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Episode No. 17:

“The Case Of The Missing Monkee”

At a rest home, kidnapped Peter and an esteemed nuclear
scientist face a mad scientist's insidious brain drain.

Vital Stats, Credits and Releases On Home Video:

Production No. 4731
Final Draft: November 1, 1966
Filmed At: Screen Gems Studios, Hollywood, CA.
Filming Dates: November 8-11, 1966
Original Air Date: January 9, 1967
Ratings: 19.6 ratings/30.7 share (10,760,000 viewers)
© Raybert Productions; 1-9-67; LP37668
Sponsor This Week:
Slicker and Black Label by Yardley Of London™
Rerun Dates: July 24, 1967 (NBC); January 23 and June 12, 1971, April 1, 1972 (CBS); September 9, 1972, April 28, 1973 (ABC)

Written by Gerald Gardner and Dee Caruso.
Directed by Robert Rafelson.
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 Not Your Stepping Stone” Written & Produced by Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart.
Guest cast:

Bruno...................................................................Vincent Gardenia
Schnitzler...............................................................Norbert Schiller
Nurse............................................................................Nancy Fish
Policeman.....................................................................Ivan Bonar
Vito Scotti as Marcovitch

Home Video Releases:

  • The Monkees: The Collector's Edition - VHS Tape #3 (Columbia House #13692, May 22, 1995)
  • The Monkees Deluxe Limited Edition Boxed Set - VHS Tape #10 (Rhino R3 2960, October 17, 1995)
  • Rhino VHS R3 2318 (April 11, 2000)
  • 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 3 (Rhino BD2-552705, July 8, 2016)

Synopsis:

At a French restaurant, The Monkees play at a testimonial dinner for Professor Milo Schnitzler, a nuclear scientist, who delivers a speech. After the speech, Peter compliments the professor just before he is led away by the sinister Dr. Marcovitch, a master spy. The professor manages to slip Peter a note that says he's being taken to The Remington Clinic, a rest home. After giving the note to Michael, Peter goes searching for the professor; he is spotted by Marcovitch, who gives a nod and Peter is knocked unconscious with a hammer from behind the curtains and dragged off, too.

Worried about Peter’s disappearance, Micky, Michael and David question Marovitch who plays innocent. Michael then takes out the note that Peter gave to him. Soon after The Monkees set out for The Remington Clinic by Monkeemobile, where they ask a ditzy nurse about Peter and Professor Schitzler's whereabouts but when she can't find any patients of their names so she suggest they go to the police. After they leave, Dr. Marcovitch shows up, suspicious of MIcky, Michael and David. Later, the trio bring a policeman to the French restaurant where they saw Peter last, but it has now been altered to resemble The Orient, with Dr. Marcovich succeeding in fooling the cop in his disguise as a Chinese waiter. Then the guys return to the clinic with David all bandaged, wearing casts with a crutch pretending to being severely injured but their plans are ruined when the nurse gives David an appointment on the 13th! David is given a cough drop that induces spells of singing and dancing to the tune of “Old Folks At Home (Way Down Upon The Swanee River),” and the nurse end up swallows several cough drops herself!

The three climb decide to break inside the hospital by ascending a ladder, sneak into the window of the physical therapy room, and disguise themselves as patients and start searching the room for him. In another part of the clinic, Peter is tied up in a chair with Professor Schnitzler who is on a gurney drugged up while Dr. Marcovitch and his sidekick Bruno make plans to transport the professor out of the country. Bruno prepares to shoot Peter but the sinister doc stops him insisting on another plan before they leave the room. Peter, in an attempt to escape, scoots his chair to a mirror and, in homage to an old C.C. Beck-created superhero, shouts “Shazam!,” but a bolt of lightning shatters a mirror (“Well, another seven years bad luck for Captain Marvel!”). Meanwhile, Bruno enters the physical therapy room and gives the guys harsh physical therapy, with Micky on the weights nearly knocking him out and strapping David on a machine that gets rid of his spare tire (literally!). After the therapy, the guys continue their search for Peter when the phone rings; Michael answers, giving details to the events that took place before hanging up. Micky wonders if it was police on the phone but Michael replies "no it was TV Guide". As for Peter he has a dose of Marcovich’s sinister braindrain which erases his memory (Marcovich is confident it his memory will be out of commission until early spring!), and when Micky, Michael, and David abandon all hope, Peter enters the room to their joy—until he claims he doesn’t know them!

