The Birth of The Monkees

Magazine: Movie Teen Illustrated
Editor: Peter Martin
Published:
Volume: 8
Issue: 1
Publisher: Dodsmith Publishing Co., Inc.
Pages: 32–33

Not all monkees fall from trees

All the other groups just got together. The Monkees were put together. No other group can make that statement. There ought to be some kind of conclusion to draw from the fact that The Monkees, signed to play the part of a hit group, BECAME such a hit group that many viewers assume they were there and the show was built around them, instead of the show being there and The Monkees being built to fit the show. Actually, “casting” for a group might never work again. There was a lot of luck involved in getting Mickey [sic], Davy, Peter and Mike together. It was even luckier that they hit it off so well, both as performers and singer-musicians right from the start.

You couldn’t have taken an established group, for example, and changed its name to The Monkees and had such a success. It had to be created “from scratch” the way it was and selection wasn’t haphazard. If other groups had it hard after already being together, The Monkees had it hard before getting together. Mickey [sic] worked as a mechanic between occasional singing and acting chores. There was nothing in his background to point out the big success he’s had on The Monkees series. Davy was an apprentice jockey and took what extra jobs he could get—acting on a daytime radio drama, for example. He came to this country because of roles in “Oliver” and “Pickwick” and while he could be said to be a true success on the stage, it gave no promise of anything like the pinnacle his new series has put him on. Although his father is an associate professor, Peter found the college life tough on him. He got a slow start in Greenwich Village joints and toured as accompaniest [sic] for the Phoenix Singers. Like the others, he got The Monkees job by answering the ad for auditions. Mike has the best musical background of the group. He first tried folk singing and wrote his own ballads when the same old folk line got tiresome to him. He toured with John Lundgren [sic] and later they added a third member and turned to rock and roll. The draft board broke up that group and Mike was single with a bunch of original songs and no place to go till The Monkees pointed the way.

There was a lot of talent at the audition which eventually created The Monkees, plenty of guys who were better at this or better at that than some of the present Monkees—but it’s hard to believe that any true foursome could have been comprised. These guys, Mickey [sic], Davy, Peter and Mike ARE The Monkees.

Pictures by Frank Edwards