Archive for the ‘Retro TV’ Category

Batman 1966 TV Series

July 16, 2010

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Adam West, Burt Ward, Batman TV Series

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Adam West, Burt Ward, Batman TV Series

Batman is a 1960s American television series, based on the DC comic book character of the same name, which starred Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin, two crime-fighting heroes who defended “Gotham City”. It aired on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) network for two and a half seasons from January 12, 1966 to March 14, 1968. Despite its short run, the show had a total of 120 episodes, having two weekly installments for most of its tenure.

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Adam West, Burt Ward, Batman TV Series

In the early 1960s, Ed Graham Productions optioned the TV rights to the comic strip Batman, and planned a straightforward juvenile adventure show, much like Adventures of Superman and The Lone Ranger, for CBS on Saturday mornings. Mike Henry, who would later go on to star in the Tarzan franchise, and is best known for his portrayal of Jackie Gleason’s not-too-bright son Buford T. Justice, Jr. in the Smokey and the Bandit movies, was set to star as Batman.

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Adam West, Burt Ward, Batman TV Series

Reportedly, DC Comics commissioned publicity photos of Henry in a Batman costume. Around this same time, the Playboy Club in Chicago was screening the Batman serials (1943’s Batman and 1949’s Batman and Robin) on Saturday nights. It became very popular, as the hip partygoers would cheer and applaud the Dynamic Duo, and boo and hiss at the villains. East coast ABC executive Yale Udoff, a Batman fan in childhood, attended one of these parties at the Playboy Club and was impressed with the reaction the serials were getting. He contacted West Coast ABC executives Harve Bennett and Edgar J. Scherick, who were already considering developing a TV series based on a comic strip action hero, to suggest a prime time Batman series in the hip and fun style of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Adam West, Burt Ward, Batman TV Series

When negotiations between CBS and Graham stalled, DC quickly re-obtained rights and made the deal with ABC. ABC farmed the rights out to 20th Century Fox to produce the series. Fox, in turn, handed the project to William Dozier and his Greenway Productions. ABC and Fox were expecting a hip and fun—yet still serious—adventure show. However, Dozier, who loathed comic books, concluded the only way to make the show work was to do it as a pop art camp comedy. Originally, espionage novelist Eric Ambler was to write the motion picture that would launch the TV series, but he dropped out after learning of Dozier’s camp comedy approach.

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Adam West, Burt Ward, Batman TV Series

By the time ABC pushed up the debut date to January 1966, thus foregoing the movie until the summer hiatus, Lorenzo Semple, Jr. had signed on as head script writer. He wrote the pilot script, and generally kept his scripts more on the side of pop art adventure. Stanley Ralph Ross, Stanford Sherman, and Charles Hoffman were script writers who generally leaned more toward camp comedy, and in Ross’ case, sometimes outright slapstick and satire. Instead of producing a one-hour show, Dozier and Semple decided to have the show air twice a week in half-hour installments with a cliffhanger connecting the two episodes, echoing the old movie serials. Eventually, two sets of screen tests were filmed, one with Adam West and Burt Ward, the other with Lyle Waggoner and Peter Deyell, with West and Ward winning the roles.

Major villains

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Adam West, Burt Ward, Batman TV Series

The Penguin — Played by Burgess Meredith. The Penguin is an old arch enemy of the Caped Crusaders. He baffles them with his bird and umbrella clues as to what crime he is going to commit.

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Adam West, Burt Ward, Batman TV Series

The Joker — Played by Cesar Romero. Also, an enemy of Batman and Robin; possesses a twisted, malevolent sense of humor. The Joker has a habit of overpowering the station in charge of the news, and gives the Dynamic Duo clues to his crimes.

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Adam West, Burt Ward, Batman TV Series

The Riddler — Played principally by Frank Gorshin, and once by John Astin. Has a compulsion to present riddles that give Batman clues to his crimes. The Riddler’s mind works in a twisted way. As Batman said in the first episode, “The Riddler’s mind is like an artichoke. You have to rip off spiny leaves to reach the heart!”

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Adam West, Burt Ward, Batman TV Series

Catwoman — Played in the first two seasons by Julie Newmar; in the third season by Eartha Kitt. Her crime sprees emphasize a “cat” motif. Newmar’s Catwoman secretly loves Batman, but she still likes to try to murder him and Robin. Kitt’s Catwoman displayed no underlying affection for Batman, but harbored particular antipathy toward Batgirl.

