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Episode No. 2:

“Monkee See, Monkee Die”

The Monkees head for a creepy manor on a fog-shrouded island
to learn about their inheritance from an eccentric millionaire.

Vital Stats, Credits and Releases On Home Video:

Production No. 4705
Final Draft: May 4, 1966
Filmed At: Screen Gems Studios, Hollywood, CA.
Filming Dates: June 20-24, 1966
Original Air Date: September 19, 1966
Ratings: 16.9 rating/30.5 share (9,280,000 viewers)
© Raybert Productions; 9-19-66; LP37608
Sponsor This Week:
Slicker and Black Label by Yardley Of London™
Rerun Dates: May 1, 1967 (NBC); October 25, 1969, February 27, 1971, January 22, 1972 (CBS); February 17, 1973 (ABC)

Written by Treva Silverman.
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.
Musical numbers produced by Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart.
“Last Train To Clarksville” by
Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart.
“Tomorrow Is Another Day” by
Tommy Boyce & Steve Venet.
Guest cast:

Babbitt........................................................................Henry Corden
Ellie..........................................................................Stacey Maxwell
Ralph.........................................................................Milton Parsons
Madame Roselle.............................................................Lea Marmer
Kingsley..........................................................................Mark Harris
Oliver McGowan as McQuinney

Home Video Releases:

  • The Monkees: The Collector's Edition - VHS Tape #2 (Columbia House #13223, May 22, 1995)
  • The Monkees Deluxe Limited Edition Boxed Set - VHS Tape #2 (Rhino R3 2960, October 17, 1995)
  • Rhino VHS R3 2241 (June 18, 1996)
  • The Monkees - Season 1 DVD Boxed Set - Disc 1 (Rhino RetroVision DVD R2 976076, May 13, 2003)
  • The Monkees - Season 1 DVD Boxed Set - Disc 1 (Eagle Rock Entertainment DVD EM351359, September 27, 2011)
  • The Monkees - The Complete Series - Blu-Ray Disc 1 (Rhino BD2-552705, July 8, 2016)

Synopsis:

The Monkees murder murder mysteries in this half-hour free-for-all. Mr. Babbitt, The Monkees’ avaricious landlord, arrives at their apartment to throw them out, due to them behind in their rent; The Monkees counterclaim the place is in disrepair. He informs them that his lawyer is arriving with dispossessing papers and then they’re evicted! The Monkees hatch a quick idea and when the lawyer McQuinney arrives, the foursome are all in disguises with Michael as an old deaf man, David as an old lady in a rocker, Micky as a 23-hour doorman (he was once a 24-hour doorman but couldn't take the long hours), and Peter, a TV repairman. They manage to fool the lawyer, who tells them that the Monkees are to arrive at Cunningham Island at 9:00 p.m. because they were left in the legacy of a millionaire. Upon hearing this, The Monkees take off their disguises and present themselves within seconds. However, the lawyer isn’t quite convinced of who they are and tells them to give The Monkees his message.

Later that night, Peter, Micky, David and Michael arrive at Cunningham’s mansion on a small fog-shrouded island that spooks them. They’re greeted by Ralph the butler who tells them they’re to be part of the reading of the will of the late John Cunningham. The group is still confused since they don’t even knew him even when he was alive but the butler assures them that the late millionaire remembered them back when they returned his wallet containing $600 and was very grateful since the wallet wasn't rightfully his! He leads them into a room where he introduces them to Madame Roselle, the late Cunningham’s spiritualist, Harris Kingsley, his traveling companion who then starts harassing Peter about having read his unusable travel books and Ellie Reynolds, the late owner’s pretty young grandniece. When David sees her stars are in his eyes as well as hers (literally) as he falls in love for the first time that night. The butler plays Cunningham’s will on a phonograph record in which the deceased states he’s left The Monkees the library organ with the stipulation that they play one song on it. He left the mansion and everything else to Ellie provided that she spend one night in the house before deciding if she’ll live there which surprises the others who had expected to be left in his will. The Monkees then play on the organ, as per the legacy’s stipulation, performing the song “Last Train To Clarksville.” Ralph, Kingsley and Mme. Roselle are furious on finding they have inherited nothing, with the bulk of the estate going to Ellie, so they immediately hatch their plan. The Monkees prepare to leave when Ralph tells them that the ferry is cancelled due to the fog since it’s the foggy season (which occurs approximately from 1820 to 1975!) so they will have to spend the night.

