“1960s TV Censorship and The Monkees” gives a brief overview of where censorship standards were in the era – and how The Monkees pushed the envelope with its mentions of the Vietnam War – and Sunset Strip riots – and even with the outrageous storytelling behind “Frodis Caper”, the episode that celebrated the saving of an alien plant that very closely resembled a marijuana plant…
Writer Treva Silverman said the staff got away with such jokes because the network executives were just old enough not to understand any of the references.
Presented at Stephens College MFA in Screenwriting classes on Friday, August 5, 2016
Now we think about censorship and the timeframe we’re in. Let’s think about what’s going on in television right now. Ok? We have codes about what you can and can’t do. The Smothers Brothers are going to get cancelled because they talk too much about the Vietname War and The Monkees talked about it before The Smothers Brothers showed up. Pete Seeger is not going to be allowed to sing “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy” because that’s about the Vietnam War and so he will not be allowed to sing that on television for a couple of years. Barbara Eden — who knows what was censored about Barbara Eden? (Audience) “Belly Button!” Her belly button. Her outfit, her harem outfit could not go below the belly button. You can’t show women’s belly button. On That Girl, Marlo Thomas had — any time she dated her boyfriend, Donald, we had to see Donald leave her apartment and her shut the door behind him. You could not assume that he had spent the night with her. She was a single woman living alone and you had to know that she was stilla virgin to make her acceptable to television. Right? This is what we’re talking about here in 1966.
Buy “Why The Monkees Matter” Today!
About Dr. Rosanne Welch
Dr. Rosanne Welch is a professor in the Low Residency MFA in Screenwriting Program from Stephens College, California State University, Fullerton, Mount San Antonio Community College and Cal Poly Pomona. In 2007, she graduated with her Ph.D. in 20th Century U.S./Film History from Claremont Graduate University. She graduated with her M.A. in 20th Century United States History from California State University, Northridge in 2004.
Welch is also a television writer/producer with credits for Beverly Hills 90210 , CBS’s Emmy winning Picket Fences and Touched By An Angel . She also writes and hosts her own podcasts on 3rdPass.media, her first one titled “Mindful(I) Media with Dr. Rosanne Welch.”
Three Ring Circus: How Real Couples Balance Marriage, Work and Kids and The Encyclopedia of Women in Aviation and Space are two books she has written. Los Angeles Times and the Journal of Screenwriting hold some of her published articles.