Tuesday, May 17, 2011

From Primetime to Daytime: The Monkees (1966)

After The Monkees ended a 2-year run on NBC in 1968, CBS picked up the series to fill a hole in their Saturday morning lineup, a move which can be filed under serendipity, considering that the late Don Kirshner, who was the brains behind the Monkees, had moved on to converting comic book icon Archie Andrews and his friends into pop stars, and The Archie Show was the centerpiece of CBS' 1968-9 lineup! For at least one year, The Archies & The Monkees were on the same network.

The following clip showcases Monkees drummer-lead singer Micky Dolenz, who had previously starred under his given name of Mickey Braddock in the short-lived Circus Boy a few years earlier. Micky would later venture into cartoons, signing on with Hanna-Barbera in 1971 to work on Funky Phantom. Pay special attention to the other actor in this clip, as his voice will be very familiar to toonheads everywhere......

Ok. Have you figured it out yet? Answer coming.

Michael Bell is better known for his extensive cartoon resume, with credits ranging from Plastic Man and Super Friends to Smurfs and Rugrats. Bell & Dolenz would team again in 1974's Devlin for H-B & ABC. Bell has also done commercial voiceovers for Parkay margarine and Zales Jewelers over the years.

Back to The Monkees. The series would move to ABC for a year, around 1972, if memory serves, and its last Saturday stop was on MTV in 1986, when the channel was celebrating the band's 20th anniversary. Co-vocalist Davy Jones would guest star on The New Scooby-Doo Movies in 1972, and I'd not be surprised at all if it came out that H-B wanted the whole band, since Dolenz was already on the payroll. Unfortunately, by then, the Monkees were no more.

The series itself played as a normal sitcom, with the guys trying to make ends meet between gigs, and the fact that they sometimes ran afoul of some unsavory types might explain H-B's decision to utilize that concept with Josie & the Pussycats and the Harlem Globetrotters just a few short years later. The music, though, was the show's key selling point, and it holds up even today.

Rating: B+.

No comments: