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Episode No. 15:

“Too Many Girls”
(a.k.a. “Davy And Fern”)

An ambitious stage mother is determined to use
lovestruck David to promote her daughter's career.

Vital Stats, Credits and Releases On Home Video:

Production No. 4729
Filmed At: Screen Gems Studios, Hollywood, CA.
Filming Dates: September 20 (8 a.m.-noon; 2-4:30 p.m.) - 22, 1966
Original Air Date: December 19, 1966
Ratings: (non-report week, ratings unknown)
© Raybert Productions; 12-19-66; LP37617
Sponsor This Week:
Kellogg’s™
Rerun Dates: May 16, 1970, February 26, 1972 (CBS)

Teleplay by Dave Evans and Gerald Gardner & Dee Caruso; Story by Dave Evans.
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.
I’m A Believer” Written by Neil Diamond and Produced by Jeff Barry.
Guest cast:

Badderly..........................................................................Reta Shaw
Fern.......................................................................Kelly Jean Peters
Hack..........................................................................Jeff DeBenning

Home Video Releases:

  • The Monkees: The Collector's Edition - VHS Tape #9 (Columbia House #13222, May 22, 1995)
  • The Monkees Deluxe Limited Edition Boxed Set - VHS Tape #1 (Rhino R3 2960, October 17, 1995)
  • Rhino VHS R3 2237 (March 26, 1996)
  • The Monkees - Season 1 DVD Boxed Set - Disc 3 (Rhino RetroVision DVD R2 976076, May 13, 2003)
  • The Monkees - Season 1 DVD Boxed Set - Disc 3 (Eagle Rock Entertainment DVD EM351359, September 27, 2011)
  • The Monkees - The Complete Series - Blu-Ray Disc 2 (Rhino BD2-552705, July 8, 2016)

Synopsis:

The Monkees are in their pad trying to rehearse "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone", but three times they are disrupted by David’s hypnotic trance, and, realizing there must be a girl in the room, they spot one staring equally lovestruck at David and send her away. After she leaves, David emerges from of his trance and starts singing as if nothing has happened. When he realizes what happened, he promises his mates he'll never look at another girl again. The guys make him promise in the form of a vow, but everywhere they look, more girls appear staring longingly at him: one holding Michael's guitar, one hiding in their fridge, and another standing on a chair, and the guys have to drag them all out. While searching for more girls in the room, Michael, Micky and Peter are surprised to see David in a harem-like state surrounded by the same girls.

Later that day while in town, they are spotted arriving by Monkeemobile by Mrs. Badderly, a gypsy tea room owner who reads fortunes, but who's also a scheming stage mother plotting to use David to launch her daughter's show business career. She hands her daughter Fern a nail and pepper and tells her she knows what to do. Meanwhile she manages to lure The Monkees to her tea room where she's in the back talking on the phone to a Mr. Hack to let him know her daughter will be on his Amateur Hour show with a partner. Then while the guys drink tea, Mrs. Badderly makes two predictions about Michael about to have a flat tire and Peter’s coming down with a 24-hour virus, and Fern Badderly, with the able use of pepper and the nail, makes them come true. Then, Badderly predicts David will fall in love within 24 hours and leave his friends, but The Monkees are skeptical of her predictions. When The Monkees leave, Michael sees The Monkeemobile's right front tire is flat and Peter starts a sneezing fit. The con jobs convince them and, believing her third forecast, dump David in The Monkeemobile, repair its tire, and immediately rush him to their pad.

Back at their flat, Micky, Michael and Peter, to make sure David’s prediction of falling and love and leaving the group doesn't come true, imprison him and are determined that he will not meet any girls for one day! Meanwhile, Mrs. Badderly hatches her next plan; when there's a knock on the door, the guys quickly hide David by disguising him as a chair by draping a table cloth over him. They're relived when they think it's only a Girl Scout and Peter answers the door where Fern Badderly, disguised as a Girl Scout, pretends she's selling a bag of cookies. But they aren't fooled and throw her out as fast as they can! Then while playing a game of cards, there’s another knock at the door and when they realize that’s it’s another girl, Peter gets David upstairs in five seconds. Fern, now disguised as a photographer, offers to take their picture for publicity. As she’s about to take their picture she asks about the fourth member and when Micky tells her he’s upstairs she shoots the photo (literally) leaving flash smoke everywhere and the guys catch her just about to head upstairs and manage to toss her out again. It is here a fed-up David tries to leave telling the others the only the way to keep him there is to chain him down and the boys end up manacling David to a chair in front of a TV. While David watches the Screen Gems western Iron Horse (ABC, 1966–68) in his mates' absence, a telegram for David is slipped under the door selecting him to be a judge for a 15th Annual Beauty Contest which after he reads escapes from the pad, still shackled to the chair. When the others find David gone, Michael reads the telegram he left behind and soon they all storm off after him.

