“1960s TV Censorship and The Monkees” gives a brief overview of where censorship standards were in the era – and how The Monkees pushed the envelope with its mentions of the Vietnam War – and Sunset Strip riots – and even with the outrageous storytelling behind “Frodis Caper”, the episode that celebrated the saving of an alien plant that very closely resembled a marijuana plant…
Writer Treva Silverman said the staff got away with such jokes because the network executives were just old enough not to understand any of the references.
Presented at Stephens College MFA in Screenwriting classes on Friday, August 5, 2016
So I wanted to focus on a little TV history and a little bit on censorship. So, I’m looking at them and the whole part of their story that makes them interesting is that they got away with doing and saying things on television in the 1960’s that other people — like The Smother’s Brothers — were cancelled for saying. So, my question was, “How did they do that? What’s the story?” And part of it comes from having interviewed the writers and one of them said, “Network executives didn’t understand what we were saying. So we got by with a lot.” They were referencing marijuana and all these things that the older executives had no idea. So, I thought that was kind of funny. Now, I always talk about writers. I love The Monkees as actors, but these are the people whose words I fell in love with as a kid and these are the people who I met when I wrote the article. Dave Evans, he’s a marvelous, lovely guy. He had written for Bullwinkle and then he moved to The Monkees. Gerald Gardener had been a speech writer for Robert Kennedy when he ran for the senatorship in New York. He’d been friends with the Kennedy family and then he went into television — started on Get Smart and when the folks were putting together The Monkees they wanted hip, flip, new, young kids and the guys on Get Smart recommended him and his partner Dee Caruso. So I got to interview him. Fascinating guy.
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About Dr. Rosanne Welch
Dr. Rosanne Welch is a professor in the Low Residency MFA in Screenwriting Program from Stephens College, California State University, Fullerton, Mount San Antonio Community College and Cal Poly Pomona. In 2007, she graduated with her Ph.D. in 20th Century U.S./Film History from Claremont Graduate University. She graduated with her M.A. in 20th Century United States History from California State University, Northridge in 2004.
Welch is also a television writer/producer with credits for Beverly Hills 90210 , CBS’s Emmy winning Picket Fences and Touched By An Angel . She also writes and hosts her own podcasts on 3rdPass.media, her first one titled “Mindful(I) Media with Dr. Rosanne Welch.”
Three Ring Circus: How Real Couples Balance Marriage, Work and Kids and The Encyclopedia of Women in Aviation and Space are two books she has written. Los Angeles Times and the Journal of Screenwriting hold some of her published articles.