Rosanne Welch, PhD, Author of Why The Monkees Matter, presents “How The Monkees Changed Television” at a Cal State Fullerton Lunch Lecture on May 8, 2018.
In this talk, she shows how The Monkees, and specifically their presence on television, set the stage for large changes to come in the late 1960s.
This is my final happy episode. It’s called “Some Like It Lukewarm.” If you’re an old movie fan, of course, that’s “Some Like It Hot.” So the writers are making fun of some of their favorite movies. There’s a band contest and everyone shows up and discovers you have to be in a mixed gender band. So they force Davy to dress as a girl and they meet a girl’s group where they force — that’s Deanna Martin — Dean Martin’s daughter — she and Davy were hooked together in the tabloids as being a relationship. but they really weren’t, but it’s kind of fun to put them together. So this group, so she’s doing that. The answer — for the most pretty feminist in that there’s this girl rock band before The Bangles and The Gogos there’s a girl rock band. The flaw in this one — I feel bad — is when you first meet the women, see how they can all play their own instruments. They’re all playing guitars and drums. When the answer of course is we are individually lying about having a mixed gender group so let’s mix our groups together and we will be telling the truth, but when we do it look what the girls become. They’re the gogo dancers behind the boys playing their instruments. They totally lose their own ability to be rock stars.
A hit television show about a fictitious rock band, The Monkees (1966-1968) earned two Emmys–Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Directorial Acheivement 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 Riderand Five Easy Pieces.
Want to use “Why The Monkees Matter” in your classroom?