While David heads for his destination dragging along the chair, his mates, at one point, think they've found David, but it's another young man (David Price!) dragging a chair chained to his foot! Sure enough, David and his chair both makes it to the beauty contest and he discovers that not only is Fern Badderly (wearing a long wig) the only contestant, the pageant is held in Mrs. Badderly’s tea room. David falls in love at sight and literally hears music whenever he touches her (due to the record player in the back operated by her mom). The other Monkees show up but realize it’s too late as Mrs. Badderly arrives and tells David and Fern of her prediction of Fern going on the Amateur hour talent show with a partner—who happens to be David! David’s reluctant but soon relents upon Fern’s persuasion. When Micky, Michael and Peter hear this, they try to stop him by sitting on the chair still chained to him, but David picks up the chain, pulls it apart, and leaves with Fern to practice. Peter answers a phone (which on cue rolls into shot!) where Mr. Hack from the TV Amateur Hour gives him a message to remind Mrs. Badderly that David and her daughter will appear last and the guys realize Mrs. Badderly’s scheme.

At the TV Amateur Hour talent show, the guys, realizing that if David wins their music act will break up, they think of something drastic to make David and Fern’s act him lose. First they appear on the show in disguises: Peter is The Astonishing Pietro, an inept magician whose act ends with him crying over spilled milk (literally!); then Michael, as Billy Roy Hodstetter, a corny folk singer, sings a hackneyed speedy rendition of “Different Drum”; and Micky goes as Locksley Mendoza, an even cornier and more inept comic-mimic, whose celebrity impersonations are all the same: James Cagney. Meanwhile Mike and Peter give David a squirt of breath spray laced with a formula to make his voice crack, fill his jacket with rocks and give him a rubber cane. When David and Fern go on stage, David winds up fouling up the act, causing Fern to storm off stage crying to the arms of her mother, who barks at David for being such an untalented kid. Host Mr. Hack then introduces his sponsor, but The Monkees are quick to correct him ("His sponsor? No, our sponsor!").

Following the break, Mr. Hack does a commercial for "The Amateur Hour's" sponsor, a product named "SDRAWKCAB," a vitamin supplement which contains aluminum ("A little iron is fine, but remember: iron can rust! Remember, SDRAWKCAB spelled backwards is 'backwards'!")! Then he introduces The Monkees as the next act, and they perform “I’m A Believer”. Afterwards, they guys explain to David about Mrs. Badderly's nefarious scheme to use him to further her daughter Fern’s success in show business, and David finally realizes he has been tricked into leaving his mates. But to everyone’s surprise, Mr. Hack declares Fern and David the winners!

Production Notes:

The Monkees resumed production on their television series with “Too Many Girls” (a.k.a. “Davy And Fern”) following a 2-week promotion tour to herald their TV series debut on NBC, which occurred a week before “Too Many Girls” began production. 

"Different Drum" was an early Michael Nesmith composition which launched the very career of a certain Stone Poneys frontwoman: one Linda Ronstadt.

Musical Number Alert! Yes that is The Monkees performing and singing every note of music you hear of "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" at the beginning of this episode's teaser! The Monkees had spent the first half of 1966 playing together and recording as a group - Michael Nesmith has said "about 100 tapes" of their pre-series recording were made. But the boys' gestation as a true group was quashed when, at the beginning of episode filming at the end of May 1966, Don Kirshner was retained.

"A glass of water laced with pills" was originally employed in an earlier storyline for “Too Many Girls” (a.k.a. “Davy And Fern”) for making David's voice crack.

With the addition of several new cues, Allyn Ferguson's musical stings from Episode No. 10, “Here Come The Monkees” (Original Pilot Film), can be heard throughout “Too Many Girls” (a.k.a. “Davy And Fern”). A sting from these new cues can be heard again in Episode No. 27, “Monkee Mother,” in the scene where Judy Rudnick (Judy March)'s kids barge in on The Monkees' pad playing "army." Ferguson also scored the soundtrack for My Three Sons (ABC/CBS, 1960-72).

Pianist Roger Spiker was brought in to provide live piano accompaniment for Fern and David's song-and-dance routine on Mr. Hack's "Amateur Hour".

In order to appease NBC-TV Broadcast Standards and Practices, bikini-clad Kelly Jean Peters’ massive cleavage was cleverly concealed by a partially smudged camera lens. (These are the same BS&P folks that forbade Barbara Eden’s navel on I Dream Of Jeannie [NBC, 1965-70]!) However, some syndicated prints have aired during the 1970s and early 1980s where the "offending" scenes were changed, allowing viewers the luxury of seeing Fern Badderly stepping out from behind a curtain -- with her bikini unblurred! There were also alternate angles during the scene where David touches her and Mrs. Badderly plays the record. A newly-remastered version of "Too Many Girls" (a.k.a. "Davy And Fern") with the unblurred scene made its basic cable TV broadcast premiere on May 25, 2015 during a Memorial Day marathon of Monkees episodes on IFC.

In the 1980s, “Too Many Girls” and The Monkees series premiere, “The Royal Flush”, were the only 2 first season episodes in the series' syndication package to show the first season main title opening of The Monkees. The other 30 segments from Season 1, for reasons unknown, featured the series' opening from the second season, which had been the norm since the series debut in national syndication in September 1975! In the 1990s, however, all the episodes had the series' second-season opening grafted onto them. Rhino, however, set the record straight by properly reediting The Monkees' first season segments with the the first season opening credits in remastering the shows for release on The Deluxe Limited-Edition Box Set, the individual select VHS releases, and The Monkees - Season 1 DVD set.

