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.
Grace and Frankie. If you haven’t watched it is an adorable show, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda. In their second season they were telling secrets from their childhoods — from their teenhood — and Lily Tomlin’s secret, Frankie’s secret was she’d had sex with a Monkee and the question was which one and Jane Fonda guessed Micky and that was the answer and I said “You people did not research this program.” The Lily Tomlin character would have had sex with Peter Tork. That’s her boy! That’s the hippie! Not Micky, right? Mickey’s the name most people recognize, but if I was adorable just watching the show BAM a Monkees reference. You cannot get away from the fact that they’re still culturally relevant. I totally forgot my Simpsons thing. So f course in the fifty fiftieth year my book came out, which made me very happy and it’s on our little new author thing right when you walk in. So you can rent a copy. Also, they released an album in their 50th anniversary year they got together with a bunch of modern songwriters and they released an album that was in the top ten because it was written by a whole bunch of famous people. Of course, that’s me outside Warner Brothers cuz you know I had it and I thought it was pretty cute.
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?