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Episode No. 14:

“Dance, Monkee, Dance”

The Monkees use disguises, snappy patter, and fancy footwork
to weasel out of a lifetime contract for dancing lessons.

Vital Stats, Credits and Releases On Home Video:

Production No. 4719
Filmed At: Screen Gems Studio 3 and 7, Hollywood, CA, and Columbia Ranch, Burbank, CA.
Filming Dates: October 11-14, 1966
Original Air Date: December 12, 1966
Ratings: 18.6 rating/31.3 share (10,210,000 viewers)
© Raybert Productions; 12-12-66; LP37616
Sponsor This Week:
Slicker and Black Label by Yardley Of London™
Rerun Dates: March 21, 1970, November 27, 1971 (CBS)

Written by Bernie Orenstein
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’ll Be Back On My Feet Again” Written by
Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell and Produced by Jeff Barry
“I’m A Believer” Written by
Neil Diamond and Produced by Jeff Barry
Guest cast:

Miss Buntwell..............................................................Karen James
Timid Man..................................................................Stephen Coit
Woman...................................................................Elisabeth Camp
Smoothie...................................................................Derrick Lewis
Hal March as Renaldo

Home Video Releases:

  • The Monkees - Volume 2 (Musicvision VHS #60643/Beta #20643, July 15, 1986)
  • Image Entertainment laserdisc #ID6353RC (1989)
  • The Monkees: The Collector's Edition - VHS Tape #14 (Columbia House #13691, May 22, 1995)
  • The Monkees Deluxe Limited Edition Boxed Set - VHS Tape #9 (Rhino R3 2960, October 17, 1995)
  • Rhino VHS R3 2316 (April 22, 1997)
  • 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)

Synopsis:

When Peter answers the red phone at The Monkees pad, he's given a chance to win free dance lessons (valued @ $12.98!). After several wrong answers, he eventually gives a correct answer to a really tough trivia question ("Who was the 8th President of The United States of America?") and wins! Upon arriving at the Renaldo’s Dance Au Go Go school, Peter is soon given waltz lessons by Renaldo’s assistant Miss Buntwell and after some encouraging by the boss, Renaldo, and his shapely aide, he signs a contract. Renaldo and Miss Buntwell gloat in their accomplishment of luring and snaring another sucker into signing a lifetime contract.

Back at the pad, Peter explains what happened which worries the guys especially when he tells them about the contract he signed. Michael views the contract and after explaining to him that he signed a lifetime contract, Peter offers to simply tear up the contract. Then they try to explain to him that he can’t tear up a contract because it’s a legal document but Peter’s convinced it won't get him convicted in any court. In a hilarious fictitious courtroom scene, David, Micky and Michael don robes and wigs as the defense attorney, the prosecutor, and the judge, respectively; and Peter is grilled ruthlessly by prosecutor Micky, hit over the head by Judge Michael's gavel, and eventually found guilty! Returned to reality, the guys, concerned about Peter's dancing his way to the poorhouse, each come up with an idea to help him. First, Micky impersonates Peter’s solicitor, George Michael Dolenz, and arrives at Renaldo’s claiming Peter has ballpointitis (a need to sign lingterm contracts!); in his attempt to break Peter’s contract, he ends up inadvertently signing a contract himself. Then Michael heads to the dance school but is seduced by Miss Buntwell into not only signing a contract as well, but enrolling for graduate work, too! Deciding they need help from the inside, David, with the most dancing experience, goes to the dance school, where he auditions as a dance instructor and gets the job. He then sends David to the studio for his first class in a half an hour; as David prepares to go, the latest winner arrives for his dance lesson who turns out to be Martin Van Buren himself! Later at the studio, David proceeds to teach Micky, Michael and Peter every type of dance from The Charleston, to The Hula, the Mexican Hat Dance and and tap dancing singing “I’ll Be Back Up On My Feet.”

Back at their pad, Micky deciding they need a brilliant idea to break Renaldo’s contact, walks off the Monkee pad set into a roomful of Chinese writers and asks them for an idea for the show. They present him with one, which he takes back to the set, crumples up and discards (“Man, this is a terrible idea! Those guys are really overpaid!”). David hatched another idea after reading an ad in the newspaper promising love and adventure at the dance school. The next day, an army of older women invades the studio. David plans to give the clients a pep talk while Michael keeps Miss Buntwell occupied with his maniacal admirations for her and chases her around the office. Meanwhile, David talking to a crowd of elderly women promising them patience, learning the latest steps, and dancing with perfect gentlemen; however Peter and Micky donned in disguises to the show the exact opposite of the intentions explained in David’s pep talk, with their stunts sending the women leaving. Renaldo then enters the office as Michael is still wooing on Miss Buntwell who’s now on top of a desk. He then excuses David and takes over, defeating both ploys. When Miss Buntwell prepares The Dancing Smoothies, four oily-looking characters, to come on strong and dance with the ladies, The Monkees get another idea and tricking the dancers, The Monkees pull out snub-nosed pistols, mugging The Smoothies and donning their colorful tuxedoes. As Renaldo announces The Dancing Smoothies, The Monkees arrive in their place and soon The Monkees, Renaldo, The Smoothies (draped in ropes and in undergarments), the ladies, a dog, and Miss Buntwell engage in a wild promenade to the tune of “I’m A Believer,” which ends with Renaldo and The Smoothies wrapped in their own banner as the elderly women start fleeing.

The next day, a distressed Renaldo, his brilliant master plan to bilk the public now reduced to a sad, irreversible shambles, sits at his desk brooding over his failure when suddenly The Monkees arrive for their dancing lessons. Renaldo tries to throw them out for driving his customers away, even going so far as to offer to tear up their lifetime contracts just to get rid of them, but they are adamant and promise to keep coming back for every lesson, every week...unless he destroys all the other contracts too. Renaldo is all but only too eager to agree, and soon the guys are tearing up every contract he has. Afterwards, they all leave except Peter who asks Renaldo to show him The Box Step again just before Michael returns to drag him out.

Production Notes:

This is Bernie Orenstein's 3rd and final Monkees writing effort, as well as his only solo one; with the trusty aid of Gerald Gardner and Dee Caruso, he scripted No. 6, “The Success Story”, and No. 11, “Monkees A La Carte”. Orentstein first broke into TV as a writer for the 1956-57 Canadian CBC-TV series The Barris Beat and became a producer for That Girl (CBS, 1966-71), and Love, American Style (ABC, 1969-74). He was also producer and writer for Sanford And Son (NBC, 1972-77) and was executive producer of its short-lived sequel Sanford Arms (NBC, 1977) as well as for Carter Country (ABC, 1977-79), One Of The Boys (NBC, 1982), and Kate & Allie (CBS, 1984-89). Orenstein also wrote, produced, and appeared in four episodes of The New Dick Van Dyke Show (CBS, 1971-74).

“Dance, Monkee, Dance”'s end credits erroneously list “I’ll Be Back Up On My Feet” (presented here in an earlier version of the Sandy Linzer-Denny Randell tune that was later rerecorded for The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees) as “I’ll Be Back On My Feet Again.” The end credits of Episode No. 20, "The Monkees In The Ring," the second Monkees episode to feature the Linzer-Randell tune, lists the song with its full title intact, but still has the word "Again" tagged onto it. Needless to say, no correction was ever made.

Collector's Note: The original mix of “I’ll Be Back Up On My Feet” was finally released in January 1990 on Rhino's Missing Links Volume 2 (R2 70903).

For “Dance, Monkee, Dance”'s repeats on CBS Saturday Afternoon, “I’ll Be Back Up On My Feet” was replaced by the heretofore-unreleased Bill Chadwick tune “If You Have The Time”, which was originally considered for use in The Monkees' 1968 feature film HEAD.

Collector's Note: The track was released in July 1987 on Rhino's Missing Links (R2 70150). However, the version of “If You Have The Time” used in the CBS repeat of “Dance, Monkee, Dance” was alternate to that which was used on Missing Links, as it featured no Moog synthesizer mix.

The Mexican musical cue heard in the scene where The Monkees encounter The Dancing Smoothies was first heard during Michael Nesmith's matador routine in Episode No. 8, “Don't Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth”. A snippet from this sting can also be heard in No. 37, "Art For Monkee's Sake".

A deleted story idea from “Dance, Monkee, Dance” had The Monkees mischievously waxing Renaldo's floor so The Dancing Smoothies and Renaldo would end up in a huge pile on the floor.

The Monkees' first album, The Monkees, was released on the first day of “Dance, Monkee, Dance”'s production.

