A FULL ACCOUNT OF MICKY’S RECENT VISIT
by Jackie Richmond
Wednesday morning, the 22nd of May. The time 6.50 a.m. Out of the haze, a giant Boeing 707 droned out of the skies and floated down on to London Airport’s main runway. We were there to meet a very important passenger on the plane, Monkee Micky.
He looked pretty tired after his eleven hours of solid travelling but his face creased into that happy smile that we all love when he saw us.
“It’s great of you to come and meet me”, he said.
We all bundled into the car for the journey to Central London. Despite his drooping eyelids, which showed just how much he wanted to climb into bed for a long kip, he kept looking round and saying how great it was to be back in England.
He told us he’d been wanting to visit England again ever since his last trip, but he’d only decided to come on the previous day when he found he wouldn’t be required for any more scenes for their movie for the next couple of weeks.
He had another reason too. He wanted to meet up again with Samantha who had returned to England several weeks ago when her American visa expired.
Everyone, of course, thought that Micky was staying in a hotel, but in actual fact he was booked into a private flat in Mayfair. It was a really luxurious apartment with a very big lounge, two bedrooms, two bathrooms—the rent was pretty luxurious too….. £20 per day!
When Micky saw the groups of fans waiting outside various hotels over the next few days, he always wanted to jump out of the car and talk to them, but, unfortunately, most times we were on our way to an engagement so our driver Ray Washbourne had to keep on going.
Cyril Black of Screen Gems told Micky that Johnny Stewart, the producer of “Top of the Pops”, wanted him to do Thursday’s show if he possibly could.
“Sure! Great!” he said.
We all had a quick breakfast and then went over to the Grosvenor House Hotel to meet Samantha who had travelled down from Manchester.
It was a marvellous scene with loads of fans and staff all anxious to get Mickey’s [sic] signature on any available pieces of paper.
After we’d had a cup of coffee, Micky said he very much wanted to buy some antiques. So, we all piled into the car and Ray drove us to the Antique Supermarket in Chelsea. Micky was fascinated with all the old style silver and jewellery that was on display. He wanted to buy up half the place and ship it back to his home in California.
Later on that day Micky told Cyril Black that he would like to see some vintage cars. Did he know of a place which dealt in that sort of thing? Quick enquiries produced a man in Paddington who had one of the best selection of vintage cars in England.
When we got there, we found lot of massive old Rolls Royce and Bentley cars all lined up ready for inspection. Fabulous if you like old vintage cars and fabulous prices. Micky seemed especially interested in a 1928 white Rolls Royce and a green Bentley of the same age. But, after inspecting them very thoroughly, testing out the real leather seats, winding the windows up and down and twirling all the other knobs and gadgets in the driving seat, he told the salesman that he would: “Think about it.” And once more we piled into the car and went back to the flat.
Later that night, Cyril Black and Ray Washbourne picked Micky and Samantha up again and took them to the Revolution Club. We got there about 9 o’clock. Already the place was packed with many well-known pop personalities like Georgie Fame and Micky Most, who were there to see Eric Burden’s show.
It was so crowded that we couldn’t find a free table, but veteran jazzman, Chris Barber, invited Micky and Samantha to sit at his table which was in a great position to see the show.
Loads of people came up to say “hello” to Micky and he signed quite a lot of autographs. Eventually we left at 2 a.m.
The next morning, Ray picked up Micky again and took him to the Beatles Apple shop in Baker Street where he bought some Adam and Eve sheets, two pillow cases and a couple of frilly shirts.
Samantha joined up and Micky decided he would really like to sample some curry. Apparently, he is very keen on hot food. He is quite a connoisseur after all his visits to Mexico. So, Cyril Black suggested Nizams Indian restaurant in Frith Street, Soho. We had a bit of fun explaining to the waiter that Samantha liked her curry reasonably “cold”, the rest of us like it “medium” and Micky “very hot”.
We took our time over the meal and afterwards Micky strolled round the stores. It was very difficult for him to do any real shopping, because, as soon as he stopped a big crowd would gather.
But very soon it was time to drive to the BBC studios at Lime Grove to rehearse Micky’s appearance on “Top of the Pops”.
The BBC had laid on their very best room for their celebrity guest, right next to Cliff Michelmore’s “24 Hours” office. Tea was served and then producer Johnny Stewart strolled in to shake hands and welcome his American guest. A short while later, the resident D.J., Jimmy Savile (Savile was later revealed to be one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders), turned up. Of course, he’s a great friend of Samantha, so there was lots to talk about.
