The Monkees , an American situation comedy that aired on NBC from September 1966 to March
1968 follows the adventures of four young men (The Monkees) trying to
make a name for themselves as rock 'n roll singers. The show introduced a number of innovative new-wave film
techniques to series television and won two Emmy Awards in 1967. The program ended on Labor Day, 1968 at the
finish of its second season and has received a long afterlife in Saturday morning repeats (CBS and ABC) and
syndication, as well as overseas broadcasts.
he series centered on the adventures of The Monkees, a struggling
rock band from Los Angeles, California consisting of Micky,(Micky Dolenz) Davy (Davy
Jones) Michael( Michael Nesmith, and Peter (Peter Tork). The comic
elements of the storyline were provided by the strange encounters that the band would have while searching
for their big break.
The Monkees debuted September 12, 1966, on the NBC television
network. The series was sponsored on alternate weeks by Kellogg's Cereals and Yardley of London.
The series was filmed by Screen Gems, and many of the same sets
and props from The Three Stooges short films made by the studio were used on The Monkees: A pair of pajamas with a
bunny design on the front that had been worn by Curly Howard in shorts such as Cactus Makes Perfect and In the
Sweet Pie and Pie were the same ones worn by Peter Tork in various episodes such as "A Coffin Too Frequent" and
"Monkee See, Monkee Die".
To keep noise on the set down during filming, any of the four
Monkees who was not needed in front of the cameras was locked into a converted meat locker. In DVD commentary, Tork
noted that this had the added benefit of concealing any marijuana use that might be going on, although he admitted
that he was the sole "serious 'head'" of the four of them. (In the 1980s, Tork gave up alcohol and marijuana use
and has volunteered time to help people recovering from alcoholism.) In a studio outtake included in the 1990s
re-release of Headquarters, Nesmith quips, before launching into "Nine Times Blue": "Only difference between me and
Peter is I'm just stone legal."
Due to the loosely scripted nature of the series, some episodes
would come in too short for air. The producers decided to fill time with various "extras", including the Monkees'
original screen tests and candid interviews with the group. Although the early episodes contained it, the show
eventually bucked the trend of using a laugh track, which was standard practice at the time. Most of the episodes
from Season 2 did not contain canned laughter, which NBC later cited as one of the reasons for cancelling the
The theme song to The Monkees, released as the single "(Theme
From) The Monkees" in 1967, is one of the group's most well known songs. The line "We're the young generation, and
we've got somethin' to say." reflected the new youth counterculture and their desire to give their own opinions on
world events and choosing how to live their own lives instead of abiding by the traditions and beliefs of their
The Monkees won two Emmy Awards in 1967: Outstanding Comedy Series
and Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy (James Frawley). Frawley was nominated for the same award the
following season. Its win for Comedy Series was considered somewhat of an upset, as it bested long-time favorites
The Andy Griffith Show, Bewitched, Get Smart, and Hogan's Heroes.