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?
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So this is TV before our folks showed up and this is TV after and it’s definitely different. Suddenly we’re talking about on Laugh-In sex, politics, what’s going on in the world. We have Sonny and Cher who a couple of the writer’s The Monkees moved on to the Sonny and Cher show. If you know enough about The Monkees, there were two seasons of the program. The third season, the four guys wanted it to be a variety show — set around rock and roll and the problem was the network said “Nobody’s gonna watch a variety show that has to do with rock and roll” and the next season Sonny and Cher showed up and won some Emmys right? So there you go. Of course, The Smothers Brothers who were canceled you’re being too political. The Mod Squad which was a whole movement into the new hippie generation and of course All In The Family is gonna happen in the 70s and we’re going to get very serious about how we talk about politics on television but The Monkees were there in the beginning.
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?