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Episode No. 57:

“The Monkees Blow Their Minds”

The Monkees swing to the rescue when a mentalist gains
control of Peter's mind to use him in a nightclub act.

Vital Stats, Credits and Releases On Home Video:

Production No. 4747
Filmed At: Screen Gems Studios, Hollywood, CA.
Filming Dates: April 18-20, 1967 (this episode); between December 18 and 22, 1967 (Michael Nesmith's chat with Frank Zappa)
Original Air Date: March 11, 1968
Ratings: 16.9 rating/26.8 share (9,460,000 viewers)
© Raybert Productions; 3-11-68; LP37628
Sponsor This Week:
Kellogg’s™
Rerun Dates: November 20, 1970, January 2, June 5, July 3 and September 4, 1971 (CBS)

Written by Peter Meyerson.
Directed by David Winters.
Executive Producers: Robert Rafelson & Bert Schneider.
Associate Producer: Gerald S. Shepard.
Produced by Ward Sylvester.
Background Music Composed and Conducted by Stu Phillips.
“Valerie” Written by
Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart; Produced by The Monkees.
“Daily Nightly” Written by
Michael Nesmith; Produced by Chip Douglas.
Guest cast:

Oraculo......................................................................Monty Landis
Latham......................................................................Milton Frome

Original Commercials This Week:

  • Kellogg’s™ Rasin Bran (:30)
  • 7UP the Uncola (1:00)
  • Kellogg’s™ Trailstakes Contest (1:00)
  • The Monkees for Kellogg’s™ Rice Krispies (:30)

Home Video Releases:

  • The Monkees: The Collector's Edition - VHS Tape #17 (Columbia House #19942, May 22, 1995)
  • The Monkees Deluxe Limited Edition Boxed Set - VHS Tape #16 (Rhino R3 2960, October 17, 1995)
  • The Monkees - Season 2 DVD Boxed Set - Disc 5 (Rhino RetroVision DVD R2 970128, November 18, 2003)
  • The Monkees - Season 2 DVD Boxed Set - Disc 4 (Eagle Rock Entertainment DVD EM351369, September 27, 2011)

Opening Vignette:

A mock interview wherein Michael Nesmith and the late Frank Zappa reverse roles—and Michael (as Frank Zappa) selfparodizes The Monkees by condemning their “banal and insipid” music—concludes with Michael conducting Zappa in wrecking a car to the tune of “Mother People.”

Synopsis:

Unable to write a song for his mates, Peter spies the sign “Oraculo, The World’s Leading Mentalist” and enters his House Of Mysteries. He explains to The Great Oraculo, the proprietor, about his problem, who at first is disinterested until he learns from Peter that The Monkees are due to be booked at The Club Cassandra, a nightclub, for a ten-week gig. Deciding to take over their spot, he has his psychic slave Rudi Bayshore secretly sneak him a vial containing a special blue formula that induces hypnosis and uses it to lace a cup of tea which he give it to Peter, who drinks it and becomes paralyzed under his spell. Oraculo then tells Rudi about his plan regarding the audition. At The Club Cassandra, Micky, Michael and David are waiting for Peter who finally arrives still in a catatonic state while Oraculo and Rudi hide backstage. During The Monkees' audition, they notice how different Peter is when he puts on his bass backwards, thumbs his nose, crows like a rooster, and breaks one of Micky’s drums, to the chagrin of the unimpressed manager, Latham, who rejects them on the spot. Then Oraculo through mind summons Peter and dressed in another costume, prepares him for their audition and on stage which has Peter levitating in mid air (with the help of a rope that Rudi is pulling); so impressed is Latham, he instantly signs them up.

Learning that Peter’s mind has been freaked, Micky, Michael and David, determined to rescue him, attempt to get to him alone. So Michael calls Oraculo on the phone with a story about his losing his memory in a horrible accident while carrying a briefcase containing $50,000 in cash, and is now willing to give half of it to the person who'll help him find it; then he sends David and Micky to find Peter. Micky and David sneak in while Rudi rehearses an impression of a great mentalist in the mirror as Michael continues to stall Oraculo. Micky, “The Great Dolenzio,” manages to lures Rudi away from Peter by imitating Oraculo summoning him via mind control. They then go into a musical romp set to “Valleri” to break Peter’s trance, but fail; meanwhile, Michael is tricked into drinking Oraculo’s hypnosis–inducing formula, putting him under his spell. Having exhausted all their efforts to revive Peter, David knocks him unconscious with a mallet and he and Micky carry him out; just as Oraculo is surprised at Rudi's sudden arrival at the pad and commands Michael to admit his ruse to rescue Peter then brings both Rudi and Michael back to the house of mysteries with him.

