Once upon a time there was a “Know-it-all Machine” that blew its cool after eating a bowl of snap, crackle, pop and bananas. The big shots called this machine a computer. Totally unemployed and sulking in an empty lot next door to Screen Gems it heard a lone voice babbling on about a well known group—The Monkees.
That lone voice—her name was Teeny Bopper—said “I’ve heard soooooooo many stories about how the Monkees got start that I just don’t know what to believe.”
“Blip… ping (the computer said) gather round, my child, and you shall hear the… blip… blithering tale of Paul Revere.”
“But I don’t want to hear about Paul… I KNOW all about him!” complained Teeny Bopper.
“Bleep… that does not compute… blip.”
“Monkees… The Monkees, that’s who I want” shouted our heroine!
“Klak, blick, goobbidda… Monkees… Oh, yes. Well, it all started a very long time ago… blip… two men, (the Monkees’ producers) Bert Schneider and Bob Rafelson decided to do a television show based along the lines of a group called… bleep… the Beatles. Well, they hunted high and low for four boys who would fit the parts and finally became so desperate that they put an ad in “Variety.”… clickity… Would you believe that 437 guys came around to audition? Well, after playing al kinds of “dirty” tricks like playing with blocks instead of seriously interviewing them… the search was narrowed down to eight boys… blipity… a test audience saw the competing eight and selected four of them. And that’s funny, because they were the same four Schneider and Rafelson had favored of the eight… Ho, hum… blip-p-p”
“Hey, don’t stop now!” screeched Teeny.
The computer raved on, “Blip, The Stones live in…”
“NOOOOOO, THE MONKEES!!!” screamed our girl.
“Oh, yes… those four luvly boys. Well, clankitty… First, there was Davy Jones. He was born in Manchester, England and lived there with his family… his father was a railroad worker and his mother passed away when he was 14. He decided to become a jockey and actually got his license to ride horses. He also did some acting on the BBC and played a part in “Oliver” for two years on Broadway. Later he had a part in the musical version of “Pickwick.”
“Following this an agent at Columbia saw him and signed him to a beautiful contract… blip… he was the only Monkee who wasn’t found through the “madness” ad.
“Now Micky Dolenz has been around town for years. He used to play in a TV series called “Circus Boy,” only at that time he was Micky Braddock and had bleached blonde hair… you see, his father was an actor and they didn’t want to get confused. After “Circus Boy” he went to high school and then joined a group called “The Missing Links.” He was lead singer for that group until a bone disease kept him from standing for long periods. Anyway, he was collecting unemployment checks and studying architectural drafting in school when he picked up that ad… snooz…”
“Wake up, Please! Wake up… you haven’t told me about the other two,” said Teeny.
“Huh!… What other… oh… Peter and Mike… all right! Peter is the oldest… he was born Peter Thorkelson in Washington, D.C. and then his family moved other places including Germany and finally they settled in Connecticut. Peter’s father is a professor and Peter worked as a bobbin boy in a thread mill. He tried school… college and flunked out twice and then decided to make Greenwich Village his home. He didn’t do badly there, billed himself… blip… as “Tork.” He got the urge to leave after a couple of years and came to Long Beach. Once here, he earned fifty dollars a week washing dishes and played as a side man in various groups around town. He didn’t really want to answer the ad, but figured his hair was long and he went down to try his luck.
“Now Mike is the quiet one, so most of what I know about him is through friends of his and the few things he does say… Mike was born in Texas and lived in Dallas as a child. He lived with his mother and they weren’t exactly rich… as a matter of fact they were pretty poor. He went through school there and wasn’t the most popular guy around… he says, he wasn’t the best looking either. Anyway, after a period in school, he’d rather forget, he joined the Air Force. He did not like it… gleep… He decided to try college and registered in San Antonio College and sang folk songs on the side. While going there, he met a girl named Phyllis and they fell in love and got married. They have a son (an angel) named Christian Duval. They decided to try their luck in Hollywood, so right after Mike and Phyllis were married they left for Hollywood.
“Mike sang at Ledbetter’s for awhile, made a little money and got his car repossessed just before he saw the ad… So there you have four guys… The Monkees. After they were chosen, they got six weeks of intensive training in body movement, improvisation, and all that other stuff and then they were put before the cameras. It kind of looked like they had a little trouble with the Nielson ratings for awhile (which is silly when they weren’t even seen in many Nielson cities), but they got renewed for a second season. Hoorah… So there you are!
“Anyhoo, Teeny, I’m about run down and… blip… I’ll be glad to tell you about another group another day… bloop. I mean, gather round and you shall hear… blip… the blithering tale of Paul Revere…”
“But I want THE MONKEES. THE MONKEES, THE MONKEES, THE MONKEES, THE MONKEES, THE MONKEES, THE MONKEES…”