David's mentioning of the huge costs of the costumes and sets for the “I’ll Be Back Up On My Feet” romp and Micky walking off the set to talk to the writers in this episode are one of several examples of The Monkees' TV show's off-the-wall penchants for "breaking the fourth wall", i.e., making on-air mention of either the TV series or the episode's script, etc. Others can be found in Episode No. 4, “Your Friendly Neighborhood Kidnappers”, No. 5, “The Spy Who Came In From The Cool” , No. 7, “The Monkees In A Ghost Town”, No. 9, “The Chaperone”, No. 11, “Monkees A La Carte”, the next episode, “Too Many Girls” (a.k.a. "Davy And Fern"), No. 18, “I Was A Teenage Monster”, No. 20, “The Monkees In The Ring”, No. 21, “The Prince And The Paupers”, No. 28, “The Monkees On The Line”, No. 29, “The Monkees Get Out More Dirt”, No. 33, "It's A Nice Place To Visit...", No. 39, "Hillbilly Honeymoon" (a.k.a. "Double Barrell Shotgun Wedding"), No. 40, "Monkees Marooned", No. 41, "The Card-Carrying Red Shoes", No. 42, "The Wild Monkees", No. 45, "The Monkees In Texas", No. 46, "The Monkees On The Wheel", No. 47, "The Monkees Christmas Show", No. 48, "Fairy Tale", No. 50, "The Monstrous Monkee Mash", No. 52, "The Devil And Peter Tork", No. 53, "The Monkees Race Again" (a.k.a. "Leave The Driving To Us"), No. 54, "The Monkees In Paris" (a.k.a. "The Paris Show"), and No. 55, "The Monkees Mind Their Manor".

Background music cues by Stu Phillips were recorded for this and “Too Many Girls” (a.k.a. "Davy And Fern") on Monday, November 21, 1966 between 10am and 1pm.

Color stills from this episode can be found in the 1995 Rhino comp release Greatest Hits (R2 72190) and the 2006 Deluxe Edition of More Of The Monkees (R2 77744).

Trivia Notes:

A second episode of The Monkees to feature a courtroom as a fantasy sequence is Episode No. 43, "A Coffin Too Frequent", in which Michael is The Witness and Micky, David, and Peter are the barrister, the defendant, and the judge, respectively. Micky, David and Michael donned judicial robes again in a skit for their appearance in an October 1969 episode of Rowan And Martin's Laugh-In

“I’ll Be Back Up On My Feet”'s musical romp displays some footage of Michael Nesmith's matador routine previously seen in the “Papa Gene’s Blues” romp of Episode No. 8, “Don't Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth”. Coincidentally, all 4 Monkees can be seen here wearing the same matador gear they wore in “Don't Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth”, too!

Michael Nesmith repeats "stone drag!" in Episode No. 51, "The Monkee's Paw".

The shots of The Monkees tuxedo-clad dancing up a staircase, dressed as Indians performing a rain dance, in Hawaiiian skirts playing congas and doing The Hula, and showing off their wares in matador gear, all seen in this segment, can be seen as part of The Monkees' season-2 main title opening.

A couple of snippets from “Dance, Monkee, Dance”, including the beginning of the “I’m A Believer” number, were later used in the "Remember Next Year" NBC-TV 1967-68 Fall Preview hosted by the late Jan Murray and Danny Thomas.

The red phone under a transparent cake cover which Peter answers in the first minutes of “Dance, Monkee, Dance”'s teaser sequence is based on The Batphone, the one used in Commissioner Gordon (Neil Hamilton)'s office, on Batman (ABC, 1966–68). This is the first of several connections to Batman on The Monkees TV series, while the red phone, already a featured staple on the show (having previously appeared in Episode No. 1, “The Royal Flush”, No. 3, “Monkee Versus Machine”, No. 4, “Your Friendly Neighborhood Kidnappers”, No. 12, “I've Got A Little Song Here”, and the previous segment, “One Man Shy” [a.k.a. "Peter And The Debutante"]), would come and go in later Monkees episodes.

Micky's full name, George Michael Dolenz, is given mention for the first time in “Dance, Monkee, Dance”. It can be heard again in the feature film HEAD.

Micky and Michael wear the exact same shirts they're wearing here in Episode No. 17, “The Case Of The Missing Monkee”.

Watch for a brief glimpse of Monkee stand-in David Price as the camera pans on Micky walking off and back on the soundstage of The Monkees' pad.

Oh, and by the by, the 8th President of The United States of America was Martin Van Buren! (How could I have left that out?!)

Michael Nesmith's own mother (and inventor of Liquid Paper) Bette Nesmith Graham can be seen in the group of ladies taking the dance lessons. (She is wearing a dark blue dress with her hair up.) And in the romp, she is seen dancing with her son, Michael!

Guest Cast Notes:

The late Hal March was host of the scandalous quiz show The $64,000 Question and appeared in other projects, including the classic Burns & Allen Show (CBS, 1950-58, as Harry Morton and his partner, Casey) and a brief stint hosting the pre-Johnny Carson, post-Jack Paar, Tonight Show.

Elisabeth Camp (seen here as Woman) reappears on this series in Episode No. 16, "The Son Of A Gypsy," as Madame Rantha.

Stephen Coit was credited in an unassuming role of "Timid Man," but in actuality appeared as U.S. President Martin Van Buren!

Derrick Lewis (Smoothie) had an uncredited role in the TV series Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea (ABC, 1964-68) as Lieutenant O'Brien.

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