The guys attempt to restore Peter's memory by scaring him which after two attempts succed (or partly, since Peter calls David Micky). Peter remembers where Professor Schnitzler’s predicament is and when they hear footsteps, Michael, Micky and David hide leaving Peter to play dumb, to which Peter complains, "Why am I always the one to play dumb? Why can't I play smart once in a while?!" To his delight, it's the nurse; she gives him a cough drop leaves, and The Monkees find that Marcovich and Bruno plan to operate on Schnitzler and smuggle him out of the country in an ambulance (overseas?!?!). They come of with a plan of having Micky take Schnitzler's place on the gurney since it's hard to see the patient's face with the gas mask on. Then Marcovitch and Bruno arrive to move the gurney in the operation room with Michael, David and Peter hiding under it. As they prepare to operate, the others managed to sneak out unseen. Then they return dressed in surgical gowns pretending to be surgeons where they attempt to take over the operation to stall for time with their shenanigans including literally cutting cards for the patient!

The incensed Marcovitch and The Monkees are struggling over the gurney causing Micky to sit up and accidentally remove his mask and Marcovitch recognizes them all as the musicians! Soon they all give a  mad musical chase all around the hospital set to “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” ends in the physical therapy room, where the boys turn the equipment against the villains and make them dizzy by spinning them around on a gurney. Later, a now conscious Professor Schnitzler thanks the guys for saving him. Sure that Marcovitch and Bruno should undoubtedly get 20 years from a federal judge, and probably get a good wrist-slapping from the American Medical Association, The Monkees set off in their Monkeemobile. Case closed.

Production Notes:

On the day after this segment went to air, The Monkees’ second album, More Of The Monkees (Colgems #COM/COS-102), was released.

“The Case Of The Missing Monkee” originally concluded with an attractive woman handing Peter a note at yet another testimonial dinner, injecting more impending trouble for The Monkees. Also, Dr. Marcovich was originally going to be called Dr. Kreel. 

The exterior and interior set (the first floor) used as The Remington Clinic in “The Case Of The Missing Monkee” was reused as a police station in Episode No. 25, “Alias Micky Dolenz”; its front steps were used as the Screen Gems building in the teaser sequence of No. 20, “The Monkees In The Ring”, and the City Hall front entrance in No. 36, "Monkee Mayor".

Michael's hair can be seen parted on the left and David's and Micky's on the right in one shot, greatly due to a reversed film interpositive.

The brief Oriental musical cue which plays during the scene where Micky, Michael and David take a policeman to the French restaurant to find Peter, only to discover it has been altered to resemble The Orient, was first heard in Episode No. 5, “The Spy Who Came In From The Cool”; it is reused in No. 21, “The Prince And The Paupers”, No. 24, “Monkees A La Mode”, and No. 26, “Monkee Chow Mein”.

Michael Nesmith makes reference to TV Guide. Nearly 4 weeks after this episode's telecast, The Monkees would be featured on the front cover of TV Guide's Jan. 28-Feb 3, 1967 issue; it was their first of 2 appearances on the magazine.

Right after production wrapped on “The Case Of The Missing Monkee,” The Monkees put filming on hiatus to complete recording sessions for More Of The Monkees and take a crashcourse rehearsal for their first live concert, which occurred in Hawaii at The Honolulu International Center Arena on December 3, 1966.

The musical number for “I’m A Believer” was most likely filmed during production of “The Case Of The Missing Monkee.”

Two scenes from “The Case Of The Missing Monkee” are adapted into the second season opening sequence for The Monkees: Michael in a green cap and gown as a surgeon, rowing; Micky playing a horse jockey on an exercise bike.

Goffin and King's "Pleasant Valley Sunday" replaced “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” when “The Case Of The Missing Monkee” reaired on NBC July 24, 1967. (NBC originally scheduled this episode to be rerun July 17, 1967.)

ABC began airing repeats of The Monkees' TV series on its Saturday Afternoon schedule with a rerun of “The Case Of The Missing Monkee” @ 1:00 p.m. (EDT), September 9, 1972.

Trivia Notes:

Here, The Monkees’ address number is changed from 1334 N. Beechwood to 1438 N. Beechwood.

The 2 signs on the swinging door in the hospital read "Maternity" and "A through F." 

The name "Schnitzler" can also be heard in the very next episode, “I Was A Teenage Monster”, which sees Dr. Mendoza (John Hoyt) referring briefly to Godfrey Von Schnitzler, "the little boy that lives down the hill."

Two popular TV series are referenced in this segment. Micky does a hilarious take on Batman (ABC, 1966–68), when he calls for "The Bathook!", whilst Peter renders a cue from Act I of Ben Casey (ABC, 1961-66). Trivia footnote on Ben Casey: pre-Monkee David Jones appeared (with pre-Batgirl Yvonne Craig!) as Greg Carter, a glue-sniffing wife-beater(?!) in a December 27, 1965 episode of the series, "If You Play Your Cards Right, You Too Can Be a Loser."