Later that night, the foursome sleep on a large bed that they all share. However, still spooked by their haunted surroundings, Michael suggests that one them stand watch. To select that person, they shoot fingers when a big hairy animal‘s paw appears and they race out of the room in fright! Walking through the dark hall, Madame Roselle appears who tells them of her vision that Ralph will either take a long journey and enjoy a good fortune or die. They immediately hear two gunshots and everybody heads downstairs where they see bullet holes and a knife in the walls plus the butler is missing, as per Madame Roselle’s prediction. Michael tries to use a phone to call the police but the phone wire is cut and tied in a bow. Mme. Roselle tells Ellie there’s nothing but evil in the house before Kingsley escorts back to her room. In a fantasy sequence with Micky as Sherlock Holmes and David as Dr. Watson, Micky analyses a knife that’s embedded in the wall and gives his theory about the identity of the killer. Suddenly they hear Ellie cry out and rush out the door only to find Kingsley just harassing Ellie in the hall about having read his travel books. Back in their room, Michael puts bread crumbs on the window sill of an opened window to lure a carrier pigeon in order to send a message and in a few seconds a pigeon flies in. But Michael discovers the pigeon already has a message strapped to its leg which states: “Please don’t strap a message to my leg. I am not a carrier pigeon”. Next, Michael puts a row of bones on the floor that he found in the closet in hopes of attracting a St. Bernard so he can deliver a message on his neck and lo and behold, a St. Bernard suddenly appears. But he already has a message on tied to his neck which states: “There’s a message for you on the pigeon”.

With nothing else to do, they all decide to just sleep the night away but they’re soon awakened by the sounds of gunshots which Michael dismisses as a car backfiring in the next room. More gunshots send them into further panic. Then Mme. Roselle shows up telling them of her next vision of Kingsley going to be shot dead. Back downstairs, the remaining party tries to figure out what to do next now that Ralph and Kingsley are missing. Just then, Micky comes up an idea to hook the microphones of the phone to be a signal-relaying receiver for the radio and sets to work. While using the phone, he succeeds in contacting a naval officer on a sub-marine, however the officer doesn’t appear to understand English. Mme. Roselle suggests holding a seance to learn the identity of the murderer. The Monkees, Ellie and the medium all clasp hands in hopes of reaching John Cunningham's spirit, but they instead get his answering service and unintentionally contact The Ghost Of Christmas Past! As if this weren't bad enough, the lights go out and Mme. Roselle vanishes, which is ultimately the proverbial bale of hay that fractured the camel’s spine.

The next morning, the group are ready to leave as soon as possible along with Ellie who decides against moving in. They all go outside and to cheer themselves up decide to play the song “Tomorrow’s Gonna Be Another Day” but it's useless in helping them overcome their moroseness. Then they hear laughter from inside the house and Michael, Micky and David enter and spy through a keyhole of a door to see Kingsley, Madame Roselle and Ralph wearing that scary animal’s paw on his hand, toasting to their success of scaring Ellie away and getting the mansion for themselves. Realizing it was all just a scheme, David asks Micky for his experimental knockout pills and sneaks in; dressed in a suit of armor, David puts the pills in the conspirators’ wine decanter. Everything works fine until Peter’s voice gives everyone away, and the conspirators all emerge from the study, each armed with a gun. Peter pretends to shoot them with his finger, but they have really collapsed from the drugged wine. The Monkees are relieved that it was just a trick and they have nothing to fear, until they hear The Ghost Of Christmas Past which sends them out of the house in a frenzy. Back at the mansion, the police finally arrive and, having explained their story to the police, everybody finally prepares to leave as Kingsley awakens and harasses the police about having read his unusable travel books.

