You are Jeff’s date as he escorts you to the Main Ballroom of The Barbizon Plaza Hotel in New York City where you meet—THE MONKEES!—long before they become famous!
In September of 1966—just over a year ago—none of us could guess how big the Monkees were going to be. I (because I was fortunate enough to be a long-time good friend of David Jones) got the following invitation in the morning mail:
Michael Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork and David Thomas Jones invite you to a party in the Main Ballroom of The Barbizon Plaza Hotel in New York City at 6:30 P.M. on September 12, 1966.
Since Davy was a special friend of mine, I was very thrilled. I got dressed in my “finest”—a dark suit, white shirt and tie—and at 6:30 P.M. on the nose, I arrived at the appointed place. Use your imagination now, pretend that you are my date, and come along with me to the Monkees “mystery” party!…
A straight-faced young man wearing a green wool hat greets us at the door. I know who he is because Davy has told me all about the Monkees.
“I’m Michael Nesmith,” he says, and we shake hands.
Mike escorts us inside and the first person to greet us is dynamic David Jones. After I introduce you, Davy takes your arm and escorts us around. The first two people we meet are David’s Hollywood buddy, David Pearl and Monkees’ producer Bert Schneider. After exchanging greetings, we turn and find ourselves staring into the faces of Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork. I had spoken to Micky on the phone a couple of times, because he and Davy were sharing a house in Hollywood.
“So you’re the guy who wakes me up in the morning!” Micky exclaims, and pretends he is about to strangle me.
“Hold on there, son,” Peter says, feigning shock. “Don’t harm a hair on this young man’s head!”
In no time we find ourselves chitchatting with these two super-nice Monkees, and we both are delighted that they are so unbelievably kind. Suddenly, the lights start flashing on and off in the ballroom and everyone is asked to sit down. We find ourselves seated together, surrounded by Monkees and staring up at a large screen. The lights go out and the very first Monkees segment begins to unreel—in living color—before our very eyes! Everyone who saw that show was thrilled—so you can understand that the thrill was even greater for us, sitting there and seeing it with the boys for the very first time. After laughing our way through the pilot film—before we know it—it is over. There is a split second of silence, then the room is filled with thunderous applause. Everyone hurries around, telling everyone else how great, great, great, GREAT the Monkees are! Mike, David, Micky and Peter are grinning with delight, but saying nothing.
Monkee feeding time!
Micky runs over and throws open the double doors at one side of the room—and stretched out before us is a tremendous banquet table loaded with everything from appetizers to roast beef to jello! “Feeding time at the zoo” turns out to be almost as fantastic a success as the show has been. There are six different salads, eight different main dishes, four ice cream desserts, three different jellos and all the cake and pastries you can eat (if you have any room left in your tummy, that is!)
After we (along with Mike) find a table and sit down with our heavily-laden trays, Davy comes over and joins us. The first thing he asks us it, “Tell the truth. Did you like the show?”
There is a verbal stampede for a moment as we both compete trying to tell the guys how outasite we both know the Monkees series shall and will be. Finally, we convince the guys and they relax, and we all enjoy a quiet dinner punctuated by humor and a feeling of “togetherness” that you and I will never forget…
As I said before, it is over a year since that special and very wonderful night. But if you are anything like me, you not only dug every show last season and the re-runs all summer and this season’s even greater Monkees show—but you also have become a loving and loyal Monkees fan forever!