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Episode No. 20:

“The Monkees In The Ring”

A crooked fight promoter prepares to cash in on a big bet—
by making David a chump in a bout with the champ.

Vital Stats, Credits and Releases On Home Video:

Production No. 4734
Filmed At: Screen Gems Studio 7, Hollywood, CA.
Filming Dates: December 6 (8:00am) - 8, 1966.
Original Air Date: January 30, 1967.
Ratings: 21.0 rating/31.6 share (11,530,000 viewers)
© Raybert Productions; 1-30-67; LP37671
Sponsor This Week:
Kellogg’s™
Rerun Dates: March 14, 1970, January 15 and April 15, 1972 (CBS).

Written by Gerald Gardner and Dee Caruso.
Directed by James Frawley.
Produced by Robert Rafelson and Bert Schneider.
Associate Producer: Ward Sylvester.
Music Supervision: Don Kirshner.
Background Music Composed and Conducted by Stu Phillips.
“Laugh” Written by H. Medress, P. Margo, M. Margo & J. Seigal;

Produced by Jeff Barry.
“I’ll Be Back Up On My Feet Again” Written by Sandy Linzer & Denny Randell;
Produced by Jeff Barry.
Guest cast:
Vernon.......................................................................Joseph Perry
The Champ..............................................................D’Urville Martin
Smasher.....................................................................Robert Lyons
Fight Announcer.........................................................Jerry Hausner
Ring Announcer.........................................................Jimmy Lennon
Reporter #1................................................................George Cisar
Bully............................................................................Peter Canon
Reporter #2.........................................................Richard S. Ramos
Ned Glass as Sholto

Home Video Releases:
  • The Monkees: The Collector's Edition - VHS Tape #14 (Columbia House #1????, May 22, 1995)
  • The Monkees Deluxe Limited Edition Boxed Set - VHS Tape #14 (Rhino R3 2960, October 17, 1995)
  • The Monkees - Season 1 DVD Boxed Set - Disc 4 (Rhino RetroVision DVD R2 976076, May 13, 2003)

Synopsis:

The fight game gets its lumps in this episode. Walking down the street, David chides Peter about his leaving a trail of pistachio nuts across the city ("Y'know, if you comitted a crime, the police'd find you in 2 minutes!"). Peter apologizes and goes back to pick up the litter of nuts, when suddenly he bumps into a bully. The bully makes ready to slug Peter when David intervenes; the bully then swings at David but misses, and David accidentally subdues him with a light tap on the chin. Joey Sholto, a fight racketeer, bears witness and tells David he can become a world champ.

Back at the pad, David makes plans on seeing Joey Sholto since they need the money but his mates feel they’d rather see him alive and well than rich and famous since David has no experience in boxing; David recounts a tale concerning him being a scrapper at school and nonetheless goes along with Sholto, Meanwhile, Joey tells Vernon, an ex-boxing champ turned hood, that he’ll arrange a series of setups for David; when he fights the champion, they’ll bet against David and make a killing when he loses. When The Monkees arrive at The Sweat Shop Gymnasium, Sholto decides to test David by first have him use a punching bag that Vernon had previously loosened. Then he has him take on a boxer called The Smasher, who takes a dive when David taps him on the chin; but when Micky tries a go at The Smasher to prove it's easy he finds he can't beat him! Back at his office, Sholto gives David a robe that says "Dynamite Davy" on the back and thus bestows upon him the sobriquet “Dynamite Davy Jones.” When Micky, Michael and Peter are still doubtful, Sholto promises them that if David doesn't win the first 3 fights via knockouts, they can have him back.

At the pad, David packs for his boxing tour and Michael gives him a talk about going to into a strange city where there'll be one hotel with a lot of gambling, fast women, drinking and loose talk and tells David he'll know what to do when he gets to that city; David replies "find that hotel!"  In a romp set to “Laugh,” David is put through a rough training regimen and goes on the tour—where every bout he competes in is thrown by men set up by Sholto: Slasher, Tiger Smedley, and The Smasher. During a press conference, David, deluded by his obviously bogus boxing talent, absorbs the glory as he's being surrounded by reporters while his mates unhappily watch on. When Michael answers the phone, it's The Smasher who expresses his fury over only getting $500 to take a dive while Tiger Smedley got $800 and Michael realizes the Sholto's scheme. He tries to warn David, but he refuses to believe the fights were fixed, impressed by his easy victories, and to further that belief Vernon fakes a thumping when David accidentally punches him (although it was merely a tap on the chin!).

Dressed as trainers at The Sweat Shop Gym, Michael and Micky approach David's next opponent, The Champ, a boxer who's given to speaking in rhyme, and try to convince him not to fight David while Peter impersonates a opponent in bandages and a cast, but soon The Champ sees through them and chases them off. Vernon, who bore witness to the futile affair, rushes to inform Sholto, who, having bet $10,000 on The Champ, instructs Vernon to slip David a sleeping pill before the fight to insure The Champ’s victory, and make sure David’s friends don’t get out of their pad. By mistake, The Champ gets the pill; meanwhile, at the pad, Micky, Michael and Peter, about to go to the arena to stop the fight, are stopped at gunpoint by Vernon and are forced to watch the brutal carnage of their buddy on television. In the ring, the champ is groggy for the first three rounds, but wakes up at the fourth, just as Michael goads Vernon into a boxing round with him with Micky and Peter as his second and the referee, respectively; they all lock Vernon in their closet and rush to the ring in time to save David and stop the fight.

Soon, as The Monkees sing “I’ll Be Back Up On My Feet Again,” three fights are on: David and the champ, Sholto and Michael, Micky and Vernon, whilst Peter takes over as timekeeper. With his help, The Monkees win and are declared world champs. When Sholto is arrested for kidnapping, assault and attempted bribe, he shouts to David that he's the most harmless boxer in the business, and complains that guys like The Monkees are ruining the fight game. David is finally convinced that all his fights were all fixed, but Michael cheers him up by praising him. Soon afterward, timekeeping Peter announces the national anthem; David raises his right gloved hand to his forehead to salute—so hard that he knocks himself unconscious.

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