Dr. Rosanne Welch presents Why Monkees Matter: How The Writing Staff of The Monkees Brought the 1960s Counter Culture to Mainstream Pre-Teen Viewers at the 2014 Cal Poly Pomona Provost’s Symposium on Faculty Scholarship (http://www.cpp.edu/~research/)
The very first woman that we met was the Princess of the Duchy of Harmonica. So, we’re being funny, but she was a princess who had the opportunity to marry Davy Jones — every girl’s dream in that period. She turned it down because she had a duty to her country to go home and be its ruler. If that’s not an empowered young woman — what a cool thing, right? And then just very imply Julie Newmar who you know as the Catwoman from Batman she guests on an episode where they all wanted her to fall in love with them and the line was, “The fastest way to a woman’s heart is through her mind.” Through her mind! And so each boy tries to do the things she claims to enjoy. Poetry, classical music, ballet, all these high end things, not some silly nonsense.
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Based on a chapter in my upcoming book The Metatextual Menagerie that was The Monkees, which includes a series of interviews conducted with surviving writers and performers of the 1960s television program, The Monkees I will discuss how the writers and actors used the show as a platform for their own emerging counter culture/anti-war messages.
Worth studying for its craft and place in television history (the show won an Emmy as Best Comedy Of 1967) the program’s true importance may come from its impact on the politics and culture of the era. Considered innocuous by the network, thepress and the parents of the era, the storylines and jokes created by the writers and the actor’s ad-libs brought the emerging counter-culture to the attention of young teens whose parents might not have appreciated the message. Cultural icons such as Timothy Leary recognized the subversive nature of the program, seen through the writing and in choices made about costuming, hair length, musical guests (Frank Zappa, Tim Buckley, Charlie Smalls) and songs performed by the band brought issues of Vietnam, voting and civil rights to the ‘young generation’ for whom the show clearly had ‘somethin’to say.
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About the Symposium:
The 2014 Provost’s Symposium is a forum to learn about each other’s scholarly work, make new friends, renew old acquaintances, and enhance our appreciation of the rich and diverse array of professional endeavors pursued by the faculty at Cal Poly Pomona.