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 let’s think about after 1966. How these people affected the world. The messages they put in the show shocked me in some ways. I recognized the politics. I kind of expected it. I vaguely remembered it. I was afraid going back to study the show being someone who studies feminist things it was going to be really annoying when it comes to girls and I’d be really embarrassed and I wouldn’t want to like the show anymore and then I noticed that every single female that they ever dated in 58 episodes was a woman of substance. Now granted she’s the Princess of Harmonica so we can giggle at that but a moment in the episode Davey says “Can’t you stay here with me?” — the dream of every American girl — and she says “No. I have to return to my country. I have responsibilities. I have a job to do.” I can’t just fall for a cute boy and quit which is a huge statement for a little 6 & 7 year old girl to be listening to. You mean I should be about something? But I really think that a lot of the seeds certainly of my feminism came from this period.
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?