On the Set with Peter

Peter Tork

It’s not what you’d expect!

A day on the Monkee set with Peter Tork is never the same, so to write a story about “A Day With Peter” you have to pick out one day and record just about everything you observe.

First thing in the morning you can count on Peter to be the first Monkee to say hello. He usually feels pretty good even at his eight o’clock make-up call, unlike Mike and Micky who take an hour or so to really wake up.

On this particular day, you bring a brand new copy of Monkee Spectacular down to the studio which the boys haven’t seen yet. Peter snatches it from your arm and begins to look at it page by page.

On the set the crew has started to film a scene, so Pete is called back and forth. “Will you please keep my place!” he jokingly demands as he hands back the book each time he does his spot.

By the time he reaches the middle of the magazine, he’s rapping at you, with just cause, of course. When Peter doesn’t like something he tells you up front. No sweet-talking the press, the set visitors, anyone. He’s always 100 per cent himself, and that’s first of all—truthful!

“Lies, lies, lies. Don’t you realize the responsibility you have to the fans to print the truth!” he shouts. You aren’t sure what he’s talking about so you ask, embarrassed.

He points out, “You spelled Tao wrong in ‘The Book of Tao.’ It’s T-A-O, not T-O-A! Also, you said I yelled, ‘I think you got it now Micky,’ on our album and it was Chip Douglas!”

Peter Tork

You may figure “that’s pretty groovy if that’s the only error in truth he can find in the whole magazine,” but to Peter it’s not groovy. So you absorb a little of his advice and think to yourself, “If he can be so concerned, so can I!”

So you’ve got to interview Davy and he’s standing nearby. While you talk to Davy, Peter carefully reads the political pages of the Los Angeles Times and then turns to the comics. Soon the crew and cast move from this outside setting to the regular stage seven. Home.

You continue your Davy interview in his dressing room and suddenly Peter interrupts because he’s found a new bridge for the song he and Davy are writing together. He sits down and strums the acoustic guitar and sings the new parts. Davy likes the addition and you can tell Peter is pleased. It’s all so natural to Peter, but still he gets excited. They resume this same scene later between shots on the set.

During the lunch break, Peter takes the five minute drive to his house and listens to albums while he eats a small lunch. Back on the set at one he takes an hour nap, because he’s not needed in the shot.

Genie The Tailor has brought his new clothes down to the studio for a final fitting and Pete’s eager to try them on. One by one he tries on the raw silk, braided raja coats and he looks beautiful!

Later you can ask Peter some questions between shots. That’s the best time because he has to sit there anyway, so why not get something accomplished! Peter has so many things he likes to do, he takes advantage of every free moment.

Davy has some guests on the set today, Deana and Gina Martin. Peter knows Deana and says a warm hello and meets little Gina, who looks so excited. Peter seldom invites friends down to the studio to watch the filming because he likes to be with his friends when he can spend some time with them, rather than chat between shots.

It’s late afternoon now and shooting will continue until about seven p.m. Hot tea will keep Peter going the rest of the day. It’s been both a usual day, with the routine shooting; and an unusual day, where the breaks bring different experiences and conversations. You saw Peter today—his talent, his honesty, his cheerfulness, his understanding—and you like what you’ve seen!

Magazine: Tiger Beat
Editor: Ralph Benner
Volume: 3
Issue: 6
Publisher: Laufer Publishing Co.
Page: 18