The girls were all there—all of them—the day we had an appointment to talk to the Monkees on the set where they film their weekly bout of mayhem.
And how they were there! Lithe young bodies, with seemingly entrancing measurements. Blondes, brunettes, redheads, and various shades or combinations of the three. But girls, girls, girls! At least three or four dozen of them, all in their teens, and all eagerly awaiting a word from one of their heroes.
Never a day goes by that these girls are not at Screen Gems studio. This constant harem makes it look like there’s a big party that never stops. It only pauses momentarily, everyone in place, when the director yells “silence” so a scene can be shot. The minute the scene is finished, the party picks up right where it left off—which makes it just a bit rough on a reporter trying to interview the Monkees. Anything can happen.
Take Micky, for example. To Micky Dolenz, who was Circus Boy when he was younger, members of the press are old-hat. Micky loves to construct things of his own design from Tinker Toys and Erector sets. But on this particular day, surrounded by at least a dozen admiring “birds,” Micky was making an op flower… out of wire and wild-colored crepe paper.
“Oh, just because it’s neat,” was his succinct reply. Finally, we were able to get him into his dressing room—but not alone. With us was one of the most beautiful blonde girls ever born—the sister of Cass Elliott, the Big Mama of The Mamas and The Papas. There she sat, wide-eyed, young and beautiful, while we asked Micky (not without some hesitation), “Why all the girls about?”
“Because they’re fun, man, fun,” the young actor popped back instantly. “You know, lots of ’em just do the show, and then we invite ’em back to visit. They come—and they stay.”
That was the only full statement we got out of him. After that, he concentrated fully on the flower, leaving both the blonde and the reporter to their own devices. After a minute, the reporter shrugged and left. The blonde stayed.
Next we talked with Mike Nesmith, skirting the subject of girls gingerly, since his wife, Phyllis, was on set with their young son, Christian Duval. Phyllis is a striking, long-haired blonde herself, and it is plain to see that Mike has no interest in any other girl but her.
“She has to be the best bird of them all,” Mike said fondly, patting his smiling wife on the head, “but she doesn’t dig this show business bit much.”
Perhaps not. But she obviously wasn’t complaining about the economic security. And she has the unique ability to ignore the rest of the girls completely—especially when they are ogling her spouse.
But Mike, that particular day, was more interested in a new, small-screen portable television set his cohort Davy Jones had given his companions for Christmas.
“Girls? Hey, man, I love ’em—but all of ’em,” Davy enthused. But his buddies, hooting him down, averred that the 5'3" English boy, who started out to be a jockey, really preferred tall, long-legged blonde types. There were at least a dozen of them on the set, which should give Davy plenty of room to choose. And every one seemed eager to attract the pint-sized performer’s attention.
Of the entire zany quartet, Davy was the only one who was willing to shoo away all the giggling girls and retire to his dressing room to talk quietly. He talked about his life as a youngster in Manchester, England, which he left, he said, “when I was fourteen, so I could become something.
“I went into horse manure for openers,” he laughed, referring to his time as an apprentice jockey.
“But I had to get out. I lost everything I made betting,” Davy confessed. However, Davy’s father and sisters still live in England—he recently bought his dad a new home. Davy returns there frequently when he can tear himself away from the bevy of blondes—which isn’t often.
Of all the boys, Peter Tork is the most blase about the girls. An excellent musician who plays more than half a dozen musical instruments well, Peter reflects in his attitudes the scholarly background in which he was raised. In that he is, undoubtedly, the most articulate and sophisticated of the lot.
“They come. They stay. They’re great.” Thus Peter summed up his attitude toward the bevy of beauties flitting around constantly. And he would say no more about them.
Nor, indeed, about everything else, either. Instead, he moodily strummed the guitar, with a far-away look in his eyes. Ignoring utterly not only the reporter, but a flock of femininity that gathered magically to fall at his feet, mouths agape and eyes intent on Peter’s handsome face.
Where do they come from, all these ravishing things? Most of them look like they’ve skipped school for the day, and nobody would be surprised to see a truant officer stalk on the set some day and haul them away.
They never seem to go anywhere. They are at the studio at the earliest hour—and at the latest. One cannot but help wondering about their parents, and where they are and what they think.
You get no help from the girls. Ask one about herself, and she collapses into a giggling mass of inarticulate shrugging childishness. “I’m Betty,” one said, then ran.
But, Betty, or Barbara, or whatever their names are (and the boys, frankly, don’t know them all) are there constantly. Why? “Because the boys respond to them,” says a production staff member.
Well, sure. But, after all, there is a show to get done. And, evidently, even the permissive director had his fill once recently. For suddenly, in a flurry of shoving and shooing, the set was cleared completely. All visitors away. In an unusual quiet, the day’s shooting proceeded.
Evidently, not very well. Something must have been missing, for the very next day, the doors were open wide again. The girls were back.
All fifty of them—especially the tall, lean, cool blondes.
That’s showbiz. Or is it snow biz for the Monkees?