There are so many different and exciting sides to Peter Tork that he is like a rare and brilliant diamond. He is deep, too. And people who listen carefully to what he has to say are far richer for having known him.
Today is a super-special day! You’re going to Screen Gems for an exclusive interview with Peter Tork! As you’re walking up to the huge doors that lead onto the magic Monkees set, Stage Seven at Screen Gems, just off Gower and Sunset in Hollywood, whirling thoughts of Peter flash across your mind.
First, you remember the impression you had of him the first time you saw him on television. You recall his elf-like grin, his blond mop flopping into his eyes, the vague, eager-to-please-but-not-quite-clear-about-what’s-happening look on his face. A lovable clown, that’s what you thought of Peter the funniest Monkee. But, as you got to know him, you soon began to suspect that there was something more to Peter. He was truly different!
You couldn’t put your finger on it, so you began to listen a little closer when he spoke. Soon, you began to get clues… first, from his appearance. The love beads, the moccasins, the tiny flowers painted on his hands and face, the bright, colorful clothes, the socks that never match—all these spelled out “Individual.”
But it wasn’t only the way he looked that made you wonder. Maybe it was the look in his eyes. Maybe it was the self-confident way he spoke to you on that first brief meeting when you just had time to say hello. Or maybe you just felt it inside. Whatever it was, you’ve known for a long time that Peter has a very deep side to him that is kept hidden from the camera.
From the moment you got a glimpse of that secret but very real side of Peter, you have been drawn to him like a magnet. You decided you had to find out if your feelings were true. So you worked and planned and schemed until you finally got your chance to interview him. And today’s the day!
Suddenly you’re at the Stage Seven door! Back to reality! He’s right inside. You tell yourself “Don’t be afraid. Just open the door!”
Once on the set, you have to wait patiently for a scene to be shot, so you settle yourself in a dark corner and watch the boys work.
Now your hunches about Peter are confirmed. Between takes, the silly Monkee image fades and a very different Peter switches on—a bright quick, sure person who knows what he’s doing every second. You can tell by the way he jokes with the cameramen and the professional way he works out a few lines with Davy, Micky and Mike.
Suddenly, the scene’s complete and Peter’s walking toward you. Before you know it you’re seated back in a dark corner with Peter in the chair next to you. Your interview questions are in your hand but you might as well not have brought them because Peter’s mind is overflowing with ideas of his own.
Peter is the possessor of one of the grooviest, deepest minds in all of music-land. Underneath his straight, light brown hair can be found a bustling brain that you wouldn’t believe! Deep-thinking Peter can talk about almost any subject you could ever conjure up. He’s anxious to talk about them to anyone who genuinely wants to hear and you genuinely do!
Likes science fiction
Out of the blue Peter tells you that lately he’s become fascinated with science fiction. “One of my favorite books now is Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. It’s about the orphan child of the first Martian explorers. He grows to twenty-one years of age before he’s discovered by the second expedition to Mars which rescues him. He comes back to Earth, having been raised by the Martians—really fascinating!
“Another writer I dig is Theodore Sturgeon, one of the greatest science fiction writers alive today. He visited our set one day and we were all very thrilled. He’s a visionary and a mystic, really one of the giant talents of the day. I hope everybody reads him. He wrote a book called More Than Human and a lot of other novels and short stories.”
Science Fiction seems to be just the kind of reading that would interest Peter because it’s about people with advanced ideas and he’s that type of person. He’s always ahead of most people, always thinking about the new and the unusual. Besides that, science fiction makes you think for yourself, reason things out. It makes you use your imagination to figure out if life on other planets is possible and just what it would be like. What do you think? Peter would love to hear from you on this.
Peter also reads The Book of the Tao… all about an ancient Chinese nature philosophy with some simple, beautiful and meaningful messages in it. He studies all kinds of different religions, too. Peter has now figured out his own religion, what seems closest to Truth for him. It’s the result of much studying, thinking and sorting out.
Peter was also influenced by the Oriental philosophies Zen. “Zen Buddhism believes in the theory of sudden enlightenment or sudden awakening. This idea is Japanese. I believe that Truth can just come to you in a sudden flash and you’ll know where it’s all at, if you prepare yourself to receive it.
“Zen also teaches that you should just go along and live your life as best you can from minute to minute, always living in the present. You’re already there and there’s nothing else. If you can make the most of each day, accomplish and learn all you can now, you’ll get so much more done in your lifetime than if you sit around waiting for tomorrow to come. Because when tomorrow gets here it’s just another today. You end up just waiting and putting things off and nothing ever gets done. So, try to make each minute count!
