The Monkees in London by Samantha Juste

What happened, day by day, when Davy, Micky, Peter and Mike invaded Limeyland!

Samantha Juste Dolenz

Samantha “Sammy” Juste was born on May 31, 1945, in Middleton, Manchester, England. She is five feet and seven inches tall and weighs 108 pounds. She has medium blonde hair and blue eyes. Sammy, who lives alone in a penthouse apartment in the Westminster section of London, started modeling two years ago. Since then she has branched out and became a TV personality and a writer. Her column, Sammy Says, will became a regular feature of 16 Magazine starting with the December issue—so don’t miss! Sammy’s favorite groups are the Beatles and the Monkees. And, in spite of her success in her “triple-threat” career, her real ambition is to become a dress designer. In her private life, Sammy’s biggest dream is to “…be happy and spread happiness.” 16 firmly believes that she is just the girl to do that job well. So welcome Sammy Juste to the pages of your favorite mag and keep tuned for more.

The big jet airliner touched down at London’s Heathrow Airport just before midnight on a warm Wednesday evening—and marked the beginning of seven crowded, whirlwind days that I’ll remember for the rest of my life! The atmosphere was sultry because the sun had been blazing down all day (no, it doesn’t rain all the time in Limeyland!), and the tension had been building up since dawn. Hundreds of youngsters, mostly girls, had congregated in and around the arrival lounges and on the observation terraces, obviously seething with excitement (but desperately trying not to get in the way or do anything to cause the authorities to move them out!).

As the evening progressed, their numbers had slowly dwindled, and disconsolate groups had trudged reluctantly towards the town-bound buses, some accompanied by sympathetic but firm parents. The rest stayed put, and were clearly going to remain all night if that was what was necessary in order for them to see the Monkees! I was as excited as any of them, especially when that great plane taxied onto the tarmac. The passengers started filing down the gangways and we all stared harder and harder, wondering perhaps if it wasn’t the wrong plane! Then, a few minutes after all the other travelers had disembarked, Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz appeared, immediately followed by Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith. The first of many concerted screams echoed across the tarmac. They were really here! Months and months of waiting, hoping, longing, saving for and chasing after tickets were over for tens of thousands of British fans. All the Monkees were in Britain at the same time at last!

Mike Nesmith, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork
The Monkees as they looked when they arrived at the airport in London.

I think I was yelling with the others. I was so excited, I can’t remember. The boys looked tremendous in suede suits and antelope skins. Davy’s and Mike’s had some fabulous fringes, and Micky’s had a kind of Red Indian finish to it with a lot of beads. Peter wore a kind of green suede “pixie” jerkin. They were cheered all the way to the Customs hall, and I jumped up and down like a yo-yo when they spotted me on the balcony and gave me a great big wave.

I traveled back into town with Vic Lewis of Nems Enterprises, who had handled the colossal organization that was to bring 50,000 Monkee people from all over Britain to the Wembley concerts in London. Vic was relieved that the boys had arrived, but I guess at that stage he was doing everything except actually cross his fingers in case some last-minute snag or difficulty fouled up one of the greatest events in British pop music history.

Vic drove me to the Monkee headquarters: the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, overlooking Hyde Park and within easy walking distance of the home of Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon. I said a brief “hi!” to the boys, as they were very tired. (Davy seemed to be particularly glad to be in England again. Although he loves America, I think he sometimes gets very homesick for his folks back here.)

Jimmy Savile, Micky Dolenz, Samantha Juste Dolenz
Micky and Sammy with Top Of The Pops deejay Jimmy Savile (Savile was later revealed to be one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders).

The next morning there was a press conference at the hotel, and what an occasion that was! I’ve never seen so many reporters and photographers in all my life! They were like a herd of stampeding cattle, trampling one another to get close to the Monkees. The questions weren’t loaded and didn’t start off any fireworks. Micky and Mike did most of the talking, and it was a pleasant session.

After the conference, the foursome went off to Wembley for rehearsals. After they left, I again noticed the patient cordons of hundreds of fans surrounding the hotel. They’d all been there the night before and—in fact—maintained the “siege” all the time the Monkees were in town. They began chanting every day at around dawn, and kept it up non-stop.

Twelve bodyguards had been hired to look after the Monkees, and they did a marvelous job—helped by the police and the staffs at the hotel and the Wembley Empire Pool. The boys treated the musclemen like personal friends and, of course, the “heavies” couldn’t do enough for them. It was hilarious watching those big guys trailing along everywhere, trying to look like they weren’t there! But in spite of their care and all the precautions, an average of 30 fans managed to invade the hotel every hour. They were constantly being winkled out of closets, lounges and just about everywhere, but—alas—none of them made it to the boys’ floor.

The Monkees are really concerned about their fans all the time. When the boys were in the hotel, they kept going out on the balcony facing Hyde Park, singing and waving to the crowds below. And they threw down I don’t know how many pounds of candy! Thursday night the boys were tired again from all their work, but Micky politely came with me to BBC-TV’s Top Of The Pops (on which I appear every week) to say hello on screen.

Right now is as good a time as any to pause and tell you how I was lucky enough to meet the Monkees. When Mike, Davy and Micky made their first visit to London earlier in the year, Micky and Mike appeared on Top Of The Pops to receive their English gold disk for I’m A Believer. That day, instead of putting the records on the turntable (which was my usual job), I was in the audience. I didn’t know it then, but I found out later that Micky asked Cyril Black, the English Screen Gems representative, who I was. Anyway, Cyril called me later and asked me if I would have dinner with him and Micky. I was overwhelmed, of course. I have been friendly with Micky and the rest of the Monkees ever since that time. But that’s another story, and I’ll tell you all about it some other day.

Getting back to my present story—it was great to have Micky back on Top Of The Pops. The moment he appeared, the audience went berserk. There wasn’t enough security about and Micky was mobbed. But don’t worry, he wasn’t harmed.

Oh, dear, I’ve run out of space—and I’ve hardly begun. It seems I’ll have to meet you again here next month. That’s when I’ll finish telling you about the Monkees’ marvelous adventures in England. The December issue of 16 goes on sale October 19. Cheerio!

Magazine: 16
Editor: Gloria Stavers
Volume: 9
Issue: 6
Publisher: 16 Magazine, Inc.
Pages: 20–21