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Episode No. 10:

“Here Come The Monkees”
(Original Pilot Film)

The boys, renowned quick-change artists, use their Monkee
magic to give a cram course in history to a young girl.

Vital Stats, Credits and Releases On Home Video:

Production No. 3811 (David Jones' screen test), 2657-15 (Michael Nesmith's screen test), 4091 (this pilot)
First Draft: August 17, 1965
Revised Final Draft: November 9, 1965
Filmed At: Screen Gems Studio 7, Hollywood, CA, and on location in Los Angeles, CA, at Malibu Beach, CA, in San Diego, CA and The Del Coronada Hotel.
Filming Dates: October 7, 1965 (David Jones' screen test); October 19, 1965 (Michael Nesmith's screen test); and November 13-23,1965 (this pilot).
Original Air Date: November 14, 1966.
Ratings: 18.5 rating/30.5 share (10,160,000 viewers)
© Raybert Productions; 11-14-66; LP37613
Sponsor This Week:
Slicker and Black Label by Yardley Of London™
Rerun Date: August 7, 1967 (NBC).

Written by Paul Mazursky and Larry Tucker.
Directed by Mike Elliot.
Produced by Robert Rafelson and Bert Schneider.
Associate Producer: Ward Sylvester.
Music Supervision: Don Kirshner.
Background Music Composed and Conducted by Allyn Ferguson.
“I Wanna Be Free” Written & Produced by
Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart.
“Let’s Dance On” Written by Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart; Produced by Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart & Jack Keller.
Guest cast:

Rudy...............................................................................Bing Russell
Jill..................................................................................Jill Van Ness
Mr. Russell................................................................Richard St. John
Vanessa.........................................................................Robyn Millan
Dr. Turner......................................................................Larry Tucker
T.V. Interviewer............................................................Paul Mazursky
Guard...............................................................................Joe Higgins
Mrs. Russell..........................................................June Whitley Taylor

Home Video Releases:

Synopsis:

During a rainy evening, a T.V. reporter, amidst a small crowd, conducts a man-on-the-street interview with Dr. Lionel B. Turner regarding innocent bystanders ignoring violence on the streets in which the doc swears his duty to defend anyone in need. They're soon interrupted by The Monkees—David, Michael, Peter and Micky—four talented musicians; they stage a mock assault on David, who calls to Dr. Turner for help to but he flees in fright. To avoid the reporter, the doctor ends up helping an old lady across the street who then charges him $.15 in return. At Rudy’s Record Rack record store, Rudy Gunther, The Monkees manager and owner of the store, tells the foursome about a gig at The Riverdale Country Club; the owner, his old Marine buddy Charley Russell, is auditioning bands for his daughter Vanessa’s sweet sixteen party. The Monkees are skeptical at first, but are won over when Rudy states the gig pays $150 in cash. That night at the country club, Mr. Russell and Vanessa are sedately dancing to the square melodies of Sven Helstrom and his Swedish Rhythm Kings, although Vanessa isn't enjoying the music. When The Monkees arrive, both David and Vanessa get stars in their eyes upon sight as they become smitten with each other and Michael has to drag him to the stage. Soon they're performing the song “I Wanna Be Free” (the fast version) while David fantasizes about him, Vanessa and the guys having fun in the park and at the Kiddieland amusement park.

After they finish, Mr. Russell hires them and soon David and Vanessa start going out. Vanessa is about to kiss Davy on her front porch at the end of their date when Mr. Russell interrupts. The following night, David is preparing for his next date with her as the guys start teasing him and at the end of that date (which ends at 1:00 in the morning!) David and Vanessa do get to kiss before she enters her home. Once inside, she's confronted by her parents who complain of her neglecting her studies for her history final to spend time with David. Vanessa swears she'll pass her final but she ends up flunking it instead. At the beach, Jill Gunther, Rudy’s 16 year-old daughter and Vanessa’s friend, explains to the boys that Vanessa will get a makeup final, but they are in danger of losing a job if she flunks it, too—and that her admirations for David is the reason for her failure to concentrate on her schoolwork. Upon hearing this, an upset David walks off in the middle of their volleyball game and strolls along the beach to a much slower rendition of “I Wanna Be Free.” Back at their pad, David expresses to Michael his guilt over Vanessa flunking and wants to help her. Michael declares a meeting and in a fantasy sequence, the guys are lawyers at the firm of Vanessa Russel and Vanessa in a board meeting who select David to help Vanessa pass her make-up exam.

