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Episode No. 31:

“The Monkees At The Movies”

The Monkees have a run-in with a snobbish movie idol
on the set as extras in a beach movie.

Vital Stats, Credits and Releases On Home Video:

Production No. 4727
Filmed At: Screen Gems Studio 6, Hollywood, CA, and on location at Malibu Beach, CA.
Filming Dates: August 22-26, 1966.
Original Air Date: April 17, 1967.
Ratings: (non-report week, ratings not known)
© Raybert Productions; 4-17-67; LP37678
Sponsor This Week:
Slicker by Yardley Of London™
Original Commercial This Week: Kellogg's Sugar Frosted Flakes (:30)
Rerun Dates: October 31, 1970, May 15, 1971, January 29, 1972 (CBS); June 16, 1973 (ABC).

Written by Gerald Gardner and Dee Caruso.
Directed by Russell Mayberry.
Produced by Robert Rafelson and Bert Schneider.
Associate Producer: Ward Sylvester.
Background Music Composed and Conducted by Stu Phillips.
“When Love Comes Knocking At Your Door” Written & Produced by Neil Sedaka & Carole Bayer.
“Last Train To Clarksville” and “Valleri” Written & Produced by Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart.
Guest cast:

Philo......................................................................Hamilton Camp
Photographer...............................................................David Frank
Girl........................................................................Pamelyn Ferdin
Mother.....................................................................Aileen Carlisle
Tina.......................................................................Linda Albertano
Jerry Lester as Kramm
Bobby Sherman as Frankie

Home Video Releases:

  • The Monkees: The Collector's Edition - VHS Tape #12 (Columbia House #VHS 19941, May 22, 1995)
  • The Monkees Deluxe Limited Edition Boxed Set - VHS Tape #15 (Rhino R3 2960, October 17, 1995)
  • The Monkees - Season 1 DVD Boxed Set - Disc 6 (Rhino RetroVision DVD R2 976076, May 13, 2003)
  • The Monkees - Season 1 DVD Boxed Set - Disc 6 (Eagle Rock Entertainment DVD EM351359, September 27, 2011)
  • The Monkees - The Complete Series - Blu-Ray Disc 4 (Rhino BD2-552705, July 8, 2016)

Synopsis:

On the beach, Micky, Michael, David and Peter engage in a game of checkers. Peter goes to get his checkers when they wind up getting tossed into the air onto the sand, and pretty soon all four Monkees on the beach hopping up and down bare footed on the hot sand! A Hollywood producer/director Lester Kramm spots them and, viewing them as typical teenagers doing a typical new dance step, decides he wants them as extras for his new beach movie, I Married A Creature From Out Of Town, one which he calls "a message picture, and the message is: if we don't finish it in 10 days, we're in trouble!" Along with his nephew/assistant Philo, Kramm approaches the guys but they want no part of it until he tells the salary is $30 a day, and in no time the guys are decked out in bathing suits on top of surf boards.

Later while on the set, the guys are admiring the scenery including beautiful beach babes when Kramm announces the star of the movie, teen idol Frankie Catalina, a blonde with a Frankie Avalon-type hairdo whom The Monkees discover is an arrogant, rude, egotistical narcissistic deadbeat spoiled punk rotten by success and bright lights, who couldn't sing, feared the ocean, was allergic to girls, and resorted to reading lines from cuecards. During a shoot of a volleyball game sequence with Frankie, he gets angered accusing David of upstaging for not letting him catch the ball and soon starts belittling each of them. Outraged, The Monkees strike back and slyly spoil every one of Frankie’s scenes, with David applying monster makeup to his face, Micky switching his cuecards during a love scene, and Michael speeding up and slowing down a record to which he lip-synchs during a scene with beauty contestants. Viewing the day’s rushes the following morning, Kramm finds The Monkees have upstaged, sabotaged and just plain downright humiliated Frankie in every foot of the action, singing “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You”, as the foursome also watch on hidden. He angrily accuses Kramm of conspiracy to ruin the film and his million dollar image and storms out of his contract and the set.

