A surprise to his family… a rendezvous with Micky and Sam… a lesson from Donovan… His sister Hazel reveals all in… Davy’s Secret Visit
David’s visit to England, this time, was not really a holiday, it was more of a business trip. On this vacation he had a lot of T.V. and Radio engagements to fulfill and, in addition, he planned to direct a short promotion film for B.B.C. Television, for the latest Monkee record, ‘D.W. Washburn’. Most of England’s T.V. and Radio is centered in London, so David stayed there for the first week or so of his visit, apart from two days when he flew up to Manchester to see us all.
Whilst he was home, Micky and Samantha Juste called for an evening. Samantha’s parents live only a short distance away and Micky was visiting them before he went to Scotland, fishing. Micky played the piano for us and as usual bounced around like an untamed colt. David was quieter than we have seen him for awhile. He explained that he had been staying with Donovan whilst he was in London and both he and David Pearl had been very impressed with Donovan’s philosophy. David said Donovan had given him a great deal to think about and helped him towards the composure he was feeling. Donovan had also presented David with a book of poetry inscribed “TO DAVID FOR DAVID TO READ TO DAVID.” Micky and David were quite a study in contrasts on this evening.
David came home for the second half of his visit and started to make plans for the promotion film. It would be nice to say that all went as planned, but with David’s bubbling enthusiasm anything can happen, and of course it did. I’ll tell you.
The T.V. company had booked a bevy of model girls to appear in the film and the night prior to the film’s commencing, they told David. He said, “NO, FORGET IT, I’LL DO IT MYSELF,” and after putting down the telephone he rushed out of the house to the fans who were crowded at the front gates. He started signing autographs as usual, then he pointed at one girl and said “YOU’LL BE FINE.”
David Pearl pulled her out of the crowd and she was quickly followed by others who David chose. They were told that David wanted them to go filming with him and would they mind coming back to the house at lunch time on the following day—would they!!! Well would you? The girls were aged between twelve and sixteen and there were eleven of them, David went home with them all and explained to their parents what was going on. It all went well and the girls could all go with their parents’ blessings.
After this David and David Pearl started working out a shooting schedule. This was the first time they had ever made a film on their own and of course they were excited but determined to make it successful. They worked hard and finished at 4 a.m. Mind you, when they got onto the film location they threw the schedule away and just filmed it as it happened, but that’s getting a little ahead of the story. Incidentally, whilst all this was going on, a press photographer was filming everything David did at the same time that he was being interviewed by Jim Grant, the Secretary of the British Monkee Fan Club. Did I tell you he also found time to sign all the autograph books left at the house and to read all the mail that had been sent to him.
At noon the following day, the T.V. producer John Hughes and the camera team from B.B.C. arrived at the house. All the girls were there also and it was decided to play the new record for them, to give them an idea of the beat and so on. The record hadn’t been released in England and David had the only copy available. Unfortunately, when we got the record player out, David actually blushed and admitted he had left the record in London with a friend. We had to get the friend to play the record over the telephone whilst David taped it on the recorder. It was about this time that someone called the girls “FANS.” David made it very plain that the girls weren’t fans anymore and said, “FANS ARE PEOPLE YOU DON’T MEET BECAUSE AS SOON AS YOU MEET FANS THEY BECOME YOUR FRIENDS.” We all went into the garden and David explained what was wanted for the film and played the tape of “D.W. Washburn” for us. There were eleven very excited girls in that garden.
We set off in a convoy of eight cars, to go to Woodley, a small village just out of Manchester, David leading the way in Dad’s Mini car. Not, I might add, before picking up another two girls from out of the crowd at the gates. David had chosen Woodley as his film location because, when he was small we used to go there to picnic with Mum and Dad. David remembered an old stone quarry that he thought would be just right, and it was.
As a surprise, John Hughes had arranged for an old Vintage car to meet us, for David to use in the film. It was in beautiful condition, all gleaming brass and shiny wood with the polish on it that thick. David fell in love with it straight away. He and Dave Eager, a local D.J., kept making bids for it but the owner wouldn’t sell. I can’t blame him.
As I said before, between the Vintage car and the attractions of the location, the carefully planned schedule went overboard except for the last scene where all the girls roll down a hill and end up formed into the word “LOVE.” David insisted on this being retained, but for the rest he played by ear. For a first attempt it was wonderful and went as smooth as silk. David was full of energy and apart from directing the film, he starred in it and personally showed every girl just what she had to do in every scene. Everyone had a lot of running and jumping about to do and David did it for everyone, one after the other. He must have covered miles, but he never seemed tired and he never once lost patience.
After six hours of work we finished and David found a telephone and arranged for a tea party to be ready for us when we all got home. There was quite a rush to get in the Mini with David for the drive home. In fact there was such a rush that I’m sure we took more girls home than we had brought. We had quite a party when we did arrive home and David played the host. After a couple of hours he ran all the girls home and this completed a fine day out for all of us.
The next day David had a special appointment. He had been asked to put his hand and feet impressions in a cement plague to put up on the Wall of Fame at Belle View Gardens, a famous entertainments park in Manchester. The appointment was special because Belle View is a place David spent a lot of time at when he was young, and he never dreamt he would be asked to grace the Wall of Fame. After this he dashed straight off to Middleham in Yorkshire to see his two horses, Pearl Locker and Chicomono. You see, the night before Chicomono had run second at Thirsk Race Course and naturally David was proud and wanted to congratulate his trainer.
David left us on the nine o’clock flight the next morning with a promise that he would be back soon. I hope it will be for a proper holiday.