It’s a funny thing, but every time Micky has appeared on “Top of the Pops” Jimmy Savile has been guest D.J. and also Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits has been appearing live.
Then the press came in and took pictures and asked loads of questions. Mainly they wanted to know what the Monkees first major movie was about, what Samantha thought of America and what the Monkees intended to do in the future.
Micky was in great form and tried to give everyone an answer. He said that the Monkees would have liked the film to have been called “The Monkees, Starring Victor Mature and Sonny Liston”—which would certainly be an odd title.
One thing he was certain about and that was all the Monkees were very anxious to come over for the London premiere.
After the show was finished, there were about 500 fans jammed outside the studios waiting for Micky to come out.
This is always a terrible problem, as the police get very worried in case some girl or boy gets hit by a fast-moving car as it roars out of the studio gates. So every star usually tries to think up a way of avoiding trouble. I am sure you would all like to know how Micky got out this time—even if it does make those people who were waiting outside the studios a bit mad. But please remember, it’s their safety that Micky was thinking of. What he did was to get into the boot of a Jaguar car which drove out with Micky firmly locked in the back.
Back at the flat, Micky suddenly decided he would like to invite Johnny Stewart to dinner. Quick ‘phone calls to the BBC were made and Johnny agreed. So we all met up at the Grosvenor House Hotel at 10.30 that evening. A table had been booked at Nick’s Diner in Chelsea.
I’m afraid the meal went all wrong. Nick’s Diner specializes in pretty way-out dishes and most of the things that Micky had, he didn’t like at all. He started off with cold cucumber soup which he thought pretty ugh! and followed that with turkey, which he quite liked, loaded with big helpings of spinach, which he thinks is marvellous (gives you strength just like Popeye). Samantha had Egyptian lamb which she found O.K.
Then, in typical Micky Dolenz style, he suddenly said, “I would love to hear the chimes of Big Ben. You know, I have never heard them live although they are always in films and television commercials in the States.” So we all drove off to Big Ben to hear it go ding-dong.
Unfortunately, we didn’t leave Nick’s Diner until 12.45 a.m. so we only heard the 1 o’clock chime, which after the intro- ductory bit is just one big DONG. But, before he left us for the night he said that he really had never stopped thinking about those cars he had seen and he definitely wanted to buy two the next morning.
Sharp at 10 o’clock the next day, Cyril Black picked him up and drove him to the vintage car dealer in Paddington where Micky signed on the dotted line for a white Rolls and a green Bentley and arranged for them to be shipped back to the States.
Then he went round to Cyril Black’s office in the Columbia building in Wells Street, just off Oxford Street, and had sandwiches and cold drinks, played the piano and looked through the music Cyril had in the office.
After lunch, Micky decided he would like to have a good look round the West End, but once again it was very difficult as crowds collected so quickly.
He bought a Kodak Instamatic camera at Dixon’s in Oxford Street. He likes this inexpensive camera because he says it takes fantastic pictures.
When he came out of the shop a big crowd of people had gathered but, funnily enough, most of them were adults. A couple of policemen helped to move the crowd along and then promptly turned round and also asked Micky for autographs.
That evening, Micky decided he would like to see The Hollies’ show at Lewisham. We all drove out and sat at the back in the stalls. It was a bit too far back to see properly so we went round back-stage to see the show from the side. Lots of other celebrities were there, including Paul McCartney, Jane Asher, David Frost and Bobby Gentry. During the interval everyone filed into The Scaffold’s dressing room where everyone talked at once.
On Saturday, after breakfast, Micky roared off to Jaeger’s in Regent Street because he decided he had to buy the complete outfit to go with his vintage cars. Brown brogues, hacking jacket, harris tweed suits, deer-stalker hats—the lot!
Then, the following day he, Samantha and Samantha’s father took off for Scotland for some salmon fishing. It has always been an ambition of Micky’s to fish in the Highland streams, and he hired a Triumph T.R. 4 sports car which he drove up to Manchester where he and Samantha met her father.
I’d like to be able to report that Micky caught lots of three foot long fish, but actually he caught nothing… absolutely NOTHING. But he told me he had a marvellous time in the Scottish Highlands.
On Monday, June 3, Micky and Sammy met Davy in Manchester and on Tuesday he flew back to America, while we all waved frantically to him.