A New Look at the Early Monkees

Peter Tork, Mike Nesmith, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Carole Shelyne


Just about two years ago, one of the top-rated shows on television was “Shindig”, and one of the most popular people on that show was the “Girl With The Glasses”—Shindig Dancer, Carole Shelyne.

When “Shindig” was quietly retired to TV’s Happy Hunting Grounds, Carole went on to pursue her career as a singer and an actress. During a temporary break between assignments, she accidentally happened into a “job” which turned out to be one of the most fun and exciting experiences of her life.

Just before the Monkees’ successful series went on the air and became a permanent weekly fixture on TV sets across the nation, the people at Screen Gems decided to send two girls—called “Monkee Maids”—on tour to promote the show. The reason for sending two girls rather than four Monkees was simple: the four Monkees were tied up with recording, rehearsing, filming, and writing. In other words, they were really too busy being Monkees to be able to run around the country telling people that they were going to be Monkees!

Carole explains that auditions were held for several days during which time thirty to forty girls were interviewed for the two positions. “Finally they picked me and one other girl—Shelley Farell. I was sent on the Southern route and she was sent on the Northern route; we hit about a city a day for five or six days. We did all of the local shows—TV shows, radio shows, interviews and as much else as they could cram into the day.”

It was the Monkee Maids’ responsibility to be able to answer every possible question about the Monkees during this pre-promotion tour, and in order to do this—they literally had to do their “homework”!

Davy Jones

“For three weeks before the promotion tour, we were on the set—every day!” We spent lunches and dinners with the boys—it was nothing ‘social’, just a friend thing and that’s the way it developed. We got to know each other so well, we started sharing things. The idea was for us to get to know the boys, so that if anyone asked us anything about the boys we could tell them anything they wanted to know.

“We were given ‘homework’—we read about them constantly, and had to memorize great lists of facts about each one of the boys. Actually, our ‘homework assignments’ became sort of a joke with the boys. They knew that we had these long fact sheets and that we’d often find ourselves a corner someplace and sit down to do our ‘homework’. Whenever we did one of the boys would walk over and start to tease!

“Peter was the biggest tease of all. He would come over and start quizzing me about the other boys and then finally about himself. He’d fire a hundred questions at me, one after the other, trying to see if he could trip me up and catch me in a mistake. Usually, we both wound up laughing our heads off!”

During the three weeks before the Monkee Maids were sent on their whirlwind publicity tour, they were able to spend a great deal of time with the boys, just getting to know each of them as friends, and Carole has many fond—and funny!—memories of these days.

Carole recalls one day when Davy took her to lunch… on his motorcycle! He suggested that they leave the studio lot and go to a nice restaurant for lunch, and decided that the La Brea Inn—a very nice restaurant just off the Sunset Strip—would be just the place! Davy gallantly helped Carole onto his motorcycle and whisked her off to the restaurant, pulling up right before the entrance. A smartly costumed parking attendant hurried over and volunteered to “park your motorcycle, sir?” but Davy just waved him away, and parked it himself… on the street.

Carole Shelyne
Carole Shelyne

Concerned that the motorcycle might get damaged or even stolen sitting there, Carole asked Davy if he wasn’t a little worried about leaving it untended on the street. “Oh no, luv—I can get another one!” he replied, and ushered her gallantly inside the restaurant.

One of the funniest incidents involving both Davy and Peter which Carole remembers occurred one evening when both boys had stopped by Carole’s house to join her and her roommate—actress Karen Jensen—for dinner. It was just before the show first went on the air, and most of the general public was still quite unfamiliar with the Monkees.

When Carole, Karen, Davy, and Peter had finished dinner, they began listening to some records in the living room. Carole laughs as she recalls that the stereo really wasn’t loud at all, but nonetheless—a rather unusual next-door-neighbor decided that there was just too much noise coming from that house… and she called the police!

The Men In Blue obligingly paid an immediate house call which even they felt was quite unnecessary. Nonetheless, all in the line of duty, they began questioning the four young people. When they asked Peter and Davy who they were, the boys replied: “We’re TV stars!” The policemen looked at one another, then looked again at the two long-haired young men before them, and just before they were about to become somewhat irritated, Davy and Peter quickly explained the whole situation.

Peter Tork

Now, you know, and we know, and Carole knew that Peter and Davy are both polite, well-mannered people, and that they really were telling the absolute truth. Unfortunately, the policemen didn’t know all of that and at first they were quite convinced that Peter and Davy were just a little bit “strange” themselves.

Carole giggles looking back on the scene: “All they did was just politely explain who they were and what they did and why we had been listening to records, some of which were theirs! But I guess the policemen thought that these were just two more long-haired kids who were living in a sort of dream world!

“The funny thing was that even though they didn’t believe the boys, they liked them so much that they decided to just humor them and go along with what they thought were their fantasies. The policemen listened quietly to the explanation Davy and Peter were giving, and then simply gave them a little bit of a warning and left!

“We all had a good laugh about it after they left, but when Davy and Peter started to leave for home a little later on—the lady next door came running out and began screaming at them for being hippies, and dirty, and then she threatened to shoot them for having long hair!

“She always has been sort of strange, but I have to admit that I was very proud of Davy and Peter; they just politely ignored her, and got into their car and drove off. They never said an unkind word to or about her—even though she probably deserved quite a few!”

Peter Tork

Not all of Carole’s memories are humorous; some are quite touching. “Davy is very warm, especially with children,” she remembers. “Whenever anyone brings children on the set, he goes over and holds those children as though they were his own. He just cherishes them when they come to visit on the set. A family is very important to Davy—his own family, and the one he hopes he will someday have.

“And, you know—he remembers people. When people come on the set to visit him, he appreciates the fact that they do. He doesn’t just take on that whole ‘star thing’ that you see so often. He really enjoys them and their company.”

Of all the boys, Carole found herself becoming closest to Peter. For some reason which even she can’t understand or explain, Carole developed a very warm, close friendship with Peter—more so than with any of the other boys. “Peter always fascinated me because I knew there was more to Peter than he let be seen. Peter is terribly intellectual and terribly bright. He’s gone through a lot of things, and has worked at a lot of manual labor because he couldn’t decide whether he wanted to go to school or not; he didn’t know just what he wanted.

“Oddly enough, at the time this whole Monkee-thing started, I got the feeling he didn’t really care about it! Mike too. At that time, I got the feeling they didn’t really care about the whole thing, and did it only because it was a job. They didn’t think anything was going to come of it. I’m quite sure their attitude has changed now, because they all care terribly about their work and the quality of the work which they present to the public.

“Peter is a very aware friend, and he knows how to make you feel very comfortable. He’ll go out of his way to help you, and he’ll take time out to check how you feel about things.

Magazine: Monkee Spectacular
Editor: Ralph Benner
Volume: 1
Issue: 13
Publisher: Laufer Publishing Co.
Pages: 8–9, 56