Production Notes:

“Monkee See, Monkee Die” is the first Monkees teleplay by Treva Silverman, who authored 3 further first-season shows (Episode Nos. 12, “I've Got A Little Song Here,” 13, “One Man Shy” [a.k.a. "Peter And The Debutante"], and 16, “The Son Of A Gypsy”) and one second-season show (Episode No. 33, "It's A Nice Place To Visit..."). She later went on to contribute teleplays to The Mary Tyler Moore Show (CBS, 1970-77), for which she won 2 Emmy Awards in 1974!

The script for “Monkee See, Monkee Die” also credits David Panich as co-writer!

“Monkee See, Monkee Die” is also the first of 31 Monkees episodes aired on NBC to feature the word "Monkee" or "Monkees". Also, song titles appear for the first time in the end credits.

Stu Phillips tendered recordings of background music to this and Episode No. 7, "The Monkees In A Ghost Town," at RCA Studio C, Hollywood, on Tuesday, August 9, 1966 from 2:00-6:00pm.

Boyce and Hart's “Last Train To Clarksville” debuted in this episode. The next 2 episodes would feature the tune, and the prolonged TV exposure would help displace ? and The Mysterians' "96 Tears" to ensure “Last Train To Clarksville”'s status as the first #1 hit for The Monkees for 2 weeks. (It was issued on the Colgems 66-1001 single on August 16, 1966, well ahead of time--almost 4 weeks before the official NBC debut of The Monkees' TV series!--to accurately time it for weekly network promotion.) Given this fact, it's natural that it would also become the most frequently-used song on The Monkees TV series, with a record 7 episode appearances. Clips from the series' pilot film featuring The Monkees playing and singing on the merry-go-round in the Kiddieland amusement park can be seen in “Last Train To Clarksville”'s accompanying romp.

In “Monkee See, Monkee Die”'s end credits, “Tomorrow’s Gonna Be Another Day” was erroneously billed as “Tomorrow Is Another Day.” The end credits of another Monkees episode to showcase “Tomorrow’s Gonna Be Another Day,” No. 7, "The Monkees In A Ghost Town," would finally get the name right! Also, “Monkee See, Monkee Die's” end credits and all further Yardley-sponsored NBC-TV telecasts of The Monkees sported the infamous Yardley Black Label insingia. This lasted until Episode No. 19, “Find The Monkees” (a.k.a. "The Audition"); after which, it was decided to scrap further plugs of Yardley Black Label Aftershave in favor of promoting new Yardley products. (Some clips seen in the “Tomorrow’s Gonna Be Another Day” romp in “Monkee See, Monkee Die” were also used in The Monkees' 28-second commercial for Yardley Black Label Aftershave.)

“Monkee See, Monkee Die” was the very first episode of The Monkees to be rebroadcast on television. For its NBC repeat, its soundtrack was remixed to feature a new song: Neil Diamond's "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You."

In the end credits of the 1986 Colex syndicated edition of “Monkee See, Monkee Die”, the guest cast listing is spaced far apart from each other and the caption "Musical Supervision DON KIRSHNER" is nowhere in sight (it could have been a native of the much-convoluted CBS Saturday Afternoon run, as opposed to its original NBC airing).

“Monkee See, Monkee Die”'s entry in Screen Gems Storylines reveals a deleted scene in which lawyer McQuinney arrives with the police and finds Ellie and The Monkees surrounded by the plotters fast asleep on the floor.

ABC's first and only Saturday Afternoon telecast of “Monkee See, Monkee Die,” on February 17, 1973, occurred a full 24 years before The Alphabet Network aired The Monkees' 60-minute reunion special, Hey Hey It's The Monkees

Inconsistencies:

Peter's button at the end of the episode goes from unbuttoned to buttoned between shots. 

The boys arrive at the mansion with no luggage and no plans to spend the night - and yet somehow they had their pajamas handy when told the ferry was too fogged in to take them back to the mainland that night! 

Everyone jumps to the conclusion that people are being murdered - in spite of no corpses and no blood to be found. 