Back at their pad, Peter, Micky and Michael decide which man is more perfect to replace Frankie, and they decide on David! They imagine a 1920s cliffhanger sequence set to “Last Train To Clarksville,” with Peter as the victim, Micky the villain, Michael his aide and David the hero; David thwarts Micky and Michael’s attempts to trissect Peter with their train and rescues Peter who now wears the villain’s moustache, knocking David unconscious and tying him through the railroad track. After dragging David from hiding in the bedroom (he doesn't want to be a star!), they decide which one should be the replacement in a draw-the-straws (literally! They actually drew pictures of straws!)...and David loses. The other three Monkees then begin a campaign via disguises: with Michael and Peter as record traders handing Kramm a David Jones album; Micky, Michael and Peter as magazine reporters; and Micky as a DJ hosting The Crazy Micky The D Show on W-GO-GO-GO introducing David’s three songs “Teardrops In The Playground”, “These Boots Are Made Kicking” and “It’s Been Lonesome In My Saddle Since My Horse Died” which has David singing practically the same verse in 3 different arrangements.

They convince Kramm so well that he selects David as his replacement star. After introducing David on the set to them as his own discovery, the guys discover David now draped in the same blonde wig Frankie wore has adopted Frankie’s highhanded, egotistical behavior, and Micky, Michael and Peter decide to save him from himself. So the others take action, and as Kramm starts shooting another volleyball scene they go to work, finally leaving David buried and tied in the volleyball net on the sand. The next day David tells Kramm he’s giving up his motion picture career, deciding it’s spoiling his character, and joins his mates in singing “Valleri.”

Tag Sequence:

David Jones relates a humorous story concerning his brother-in-law, a policeman; The Monkees talk about playing their own instruments at live concerts.

Production Notes:

The original NBC telecast of “The Monkees At The Movies” coincided with the 33rd birthday of Don Kirshner, former music supervisor of The Monkees TV series.

“The Monkees At The Movies” featured, instead of “When Love Comes Knocking…” (as credited and summarized in TV Guide), “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You,” written by Neil Diamond and produced by Jeff Barry; this was probably done at the last minute. It was the second time on the series a different song was featured than credited and listed in TV Guide; the first such occurrence happened for Episode No. 5, “The Spy Who Came In From The Cool”

Trivia Footnote: With the end of The Monkees' first season on NBC looming, this would be the lone appearance of “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You,” in a first-run Monkees segment. Its next appearances will be in 2 redubbed episode rebroadcasts: those for “Monkee See, Monkee Die” (5-1-67) and “Your Friendly Neighborhood Kidnappers” (5-15-67).

The syndicated version of this episode is missing the writer and director credits. It's also missing two frames - one during the “Last Train To Clarksville” sequence and one during the scene where David Jones is introduced as the new star of the film.

At the time “The Monkees At The Movies” aired, network programming had been affected by a strike brought on by the AFTRA (the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists)---but, fortunately, the affection had been limited to newscasts, variety shows and documentaries.

Interview segments seen at the end of this and Episode No. 25, “Alias Micky Dolenz”, and the previous, “The Monkees In Manhattan” (a.k.a “The Monkees Manhattan Style”), were filmed back-to-back probably following The Monkees' cast and crew wrap party in February 1967. One of the topics of this week's interview, The Monkees' playing their own instruments at concerts, ironically foreshadows events in the very next episode, “The Monkees On Tour”, The Monkees series finale for the first season!

Here's some data of the famous "Monkeewalk" footage used in the main title sequence for The Monkees second season! It was shot during the “The Monkees At The Movies” film sessions probably for intended use in the musical number. The Monkeewalk was inspired by the walk seen in many Marx Brothers’ films. 

Footage of the “Valleri” musical number is reused from its previous appearance: Episode No. 23, “Captain Crocodile.” 