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Adam West, Burt Ward, Batman TV Series

Mr. Freeze — Played one time each by George Sanders, Otto Preminger, and Eli Wallach. Facilitates his crimes by freezing people and objects with a blast of his deadly “freeze gun” (which is also a flame-thrower on some occasions). Mr. Freeze is forced to live in an environment 50 degrees below zero.

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Mr. Freeze, Batman TV Series

King Tut — Played by Victor Buono. An obese Yale Egyptologist who, after a blow to the head, believes he is a real pharaoh, with a gang of hoods who also believe the delusion.

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, King Tut, Batman TV Series

The Mad Hatter — Played by David Wayne. An inventor who uses his many hats to hypnotize people.

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Mad Hatter, Batman TV Series

Egghead — The self-proclaimed “world’s smartest criminal,” played by Vincent Price.

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Egghead, Batman TV Series

Plot Summary

The typical story began with a villain (often one of a short list of recurring super-criminals) committing a crime, such as stealing a fabulous gem or taking over Gotham City. This was followed by a scene inside Police Commissioner Gordon’s office where he and Chief O’Hara would deduce exactly which villain they were dealing with. Gordon would press a button on the Batphone, a bright red telephone located on a pedestal in his office. The scene then cut to stately Wayne Manor where Alfred the butler would answer the Batphone, which sat like a normal everyday telephone on the desk in Bruce Wayne’s study. Frequently, Wayne and his ward, Dick Grayson, would be found talking with Dick’s Aunt Harriet. Alfred would interrupt so they could excuse themselves and go to the Batphone. Upon learning which criminal he would face this time, Bruce would push a button concealed within a bust of Shakespeare that stood on his desk causing a bookcase to slide back and revealing two poles. “To the Batpoles!” Wayne would exclaim, at which he and Grayson would slide down to the Batcave, activating a mechanism on the way that dressed them as their alter egos. Often, at this point, the title sequence would begin.

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Adam West, Burt Ward, Batman TV Series

The Episodes

Similar in style and content to the 1940s serials, they would arrive in the Batcave in full costume and jump into the Batmobile, Batman in the driver’s seat. Robin would say, “Atomic batteries to power…turbines to speed.” Batman would respond, “Roger, ready to move out.” And the two would race off out of the cave at high speed. As the Batmobile approached the mouth of the cave, actually a tunnel entrance in Los Angeles’s Bronson Canyon, a hinged barrier dropped down to allow the car to exit onto the road. Scenes from the Dynamic Duo sliding down the batpoles in the Batcave, to the arrival at Commissioner Gordon’s building via the Batmobile (while the episode credits are shown), are reused footage that is used in nearly all part 1 and single episodes.

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Adam West, Burt Ward, Batman TV Series

After arriving at Commissioner Gordon’s office, the initial discussion of the crime usually led to the Dynamic Duo conducting their investigation alone. During the investigation, a meeting with the villain would usually ensue, with the heroes getting involved in a fight and the villain getting away, leaving a series of unlikely clues for the Duo to investigate. Later, the Duo would face the villain again, and he or she would capture one or both of the heroes and place them in a deathtrap with a cliffhanger ending which was usually resolved in the first few minutes of the next episode.

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Adam West, Burt Ward, Batman TV Series

After the cliff-hangers

The same pattern was repeated in the following episode until the villain was defeated in a major brawl where the action was punctuated by superimposed onomatopoeic words, as in comic book fight scenes (“POW!”, “BAM!”, “ZONK!”, etc.). Not counting five of the Penguin’s henchmen who disintegrate or get blown up in the associated Batman theatrical movie, only three criminal characters die during the series: the Riddler’s moll Molly (played by Jill St. John in Episode 2) who accidentally falls into the Batcave’s atomic pile, and two out-of-town gunmen who shoot at the Dynamic Duo toward the end of the “Zelda The Great/A Death Worse Than Fate” episode, but end up killing each other instead. In “Instant Freeze,” Mr. Freeze freezes a butler solid and knocks him over, causing him to smash to pieces, although this is implied rather than seen, and there is a later reference suggesting the butler survived. In “Green Ice,” Mr. Freeze freezes a policeman solid; it is left unclear whether he survived or not. In “The Penguin’s Nest,” a policeman suffers an electric shock at the hands of the Penguin’s accomplices, but he apparently survived as he appeared in some later episodes. In “The Bookworm Turns,” Commissioner Gordon appears to be shot and falls off a bridge to his death, but Batman deduces that this was actually an expert high diver in disguise, employed by The Bookworm as a ruse (implying that the diver survived the fall).