Professor Tork’s think tank
“All the Eastern religions have a great deal in common. They all believe that your reward and punishment is a direct result of your own behavior. For instance, if you’re smiling at somebody and making them happy you’re in Heaven.”
No sooner do you get entranced in this subject than Philosopher Peter takes off on the problems of the world. “The world situation is something in a mess today. I’d like to see it all get straight. It’s working on it now though. I can see it happening. There’s always going to be another challenge the world will always go on. But I’d like to see us solve all our problems like poverty, war, pain and all that.
“Christianity as it is now practiced by most people who call themselves Christians in this country is pretty shabby. Sometimes the true Christian spirit seems dead. But I can see it coming out of the woodwork now. I think the flower children are an example of the true Christian spirit. That means love and participation. You trade gifts as you trade looks with your eyes and it’s all participating.
“The Flower People sever ties with the establishment and go to where they can practically, day to day, live the kind of life they like. In flower communities you can do that. These people believe in the power of love which is a Christian doctrine.”
Peter hasn’t broken his own ties at all—he grooves on entertainment and people and everything he’s wrapped up in now. He isn’t saying you should break ties either. But he does sympathize with those who have felt it was right for them and he’s definitely in favor of many of their ideas.
When Peter really gets going on his thoughts about life, there’s no stopping him. What’s more, you don’t want him to stop. More than once during the interview you hear someone yelling “Peter? Peter! You’ve got a scene to do!”
But he’s so engrossed in the conversation that when he finally hears them calling him, he’ll get up and reluctantly start backing away toward the set, still quickly trying to finish telling you what’s on his mind.
As soon as he returns to his chair, Peter starts off on Astrology. “I don’t go to an astrologist when I want to find out what’s happening but I do believe some astrologers are accurate and can actually foretell the future. I believe that there are sensitive people in all walks of life. Wherever you go there are some people, no matter what system they use, who maybe just sit in a corner cross-legged or read the stars, but they can read the future.”
For someone as scientifically-minded and as logical as Peter, it may seem strange that he believes in ghosts. But he’s very open-minded… and ghosts? Why not?
“It seems to me that some spirits don’t believe they can go anywhere or they just feel a need to hang around after their bodies have split. It all depends on your own individual spirit whether you go or stay.”
You begin to wonder, with all his deep, beautiful thoughts, if Peter really belongs in this crazy world of show business. He seems too free and independent to work hour after hour on the show, playing a character that appears so very different than the real Peter. Wouldn’t he rather be traveling all over the world, going here and there, talking to people and learning?
No. Because Peter wants to give the world what he knows and he wants to share his talents with all of us. Music is very important to him, as well as making people laugh. By being a Monkee, Peter has a great opportunity to give of himself—to give music and happiness to millions of people all at once.
“I’ll never stop acting or singing and I’ll never stop carrying on. In show business I find just as many deep thinkers, just as many intelligent, logical people as I do anywhere.”
So, Peter is always learning, twenty-four hours a day. He reads, he talks with all sorts of aware people, and reads his fan mail. Yet he’s still able to accomplish his goal of sharing his knowledge and talents. He’s in his right place!
Suddenly Peter is again called for a scene. You realize you’ve been talking and listening for hours. Where did the time go? You’ve never been so engrossed in a person’s thoughts before! But, it’s time to leave because this is the last scene for the day and surely Peter’s energy is running low by this time.
So, you gather up your tape recorder and unused interview notes and give him a sincere “Thanks, Peter!” He grins that elf-like grin again as he walks over to the cameras and you realize that he’s starting to turn on his Monkee Peter personality once more, for the hundredth time that day.
Outside Stage Seven once more, you finally have a chance to think back about the tons of ideas that Peter gave you so lovingly. How could they all have come from just one person?
As you pass the gate and head toward home, you notice you’re smiling to yourself and walking at a faster pace than usual. It could be because you’ve found out that Peter is all you’d imagined and more. In fact, he’s a beautiful and true combination of the on-camera Monkee and the real person who is Peter Tork.
Monkee Peter is unselfish, with the ever-curious, pure mind of a child. And the real Peter Tork is that. But he’s also the most unique individual you’ve ever come across. And he has the wisdom, the maturity and the ability to put to use the answers to all his questions when his deep thinking finds them. These answers come by reading, observing, talking, or just figuring things out in his own way.
That’s why you feel so happy. Because now you now really know that groovy person, Peter Tork, and he’s shared so many of his important ideas with you. Now you feel you’re a better person, too. You’ll apply many of the things he has said to your own life. And, although you may not agree with all of his beliefs, he has inspired you to think on your own more than you’ve ever done before. Yes, today was a super-special day… the day you learned from Peter Tork, all the things that really count!