Rosanne Welch talks about “Why The Monkees Matter” with Jean Hopkins Power
Jean Powergirl takes the host reigns and welcomes her guest Rosanne Welch, PhD to the show! They’ll be discussing Roseanne’s book, “Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Pop Culture.”
Jean: So let’s talk about our second Monkee here. Who’s this guy on the drums?
Rosanne: On the drums, we have Micky Dolenz who came to this audition as a child actor. He’d been in a show called Circus Boy when he was 10, but in that show his father George Dolenz was the star of a show in the 50’s called The Count of Monte Cristo and so they didn’t want to look like nepotism and also Micky Dolenz provides — on this show, believe it or not, because when you look at the pictures he looks like a white boy. He was….
Jean: They’re all white. So there’s an ethnicity here.
Rosanne: The Italians were still a weird ethnic group in the 1960s. We don’t have The Godfather yet. We don’t have any main…
Rosanne: No. Exactly, so and it’s interesting to me in studying this, had the show been made 5 years later, they would have had an African-American character. I mean this was the trend in the civil rights movement, but they weren’t there yet. So, to them. the most ethnically odd was this guy because he was Italian.
Jean:…and Rosanne is Italian-American…
Rosanne: Exactly. So, of course, I was drawn to that character because that was representative of my culture on television.
A hit television show about a fictitious rock band, The Monkees (1966-1968) earned two Emmys–Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy. Capitalizing on the show’s success, the actual band formed by the actors, at their peak, sold more albums than The Beatles and The Rolling Stones combined and set the stage for other musical TV characters from The Partridge Family to Hannah Montana. In the late 1980s, the Monkees began a series of reunion tours that continued into their 50th anniversary.
This book tells the story of The Monkees and how the show changed television, introducing a new generation to the fourth-wall-breaking slapstick created by Laurel and Hardy and the Marx Brothers. Its creators contributed to the innovative film and television of 1970s with projects like Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Laugh-In and Welcome Back, Kotter. Immense profits from the show, its music and its merchandising funded the producers’ move into films such as Head, Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces.
Rosanne Welch, PhD has written for television (Touched by an Angel, Picket Fences) and print (Three Ring Circus: How Real Couples Balance Marriage, Work and Kids and The Encyclopedia of Women in Aviation and Space). In the documentary world she has written and produced Bill Clinton and the Boys Nation Class of 1963 for ABC NEWS/Nightline and consulted on PBS’s A Prince Among Slaves, the story of a prince from West Africa who was enslaved in the 1780s, freed by order of President John Quincy Adams in the 1820s and returned to his homeland.