David Jones' sing and dance number of “Old Folks At Home (Way Down Upon The Swanee River)” in “The Case Of The Missing Monkee” is a repeat performance from Episode No. 5, “The Spy Who Came In From The Cool”, in which he is seen dancing a jig and singing the 1851 Stephen Collins Foster tune for Agent Honeywell (Don Penny). In Episode No. 45, "The Monkees In Texas", as "Lone Stranger" Micky and "Pronto" Peter venture into a saloon to recruit outlaws and are eventually confronted by Black Bart's mob, “Old Folks At Home (Way Down Upon The Swanee River)” can be heard on a player-piano. And in Episode No. 54, "The Monkees In Paris" (a.k.a. "The Paris Show"), a nice banjo-flute-washboard-accordion rendition of “Swanee River” can be heard as David and Peter traipse about on a tour boat.

In the scene where Michael, David and Peter confront Dr. Marcovich and Bruno at the operating table (with Micky, face covered with a mask, lying on top), Michael snatches up a menu and reads, "My patient!" On the menu is the name "Vincent Van Gogh Gogh," which, you might recall, is the same name as a discotheque where David was discovered by George the gangster (Vic Tayback) in Episode No. 4, “Your Friendly Neighborhood Kidnappers”.

This is one of 4 occasions on The Monkees which see them masquerading in medical gear; Micky impersonates Sigmund Freud in Episode No. 13, “One Man Shy” (a.k.a. "Peter And The Debutante"), Micky, David and Peter don green surgical guises to revive a stressed out Michael in No. 28, “The Monkees On The Line”, and Micky impersonates a doctor in No. 30, “The Monkees In Manhattan” (a.k.a “The Monkees Manhattan Style”).

The 2 signs on the swinging door in The Remington Clinic read "Maternity A Thru F."

The brand of peanut butter David hands to Michael is Skippy. Interestingly, HEAD co-star Annette Funicello was spokeswoman for Skippy in the 1970s and 1980s.

This episode marks the first mention of Medicare on The Monkees; a second reference to it is made in Episode No. 30, “The Monkees In Manhattan” (a.k.a “The Monkees Manhattan Style”). A jointly-funded, federal-state health insurance program for certain low-income and needy people, Medicare's origins date back to 1965.

All of the Oriental items seen in the re-adjusted French restaurant are hand-me-down props reused for Episode No. 26, “Monkee Chow Mein”; Dr. Marcovich's Oriental disguise would inspire the garb of “Monkee Chow Mein”'s main nemesis, The Dragonman (Joey Forman).

The wording of the note by Prof. Schnitzler changes between the readings by Peter and Michael: Peter reads, "They are taking me to The Remington Clinic," whereas, according to Michael, it reads, "I am being taken to The Remington Clinic"!

For the first time, The Monkeemobile is given mention on-camera in a Monkees episode. 

Guest Cast Notes:

The late Vito Scotti (Marcovich), a character actor of limitless talent, co-starred with The Monkees again as Italian general I. Vitteloni in their feature film HEAD, and later played police Capt. Gaspar Formento on The Flying Nun (ABC, 1967-70), whose star, Sally Field (Sister Betrille), was seen frequently dating David Jones, and whose creator, Bernard Slade, would also create The Partridge Family (ABC, 1970-74). (And, interestingly enough, it is notable that the very set of The Monkees beach house was also often used as a set on The Flying Nun!!) Scotti also appeared in the May 1, 1970 episode of Get Smart (NBC/CBS, 1965-70), "Hello, Columbus - Goodbye America," with Monkee guest alum Oscar Beregi (“The Prince And The Paupers”) and Buddy Lewis (“I've Got A Little Song Here”).

The late Vincent Gardenia (Bruno) was nominated an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role as Cosmo Castorini in Moonstruck (MGM, 1987). Aside from a guest spot in the 2-part November 19-26, 1967 "The Council" episode of Mission: Impossible (CBS, 1966–73) with Monkee guest actor Stuart Nisbet ("The Monkees In Texas"), he later played Murray Melman in the TV series L.A. Law (NBC, 1988-94), and also played the role of Frank Lorenzo in the TV series All In The Family (CBS, 1971-79).

Nancy Fish (Nurse) played the role of Nurse Strickland in General Hospital.

Ivan Bonar (Policeman) was also seen on General Hospital in the role of Chase Murdock, and played the role of Dean Hopkins in The Adventures Of Ozzie & Harriet (ABC, 1952-66), the TV series which introduced America to Ricky Nelson (his parents were the stars). He appeared in numerous episodes of Bonanza (NBC, 1959-73) oftentimes with that series regular Bing Russell (who appeared in “Here Come The Monkees” [Original Pilot Film]), including the December 19, 1972 episode "The Bucket Dog." Bonar also guested with Monkees semiregular Henry Corden and guest Bobby Johnson (“I've Got A Little Song Here”) in an installment of The FBI (ABC, 1965-74), "Passage Into Fear", which aired on the night prior to “The Case Of The Missing Monkee.” 

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