Micky and David, carrying Peter, still in a trance, return to the pad and find Michael missing. They search hither and yon to find him but fail, and they deduce that he is in Oraculo’s clutches. Micky and David chain up Peter and show up at The House Of Mysteries. Once there, they boast that Oraculo has no power and Peter is safe, and they prepare to grab him, but Rudi knocks them unconscious from behind. Oraculo then plans to use the potion on them too and then perform at The Club Cassandra, confident his new act, Oraculo and His Four Slaves, will be a sensation. He then attempts to summon Peter again through his mind and at first gets the operator on the line; he finally manages to reach Peter, who, obeying Oraculo’s commands, pulls out of the wall to which he’s chained and goes to The Cassandra. Backstage at The Cassandra, Oraculo and Rudi have all four guys, still under his spell, clad in gypsy costumes as he prepares to go on with his act. He orders Rudi to give them more of the potion and to meet him out front as he goes out alone. Oraculo’s prediction act with the audience is ruined with David as a bearded lawyer when Oraculo predicts him to be the youngest judge at 29 (he’s already 35) and then with Micky as a half-drunken goof when he orders him stick his unlit cigar into his and which ends up burning him causing him to be booed from the audience, much to the amusement of The Penguin.

Backstage, Rudi lines up The Monkees for their act and distributes more potions to them. But he slaps Micky, unwittingly breaking the spell, and goes onstage to save his master from the hostile audience. Micky slaps Michael, David and Peter, and they proceed to go on with their act. They still seem to be in a trance when they enter the stage; however, they further ruin Oraculo’s act with their typical Monkees comical antics by flouting his command to make them rigid and they become flexible instead. Then it becomes a dog act, which eventually has Oraculo and Rudi on fours, over an instrumental backing track to “Gonna Buy Me A Dog.” Nevertheless, it is still a big hit. Rudi wonders the change in the act fits them but Oraculo doesn’t seem to care as long as they're in show business.

Tag Sequence:

Micky, with Moog synthesizer, sings “Daily Nightly”, in an impressive black-and-white number shot on the bandstand in their pad, while Michael, Peter and David look on.

Production Notes:

The Monkees’ 1968 remake of the 1966 Boyce-Hart tune “Valleri”—from the A-side of the Colgems #1019 single [issued March 2, 1968] and the B-side of The Monkees' impending fifth album, The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees—made its only appearance on The Monkees TV show in this episode. The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees recieved miniscule promotion on The Monkees TV series in these final 2 episodes of the series: this and the next episode, No. 58, "Mijacogeo" (a.k.a. "The Frodis Caper"); unlike the summer of 1967's Monkees repeats, no attempt was made to redub the summer '68 reruns with new music from the new album. (It might have benefited from earlier Monkees episodes which featured “Daydream Believer” and “I’ll Be Back Up On My Feet”, which would later become [and be rerecorded as] featured tracks on The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees!)

The end credits of “The Monkees Blow Their Minds” misread “Valleri” as “Valerie,” the same as the end credits of Episode No. 23, “Captain Crocodile”. Also notice that “Valleri” is featured here with a cold ending, which at the time wasn't present on the Colgems #66-1019 single or The Monkees' fifth album; on both, it fades out before the end is heard. Several subsequent rereleases and reissues of the song feature the ending intact.

A totally revised Kellogg’s™ sponsor billboard sequence, featuring the guys clutching revamped packages of popular Kellogg’s™ cereals (Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Rasin Bran and Sugar Frosted Flakes, the same ones they did last season), makes its bow after the opening titles of “The Monkees Blow Their Minds”. This new billboard was unfortunately short-lived, as, due to Kellogg’s™ dropping sponsorship because of NBC pulling the plug on the show after this season, it lasted no further than May 1968.

An original Screen Gems Storyline for “The Monkees Blow Their Minds” features a rejected tag scene which indicates Mr. Latham (Milton Frome) booking the dog act but balks at their demands. When they use a water gun on him (obviously laced with Oraculo's potion), Latham offers them everything he has. Also, according to the storyline, prior to the Oraculo And His Four Slaves act at The Club Cassandra, Rudi originally spilled Oraculo' magic potion (though the boys still seem to be entranced).

“The Monkees Blow Their Minds” is the second episode of The Monkees to feature the boys decked out in their famous 8-buttoned shirts which are made out of black velvet fabric; the first was No. 41, "The Card-Carrying Red Shoes". Michael Nesmith wears such a shirt for the only time ever on The Monkees television series in this episode.

“The Monkees Blow Their Minds” and Episode No. 3, “Monkee Versus Machine”, were 2 of the most frequently shown Monkees episodes on CBS Saturday Afternoon, each one of them shown 5 times on The Eye Network. This episode's fifth and final repeat on The Eye Network, on September 4, 1971, lowered the curtain on a second season of Monkees episode repeats on CBS.

“The Monkees Blow Their Minds” incorporates footage from Episode No. 10, “Here Come The Monkees” (featuring the boys clad as escaping convicts), and No. 12, “I've Got A Little Song Here” (The Monkees romping with dogs in the “Gonna Buy Me A Dog” musical sequence).

Bloopers:

"Oraculo" is misspelled in “The Monkees Blow Their Minds”'s end credits as "Oracuco."

Trivia Notes:

“The Monkees Blow Their Minds” is indisputably the shortest episode of The Monkees ever made—at roughly 17 minutes and 34 seconds—what with the teaser and tag sequences devoted only to a special guest appearance and a musical number, respectively.