Trivia Notes:

The final irony of The Monkees’ use of The Iron Horse (ABC, 1966-68) in this episode: it aired directly opposite The Monkees in 1966-1967! On a rival network, yet! (Network-shmetwork, as long as both shows were shot in the same studio...)

The TV set on which David watches The Iron Horse reappears in Episode No. 58, "Mijacogeo" (a.k.a. "The Frodis Caper"), the series finale. The Monkees obviously own 2 TV sets, for a different set (compleet with headphone jack, antenna, and carrying handle) is viewed in No. 20, “The Monkees In The Ring”, and No. 29, “The Monkees Get Out More Dirt”; it's also the same set which appears in No. 40, "Monkees Marooned", in Major Pshaw (Monte Landis)'s hut.

The official title of this episode is based on Too Many Girls, a Broadway musical which opened October 18, 1939 and ran for 249 performances, and inspired a 1940 RKO movie musical comedy starring Lucille Ball. The title song was composed by Lorenz Hart (lyrics) and Richard Rodgers (music).

Mr. Hack's "Amateur Hour" is a spoof of Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour (DuMont/NBC/ABC/CBS, 1948-70), TV's most famous talent show.

When David pulls apart the chain binding him to the chair, he utters the immortal line, "A man in love has the strength of thousands!" Micky repeats this line in Episode No. 29, “The Monkees Get Out More Dirt,” while showing off his newfound prowess of ballet dancing for April Conquest (Julie Newmar).

In alternating scenes, Michael and David can be seen wearing the same shirts they wore in Episode No. 13, “One Man Shy” (a.k.a. "Peter And The Debutante").

The set which was used in “Too Many Girls” (a.k.a. “Davy And Fern”) as Badderly (Reta Shaw)'s tea room was reused as The Dragonman (Joey Forman)'s China Boy Club Chinese restaurant in Episode No. 26, “Monkee Chow Mein”.

In their act on Mr. Hack's "Amateur Hour," Fern and David sing the first 2 verses of the song "Undecided." It was written by old Tin Pan Alley team Charles Shavers and Sid Robin and originally recorded by Ella Fitzgerald in 1939; it has since been recorded literally hundreds of times by everyone from the Ames Brothers to Nat "King" Cole to his daughter Natalie Cole to Benny Goodman to Stepahne Grapelli to Dee Dee Bridgewater.

In the closing “I’m A Believer” musical number, we get a glimpse of David (tambourine), Peter (keyboards), Micky (drums) and Michael (guitar) clad in their famous 8-button shirts, which are white. The Monkees will be seen with these shirts in Episode No. 17, “The Case Of The Missing Monkee”, No. 23, “Captain Crocodile” and No. 32, “The Monkees On Tour”, as part of the story instead of just a musical number. Footage from the “I’m A Believer” number seen here is recycled in the next episode, “The Son Of A Gypsy”.

In his encounter with Fern at the gypsy tea room, David introduces himself and says, simply, "I think I love you." Four years later, that same quote would serve as the title of a song recorded by another Screen Gems made-for-TV rock group, The Partridge Family (ABC, 1970-74), written by Tony Romeo, produced by Wes Farrell for Coral Rock Productions, and released on a Bell #910 single in October 1970 (b/w Farrell, Cretecos & Appel's "Somebody Wants to Love You"), and its adjoining Bell #6050 album The Partridge Family Album a month after; it first appeared in the December 11, 1970 "My Son, The Feminist" episode of the series. Phenomenally successful, the song hit number one and stayed there for 16 weeks and was voted the top song for 1970. (Interestingly, The Partridge Family's label, Bell, was formed from Colgems Records, The Monkees' label.)

Guest Cast Notes:

Reta Shaw (Badderly) was featured as Aunt Hagatha in a couple of episodes of Bewitched (ABC, 1964-72), portrayed Martha on The Ghost And Mrs. Muir (NBC/ABC, 1968-70) and took on parts in such films as The Ghost And Mr. Chicken (Universal, 1966) and Disney's Escape To Witch Mountain (Buena Vista, 1975) before her passing in January 1982.

Kelly Jean Peters (Fern Badderly) made three guest appearances on the TV series Cagney & Lacey (CBS, 1982-88) as Ginger Cohen. She and D'Urville Martin (The Champ from “The Monkees In The Ring”) appeared together in the original 1968 pilot for All In The Family (CBS, 1971-79), titled Justice for All. Peters played Gloria, and Martin played Lionel Jefferson. Martin also played Lionel in the second version of the pilot, Those Were The Days.

Jeff DeBenning (Hack) appeared with Monkee guest Ron Masak ("The Monstrous Monkee Mash") in a fourth-season episode of I Dream Of Jeannie, "Jeannie And The Secret Weapon"---which, ironically, aired on NBC directly before 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee!

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