From The Research Vault: Hey, Hey, They Wrote The Monkees: How a few writers changed the hair-length (and face) of television, Written By, November/December 2012

From The Research Vault: Hey, Hey, They Wrote The Monkees: How a few writers changed the hair-length (and face) of television, Written By, November/December 2012

Early 1960s television characters came in a one-size-fits-all,  squeaky-clean-cut style, from Dr. Kildare in his white lab coat,  to Hoss Cartwright in his white Stetson, to Sr. Bertrille in her  white habit. That lasted until 7:30 p.m. Monday, September  12, 1966 when four long-haired teenagers began dancing a Monkeewalk while singing, “Hey, Hey, We’re the Monkees.”

Though it looked simple enough, the comedy was about  more than four struggling musicians living in a beach house  they couldn’t afford, without adult supervision, and hoping for  success while engaging in Marx(Bros)ian humor. According to  star Micky Dolenz, the only actor with previous television series experience: “It brought long hair into the living room and  changed the way teenagers were portrayed on television.”

Dolenz’s opinion is backed up by psychologist and author  Timothy Leary in The Politics of Ecstasy: “While it lasted, it  was a classic Sufi[ism] put-on. An early-Christian electronic  satire. A mystic magic show. A jolly Buddha laugh at hypocrisy. And woven into the fast-moving psychedelic stream of action  were the prophetic, holy, challenging words. Micky was rapping  quickly, dropping literary names, making scholarly references.”

Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Pop Culture

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