In an attempt to cash in on the popularity of The Beatles movies A Hard Day's Night and Help! US producers Bert Schneider and Bob Rafelson interviewed no less than 400 applicants for a fast moving madcap thirty minute series based on the day to day life of a pop group.
The successful applicants were Mickey Dolenz (formerly Mickey Braddock of Circus Boy fame), Michael Nesmith (whose mother invented the correcting fluid used on typing errors), Peter Tork, and British actor Davy Jones (formerly Ena Sharples' grandson in Coronation Street). The series won the 1966 Emmy for Outstanding Comedy and the group became world wide chart toppers with songs such as Last Train To Clarkville, Daydream Believer and I'm a Believer (the latter composed by the still unknown Neil Diamond). The group starred in their own movie in 1968 entitled Head which was co-written by Rafelson and Jack Nicholson (who would go on to co-write the blockbuster Five Easy Pieces) but it died at the box office. The group's last single to enter the British popular music charts was in 1969, but by that time they had already split up and gone their separate ways. Mickey Dolenz turned TV producer and in 1980 had a minor hit in Britain with a series called Metal Mickey, a children's comedy about a robot that bore a startling resemblance to Star Wars' R2D2.
In 1997 the Monkees, who still had a massive following on both sides of the Atlantic re-formed for a time to do a series of concerts. Based on the success of these concerts Columbia Pictures Television launched a new series called the New Monkees. Four young musicians were placed in a similar series based on the original show, but "updated" for the 1980s. Originally planned for 22 episodes it left the air after 13 episodes.
Davy Jones passed away in February 2012.
Published on January 8th, 2019. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.