This is one of the best articles celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Monkees as a television show (my particular interest) written for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences by Herbie J. Pilato, author of (among others) Dashing, Daring and Debonair: TV’s Top Male Icons from the 50s, 60s and 70s.
Hey, Hey, It’s the Monkees at 50! Part I
It’s The Monkees’ 50th Anniversary! The sixth in our series of golden television anniversaries.
When happy music met happy television. That’s The Monkees TV show in a nutshell.
Originally airing Monday nights on NBC from 1966 to 1968, later added to the ABC and CBS Saturday daytime schedule, and created by Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider, this ground-breaking, Emmy-winning mosaic of a “musical comedy” was an uncommon weekly half-hour hybrid of all-things media that coincided with the popularity the Beatles.
Monkee members Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Peter Tork, and Davy Jones (who died February 29, 2012 of a heart attack at 66) became nearly as popular as the Beatles.
While the British-born Beatles forever altered mainstream music history, the Monkees managed not only to change the vast TV and lyrical landscape, but added enough sparkle and delight to its horizon to cross all generations, timelines, and hemispheres. The dynamic of each Monkee’s personality also synergistically combined as one unit for the television series, as well as for the band.