Anita Mann

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Anita Mann on appearing on The Monkees, and on dancing with Davy Jones

Bernie Orenstein

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Bernie Orenstein on writing for The Monkees

David Pollock

View Interview
Elias Davis and David Pollock on writing The Monkees episode "Monkees Race Again"

Hank Rieger

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Hank Rieger on publicity for The Monkees

Treva Silverman

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Treva Silverman on decisions made on The Monkees being influenced by the Marx Brothers' "controlled comic anarchy"
Treva Silverman on writing for The Monkees
Treva Silverman on The Monkees producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider
Treva Silverman on being the only female writer to work on The Monkees
Treva Silverman on the songs of The Monkees, and on the popularity of the show
Treva Silverman on using a pen-name on an episode of The Monkees
Treva Silverman on specific episodes of The Monkees she wrote
Treva Silverman on The Monkees winning Emmy Awards, and on the end of the show

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