Wherever you go, you find Monkees fans and the Denver Popular Culture Con was no different. Amid rooms full of caped crusaders and cosplay creations, I was initially not sure how many folks would attend a talk on a TV show from the 1960s – but happily I was met by a nice, engaged audience for my talk on Why the Monkees Matter – and afterward they bought books! What more could an author ask for?
I got very involved on this one. I wrote an article for Written By about The Monkees — the writers of The Monkees. I wanted to find out who it is people who had stories to tell and who were telling their philosophy through these four characters right and so that really interested me and these are most of the folks that I got to meet. Obviously when I met them they were in their late 70s and had been around for a while and they have some marvelous stories to tell. Gerald Gardner, the gentleman just to the left of my book picture was actually a script writer and a speech writer for a Robert Kennedy’s Senate campaign in New York. He came to television through a show called That Was The Week That Was, which is kind of the SNL Weekend Update of its time and then he moved to Get Smart and when they started The Monkees the folks in charge were like “We need some cool funny, young men,” and he and his partner showed up. So that’s Gerald Gardner.
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.
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