That night, the guys disguise themselves as deliverymen and sneak Vanessa out of the house in a big dresser drawer. The next morning, Mr. Russell complains to Rudy about Vanessa’s disappearance and Jill explains that The Monkees are only helping her pass her final. Meanwhile, The Monkees help Vanessa by dramatizing historical events with a musical number at the beach and an re-enactment of the Aaron Burr/Alexander Hamilton duel at the park that ends up scaring away picnickers until Mr. Russell's arrival sends the guys fleeing. Vanessa does indeed pass her make-up exam and at the party at the country club, Vanessa's teacher explains what The Monkees did for Vanessa but her rock-and-roll-hating father still refuses to let them in while Sven Helstrom and The Swedish Rhythm Kings perform in their stead, driving away the uninterested teenage guests. When The Monkees show up, the guard sends the away while inside Vanessa and then Mrs. Russell start crying until Mr. Russell relents. He goes outside to question the guard about The Monkees who informs him he sent them away as ordered but they hear the sound of The Monkees jumping over the wall. As the guard shines his flashlight on them there’s a fantasy sequence of them as fugitives dressed in black and white striped prison outfits in which ends with Micky in a hysterical fit at the sound of police sirens. As Mr. Russell is about to explain to the boys that they’re invited, they run off. Then he and the guard give them a wild comical chase all over the country club from the card room where they do another fantasy sequence as mavericks playing cards to the game room and a few times in the bar where they repeatedly knock a waiter carrying a tray of dishes down.

When they enter the ball room, Mr. Russell explains that they’re invited and the guard replies that he sold out his country club and himself and storms off. To get Sven Helstrom and The Swedish Rhythm Kings off stage, Michael announces on the microphone that Norway just declared war on Sweden and that all Swedish Nationals are to report to their embassy and with that the band, patriotic beings they are, march off the stage. Then The Monkees gets the party rolling to the song “Let’s Dance On.” and everyone from the drunk at the bar, Dr. Turner and the old lady, Vanessa with another boy and Vanessa’s parents are dancing while the TV Interviewer, tries in vain to conduct a "Man-In-The-Ballroom" interview until he cracks up and dances along. From the bandstand, David sees another girl, and again sparks fly. Afraid that David’s new passion may cost them their first job (seeing as this is how all the trouble started to begin with!), Micky, Michael and Peter, brandishing balloons as weapons, madly dash after David and chase him out of the ball room with the crowd in pursuit.

Tag Sequence:

Micky and Peter introduce black and white segments of spontaneous, unrehearsed screen tests featuring Michael and David from October 1965.

Production Notes:

Director Mike Elliot was a commercial director for the Screen Gems subsidary which would produce Monkees commercials for Kellogg's Rice Krispies and Yardley Black Label Aftershave. 

The concept of the guard not letting The Monkees into the club was reused for the 1997 ABC-TV special Hey Hey It's The Monkees.

Early names for the band include "The Creeps," "The Impossibles" (later used by Hanna-Barbera for a CBS Saturday Morning series debuting in 1966), "The Turtles" (already used!), and "The Inevitables." Raybert finally settled upon the correctly-titled "The Monkeys," until they dropped the "y" in the name and substituted it with a second "e" (noting an impressive spate of rock combos with misspelled names [The Beatles, The Byrds, The Cyrkle, etc.]), and thus and therefore, The Monkees were born. 

The initial names of the title characters in the pilot's script were "Biff", "Dicky", "Fred" and "Suds".

