So here I am curling my toes around the legs of a lawn chair on the Monkee set (If you’re wondering how I got here, your homework assignment is to go back and read the last edition of FLIP—there’s no way I’m going to go through all that again!).
And here come Mike, Davy and Peter to join Micky on the set just for my own benefit (well, actually, more mainly probably because the director just called for all four of them on the set, but we can all dream, can’t we).
Davy and Peter are both singing straight to me—well, OK so maybe they’re just singing softly to themselves and I have big ears. Anyway strains of “Whenever I’m away from you…” float across the set and I find myself thinking, “Gee, that’s not on any of my Monkee albums” (of which I have eight—so I can put them all on the record player and listen to all sides without having to turn them over) before I realize, stupe that I am, that that’s the Rascals’ “How Can I Be Sure?”
Mike’s eyeing the fake slot machine now and I’m wishing I were a fake slot machine, but it doesn’t help, and I sit and just plain stare as the four of those gorgeous men gather around a dice table and make up some lines they’re going to adlib for this scene.
They come up with some pretty funny ones but the director keeps saying “no” until they finally come up with something that suits him. This time they only have to do the scene twice before the director says “OK” and all but Micky disappear.
Peter reappears a few moments later and I find my eyes glued to his feet, which you have to admit is a sign of some kind of problem. But, honestly, he’s changed from the mocasins [sic] he had on them for the scene into red bed socks, honest-to-goodness bed socks, red no less.
It streaks across my feeble brain that his feet must hurt and it takes all the strength I have to keep from leaping up and volunteering to massage his weary feet. Then, too, my toes are still curled around the lawn chair and if I try any leaping I just might break my neck. Hey, maybe Peter would come to my rescue—no, with my luck it would be that fat, balding old light man who keeps saying that Mike’s face is grey. Now how could he say a thing like that about Mike?
Hark, what is that beautiful little thing standing in front of me in a long Indian outfit talking to a girl. Oh, it’s Davy, who’s changed out of the heart-stopping blue velour he had on and, wait a minute, did I say talking to a girl? Oh my gosh, it is a girl, an honest to goodness, living, breathing, very (darn her) pretty girl. Now I don’t dislike a lot of people but this girl is quickly working her way onto my list. Davy’s looking at her so attentively. Yes, I definitely think she’d be easy to dislike. Not that I’m the jealous type or anything but this is supposed to be my day on the Monkee set.
Not being able to focus my eyes on that much longer I gaze about and find Mike strolling calmly across the set in the direction of the coffee machine totally engrossed in some reading material.
Now you’re probably saying to yourself (well don’t you talk to yourself?) that this is Mike, the intellectual member of the group, and he’s probably reading Hemingway or Faulkner or maybe even John Lennon. Well, would you believe a Wart Hog comic book? You know, the kind your little brother hides under the peanut butter sandwiches in his bed. I make a mental note to go search my little brother’s bed and find out what this Wart Hog business is all about. I mean, if Mike reads it, it’s gotta be something interesting.
“Who do you work for?” a voice behind my left elbow says and I whirl around hoping to face a you-know-who but discover it’s only the prop man whose chair I have obscounded [sic], er, borrowed. “PLIF,” I croak (I always have been a bit backwards).
“Oh, well what do you think of all this nonsense?”
Think? He thinks I can think at a time like this? He’s got to be kidding. I mean there are four Monkees, count them, four, Micky, Mike, Peter and Davy, yup, four, right here in the same room with me, or is it that I am right here in the same room with all four, count them, four, of them.
Realizing that I have wasted 42 whole seconds of my precious time here on this man, I make up for it by staring at Mike and Peter at the same time, which really isn’t that difficult since they’re both together at the coffee machine whispering and pointing at the blonde who’s co-starring in this episode.
Peter’s looking at her like you wish he’d look at you though you don’t know what you’d do if he did and Mike is looking at Peter like “Is it true blonds have more fun?” It doesn’t seem to faze Mike in the least that Peter has on red bed socks, but maybe you get used to such things.
Then, suddenly the whole thing became like some huge magic show. A magician, formerly referred to as the director, says the magic word and everyone disappears. “Lunch” he yells, and before I can even begin to comprehend the fact that that means food, everyone of any importance, which is only four someones, are gone. The red bed socks trot off in the direction of the dressing room with Peter in them followed quickly by a little Indian Davy. Micky stumbled off through the back of the set and Mike just walks away somewhere.
And I’m left. I look at the ground and realize that it’s just wood and dirt like anything else, even though they have walked on it. I look at their personally marked chairs and realize that they’re no different from the one I’m sitting in, except for the words printed on the back.
I get a feeling something like a balloon with the air slowly coming out as I realize that Davy, Micky, Peter and Mike are real human beings who work and play and get tired and hungry.
And as the guard, who has now shrunk back down to a normal six-foot size, informs me that I’ll have to leave, I get a friendly sort of feeling inside as I realize that I at least know for a fact that the Monkees are human beings.