Trivia Notes:

The Monkeemobile, a redesigned, fire engine-red 1966 Pontiac GTO convertible styled by Dean Jefferies and built by George Barris (in the manner of The Batmobile), makes her first of 18 episode appearances on The Monkees' TV show during the “Last Train To Clarksville” sequence in “Monkee See, Monkee Die”. The car was created as a replacement for a woody station wagon which the boys used in the series' original pilot. General Motors furnished NBC with two Monkeemobiles (provided that the words 'Pontiac' or 'GTO' appeared on the finished vehicle): one for the TV episodes and another for the custom car circuit, which is currently owned by customizer George Barris. As a result, each Monkee was given his own Pontiac GTO for his own use (a real model, not a Monkeemobile!), and in 1967 Kellogg's ran "TV Screen-Stakes," a contest regarding The Monkeemobile where the winner would receive a 1968 GTO and a guest appearance on The Monkees' TV show.

Trivia Footnote:In June 1968, Leisa Hurley from San Jose, CA emerged victorious as the winner of the contest and became the proud owner of a Pontiac GTO Hardtop. (Sadly, she never won the other prize: a guest shot on The Monkees' TV show, which was obviously out of production for half a year and was being axed by NBC anyway, and The Monkees had just finished shooting their feature film...) 

The titles of the books written by Harris Kingsley: 12 Walking Tours Through The Sahara; Beverly Hills On 5 Shillings A Day; Who's Whom On Ellis Island; Akron, The City Behind The Myth; Musical City On The Moon; Dining Out In Greenland; Sex Spots Along The Gangues; Philadelphia, Where To Find It; A Teenager's Guide To Tijuana and South Dakota, Fact Or Fiction?.

The character of Madame Roselle in “Monkee See, Monkee Die” is the first of several female villains on The Monkees TV series. More can be found in Episode No. 5, “The Spy Who Came In From The Cool”, No. 7, "The Monkees In A Ghost Town," No. 15, “Too Many Girls” (a.k.a. "Davy And Fern"), No. 16, “The Son Of A Gypsy”, No. 24, “Monkees A La Mode”, No. 49, "The Monkees Watch Their Feet", and No. 50, "The Monstrous Monkee Mash".

The Monkees are seen with their legendary eight-button long sleeved shirts (designed by the late Gene Ashman) for the first time in “Monkee See, Monkee Die”; the shirts were inspired by the shirt John Wayne wore in many of his movies. Of course red is the shirts' most common color, but over the course of The Monkees short run, they can be seen in a dazzling array of colors: white, gold, dark blue, bright blue and black. Also notice the black turtleneck shirts the boys are wearing under their red 8-button shirts; they would be seen with them again in Episode No. 5, “The Spy Who Came In From The Cool”.

First use of the line "He's/She's/They're/It's gone!!" is made in “Monkee See, Monkee Die.” Further use of the line will be made in Episode No. 19, “Find The Monkees” (a.k.a. "The Audition"), No. 49, "The Monkees Watch Their Feet", No. 50, "The Monstrous Monkee Mash", No. 53, "The Monkees Race Again" (a.k.a. "Leave The Driving To Us"), and No. 58, "Mijacogeo" (a.k.a. "The Frodis Caper").

Another popular line on The Monkees series, "Don't do that!!", first eminated in this episode as well, and it will be repeated in the next episode, “Monkee Versus Machine”, and Episode No. 14, “Dance, Monkee, Dance”, No. 18, “I Was A Teenage Monster”, No. 20, “The Monkees In The Ring”, No. 24, “Monkees A La Mode”, No. 26, “Monkee Chow Mein”, No. 27, “Monkee Mother”, No. 28, “The Monkees On The Line”, No. 38, "I Was A 99-lb. Weakling" (a.k.a. "Physical Culture"), No. 50, "The Monstrous Monkee Mash", and No. 57, "The Monkees Blow Their Minds".

This is also the first Monkees episode in which characters mug the camera in order to achieve comic effect.

Random clips from this episode's second romp set to “Tomorrow’s Gonna Be Another Day” featuring the boys traipsing about in monster masks and capes, skipping about a public fountain, and hamming it up as fur-coated trappers and Indians were recycled in Episode No. 19, “Find The Monkees” (a.k.a. "The Audition"), No. 30, “The Monkees In Manhattan” (a.k.a “The Monkees Manhattan Style”), No. 36, "Monkee Mayor", and No. 50, "The Monstrous Monkee Mash". Further snippets from this romp featuring The Monkees playing body croquet in orange sharkskin suits and a snarling, leopardskin-clad David Jones beating his chest were adepted into the second season opening credit sequence for The Monkees.