“The Monkees At The Movies” incorporates footage featuring our maraca-shaking hero from Manchester from Episode No. 2 “Monkee See, Monkee Die” (disguised in a suit of armor), No. 10 “Here Come The Monkees” (as a lawyer), No. 11 “Monkees A La Carte” (as a chef), No. 13 “One Man Shy” (as a little old lady), No. 20 “The Monkees In The Ring” (in the ring as "Dynamite" Davy Jones), No. 21 “The Prince And The Paupers” (as Prince Ludlow), and No. 29 “The Monkees Get Out More Dirt” (as a pop artist). A clip from another episode, No. 7, “The Monkees In A Ghost Town”, which features a fantasy Western sequence involving Michael in a dual role as Black Bart and Slade and David as Kincaid, kicks off the cliffhanger parody romp set to “Last Train To Clarksville”

The characters of The Girl (portrayed by Pamelyn Ferdin) and her Mother (portrayed by the late Aileen Carlisle) were given credit in "Movies"' end titles and Screen Gems Storylines entry, but were never actually seen in the penultimately aired segment. According to the original synopsis for “The Monkees At The Movies,” the girl shoves her mother forward and announces she sings. The mom lets fly a voice that can be heard for miles, and Kramm, Philo and The Monkees join in on the ear-splitting audition.

This episode includes excerpts from Brian Wilson’s “New Girl In School” (a 1964 Top 40 hit for surf duo Jan & Dean), and 3 brief versions of Stu Phillips’ “I Really Love You,” sung by David Jones under 3 different titles: “Teardrops In The Playground,” “These Boots Are Made For Kicking” (an homage to the 1966 Nancy Sinatra hit “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'”), and “It's Been Lonesome In The Saddle Since My Horse Died.” Jones and Bobby Sherman cut these recordings during an evening session at RCA Studio A in Hollywood on Monday, August 22, 1966. 

The scene of The Monkees hamming it up with surfboards from this segment was incorporated into the main title sequence for The Monkees' second season.

The panning aerial shot of the water crashing onto the beach seen in “The Monkees At The Movies” (right after the sub-main titles) is reused in Episode No. 58, "Mijacogeo" (a.k.a. "The Frodis Caper").

Trivia Notes:

For his ficticious Crazy Micky The D Show On W-GO-GO-GO radio program, Micky uses a coffee can to shout into with his microphone to assimilate echo effects. The brand name on the can partially covered in black duct tape is Kraft Foods' unassuming Maxwell House. Micky's bit as wild DJ Crazy Micky The D on W-GO-GO-GO foreshadows a certain incident involving Micky, Michael and David overtaking the radio station KRUX-AM 1360 in Phoenix, Arizona in the very next episode, No. 32, “The Monkees On Tour”, and wound up foreseeing an event in Micky Dolenz' off-screen life. Crazy Micky The D became for real, as Micky In The Morning reached WCBS-FM 101.1 in New York City - prior to it being abruptly pulled in June 2005 due to WCBS-FM changing format. (WCBS-FM's has since reverted to its original format, as of July 12, 2007.) By the way, Micky The D is an obvious lampoon of Murray The K (nee Kaufman, 1922-82), legendary DJ of the New York City airwaves in the 1950s and '60s. 

"Teen sensation" Frankie Catalina's name refers to Frankie Avalon, an actual teen idol at the time the episode was made. "Avalon" is the largest city on the island of Catalina, 22 miles from Los Angeles. And Avalon's costar in the 1960s Beach Party movies, ex-Mouseketeer Annette Funicello, was of course one of the featured players in The Monkees' 1968 feature film HEAD

Once again, Micky is heard to imitate the late Don Adams of Get Smart (NBC/CBS, 1965-70) fame; he previously did so in Episode No. 5, “The Spy Who Came In From The Cool”, and No. 10, “Here Come The Monkees” (Original Pilot Film), and will do so again in No. 41, "The Card-Carrying Red Shoes"

Another scene from this episode shows Michael trying to trade a stack of albums to Peter for his copy of the album David Jones (Colpix #CP 493, issued 1965). (In a scene from the 1968 movie HEAD, where The Monkees make their way through crowds of screaming fans in The Valley Auditorium, watch for a fan clutching the same album.) Also, Peter gives brief mention of music group The Lovin' Spoonful, famous singer Bobby Darin ("Mack The Knife," "Splish Splash") and Blind Lemon Jefferson, one of the greatest country blues guitarist and founder of the Texas blues. Blind since birth, his popular blues style in the 1920’s made him the first commercially successful male blues singer.

