Up, up and away! Fly off to Monkee-land once again with 16’s editor Gloria Stavers—and find out what’s really going on behind the scenes with Davy, Mike, Peter and Micky (who’s gotta groovy secret or two to share with you)!!
Would you like to see how a Monkees TV program is put together from beginning to end? Seems like a great idea, doesn’t it? Well, that is exactly what 16 is going to show you—so come along on a visit to Studio 7 and find out what really goes on “behind the scenes!”
Before you can get to Studio 7 you have to pass the security gate, and that is not easy to do. Seeing a cluster of teenage girls already gathered at the gate doesn’t do much to boost your morale, either! But today you are lucky—for you are traveling with 16 and your name is registered with the guard.
Just as the guard admits you to the lot, a “madman” comes cavorting down the street! No, it’s not a madman—it’s Micky Dolenz! Micky comes up to you and takes your hand.
“So you’re our guest today,” he says. “Well, come along—cos you are going to be busy, busy, busy!”
Before you can utter a word, Micky hurriedly explains the set is closed today to everyone (except you) because he is directing his first Monkee segment.
“It isn’t easy at all,” Micky says. “First, I got this idea for The Frodis Caper, then one of the regular writers, David Evans, and I wrote the script and submitted it.”
Not only was Micky’s story accepted, but he was also asked if he would like to direct it. That meant that in addition to his writing chore, he would be directing and performing in The Caper—quite a heavy workload for a busy Monkee to take on!
Micky also explains to you that actual filming takes place on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, but that he has to consult with the set designers, Gene Ashman (who does costumes), casting director, Paul Young, and story editor Neil Buriston. In other words, a good many plans have to be made before the actual shooting starts.
Suddenly, a lovely girl with long brownish-blonde hair appears. You recognize her immediately. She is Samantha Juste. Sammy and Micky have a hurried, whispered conversation as you politely stand aside. Then Micky introduces you to Sammy, who smiles and disappears—leaving you with a warm and friendly impression.
As if reading your mind, Micky says, “Hey, I know there are marriage rumors about Sammy and me. It’s no secret that she and I have been dating for quite a while. I have tried to keep my private life private but, on the other hand, I feel that fans who care enough to want to know ought to understand that Sammy means a lot to me—”
He smiles and doesn’t finish the sentence. You feel sort of relieved that Micky has confided in you, and you know in your heart that whatever he decides to do will be best for him and his lovely girl friend—and there is no need for anyone to be angry or jealous about Micky’s “mystery marriage.”
Next, Micky escorts you into Studio 7. It is very dark, but soon you get your bearings and you feel as though you are in an enormous warehouse full of various sets. You recognize some of them right away.
First, Micky introduces you to Rip Taylor, who plays a mad scientist in The Frodis Caper, and you spend the rest of the afternoon watching with fascination as Micky goes about approving wardrobes and helping to arrange the sets. When you leave, Micky walks outside with you and says, “I am a little nervous. I guess you can see that. Do you realize that tomorrow I have got to direct Davy, Peter and Mike in a whole show? Wow—I hope I’ll be good!” He gives you a peck on the cheek and tells you to be on the set bright and early the next day.
The next morning you are back on the Screen Gems lot in plenty of time to join the fun. Before you meet the Monkees, the security guard introduces you to Sally Field, who just happens to be on her way to The Flying Nun set. Then you see a very good-looking boy and you can’t help asking, “Who is he?” So the guard introduces you to Bobby Sherman (remember him from Shindig?), and you are delighted to learn that Bobby is doing a pilot for next season called Here Come The Brides.
Suddenly Micky appears, greets you and introduces you to Stu Phillips—music director of the Monkees—and Jon Anderson, the assistant director. Before you can turn around you are back on Stage 7 again. The excitement has really mounted now and full production is about to begin.
“I want you to meet a friend of mine,” you hear Micky’s voice saying. You turn, and standing before your eyes is Davy Jones—in pajamas!
“Hullo,” says David winningly. “Don’t be shocked, luv, the pajamas are part of the show. See, everybody has them on.” And Davy points to Peter and Mike, who have on similar attire.
You are delighted to discover that Peter is as charming in person as he is on the show, and that Mike is much more friendly and talkative than you ever dreamed he’d be. Mike even introduces you to his dag “Frack”, who is on the set with him that day.
Micky has disappeared, and all at once you hear a voice shouting from the top of the studio. You look up and there stands Micky on the catwalk with an electric megaphone in his hand! For the next few hours everything seems hodge-podge. Lights go on and off, lines are read—and the camera does several “takes”. Soon, it becomes clear that everyone is working very hard and that a Monkees segment is being put together right before your eyes. And though everyone is busy, they are still warm and friendly, making sure that you have a soda pop to drink and that you can see and share in everything that is going on.
The following day there is more of the same, except it is even more hectic and more fun because the boys are shooting outside—attired in groovy black outfits. Davy and Mike keep carrying Peter around—and Micky keeps carrying an enormous potted plant around!
“Here’s what happens,” Micky explains. “I come over by this camera and check everything out for the take, and then I run back and appear in the actual scene. Watch!”
And you do—spellbound—as the Monkees’ favorite cameraman Lippy Lipschitz does the actual filming, and you watch your favorite guys go through the ups and downs (literally!) getting The Frodis Caper “in the can.”
The last day of the Monkees filming is usually over at 7 A.M., but Micky has done his job so well that he completes his day’s work three and a half hours ahead of schedule! When the filming is wrapped up, there is a mighty roar from Micky Dolenz.
“Party time!” he shouts—and everybody pours back into Studio 7. A gigantic crowd seems to appear from nowhere, and there are plenty of Cokes and coffee for one and all. Now, everyone is in a slappy-happy, silly mood. You watch Davy pull a few practical jokes on Peter—and then Peter pull a few on Davy! Phyllis comes in and Mike introduces you to her. Needless to say, Sammy joins the festivities too, and you really feel like one of the gang.
The days have flown by and now it is all over and it’s time for you to go. Micky and Davy see you to the gate. Before you leave, Davy confides in you, “Micky has to work late tonight, screening all the footage we have done. And then he has to help with the cutting. We will all be tucked in and sound asleep tonight before he finishes his working day.”
You are filled with amazement at the marvelous talents of the hard-working Monkees, and with gratitude to each of them—Micky, Peter, Davy and Mike—for the enormous amount of time and energy they so willingly give to make The Monkees your favorite TV show. As you are about to drive away, Peter comes out of the studio, waving his arms. “Hey, stay tuned!” he shouts. “I am going to direct a show for you soon!”
Yes, that’s right. Next month “Monkees & You” will visit with PETER TORK as he turns director. Well, we’ll save that big surprise! Be sure to get the May issue of 16 Magazine. It goes on sale March 19.