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.
My non-Monkee example of that is Cher because when Cher was doing rock music she wanted to act everybody said well you can’t do that you’re a singer. Then she got an Oscar for Moonstruck and she got Best Supporting for Silkwood and then she wanted to go on tour again. Like well you can’t be a singer in a concert you’re an actress. How about both? Maybe we can actually do more than one thing. So America is not good at that and it really harmed them when the show was over. For a little moment Micky Dolenz was considered to play the Fonz on Happy Days but they were afraid his fame coming into the show would be too hard to make you understand and believe the rest of the characters. So as we know Henry Winkler got that job right but that might have been his next TV show?
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?