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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Every girl on the show that we meet — they have a job Jill is in the pilot. She works at the record store. She has a job. She sells records. She understands what the new music is. She’s working with the band trying to get them more attention. She’s a girl of substance. I had no idea. I really thought they’d all be cheerleaders and they’d be bubble heads and I’d be upset. April in The Monkees Get Out More Dirt is — who’s the actress? Julie Newmar from we mostly know from Catwoman from the original Batman. In this episode, all four boys fall for her but what they learn is the way to a woman’s heart is through her mind. So each of them takes on — one learns ballet, one learns classical music, one learns painting. They learn all learn something intellectual to impress her. It’s not about “Look at me. I’m hot. You should like me.” I think that’s adorable. I mean it’s all done in farce and cuteness but underneath it could easily have been cheerleaders — not to insult any cheerleaders in the world but we don’t do them well in the media. We make them out to be not very smart.
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?