About the author: Steve Pitts met Davy at Mike’s house in San Antonio, Texas, last Thanksgiving. Steve is 23-years-old and is a graduate of the University of Texas where he studied acting, writing, and music. Currently, Steve’s the houseguest of Davy in Hollywood.
A magazine interviewer once asked Davy Jones if his personal life had any effect upon his ability as an actor. Davy answered her by saying, “Regardless of whether I’m feeding my dog in the morning or playing a difficult scene at the Monkee set, I’m always myself. I don’t change my personality or mannerisms to suit a script. My life at home is just about as hectic as a Monkee script.”
Perhaps this sounds like quite an exaggeration since Monkee scripts are probably the most hectic and unusual in television, but after staying with Davy for one week, I was convinced that he was sincere. In just one week we had a series of adventures that equalled any romp on any Monkee show!
Guns and prowlers
Late one Monday night Davy and I decided to go to the grocery store and as we pulled out of his driveway and started down the hill we noticed two men walking up the hill toward Davy’s house. Since Davy lives on a private road we decided to investigate.
We circled around the block and drove back to ask the two strangers if they needed help. Suddenly, in the midst of our conversation with the two strangers, Davy floored the car and screeched around the corner into his driveway. “Get out,” he yelled, “and call the police! One of them was hiding a pistol behind his back!”
While I was talking to the police on the telephone, Davy turned out all the lights and loaded two .22 automatic rifles. Then we stationed ourselves in strategic positions upstairs and downstairs and waited for the police.
Both of us had loaded guns, the house was pitch black and we were both ready to shoot at anything that moved. After about ten minutes of waiting I decided to go upstairs but Davy had also decided to go downstairs. We met half way up the stairs and nearly shot each other!
We both looked so ridiculous that Davy began to laugh, then I started laughing, then we both started laughing so hard that we dropped our guns and completely forgot about the prowlers. At exactly that moment we heard loud noises in the front yard—I nearly had a heart attack, I thought it was the prowlers coming to shoot it out! We ran into the front yard waving our guns and were immediately surrounded by three policemen!
After explaining to the police that we were not the prowlers, Davy and I jumped into the back of a police car in order to help identify the two men if the police captured them. We rode to a deserted house where they had been spotted and (after a few shots were exchanged) the fugitives were captured. They had just robbed a store in Beverly Hills and were running from the police when Davy and I first spotted them on our trip to the store!
Dinnertime at Davy’s
Of course, this sort of thing doesn’t happen every day. At six-thirty the next morning Davy somehow managed to get up and fix himself a breakfast of tea, bacon and English muffins, then he drove to the studio for a long day of shooting. (I didn’t find all this out until later—I slept until noon that day.).
At seven-thirty that evening he walked, or should I say, dragged himself into the house. There were four guests so Davy began to prepare a meal for the six of us, but by the time dinner was ready, five or six more people had arrived unexpectedly.
Naturally, Davy invited everyone to eat, and he marched into the kitchen and began to cook more food. In the meantime even more people arrived until there were about fifty persons waiting for dinner. Somehow, after spending half the evening in the kitchen, Davy managed to prepare a meal for all of us.
The menu consisted of steaks, hamburgers, soup, hot dogs and peanut butter sandwiches. Since everyone wanted steaks and no one wanted peanut butter, a huge fight developed, but by the time everything was settled and we were ready to eat, the food was cold. Davy had spent hours in the kitchen preparing a meal that was hardly touched!
After dinner we all filed into the living room to watch television. Davy has a color set and every person felt that it was his duty to adjust the color. Finally, the set broke down! Then someone turned on the stereo and naturally everyone wanted to hear a different record. Davy finally stood up on a chair and screamed, “Stop! Hop into your cars and follow me”. We all drove down the hill to the “Strip” and went to a movie.
Davy—the “daredevil” bike rider
The next day Davy didn’t have to go to the studio so we worked on his new motorcycle (a 500 C.C. Vellocette). After we had cleaned the bike and made a few repairs Davy decided to give it a test ride, so we rode up into the mountains until we came to an extremely steep hill with a dirt path running up the side.
“Hop off”, said Davy, “I think I can climb it, with a little luck”.
“You must be crazy”, I shouted. “The sides of that hill go nearly straight up. You’ll kill yourself before you make it to the top!”
I didn’t get a chance to say another word because Davy gunned the engine and raced toward the hill. He hit the bottom of the hill at sixty m.p.h. and began to climb. The engine purred steadily and Davy began to approach the top. I couldn’t believe that he had gotten that far and I began to think that he might reach the top. But just as his front wheel was about to touch level ground the engine died and Davy and the bike began to tumble back down the hill.
The bike crashed onto the pavement and Davy crashed into a pool of muddy, stagnant water. Without saying a word, he got up, wiped the mud off his face, climbed on the bike and we roared off as if nothing had happened!
After thinking about these incidents I realized the secret of Davy Jones’ success as an actor. He’s not acting; he’s just being himself! His private life is just as complicated as his public life. The other Monkees also lead equally exciting private lives and that is why the show is so appealing. The Monkees are genuine; they are the same people regardless of whether they are in front of a television camera or at home relaxing. They are not actors, they are personalities who refuse to compromise their individuality to fit a script.
Davy and I are now working on a script for the Monkee show which will include real incidents from Davy’s personal life. We are not going to invent elaborate situations. The story will be based on incidents which really happened. This type of script is possible because the Monkees are not playing roles. They are not the product of agents or producers. They are four genuine, talented people with strong individual personalities who are sincere about their work and who constantly try to improve themselves.
Davy’s acting philosophy
Davy was perhaps speaking for all the Monkees when he said, “I was Davy Jones long before I was a Monkee and I’m still the same Davy Jones. Even as the “Dodger” in “Oliver”, I was really just being myself. I was always a mischief maker in school so playing the “Dodger” seemed quite natural. I felt comfortable in the part because in many ways my background was similar to the “Dodger’s”.
Remember this statement of Davy’s the next time you watch the show or hear a Monkee song on the radio. Davy, Micky, Mike and Peter are strong personalities; they are real people who refuse to be anything but themselves.