General David Sarnoff is mentioned in a graphic while Micky is fixing the radio in this episode ("Did General Sarnoff really start like this?"). Sarnoff was one of the first people to see the full possibilities of using radio and television for entertainment. Early in his career, while working as a wireless operator in 1912, he picked up word that the Titanic was sinking and stayed at his post for 72 hours directing ships to the sinking oceanliner. Also worth noting is that Sarnoff became president of RCA Victor (at whose studios The Monkees and more recent stars like country beauty Martina McBride did all their recording) and also founded The National Broadcasting Company - which aired The Monkees TV show.

David Jones also dressed as a knight in animated form in his guest appearance in the December 2, 1972 episode of Hanna-Barbera's The New Scooby-Doo Movies (CBS, 1972-74), “The Haunted Horseman In Hagglethorn Hall” (prod. #61-15).

Steve Venet, cocomposer of “Tomorrow’s Gonna Be Another Day”, is the brother-in-law of Monkees TV extra Valerie Kairys.

Vast portions of the set used in this episode as Cunningham Manor were previously filmed for the April 2, 1966 episode of I Dream Of Jeannie (NBC, 1965-70), "My Master, The Thief" (its story was cowritten [with Sidney Sheldon, who based it on his teleplay] by Robert Kaufman, who later composed the teleplay [with Gerald Gardner and the late Dee Caruso] and story of Episode No. 52, "The Devil And Peter Tork").

Guest Cast Notes:

Vince Howard (Captain) often played policemen, with some frequency alongside David Janssen, in several episodes of The Fugitive (ABC, 1963-67) as well as with Janssen in the October 3, 1979 CBS-TV movie The Golden Gate Murders. Howard also played police officers in The Barefoot Executive (Buena Vista, 1971) and on Emergency! (NBC, 1972-77) and Barnaby Jones (CBS, 1973-80). He also played a Preacher in the Danny Glover/Mel Gibson/Joe Pesci police romp Lethal Weapon 3 (Warner Bros., 1992). George Perina (Policeman) appeared briefly on Star Trek (NBC, 1966-69) as a Crewman in its premiere episode "The Man Trap" (#6149-06, aired 9-8-66); with future Monkee guests Oscar Beregi Jr. (“The Prince And The Paupers”) and Peter Brocco ("Monkee Mayor"), he appeared in the October 30, 1966 installment of The FBI (ABC, 1965-74), "The Plague Merchant

Stacey Maxwell (Ellie) previously guest-starred with David Jones in a January 7, 1966 episode of The Farmer's Daughter (ABC, 1963-66), "Moe Hill And The Mountains." Stacey Maxwell is the pseudonym of Stacey Gregg.

Also note the on-air debut appearance of Henry Corden as avaricious landlord Mr. Babbitt, who went on to feature in a further 3 episodes in The Monkees' first season: Episode No. 8, “Don't Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth,” Episode No. 9, “The Chaperone,” and Episode No. 27, “Monkee Mother.”

The late Oliver MacGowan (McQuinney) and Lea Marmer (Mme. Roselle) also pop up in further episodes in The Monkees' first season: Marmer as Mrs. Smith in Episode No. 28, "The Monkees On The Line," and MacGowan as broadcasting tycoon J.J. Pontoon in Episode No. 23, "Captain Crocodile." Like George Perina, MacGowan is also recognized by devotees Star Trek as a Caretaker in the episode "Shore Leave" (#6149-17, aired 12-29-66), and Marmer later portrayed Madame Tinkertoy, proprietress of The House Of Blue Lights in New Orleans, in Easy Rider (Columbia, 1969), which was funded mostly by Monkee money (and, coincidentally, also featured HEAD choreographer Toni Basil).

The late Milton Parsons (Ralph) was previously seen with future Monkee guest Billy Beck ("The Devil And Peter Tork") in an April 4, 1963 episode of The Twilight Zone (CBS, 1959-64), "The New Exhibit."

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