Just before he and Luthor Kramm encounter record collectors Michael and Peter on the beach, Philo rifles through a stack of publicity photos and calls one of them "Robby Rafelson"--which is in reference to The Monkees producer Robert (Bob) Rafelson.

In the scene where Philo is rifling through the publicity stills, he also calls out "Roland Kirk, Kirk Roland," most likely a reference to the great jazz saxophonist/flautist.

We learn that Kramm had a previous film under his belt: Beach Party Honeymoon.

We learn here that Philo is also Luthor Kramm's nephew!

The four contestants in The Miss Surfside Beauty Contest: Miss Zuma Beach, Miss Hermosa Beach, Miss Malibu, Topanga and Sunset.

Michael and Micky gives reference to the Hollywood news periodicals Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, respectively, in “The Monkees At The Movies.” Coincidentally, it was the September 8, 1965 issues of both Daily Variety and The Reporter which carried the now-legendary "MADNESS!!" audition ad for The Monkees TV series.

The title I Married A Creature From Out Of Town is a satirical jab at Paramount's 1958 scifi horror classic I Married A Monster From Outer Space, starring Tom Tryon and Gloria Talbott.

After being introduced as the new star of the film, David emerges from the tent wearing the same tigerskin robe as worn by Frankie Catalina. David wears the robe again in Episode No. 38, "I Was A 99-lb. Weakling".

A couple of scenes find Kramm wearing the same blue-and-white shirt worn by Peter in Episode No. 13, “One Man Shy” (a.k.a. "Peter And The Debutante").

Guest Cast Notes:

Linda Albetano (Tina) played the role of Tall Girl in the 1967 United Artists film Beach Red. She had a turn with Monkee guest actors Burt Mustin ("Monkees Marooned", "The Monkees Christmas Show") and Olan Soule (“The Monkees In Manhattan” [a.k.a “The Monkees Manhattan Style”]) in a January 17, 1967 episode of The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. (NBC, 1966-67), "The Moulin Ruse Affair."

Pamelyn Ferdin (Girl) later played the role of Peggy in Sigmund And The Sea Monsters (NBC, 1973-75), Lucy Baker in Lassie (CBS/Syndicated, 1954-74), Edna Unger in The Odd Couple (ABC, 1970-75), and had a guest role in Star Trek (NBC, 1966-69) as Mary in the October 11, 1968 episode "And The Children Shall Lead". Ferdin is best remembered as the voice of Lucy Van Pelt, which she provided in 2 of the Charlie Brown specials on CBS in 1969 and 1971, and the movie A Boy Named Charlie Brown (National General Pictures, 1969).

The late comedian Jerry Lester (Kramm), older brother of performer Buddy Lester, got his first break earning $750 a week on Cavalcade Of Stars (DuMont, 1949-52).

The late Hamilton Camp (Philo) later provided a valuable amount of cartoon voices, including Greedy and Harmony on Hanna-Barbera's Smurfs (NBC, 1981-90). Camp has recently been seen in the 2000-02 Fox-TV series Titus as Merrit. Camp appeared with Monkee guest alum Eldon Quick (“Monkees A La Mode”) in a April 18, 1968 episode of Bewitched (ABC, 1964-72), "Samantha's Secret Saucer." Sadly, Camp, not yet 71, succumbed to a heart attack on October 2, 2005. 

Prior to his appearance as Catalina on The Monkees, singer Bobby Sherman's first big break came in 1964 when his performance at a Hollywood party landed him a part on the musical television show, Shindig (ABC, 1964-66). But it was his role as Jeremy Bolt in the sitcom Here Come The Brides (ABC, 1968-70) which made him a household name. Shortly thereafter, Sherman guested in a March 19, 1971 episode of The Partridge Family (ABC, 1970-74), "A Knight In Shining Armor," its first season finale, which served as the pilot for the short-lived sitcom Getting Together (ABC, 1971-72). Sherman reportedly purchased Robert Moog's synthesized keyboard from Micky Dolenz; the latter having employed grandiose use of it during the sessions for The Monkees' 4th album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd., in August 1967.

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