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Adam West, Burt Ward, Batman TV Series

Robin, in particular, was especially well known for saying “Holy (insert), Batman!” whenever he encountered something startling.

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Adam West, Burt Ward, Batman TV Series

The series utilized a narrator (producer William Dozier, uncredited) who parodied both the breathless narration style of the 1940s serials and Walter Winchell’s narration of The Untouchables. He would end many of the cliffhanger episodes by intoning, “Tune in tomorrow — same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!”

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Adam West, Burt Ward, Batman TV Series

Only two of the series’ guest villains ever discovered Batman’s true identity: Egghead by deductive reasoning, and King Tut on two occasions (once with a bug on the Batmobile and once by accidentally mining into The Batcave). Egghead was tricked into disbelieving his discovery, as was Tut in the episode when he bugged the Batmobile. In the episode when Tut tunnelled into the Batcave, he was hit on the head by a rock which made him forget his discovery and jarred him back into his identity as a mild-mannered Professor of Egyptology at Yale University. (He didn’t even recognize Batgirl, asking her, “Why are you wearing that purple mask, lady?”)

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Adam West, Burt Ward, Batman TV Series

Season 1

In Season 1, the dynamic duo, Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward), are super crime-fighting heroes, contending with the villains of Gotham City. It begins with the two-parter, “Hi Diddle Riddle” and “Smack in the Middle”, featuring Frank Gorshin as The Riddler.

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Adam West, Burt Ward, Batman TV Series

Season 2

In Season 2, the show suffered from repetition of its characters and formula. In addition, critics noted that the series’ delicate balance of drama and humor that the first season maintained was lost as the stories became increasingly farcical. This, combined with Lorenzo Semple Jr. contributing fewer scripts and having less of an influence on the series, caused viewers to tire of the show and for critics to complain, “If you’ve seen one episode of Batman, you’ve seen them all.”

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Adam West, Burt Ward, Batman TV Series

Season 3

By Season 3, ratings were falling and the future of the series seemed uncertain. A promotional short featuring Yvonne Craig as Batgirl and Tim Herbert as Killer Moth was produced. The short was convincing enough to pick up Batman for another season, and introduced Batgirl as a regular on the show in an attempt to attract more female viewers. Batgirl’s alter ego was Barbara Gordon, a mild-mannered librarian at the Gotham Library and Commissioner Gordon’s daughter.[1] The show was reduced to once a week, with mostly self-contained episodes, although the next week’s villain would be in a tag at the end of the episode, similar to a soap opera. Accordingly, the narrator’s cliffhanger phrases were eliminated, but most episodes would end with him saying something to the effect of “Watch the next episode!”

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Adam West, Burt Ward, Batman TV Series

Aunt Harriet was reduced to just two cameo appearances during the third season because of Madge Blake’s poor health. (Aunt Harriet was also mentioned in another episode, but was not seen; her absence was explained by her being in shock upstairs.) The nature of the scripts and acting started to enter into the realm of the surrealistic. For example, the set’s backgrounds became mere two-dimensional cut-outs against a stark black stage. In addition, the third season was much more topical, with references to hippies, mods, and distinctive 1960’s slang, which the previous seasons avoided.

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Adam West, Burt Ward, Batman TV Series

Cancellation

Near the end of the third season, ABC planned to cut the budget even further by eliminating Robin and Chief O’Hara, and making Batgirl Batman’s full-time partner. Both Dozier and West vetoed this idea, and ABC cancelled the show. Weeks later, NBC offered to pick the show up for a fourth season and even restore it to its original twice-a-week format, if the sets were still available for use. However, NBC’s offer came too late: Fox had already demolished the sets a week before. NBC didn’t want to pay the $800,000 for the re
build, so the offer was withdrawn.