A non-broadcast version of this pilot featured an alternate soundtrack featuring Boyce & Hart singing the vocals to their songs (“I Wanna Be Free”, “Let’s Dance On” and "(Theme From) The Monkees"); the songs were redubbed with The Monkees' versions when the pilot was broadcast. (Listen for the very end of the original Boyce-Hart sung fast demo of “I Wanna Be Free”, as David imagines he’s handcuffed to Vanessa Russell, and the opening guitar licks of the original demo of the ballad version, as David takes leave of the volleyball game to take a stroll down the beach.) Also in the unaired pilot, different sound effects were heard during the Kiddieland romp sequence over Boyce & Hart's demo version of “I Wanna Be Free”, which was considerably faster than the actual track; the tempo in the demo of “Let’s Dance On” was much slower, which in turn extended the ballroom dance climax and accommodated some extra scenes of the dancers; and finally, Micky Dolenz was credited under his moniker from Circus Boy (NBC/ABC, 1956-58), Micky Braddock.

A disastrous January 1966 test screening of the pilot for the Audience Studies Incorporated (ASI), a research subsidary of Screen Gems which measured samples of a viewing audience and tallied their findings via computer, sent Robert Rafelson into the cutting room for 2 days, which he spent inserting the "spontaneous, unrehearsed" screen tests of the boys (which were featured @ the outset of this networkcast version) at the very beginning of the pilot. Only then did Raybert Productions get what they so coveted from the National Broadcasting Company: firm commitment to at least 32 episodes of their strange new sitcom, The Monkees.

Composer Allyn Ferguson scored this episode's incidental soundtrack. Other episodes which feature background music not composed and conducted by Stu Phillips are No. 39, "Hillbilly Honeymoon" (a.k.a. "Double Barrell Shotgun Wedding"), No. 54, "The Monkees In Paris" (a.k.a. "The Paris Show").

In this pilot, Michael Nesmith was given an appropriate yet rather strange moniker: "Wool Hat" (Rudy the manager addresses Nesmith by that name at the beginning of this show). Nes balked against the producers' strategy, despite his comfort with the novelty, and added "I'd rather do it my way and less," thus prompting the producers to use his given name. (Many early TV Guide listings for The Monkees list Nesmith with his original sobriquet.)

In the close-up shots of the band playing “I Wanna Be Free” and “Let’s Dance On”, the band look older and are sporting their mid-1966 hairstyles (and Michael is seen playing his "blonde" 12-string Gretsch as opposed to the dark one he played in the pilot), which suggests that these scenes were re-filmed sometime during summer 1966.

2 publicity photos from the pilot can be seen on the rear of the LP More Of The Monkees. colour stills from this episode can be found in the 1994 Rhino release of The Monkees LP, as well as the 2006 Deluxe Edition. A b/w still can be found on the CD release of 1987's Missing Links (RNCD 70150).

An alternate version of the ending had the other Monkees dashing after David brandishing their instruments (instead of baloons!) as weapons.

Rhino painstakingly remastered “Here Come The Monkees” (Original Pilot Film) for home video/DVD release; however, the low-quality 16mm print continues to air in syndication as it has for over 30 years. Said low-quality print was even released on VHS and Beta by Musicvision in November 1986 and on laserdisc by Image Entertainment in 1991.

Trivia Notes:

Yes, believe it or not, The Monkees were slated to have a manager to keep them in line! Record store owner Rudy Gunther, The Monkees manager, was obviously patterned after The Beatles' manager, the late Brian Epstein, who, like Rudy, also ran a record store prior to discovering The Fab Four. Ironically, the date of Epstein's accidental death at age 32, August 27, 1967, occurred on the eve Monkees Episode No. 27, “Monkee Mother”, was repeated, the official end of The Monkees' first season on NBC Television (“Monkee See, Monkee Die”, Episode No. 2, aired first-run on his 32nd birthday).

There are several differences in the interior of The Monkees' pad: there is a regular staircase instead of a tornado staircase; the exit is on the right; and the living room layout is much different, for all of these shots were done in an actual house!

Here, David Jones utters his trademark line, "You must be joking!" for the first time on The Monkees (3 times, yet!). He can be heard repeating this phrase in Episode No. 14, “Dance, Monkee, Dance”, No. 24, “Monkees A La Mode”, No. 31, “The Monkees At The Movies”, and No. 46, "The Monkees On The Wheel" (which is the only time a Monkee other than David [Peter] speaks his line).

