Reports Jackie Richmond
Some of you, Monkee-devotees all, are worried. We know that from your letters to us… and the prime cause of the fears right now centres around the future of the Monkees’ television series. We’ve all read about the rumours—that the series is to be dropped and that there will be no more.
Being good Monkee-addicts, some of you want to do what you can to help out. You’d like to organise petitions, proving the weight of Monkee support here in Britain. You don’t mind how much of your spare time is taken up by chasing round for signatures, but you feel that something SHOULD be done.
Great! This is the sort of getup-and-go spirit that so knocks out the Monkees. Peter, Mike, Micky and Davy are always telling us that one of the great rewards to be got from being pop stars is that feeling of being “wanted” by the fans. Sure, it’s nice to make a lot of money but there are other more human things involved in the relationship between a star and his fans.
So what is the truth about the television series. Some papers print what they call hard-fact stories… some say there WILL be more programmes; some say there will NOT. Both sides can’t be right. And as so often happens the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
We got on to the BBC people and asked them a direct question: “What is the future of the Monkees’ series?” Summed up, the reply is that nobody knows for sure. But we did learn that the BBC did not get all the available programmes, 34 were actually made but only 26 were sent over. How come eight were missing? Well, please remember that these half-hour shows were created at a very fast pace indeed… at the ridiculous rate of one a week. And the Monkees who set extremely high standards for themselves, found that, after production schedules had been completed, some of the programmes were not up to their high standards.
And, of course, some items made initially for the American market are not really suitable for every other country.
But, right now, the programmes available to Britain will be used up at the end of the present series. One can go into the research side of the business and prove how many people have tuned in to see the Monkees since they started their meteoric rise to success here. One can marvel at their very high consistency. One can repeat again and again that they’ve already done more work for television than any other pop group in history.
Yet in the mass of rumours about the future of the TV series as it is now, one must also remember that they are already working flat out. There’s the feature movie for the world’s cinemas. There is to be a world tour before the end of the year—that is almost one hundred per cent certain and it WOULD take in Britain, obviously. Plus new recording sessions, which are so vital.
However the latest statement from America is that the boys WILL return to the TV studios before the end of the year. NBC-TV are more than satisfied with their ratings; if there is any doubt about what will happen it stems from the boys’ own determination to keep changing styles. Producer Bert Schneider, for instance, is very keen to get them doing one-hour shows, in future.
Of course some of the rumour-mongering stories have suggested that the Monkees’ TV ratings are slipping. Now this is a very technical subject. One can look at the Top Ten programmes, in order of popularity, but so many factors go into the making-up of these lists. To get a really tip-top rating one has to have the programme on at a peak-viewing time. Teatime on a Saturday is NOT a peak-viewing time but the Monkees go on then because it is the most convenient and sensible time from the point of view of us, the fans.
Despite the knockers, the Monkees remain one of the most successful and highly-paid groups in the world. That is a matter of fact. It only damages the cause when so many “hard fact” stories are printed, most of them shoving some doubt on how the boys are going on. IF they did no more television, they’ve still done more than anybody else. We, the fans, appreciate their hard work on our behalf. We know that whatever happens from now on, the boys and their management will be in there pitching to give us the best possible deal—notwithstanding the hard work it takes to keep up with all demands.
That, then, is the situation about television. Almost certainly there will be more shows but there are many other things to achieve first of all.
No panic, then. It’s up to us to stay loyal, stay cool—and tell our mates to take no notice of stupid stories which aren’t based on fact… only on guesswork.