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Adam West, Burt Ward, Batman TV Series, Pow

Regular cast

* Adam West – Batman/Bruce Wayne – A caped crusader whose parents were murdered when he was a child
* Burt Ward – Robin/Dick Grayson – Batman’s faithful partner and “boy wonder”.
* Alan Napier – Alfred – Batman’s loyal butler.
* Neil Hamilton – Commissioner James Worthington Gordon – Gotham City Commissioner of Police.
* Stafford Repp – Chief Clancy O’Hara – Gotham City Chief of Police.
* Madge Blake – Aunt Harriet Cooper – Dick Grayson’s maternal aunt.
* Yvonne Craig – Batgirl/Barbara Gordon – Commissioner Gordon’s daughter and Batman’s partner (Season 3).
* David Lewis – Warden Critchton – Warden of Gotham State Penitentiary (recurring).
* Byron Keith – Mayor Linseed – Mayor of Gotham City (recurring).
* William Dozier – “Desmond Doomsday”, the Narrator

Batman, 1966, Batman The Movie, Adam West, Burt Ward, Batman TV Series

Several cast members recorded records tied in to the series. Adam West released a single titled “Miranda”, a country-tinged pop song that he actually performed in costume during live appearances in the 1960s. Frank Gorshin released a song titled “The Riddler” which was composed and arranged by Mel Tormé. Burgess Meredith recorded a spoken word single called “The Escape” backed with “The Capture”, which was The Penguin narrating his recent crime spree to a jazz beat. Burt Ward recorded a song called “Boy Wonder, I Love You”, written and arranged by Frank Zappa.

Watch The Batman 1966 TV Series Intro Below

http://www.youtube.com/v/S78ZolMnVAc&hl=en&fs=1

Watch The Batman 1966 Video Movie Trailer Below

http://www.youtube.com/v/EgZw9p1mtk8&hl=en&fs=1

Holy Bat Facts

Molly was the only person to die in the Bat-Cave!

The distance from the Bat-Cave to Gotham City is 14 miles.

The Bat-Mobile registration is 2F-3567.

Robin said “Holy” 357 times during the show!

There were 86 said sounds.

When playing The Joker, Cesar Romero refused to shave his moustache so he painted over it instead.

All the villains were paid $2,500; no more, no less!

There was 47 signs in the Bat-Cave!

Bruce Wayne was involved in 19 public organisations!

The executive producer William Dozier was also the narrator!

The Batcave cost $800,000 to build!

In 1968, when ABC cancelled Batman, NBC asked to run the show but the Bat-Cave had already been dismantled!

The Batmobile couldn’t travel faster than 45 mph!

In 1966 Batman was nominated for an Emmy in the category of “Outstanding Comedy Series” and also “Individual Achievements in Sound Editing”.

The episodes “The Devils Fingers” “The Dead Ringers” starring Liberace was the highest-rated of all the Batman shows!

The Puzzler episodes were intended for the Riddler but Frank Gorshin didnt want to play the role anymore! These episodes were originally called “A Penny For Your Riddles” “They’re Worth A Lot More”.

Episode 68 “The Catwoman Goeth” was changed from “A Stitch In Time” to include the Catwoman.

Tallulah Bankhead gave her last performance on the show as the Blackwidow she sadly died a little while after her performance on December 12th 1968.

Both Walter Slezak (Clock King) and George Sanders (First Mr Freeze) committed suicide!

Catwoman’s real name is Selina Kyle but this was never used in the series!

Have a groovy vintage retro day!

- Retro Rebirth

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The Partridge Family Feature with Photos & Video

March 8, 2010

Partridge Family, David Cassidy, Danny Bonaduce, Shirley Jones, 70s TV Sitcom, Come On Get Happy

Situation Comedy
FIRST TELECAST: September 25, 1970
THEME: “Come On, Get Happy,” by Wes Farrell and Danny Janssen.

Partridge Family, David Cassidy, Danny Bonaduce, Shirley Jones, 70s TV Sitcom, Come On Get Happy

Oscar-winner Shirley Jones and her stepson David Cassidy starred in this comedy about a family that hit the big time in the music business. Shirley Partridge was just another widowed suburban mother with a houseful of rambunctious kids, until one day the kids asked her to take part in an impromptu recording session they were holding in the garage. Seems they needed a vocalist. The song they were recording was “I Think I Love You,” and to everyone’s surprise they sold it to a record company, the record became a smash hit, and the Partridges were soon setting off in a wildly painted old school bus to perform around the country. They were authentic members of the rock generation. Stories depicted their exploits on the road, and in their California home town.

