Rosanne Welch, PhD, Author of Why The Monkees Matter, presents “How The Monkees Changed Television” at a Cal State Fullerton Lunch Lecture on May 8, 2018.
In this talk, she shows how The Monkees, and specifically their presence on television, set the stage for large changes to come in the late 1960s.
Micky Dolenz is gonna leave the country and go to England and become a director for 15 years and he directs children’s television programs that are classics in England right? So he was going the Ron Howard I’m not gonna be Opie anymore thing and then he got drawn back to the states for their 20th anniversary tour and has been touring ever since but had he not given up being a director who knows where he might have gone with his directing right but he couldn’t get taken seriously as an actor here in the States even though he’d had his own TV show when he was 10 and he had his own TV show when he’s 18 and they were both hits. So but his acting career nobody believed right because he was just the goofy guy. Mike Nesmith wanted to be more of a songwriter and a country songwriter. Nobody took him seriously. He started the First National Band. It didn’t work. He ended up going off and you know running his own video company and he’s now a millionaire so he’s happy and Davy Jones probably had it the worst because being a boy teen idol — look look how hard it was for Justin Timberlake to grow up right — I mean that is the hard position for a man to grow out of. So we’re not good with Renaissance people. The fact that you can have more than one talent.
A hit television show about a fictitious rock band, The Monkees (1966-1968) earned two Emmys–Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Directorial Acheivement 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 Riderand Five Easy Pieces.
Want to use “Why The Monkees Matter” in your classroom?