Has a smiling brown-eyed stranger turned up in your hometown lately? Did he look an awful lot like Davy Jones? Well, if it hasn’t happened keep your eyes wide open—cos maybe Davy will take it into his handsome head to drop in on YOU!
One Saturday morning in the middle of April this past spring—just as my mom, dad and I were sitting down to the breakfast table—the doorbell rang. We stared at each other and said, at the same time, “Are you expecting anyone?”—and everyone answered, “No.”
Suddenly, the entire Neal trio was scurrying about the apartment and straightening things up, not unlike the merry madness you see Davy, Mike, Peter and Micky go through on a Monkee TV “romp”! Smiling, Mom peered through the peephole and saw two huge brown eyes with a touch of mischief in them staring back at her. Who could it be? Nobody else but the one and only Davy Jones! As we flung the door open, Davy said in his heaviest Manchester accent, “Well, hello there.”
Needless to say, we were spellbound. It was an overwhelming surprise to see our long-time (four years, to be exact) friend Davy Jones standing in the doorway of our apartment in Forest Hills in New York!
“How come you’re here, Davy?” I asked. “We thought you were in Hollywood!”
“Well, it’s like this, Jeff,” Davy said, strolling in. “Yesterday, I got into a very mean mood and was on the verge of taking my motorbike out and knocking down a few trees along the Sunset Strip. Instead, I decided to fly back ‘home’ to New York and visit my American family—the Neals. So, here I am”—and he promptly plopped himself down on the living room couch.
Mom, Dad and I stared at each other with big grins on our faces. We had never been so delighted to hear anything from Davy as we were to hear those words!
In no time at all, Mom prepared Davy’s favorite breakfast—orange juice and tea with milk—and we all sat down to talk, the main topic of the conversation being what kind of a nut was Davy Jones to make a 6,000-mile surprise trip just for a weekend visit! Davy explained, “I love Hollywood and I love my life there, but once in a while I just have to get away from it all. So I pick up a bag and hop on a jet. So far, I have hit Palm Springs, Las Vegas, Honolulu and New York City. Heaven only knows where I will turn up next.”
Little drummer boy
Volatile David’s mood quickly changed and he walked over to my drum set. “Hey, man,” he called to me, “let’s jam! You play the guitar and I’ll play the drums.” And whamo-bango, our session began. Mom and Dad, our captive audience, stuck their fingers in their ears. For our first number, Davy and I did Mary, Mary, then we did Auntie Griselda and so on, ending up—as a grand finale—with our own improvisation of that all-time pop favorite, Last Train To Clarksville.
Hours passed, and before we knew it—it was time for dinner. Mom yelled at me over the loud drum-beat to go out and get some bread. Davy insisted on going with me which, of course, was quite a kick. While we were in the store, a boy who looked to be about 12 years old came over to David and asked, “Are you Davy Jones?”
Davy jokingly said, “No.”
The guy looked him over carefully for almost a minute, and then said, “I didn’t think so. You don’t even look like him.” And he turned and walked away!
Greenwich Village spree
When we got back home, Mom had prepared Davy’s favorite dinner: lamb chops, french fries and a big salad—after which we hopped on a subway train and headed for Greenwich Village, where Davy wanted to shop. We darted in and out of all those groovy little clothing stores on Eighth Street and Fourth Street. I watched amazed as Davy treated himself to a fab wardrobe! All in all, he bought three suits, ten pairs of slacks, fifteen sweaters, six shirts, two suede jackets, two pairs of groovy white boots—and he had everything shipped to his home in Hollywood!
Next, we went for a long walk uptown and got to the Broadway area just as the legitimate shows were ending. Davy stopped backstage to say “hi” to a number of his friends who were still appearing on Broadway. For them, it was like old home week and it was a groove just to sit around and listen to them talk about “old times” when David appeared in Oliver!
—And so to bed
The irrepressible Davy Jones was not exhausted after the day I have just described. When we got home, we had a snack and watched TV until all hours; and later, when Davy crawled into the guest twin bed in my bedroom, he started telling me jokes. It became like a contest to see who could stay awake longest and tell the funniest stories. As usual, Davy won—I just couldn’t keep my eyes open.
The next day we both got up around noon. In less than 35 minutes, we were ready to go downtown. Davy had gotten us tickets to a benefit performance for the fabulous musical Mame. After the show, Davy wanted to go backstage and congratulate the performers, but in the lobby people recognized him and soon a large corwd [sic] gathered around him and clamored for his autograph. For a while, Davy was obliging and then he signaled me with a wink. Man, it was “romp” time again!
We slipped out of the lobby and ran all the way to Downey’s Steak House (Davy’s favorite New York restaurant), where we relaxed and ate a steak dinner.
We were home by 9:30, and Mom and Dad were waiting to drive Davy to the airport. The weekend seemed to have ended before it had even started. Just before Davy boarded his plane, he turned to me and said with a twinkle in his eye, “Be prepared—I might be back in again next weekend. I am always making little sneak trips to somewhere over the weekend. If I don’t come here, it’ll be to some other town!”—and he waved and hurried away.
My parting words to you can only be: Stay awake—your hometown may be next on Davy’s “sneak visit” list!