Partridge Family, David Cassidy, Danny Bonaduce, Shirley Jones, 70s TV Sitcom, Come On Get Happy

Besides Shirley and 16-year-old Keith (Cassidy), the band included Laurie, 15 (Susan Dey); Danny, 10 and the freckle-faced con man of the family (Danny Bonaduce); Christopher, 7 (Jeremy Gelbwalks from 1970-1971; Brian Forster from 1971-1974); and Tracy, 5 (Suzanne Crough). Reuben Kinkaid (David Madden) was their fast-talking, child-hating agent — and perpetual foil for Danny. During the 1973-1974 season a neighbor’s son, four-year-old Ricky (Ricky Segall), joined the cast, and he sang too. Simone was the family pooch.

Partridge Family, David Cassidy, Danny Bonaduce, Shirley Jones, 70s TV Sitcom, Come On Get Happy

The Partridges were heavily promoted in the real-life music business, and they caught on with several hit singles, including “I Think I Love You,” which sold four million copies, as well as albums. David Cassidy became the hero of the subteen set and had considerable success as a solo act. Unlike the Monkees, the Partridges had no artistic pretensions — none of them were professional musicians — and the backgrounds on their records were in fact done by professional studio musicians, with Shirley and David providing the vocals. Their success was as spectacular on the record charts as on TV, but it did not last long in either case.

Partridge Family, David Cassidy, Danny Bonaduce, Shirley Jones, 70s TV Sitcom, Come On Get Happy

An animated Saturday morning sequel, The Patridge Family, 2200 A.D., ran on ABC from September 1974 to September 1975.

Watch The The Partridge Family Show Intro Here

http://www.youtube.com/v/LOiKa51ll-k

Partridge Family, David Cassidy, Danny Bonaduce, Shirley Jones, 70s TV Sitcom, Come On Get Happy

Have a groovy day!

- Retro Rebirth

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Prime Time Network TV Schedules From 1970 to 1979

February 26, 2010

The good old days of TV. I know all you retro lovers like me remember them all so well – Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, Mary Hartman, Rockford Files, Baretta, Columbo, Six Million Dollar Man, Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk, Kojak, The Partridge Family, The Rookies, The White Shadow, M*A*S*H, Charlies Angels, All In The Family, Maude, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Happy Days, What’s Happening, Sandford & Son, Chico & The Man, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, WKRP, Vega$, One Day At A Time, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Police Story, Family, Alice, Barney Miller, The Hard Boys, The Odd Couple, Three’s Company, Soap, Carol Burnett Show, The Waltons, Little House On The Prairie, Welcome Back Kotter, Quincy M.E., CHiPs, Bob Newhart, Starsky & Hutch, Eight Is Enough – am I jogging your memory back enough? Then of course there’s all The Movies Of The Week, Specials with Sonny & Cher, The Brady Bunch Variety Show, Captain & Tennille, Donnie & Marie. And we must not forgot all the groovy ads that went with them – I’ll save that for a later post.

Well here’s some graphics which list the prime time network TV schedules that list what times all these shows were aired. A blast from the past indeed. Enjoy.

Click On Each Image to See A Larger View

1970 Prime Time Network TV Schedule

Prime Time Network TV Schedules From 1970 to 1979, Retro TV Sitcoms, Retro TV, 70s TV Schedules

1971 Prime Time Network TV Schedule

Prime Time Network TV Schedules From 1970 to 1979, Retro TV Sitcoms, Retro TV, 70s TV Schedules

1972 Prime Time Network TV Schedule

Prime Time Network TV Schedules From 1970 to 1979, Retro TV Sitcoms, Retro TV, 70s TV Schedules

1973 Prime Time Network TV Schedule

Prime Time Network TV Schedules From 1970 to 1979, Retro TV Sitcoms, Retro TV, 70s TV Schedules

1974 Prime Time Network TV Schedule

Prime Time Network TV Schedules From 1970 to 1979, Retro TV Sitcoms, Retro TV, 70s TV Schedules

