Come along with the Monkees’ closest friend and look and listen while the boys break for lunch and then turn their workaday afternoon into a typical maniacal fun-fest!
When I left you last month, Davy, Mike, Peter, Micky and myself—along with you, our special guest—had finished a fun-filled morning on The Monkees set and were just about to take our luncheon break. So come along and hold tight—here we go again!
Suddenly, at 1 P.M., a loud voice booms through the Monkees’ big Studio Seven on the Columbia-Screen Gems shooting lot on Beechwood Drive in Hollywood.
“All right—crew take forty-five minutes for lunch; Monkees, other actors and stand-ins take one hour!”
This is the way lunch starts each day on the set. There’s an immediate mad dash for the door by everyone. Questions such as, “Where are we going for lunch?” and “What’s a good place for pizza?” fly back and forth—and soon everyone has gone along their way,
On this particular day, Davy is holding off lunch until he goes shopping at Lenny’s Boot Parlour. Actually, Lenny’s sells more than just boots. The shop has the grooviest clothes in Hollywood, and that’s why Davy and the rest of the Monkees go there. Lenny also makes most of the clothes you see the boys wearing on the show. They are designed by The Monkees’ costume designer, Gene Ashman.
Davy is a fast shopper because he knows exactly what kind of clothes he wants. His first selection is a super-looking dark blue suit with thin black pin stripes. The pants are bell-bottomed. Next, Davy spots a beautiful brown suede jacket. He slips it on, digs it, and Lenny starts pinning it for needed alterations. Finally, Davy picks out three pairs of slacks. They are all “gambler’s” cut (that means they’re slightly flared at the bottom). One pair is blue (Davy’s favorite color), one is black and one is dark brown.
When Davy has completed his purchases, the total comes to $250—which is rather expensive for “lunch”. Seeing that he has ten minutes left; Davy hurries over to Brewers, a nearby diner, where he joins Peter and has a lunch consisting of two Cokes, fish ’n chips, and a tall milk shake! Peter had been waiting all this time for Davy, calmly sipping tea and reading his new book on Yoga (which he is starting to practice). Now, Peter orders a hamburger with french fries and another cup of tea.
While Davy and Peter are eating lunch, Mike has gone off to see about two cars he’s buying—not for himself, but for his buddy John London and his brother-in-law Bruce. Mike gets John a Buick Riviera and Bruce a Pontiac Firebird convertible. (Later, when Mike presented John and Bruce with the keys to their new cars, both of the guys were absolutely overwhelmed.)
All this time, Micky has been spending his lunch hour at the studio. He cooks his own lunch! His specialty is chili and beans with carrots. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you are eating and making wire-sculptured “peace symbols” at the same time, it’s hard to decide which is more important. Micky does his wire sculpting with Chuck Gaspar’s soldering iron. Chuck is the special effects man on the show—and Micky also uses Chuck’s stove to cook his lunch on.
“Light ’em up!”
At 2 o’clock on the nose, the first assistant director, Jon Anderson, comes in and shouts over the loud speaker, “Light ’em up”—which means that the crew is back at work and the set is to be lit for the first take of the afternoon.
David Winters, who is directing today’s segment, comes in and goes over the script with the script man. The script man has to check every line that is spoken and make sure that no dialogue is left out. This doesn’t include the ad-libs, of course, and 75% of the show is ad-libbed by Davy, Micky, Peter and Mike. David Winters, by the way, choreographed the first live concert the Monkees ever did—which was in Hawaii on December 3, 1966.
Suddenly, there’s a burst of noise at the doorway to Studio Seven. It’s Peter and Davy coming back from lunch—with Davy riding on Peter’s back! Mike is right behind them—wryly commenting, “Peter Tork has a Monkee on his back.” Walking beside Mike is John London, grinning from ear to ear and bubbling with excitement about his new car. Micky, who has just finished his fifth peace button, runs over and jumps on Mike’s back—and the Monkees all race across the stage to their dressing rooms!
Gene Ashman now brings the boys their first wardrobe change of the afternoon, and Micky jokingly says, “I ain’t wearin’ no Monkee shirt with no ‘gambler’s’ slacks—they just don’t go together!”
One of the guest stars on this week’s episode is Jim Frawley. He is a very talented young man who has directed many of the Monkees segments in the past. Jim is also a fine actor and a close friend of Micky, Mike, Peter and Davy—and everybody else on the set.
As the afternoon wears on, one of the scenes requires Davy to climb up a rope ladder almost to the top of the stage. Just before the scene is shot, Micky sneaks up onto the catwalk (a narrow iron walkway close to the studio ceiling) and removes the rope ladder, replacing it with an old straight rope. No one notices this, because we are all so busy with everything else. The scene starts and Davy lunges for the rope ladder. He is amazed to find only a single rope hanging there. True professional that he is, however, he begins to scale up hand-over-hand—which is very hard to do and requires a great deal of strength.
“Cut!” the director yells, when he digs what’s going on. “Okay, who’s the wise guy?”
No one steps forward—and meanwhile Davy puts everyone into stitches by hanging on his rope and making like a real live monkey!
This afternoon is a special one because the producers, Bert Schneider and Bob Rafelson, are giving the Monkees and the crew a party to celebrate the shooting of next season’s first episode. The party is a huge success. There is plenty of food and soda for all and the entertainment is especially good. It is performed by a group of four boys whom, I am sure, you would all recognize. They’ve had a few big records on the charts and hope to have more in the future. If you guessed the Monkees—you guessed right. In the middle of the party, Davy, Mike, Peter and Micky got their instruments from the prop man, set up their amps and speakers, and began to play. The Monkees rolled out with Clarksville, Believer, Steppin’ Stone and Sonny [sic] Girl Friend—a band on the Monkees’ new LP. Last of all, the boys did requests from the crew, such as old Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry tunes.
Before you realize it, it is 7:30 and time to “cut” for the day. You may feel a little sad to have to stop and leave all the fun and excitement behind. But don’t worry tomorrow is another day, and the Monkees will be back here again, bringing you laughter and joy with their very own private brand of wild and wonderful entertainment.
Next month, a super acta-vated thrill is in store for you. You are going to find out what it’s like to spend an entire evening alone in Hollywood with each of the Monkees! Meet ya in the September issue of 16—which goes on sale July 20!