This is the only episode of the entire run of the The Monkees series to feature a Monkees song (Boyce and Hart's “I Wanna Be Free”) in two different versions.

Collector's Note: The fast version of “I Wanna Be Free” was recorded on the same day as the the ballad version in July 1966, and while the latter saw release on The Monkees' first album, the former did not, and wouldn't until 1990, when Rhino plucked it from the vaults for inclusion on its Missing Links Volume 2 (R2 70903) compilation. A remix from the original multitrack master can be found on the 2001 Monkees Music Box (R2 76706) CD set; another remix boasting alternate vocal parts can be found as a Bonus Selection on Disc 2 of the 2006 2-CD Deluxe Edition reissue of The Monkees' first album (R2 77678). 

Paul Mazursky and Larry Tucker later collaborated on the films I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! (Warner Bros., 1968), Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (the 1969 Columbia picture and the ill-fated 1973 CBS series it spawned), and Alex In Wonderland (MGM, 1970). Larry Tucker's story concludes on a rather tragic note: complications of multiple sclerosis and cancer took him on April 1, 2001 at age 67.

As they drive up to the Riverdale Country Club, the boys are seen emerging from a woody station wagon—the original “Monkeemobile.”

These scenes from this segment were incorporated into the first season main title sequence for The Monkees: David rising up and hitting his head on a test-your-strength device's bell; the boys racing uphill to escape the wrath of Mr. Russell; Peter by the beach quickly unzips his wet-suit, revealing himself to be fully dressed, wearing a seersucker jacket, shirt, tie, and slacks (from the non-broadcast version of the pilot); and Michael travelling down the street on a motorized skateboard.

In their pad, Michael can be seen pitching darts at a poster of John, Paul, George and Ringo--which is the first in a series of Beatles references on The Monkees series (also notice that The Monkees, like The Fab Four, have 3 guitarists [including pre-maraca/tambourine shaker David Jones!]!). Others will be in Episode No. 18, “I Was A Teenage Monster”, No. 32, “The Monkees On Tour”, No. 35, "Everywhere A Sheik Sheik", No. 40, "Monkees Marooned", No. 47, "The Monkees Christmas Show", No. 53, "The Monkees Race Again" (a.k.a. "Leave The Driving To Us"), No. 56, "Some Like It Lukewarm" (a.k.a. "The Band Contest"), and No. 58, "Mijacogeo" (a.k.a. "The Frodis Caper"). And in The Monkees' 1968 feature film HEAD, in the scene where Micky, Michael and David exchange insults with Mrs. Ace (T.C. Jones), "she" asks, "Are you still paying tribute to Ringo Starr?"; another scene from the movie has Peter whistling the chorus to "Strawberry Fields Forever."

Of the three lead guitarists of The Beatles, Paul McCartney was the lone left-handed guitarist of the quartet. Here in this pilot, all the 3 lead guitarists of The Monkees are right-handed. David Jones can be seen playing guitar again in the “Pleasant Valley Sunday” musical number shown in Episode No. 34, "The Picture Frame" (a.k.a. "The Bank Robbery"), and No. 36, "Monkee Mayor"

This is one of 3 rare occasions on The Monkees TV show which find Michael Nesmith speaking with a foreign accent; others are Episode No. 33, "It's A Nice Place To Visit...", where in Nez, as bandito El Nesmito, talks in a Mexican accent (with his post-tonsillectomy voice) and No. 52, "The Devil And Peter Tork", in which he screams in unintelligible Oriental lingo.

Micky is seen imitating 2 prominent comedians: Jonathan Winters (as Maude Frickert) and Don Adams (as Maxwell Smart of Get Smart [NBC/CBS, 1965-70]). This is his second impression of Adams as Agent 86, following Episode No. 5, “The Spy Who Came In From The Cool” ; a third is in No. 41, "The Card-Carrying Red Shoes"

The Monkees' early outfits consist of fuzzy brown vests, yellow shirts, and brown pants. Take notice of a certain black-and-white striped shirt David wears in the scene where he is interrupted from kissing Vanessa (who wears a similar shirt) by Mr. Russell ("I trust this isn't the start of a trend!"); he will be seen wearing it again in Episode No. 31, “The Monkees At The Movies”, in the scene where he and the other Monkees draw pictures of straws.