1975 Prime Time Network TV Schedule

Prime Time Network TV Schedules From 1970 to 1979, Retro TV Sitcoms, Retro TV, 70s TV Schedules

1976 Prime Time Network TV Schedule

Prime Time Network TV Schedules From 1970 to 1979, Retro TV Sitcoms, Retro TV, 70s TV Schedules

1977 Prime Time Network TV Schedule

Prime Time Network TV Schedules From 1970 to 1979, Retro TV Sitcoms, Retro TV, 70s TV Schedules

1978 Prime Time Network TV Schedule

Prime Time Network TV Schedules From 1970 to 1979, Retro TV Sitcoms, Retro TV, 70s TV Schedules

1979 Prime Time Network TV Schedule

Prime Time Network TV Schedules From 1970 to 1979, Retro TV Sitcoms, Retro TV, 70s TV Schedules

Have a groovy day!

- Retro Rebirth

If you liked this article then make sure you subscribe to the feed via RSS It’s Free. You can also follow me on Twitter too!

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The Monkees Feature with Vintage Photos & Videos

February 23, 2010

The Monkees, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davey Jones, Classic Rock Music,

The Monkees, even today, still go down as the most successful TV rock show idea ever. That was how they came about, as an idea for a TV show molded after the Beatles movie, A Hard Days’ Night. A TV show about four poor hippie band members, with lots of slapstick comedy, and of course, music too.The fact that this manufactured group turned into a real band and had a whole bunch of big hits is really, well, far out!

The Monkees, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davey Jones, Classic Rock Music,

Screen Gems executive Don Kirshner came up with the idea after seeing the Beatle movie and hired producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider to begin auditions for the show in 1965. An ad was placed in Variety, and amongst the 437 applications were Stephen Stills, Danny Hutton (later of Three Dog Night ), Harry Nilsson and Paul Williams. Only one Monkee would be found from the auditions, guitarist and songwriter Michael Nesmith, who’s song “Different Drum” was a then current top ten hit for Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Poneys. Hired later from other sources were folk singer – guitarist Peter Tork, and actors Mickey Dolenz (who started out as a child actor), and Davy Jones, who didn’t know how to play a note of music. They were hired first and foremost as actors for the TV show; with no plans to have an actual real life band come about. It was decided for the show that the members would be portrayed as followed: Nesmith as the lead guitarist, Tork as the bassist, Dolenz, who could play guitar, was at first going to be the rhythm guitarist, but Jones, who was to be the drummer, was deemed by the shows producers as to being too small to sit behind the drum kit and still be seen. So Dolenz, who never before played the drums, took that part and Jones, well, he was placed out front as the cute one. All four would take turns at lead vocals, but as it turned out, the two actors, Jones and Dolenz, were the better singers and in time would get more of the lead vocals, with Nesmith handling the vocals for the country rock tunes (which me mainly wrote). Yet the truth of the matter was that Dolenz was the group’s true lead singer, even if that fact was never advertised.

The Monkees, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davey Jones, Classic Rock Music,

On September 12, 1966, the first episode of The Monkees was aired by NBC-TV and in an short time the show was a hit both in the US and the UK. Their self titled debut album was also a huge hit, selling over a million copies, as was its single, “Last Train To Clarksville”, which made it to number 1 on the US charts. Most of the songs were written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, and Carole King and Gerry Goffin, with just one song, “Papa Gene’s Blues” written by Nesmith. But the truth was, the Monkees not only were not a band yet and didn’t play as one on this album, but they were not even a true singing group yet, as they didn’t work together even in that department when the disc was put together. Dolenz not only sang most of the lead vocals on the LP, but he also, alone, sang most of the backing vocals for the songs, too. Nesmith’s self penned song was the only tune on the album which was close to being a true “Monkees” number, as he, Dolenz and Tork, all performed on it. The rest of the music on the album was played by session musicians.

The Monkees, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davey Jones, Classic Rock Music,

The Monkees, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davey Jones, Classic Rock Music,

Their next album, More Of The Monkees, also was a big hit, and its single, “I’m A Believer”, went to number one in both the US and UK. On this LP they were a true singing group at least, and suddenly they were the latest and biggest pre-teen and teen phenomenon around. However the group did not like the fact that they were still not allowed to play on their albums, and they came clean to their fans about this on their own after the second album’s release. Like the first LP, Nesmith and Tork were allowed to play their guitars only on the Nesmith penned songs; so when they let their fans know they weren’t happy with this fact, their management listened and gave in, since the TV show was now a huge hit. So the Monkees got what they demanded, that being that for the next album, Headquarters, they all would play most of the instruments as a true band, with just a couple of guitar session players backing them.

