Rosanne Welch talks about “Why The Monkees Matter” with Jean Hopkins Power
Jean Powergirl takes the host reigns and welcomes her guest Rosanne Welch, PhD to the show! They’ll be discussing Roseanne’s book, “Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Pop Culture.”
Jean: So how many season did The Monkees run?
Rosanne: You know it only ran for 2 seasons. Back in the day, you had more shows — nowadays you do 13 or maybe 20 episodes — so they did 58 episodes in total in 2 seasons. They were going to come back for a 3rd season after a very successful couple of years of concert tours, but they had decided that — the actors has decided — that they were tired of the formula of the show, which was a sitcom and it was usually some crazy adventure going on. They felt that they wanted to do a variety show ala The Carol Burnett Show, but there were no rock and roll groups hosting variety shows yet, so the network said, “no. We don’t believe that will work.” They said, “Look, we’ll do little sketches in between and will do music and have musical guests,” The network said no and they said, “If that’s the case we’ll just cancel it.”
Jean: Even though Donnie and Marie did do that, right?
Rosanne: But later in the 70’s and the next year Sonny and Cher will do that a and they were a rock and roll group of the day and, in fact, Coslough Johnson, who’s one of my favorite writers for the show who I got to interview. He moved from The Monkees to Sonny and Cher and so that style was going to work, but the network didn’t — I think it was a big mistake monetarily. If they had morphed the show it would have brought that audience along with them.
A hit television show about a fictitious rock band, The Monkees (1966-1968) earned two Emmys–Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy. Capitalizing on the show’s success, the actual band formed by the actors, at their peak, sold more albums than The Beatles and The Rolling Stones combined and set the stage for other musical TV characters from The Partridge Family to Hannah Montana. In the late 1980s, the Monkees began a series of reunion tours that continued into their 50th anniversary.
This book tells the story of The Monkees and how the show changed television, introducing a new generation to the fourth-wall-breaking slapstick created by Laurel and Hardy and the Marx Brothers. Its creators contributed to the innovative film and television of 1970s with projects like Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Laugh-In and Welcome Back, Kotter. Immense profits from the show, its music and its merchandising funded the producers’ move into films such as Head, Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces.
Rosanne Welch, PhD has written for television (Touched by an Angel, Picket Fences) and print (Three Ring Circus: How Real Couples Balance Marriage, Work and Kids and The Encyclopedia of Women in Aviation and Space). In the documentary world she has written and produced Bill Clinton and the Boys Nation Class of 1963 for ABC NEWS/Nightline and consulted on PBS’s A Prince Among Slaves, the story of a prince from West Africa who was enslaved in the 1780s, freed by order of President John Quincy Adams in the 1820s and returned to his homeland.