Here Peter officiates at a mock duel involving Micky (as Alexander Hamilton) and Michael (as Aaron Burr). 3 episodes later, in No. 13, “One Man Shy” (a.k.a. "Peter And The Debutante"), he can also be seen partaking in a mock duel with Ronnie Farnsworth (George Furth).

When they learn from Rudy that the gig at The Riviera Country Club pays $150 cash, The Monkees sing only the last line (in the key of 'g') of the 1898 James Thornton tune, "When You Were Sweet Sixteen." At The Riviera, Sven Helstrom and The Swedish Rhythm Kings sing a polka-fied rendition of "Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight," previously a hit for The Spaniels in 1954.  

This is the first episode of the series to feature the submain title credits (writer[s] and director) superimposed in front of the boys' faces against a yellow background. Also, the harpsichord Monkees submain title theme is much shorter than it was in earlier segments; this became the nominal submain title used for the duration of The Monkees' first season on NBC.

The silent movie-like piano-rendered chase cue first heard here is reused in “Monkee Mother”, No. 34, "The Picture Frame" (a.k.a. "The Bank Robbery"), and No. 41, "The Card-Carrying Red Shoes".

The portion of the tag which featured Micky and Peter was made during production of Episode No. 16, “The Son Of A Gypsy.”

Plans to retelecast “Here Come The Monkees” on NBC July 10, 1967 with its soundtrack revised to feature “Words” were apparently scrapped. Instead its eventual repeat on The Peacock Network in August 1967 saw "Shades Of Grey" replacing the ballad version of "I Wanna Be Free" (the same case as the May 29, 1967 repeat of Episode No. 6, “The Success Story”). The summer 1967 version of the pilot continued to air in local syndication until 1986, when cable TV (MTV) took hold.

This episode was passed completely over for repeats on CBS and ABC Saturday Afternoon, basically due to their Broadcast Standards and Practices objecting to the drunk at the Riviera Country Club bar.

Guest Cast Notes:

The late Neil "Bing" Russell (Rudy) was the father of actor Kurt Russell and best known as Deputy/Sheriff Clem Foster on Bonanza (NBC, 1959-73) and Robert in The Magnificent Seven (MGM, 1960).

Trivia Footnote: On the same evening Russell appeared as The Monkees' manager on NBC, he also later appeared on another network as a Rancher in "The Man From Nowhere" (#7034), an episode of The Big Valley (ABC, 1965-69), which also featured future Monkee guest Richard O'Brien (“The Monkees On The Line”). 

Actress Robyn Millan (Vanessa) would later play a couple of regular roles in daytime drama series, like the first Vicky Lucas Hathaway on Where The Heart Is (CBS, 1969-73) from 1969 to 1971 (she was superceded by Lisa Blake Richards), and the brief role of Delia Reid Ryan Coleridge in 1979 on Ryan's Hope (ABC, 1975-89). Millan was also seen in a September 17, 1971 episode of The Partridge Family (ABC, 1970-74), "Dora, Dora, Dora" (its second season premiere), as Dora Kelly, and she was in the "Portrait In Blues" episode of Mannix (CBS, 1967-75) and the "Barefoot Girls Of Bleecker Street" segment of McCloudd (NBC, 1970-77), both of which aired on the same night--September 22, 1974!

Joe Higgins (seen here as The Guard) turns up in 2 other episodes in The Monkees' first season: as the chubby Masseur in Episode No. 19, "Find The Monkees!," and as Max, the evil Count Myron (Oscar Beregi)'s equally nasty toady in Episode No. 21, "The Prince And The Paupers."

Jill, Rudy's daughter, played by Jill Van Ness, was also a would-be regular character in the pilot.

Mazursky and Tucker later showed up together in "The Fifty Dollar Misunderstanding," a December 20, 1966 episode of Love On A Rooftop (ABC, 1966-67). 

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