The Monkees, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davey Jones, Classic Rock Music,

Headquarters would go on to prove that the Monkees did indeed have more than just acting talent, by far it was their best album. Nesmith would supply three new songs plus lead and steel guitar to the album. Tork added guitar, keyboards, banjo, bass and one penned song. Dolenz by now was not bad on the drums, yet he didn’t care to play them, in part because he still was the main lead vocalist. Yet he still played drums on every track on the LP, along with playing rhythm guitar and keyboards, too; plus he wrote the album’s closing number. Jones, well, he learned to shake the maracas real nice, but really, he was the band’s second lead singer and the main ladies man in the group. Headquarters was released in May of ’67 and was a huge hit and a really nice piece of work from the boys. The Monkees were not just a TV singing group anymore, but now a real band. They went on tour after the album release and played for real in front of their fans. This tour featured the famous, if not totally out of aliment pairing of the Monkees and Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix, who was still unknown, opened for the Monkees. In November of ’67 the Monkees released their fourth album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones Ltd. which, dare I say, was a psychedelic masterpiece. The album did have a bit of country rock on it, but more psychedelic tunes. One of those psychedelic songs “Daily Nightly”, was the very first rock song to use the new Moog synthesizer (which was the very first synthesizer), played by Dolenz. “Pleasant Valley Sunday” was another number one hit and the Nilsson cover song “Cuddly Toy” was also well received.

The Monkees, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davey Jones, Classic Rock Music,

The Monkees, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davey Jones, Classic Rock Music,

Things would start to wind down for the group in 1968. On March 25, their final TV episode was screened and the next month their next album, The Birds, The Bees And The Monkees was a disappointment as they returned to using more session musicians to record most of the album. But the album did spawn two big hit singles “Daydream Believer” and “Valleri”, with most of the lead vocals on these two sung by Jones. “Valleri” in fact had been recorded back in ’66 and only featured Jones and Dolenz singing on it. Next, The Monkees embarked on a feature film, Head, which upon its release got poor reviews and seemed to be viewed by noone. Tork left the band after Head’s release and the remaining trio continued on without him. They released two more albums that bombed and the band, now going nowhere fast, broke up in ’69. They reunited in 1985 (minus Nesmith) for a successful tour, but the new studio album they released, Pool It, was horrendous and they broke up the next year. In 1995 all four of the Monkees reunited for an UK tour and released a new studio album in ’96, Justus. The album was the first Monkees album to feature all original material from the group members and was produced by Nesmith. It got good reviews and was a minor hit. It was nice to see the entire band back together recording again after so many years.

The Monkees, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davey Jones, Classic Rock Music,

Various Videos Of The Monkees

The Monkees – I’m a Believer Video

http://www.youtube.com/v/XfuBREMXxts&hl=en_US&fs=1&

The Monkees – Mary Mary Video

http://www.youtube.com/v/grd-iHznoGM&hl=en_US&fs=1&

The Monkees – Goin’ Down Video

http://www.youtube.com/v/URb8h4dLKps&hl=en_US&fs=1&

The Monkees, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davey Jones, Classic Rock Music,

The Monkees Discography

2005 Summer 1967: The Complete U.S. Concert Recordings
2004 Missing Links
2003 The Best Of The Monkees
2003 Extended Versions
2002 Live Summer Tour
2002 The Essentials
2001 Music Box
1998 Daydream Believer and Other Hits
1998 The Monkees: Anthology
1997 I’m a Believer and Other Hits
1996 Justus
1996 Missing Links Volume Three
1991 Listen to the Band
1987 Live 1967
1986 Pool It
1986 Missing Links Volume Two
1982 More Greatest Hits
1976 Greatest Hits
1975 Hit Factory
1970 Instant Replay
1970 Changes
1969 The Monkees Present: Micky, David & Michael
1968 Head
1968 The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees
1967 Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.
1967 Headquarters
1967 More Of The Monkees
1966 The Monkees

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