The book Michael Nesmith is reading while talking to Oraculo is Max Heindel's Simplified Scientific Astrology

For the third and final time on The Monkees TV series, magicians are featured being given the royal Monkee treatment; the first 2 are Episode No. 15, “Too Many Girls” (a.k.a. "Davy And Fern"), and No. 51, "The Monkee's Paw".

The forefinger and pinky of Oraculo's right hand have long nails. Number of times Oraculo is told he has dishonesty, cowardice, and a lack of scruples: 2; number of times his monocle falls from his right eye: 7.

Also, a scene from the “Valleri” romp finds Micky and David dunking Peter's face into a punch bowl, trying to undo Oraculo's spell; Peter reemerges wearing a mask resembling Cousin Eerie, mascot of Warren Publications' macabre comic series Eerie.

Micky makes use of the catchphrase "Gosharoonie!" for the fourth time; the first three were in Episode No. 14, “Dance, Monkee, Dance”, No. 15, “Too Many Girls” (a.k.a. "Davy And Fern"), and No. 25, “Alias Micky Dolenz”. Also, for the second time, Micky makes use of the pseudo surname "Dolenzio" ("The Great Dolenzio"), having previously done so in Episode No. 33, "It's A Nice Place To Visit..." ("El Dolenzio"). 

David wears a tan shirt with 3 stripes on the collar, sleeves, and bottom, the same one he wore in the teaser sequence of Episode No. 20, “The Monkees In The Ring”.

The song "Mother People," to which Michael conducts Frank Zappa in wrecking the car, was composed by Zappa, recorded by Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention and included as a 2:31 min. track on their February 1968 LP We're Only In It For The Money (Verve #V/V6-5045). The presence of "Mother People" in this Monkees episode marks the first of just 2 times on the series music from other artists is showcased; the second would be the very next installment, "Mijacogeo" (a.k.a. "The Frodis Caper"), which boasted The Beatles' "Good Morning."

This marks the final onscreen appearance of the dummy Mr. Schneider, Michael Nesmith wearing his wool hat and speaking with his old voice, and Micky Dolenz with his straight hair. (Micky's hair will be straight once again, in 1969's 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee and 1997's Hey Hey It's The Monkees.) Also, it's the final occasion in The Monkees TV series history which sees The Monkees wearing their 8-buttoned shirts, uttering the oft-repeated line "Don't do that!" and singing The Song Of The Volga Boatmen. Plus, it's the last episode of the series to showcase music from the albums The Monkees and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd..

As Peter leaves with Oraculo after the fiasco of The Monkees audition, Micky beckons to him to write first before coming home to the pad, "because we're renting your room!" As it is revealed this season, all four Monkees share the same room, upstairs; whereas in the first season, they slept in bedrooms in upper and lower levels of the pad. (Peter even wishes he has his own room in Episode No. 18, “I Was A Teenage Monster”.) In The Monkees' movie HEAD, immediately after Officer Faye Lapid (Logan Ramsey) faints from seeing Victor Mature, Michael Nesmith awakens out of a sound sleep—in the first-floor bedroom.

In Oraculo's House Of Mysteries, take notice of a mummy case appropriately painted with the likeness of King Tutankhamen (1336-1327 B.C.). This mummy case can also be seen in Episode No. 37, "Art For Monkee's Sake", and No. 50, "The Monstrous Monkee Mash".

This is David's second disguise as a lawyer, following the "board meeting" in a dream sequence in “Here Come The Monkees” with his "colleagues" at the rapidly fading firm Vanessa Russell and Vanessa.

Peter Meyerson, scribe for “The Monkees Blow Their Minds”, passed away on March 11, 2013 at age 82—a good 45 years to the day it first aired.

This episode debuted on the eighth birthday of Eric Lefcowitz, later author of The Monkees Tale and Monkee Business.

Guest Cast Notes:

Emmy-winning director James Frawley appears as Oraculo’s cohort Rudi Bayshore, and Burgess Meredith, late of Batman (ABC, 1966–68), cameos as The Penguin, which was The Monkees’ sly tip of the wool hat to the fact that the last first-run episode of Batman, “Minerva, Mayhem And Millionaires” (#1726), aired on ABC three days after the telecast of this episode!

Trivia Footnote: Earlier this season, “The Monkees Blow Their Minds” guest Monte Landis appeared with Monkee guest alum Stacey Maxwell (“Monkee See, Monkee Die”) and Maurice Dallimore ("The Monkees Race Again" [a.k.a. "Leave The Driving To Us"]) in a 3-part episode of Batman, “The Londinium Larcenies/The Foggiest Notion/The Bloody Tower” (#1711, Nov. 23 & 30, Dec. 7, 1967).

Frank Zappa appeared with The Monkees again in their 1968 motion picture HEAD as The Critic. Interestingly, in this episode's teaser, Michael Nesmith and Frank are seen discussing soul in music, the exact same subject that David Jones and Charles Smalls talked about in the outset of the previous episode, "Some Like It Lukewarm" (a.k.a. "The Band Contest"). And Nes displays his newfound conducting talent, something which he did for the album The Wichita Train Whistle Sings (Dot DLP-25861, released 7/68), a self-produced instrumental collection of his music produced while he was performing on TV.

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