“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
They had a couple of other big names come in. And then this was Treva’s explanation to me about why they got away with it. Network guys thought they were hip and cool, but they had no idea what was going on. And these guys knew it. She defined herself as a hippy as did Peter Meyerson like I said and she said she started smoking pot during the course of working on the show and when she went home to New York to visit her relatives they were like, ahhh…scandalized. She said, “Well, that’s just what everyone is doing.” So, I wanted to mention that we’re not done with censorship on television briefly. If you know Amy Schumer recently had this sketch canceled from her show. It was censored. She wasn’t to air it and it was anti-gun thing based on all the mass shootings. We still obviously knew about the “wardrobe malfunction” and what can and can’t be shown of a woman on television and of course, George Carlin went to court over The 7 Dirty Words You Can’t Say on Television. Dexter, of course, think how violent that is. We worry so much about what sex we show on TV but look how much violence we show and I think Gilda Radner, who I love dearly, is pretty brilliant because she talked about the violence on television back in the day. So we’re still not done with that. If you’re interested in censorship on TV, these are some books that are fun to look at that talk about this period of time. And so, if you want to look into that, that’s what they are. And that’s the flat out presentation.
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Other books/DVDs mentioned in this clip
- America’s First Network TV Censor: The Work of NBC’s Stockton Helffrich
- Alfred R. Schneider: The Gatekeeper : My Thirty Years as a TV Censor
- Smothered: The Censorship Struggles of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
- You Can’t Air That: Four Cases of Controversy and Censorship in American Television Programming
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.