It was 51 years ago tonight (September 12th, 1966) that The Monkees premiered on NBC. The series featured relative unknowns Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork as a struggling rock band, living together in a beach house, who each week would stumble from one comedic adventure to the next.
The show, which was inspired by the comic lampooning in the Beatles’ second movie Help!, released the previous year, proved to be the ’60s answer to the Marx Brothers. The Monkees, who never met each other before being cast in the pilot, have been affectionately dubbed throughout the years as “The Pre-Fab Four.” Together, with their on screen chemistry along with the guidance of music impresario Don Kirshner, who supervised the music for the show and the group’s first two albums, the Monkees were a hit out of the box.
The Monkees ran for two seasons and won two Emmys in 1967 — Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Directorial Achievement In Comedy. But it was the show’s music, much of it written by such top songwriters as Neil Diamond, and Gerry Goffin and Carole King, that made it a success. The Monkees scored six Top 10 hits during the show’s run, including the 1966 Number Ones “Last Train To Clarksville” and “I’m A Believer.”
Shortly before his death in 2012, Davy Jones shed light on the earliest Monkees recording sessions: “When we first went in there, we went in the studio to record songs for the TV show. Nobody mentioned records; we didn’t mention records. They were only demos that were recorded for the TV show to insert into the spots where we had something that related to the dialogue, the scene — the whole thing. I mean, I loved ‘Daydream Believer,’ and ‘I’m A Believer,’ and ‘Pleasant Valley Sunday,’ and ‘Last Train To Clarksville.’”
Recently released are all 58 episodes of The Monkees TV show on Blu-ray for the very first time. The 10-disc box set features all the shows painstakingly restored in high-definition from the original film negatives.
Also included is the band’s infamous 1968 cult-classic feature film, Head — featuring many never-before-seen outtakes from the film, along with the group’s 1969 TV Special 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee.
Bonus material includes commentaries from all four Monkees, original Kellogg’s Monkees commercials, and more.
This fan-only edition includes exclusive packaging and a 7-inch 45 r.p.m. single featuring two previously unreleased TV mixes.
Strictly limited to 10,000 individually numbered sets available exclusively at Monkees.com — not available at any other retailer.
Photo Courtesy of Colpix