Dr. Rosanne Welch presents Why Monkees Matter: How The Writing Staff of The Monkees Brought the 1960s Counter Culture to Mainstream Pre-Teen Viewers at the 2014 Cal Poly Pomona Provost’s Symposium on Faculty Scholarship (http://www.cpp.edu/~research/)
Then I have a chapter on cultural collateral — how much The Monkees still resonate in American culture. We don’t think so, but my gosh they do — particularly right after the show was cancelled. This is a year-and-a-half later. This is the most — I’m understood from the research I found — and when Davy Jones died in 2012 they announced this on CNN. This is the most re-run episode of television in the history of reruns and it’s this episode of The Brady Bunch, where Marcia Brady has written a letter to her — she’s the head of the Davy Jones Fan Club — and she wants him to sing at their Prom and he didn’t get the letter on time and so he isn’t going to come and her whole life is going to be ruined and when he finds out accidentally, he comes to her and says, “Ok, yes, as a matter of fact I can do that, but I need a date. Do you know anybody who’d like to go with me?” This is the most rerun episode of television ever and it’s all based on love of The Monkees.
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Based on a chapter in my upcoming book The Metatextual Menagerie that was The Monkees, which includes a series of interviews conducted with surviving writers and performers of the 1960s television program, The Monkees I will discuss how the writers and actors used the show as a platform for their own emerging counter culture/anti-war messages.
Worth studying for its craft and place in television history (the show won an Emmy as Best Comedy Of 1967) the program’s true importance may come from its impact on the politics and culture of the era. Considered innocuous by the network, thepress and the parents of the era, the storylines and jokes created by the writers and the actor’s ad-libs brought the emerging counter-culture to the attention of young teens whose parents might not have appreciated the message. Cultural icons such as Timothy Leary recognized the subversive nature of the program, seen through the writing and in choices made about costuming, hair length, musical guests (Frank Zappa, Tim Buckley, Charlie Smalls) and songs performed by the band brought issues of Vietnam, voting and civil rights to the ‘young generation’ for whom the show clearly had ‘somethin’to say.
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About the Symposium:
The 2014 Provost’s Symposium is a forum to learn about each other’s scholarly work, make new friends, renew old acquaintances, and enhance our appreciation of the rich and diverse array of professional endeavors pursued by the faculty at Cal Poly Pomona.