TV… Memories of Michael Nesmith, Monkeying Around in His Bobble Hat

#1960s

 

It’s a battle for those apes as they compete for a contest…

 

Going back to a Saturday morning show about a wannabe 60s boy band that I watched as a kid.

 

The Monkees – The Girl I Knew Somewhere, ThisDJ4Hire

 

It’s back to the 70s or 80s now and those halcyon days when Multi Coloured Swap Shop (1976-82) was off-air. This meant we kids got Cliff Richard or Elvis films instead. If I remember rightly this was also the BBC TV spot for The Monkees (1966-68). This American TV series had four (then one crush, all now cute), young dudes, as part of a fictional sixties band of the same name.

Until now I thought they were a legitimate real-life boy band in every sense of the word – but like other Darlin Husband and little sister wind-ups and other obscure more than believed facts – and I discovered this not true due to the joys of the internet.

The Monkees got into all sorts of fun capers, with a few songs randomly thrown in. It starred a wee English actor, Davy Jones as the lead singer and three others, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork.

The Monkees band member characters were named after the real-life actors. Think of them as cute guys with 1960s haircuts and with Beach Boys type catchy tunes, but only if you have my musical imagination. They “sang” a shed load of Realweegiemidget much loved songs such as The Monkees theme tune, Daytime Believer, I’m a Believer and Last Train to Clarksville.

I was sad to learn that Michael Nesmith or as I knew him in those starry ignorant days as the Mike, the Monkee with the Bobble Hat had passed away. I didn’t have a crush on him before you ask, but I did love their series. The Monkees ran for only two series but had an impressive fifty-eight episodes. But this felt longer, in a good way. 

Later, much later I learned that now megastar, then relatively unknown actor Jack Nicholson had penned a movie, Head (1968). This film was also directed by Nicholson and back then was a flop. It was released just before Nicholson’s screen stealing supporting role in Easy Rider (1969) and like this biker western film is now a cult movie.

Head is on my to review list, and this is not just because of these Nicholson connections as is also for this film’s captivating cast and plot. Both these reasons were eloquently described by Roger Ebert HERE as

It’s been resurrected in 1971 not because of its all-star cast (Victor Mature, Carol Doda, Annette Funicello, Sonny Liston, and Ray Nitschke) but because of its all-star crew.

and

They themselves admit, at the film’s beginning, that they’re a “manufactured image,” and the film tries to dismantle and discredit the image. Sometimes it succeeds.

But now to an episode of The Monkees, where Batman (1966-68) and The Bionic Woman (1976-78) star, Julie Newmar guest stars and is the now envious object of affection to all four band members. This episode was found in The Monkees (1966) Monkees Get Out More Dirt S1, E29. And Julie is a character called April Contest, A. Contest… Geddit?

The episode begins in a laundromat, where all of the guys are doing their laundry. It’s empty apart from one older guy. After Davy goes to get some soap powder for the machine, he meets the girl in charge, a spectacled and statuesque April Quest (Newmar). She is studying laundromat science and this is as believable as Ted Danson as a zoologist in Loch Ness (1996). Davy falls in love at first sight and on meeting her the other three guys then fall for her too.

On their return to their shared bachelors’ pad, they all make various excuses to sneak off to chat her up. Mike has the most endearing and enterprising one saying he’s off to buy dog food, and… a dog. Mike and the guys are then surprised as they all turn up at the laundromat, with Peter’s appearing in a top loading washing machine. (Cue annoying canned laughter).

They then fight it out among themselves, and Mike tells Davy, she is too tall for him.  Since then Tom Holland has fought for the “rights” of us wee people to date taller people. Thanks, Tom after being told that my twice – funnily from two very tall women of about 5ft 10 plus – that my Darlin Husband is too tall for me, at about a foot taller. But I digress.

The men then watch a TV Show with Claire Kelly who dishes love advice to the masses. Then there is a comic montage as we see each of the Monkees pretend to be someone else as they find out ways to win her heart. And much funnier than a similar one seen in Notting Hill (1999). Wee Davy pretends to be an artist, Mickey is a ballet dancer, Peter plays a classical musical number and Mike tries to convince her as a motorcyclist. Cue a song, The Girl I Knew Somewhere, more montages, a shirtless character and more chaos…

This was a fun episode, and I enjoyed revisiting this series with this treat of an episode. I will probably review more from this series, that’s if I can block the annoying canned laughter out of my head. When I researched for this episode, just I had forgotten just how much I had loved this show and its catchy songs. The Monkees’ songs deserve a review of their own and I will do that one day if I can track down episodes with those cast members singing.

Julie Newmar was a great comedienne in this episode, as she made lovelorn advances to all four Monkees. And who can blame her as each endearing in their own ways and individual quirks? Claire Kelly also shone in her role and there is a fun segment where her character as seen on the Monkees telly seems to have a conversation with the four men. These four Monkees actors were seen to have fun on-screen rapport and each added some more random fun comedy to this well-written episode.

But I did love Michael Nesmith’s convincing appearance as his loved up character who was a wannabe biker in the storyline. He reminded me of another character who tries to win a young lady’s heart in this way. And you will see Mike and this other Cool Rider have quite a lot in common…

I’m thinking of course of Michael Carrington, aka Maxwell Caulfield in the 1960s set Grease 2 (1982) and CLICK HERE to get another reference. Perhaps this Maxwell Caulfield role was an in film homage to Michael Nesmith. Both characters are named Michael, sang about the girl of their dreams, and then rode their way – on a motorbike – into a blonde and our hearts. But with these three contenders for her heart of the best bromance kind – as Darlin Husband asked – will the lucky one she picks choose bros over hoes??

 

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