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Episode No. 44:

“Hitting The High Seas”

Thoughts of mutiny are bountiful as The Monkees founder
the hijack of a cargo ship by their vengeful sea captain!

Vital Stats, Credits and Releases On Home Video:

Production No. 4762
Filmed At: Screen Gems Studios, Hollywood, CA, and on location in San Pedro, CA.
Filming Dates: October 9-13, 1967
Original Air Date: November 27, 1967
Ratings: 19.9 rating/30.6 share (11,140,000 viewers)
© Raybert Productions; 11-27-67; LP37683
Sponsor This Week:
Yardley Of London™
Rerun Dates: May 20, 1968 (NBC); April 18 and May 2, 1970, November 20, 1971 (CBS)

Written by Jack Winter.
Directed by James Frawley.
Produced by Robert Rafelson & Bert Schneider.
Associate Producer: Gerald S. Shepard.
Production Executive: Ward Sylvester.
Background Music Composed and Conducted by Stu Phillips.
“Daydream Believer” Written by John Stewart; Produced by Chip Douglas.
“Star Collector” Written by
Gerry Goffin & Carole King; Produced by Chip Douglas.
Guest cast:

Frank.........................................................................Ted DeCorsia
Harry.............................................................................Noam Pitlik
Mayberry....................................................................Leslie Randall
Chips Rafferty as Captain

Home Video Releases:

  • The Monkees - Volume 2 (Musicvision VHS #60643/Beta #20643, July 15, 1986)
  • Image Entertainment laserdisc #ID6353RC (1989)
  • The Monkees: The Collector's Edition - VHS Tape #9 (Columbia House #13222, May 22, 1995)
  • The Monkees Deluxe Limited Edition Boxed Set - VHS Tape #1 (Rhino R3 2960, October 17, 1995)
  • Rhino VHS R3 2238 (March 26, 1996)
  • Our Favorite Episodes - The Monkees (Rhino DVD R2 4464, November 17, 1998)
  • The Monkees - Season 2 DVD Boxed Set - Disc 2 (Rhino RetroVision DVD R2 976076, November 18, 2003)
  • The Monkees - Season 2 DVD Boxed Set - Disc 2 (Eagle Rock Entertainment DVD EM351369, September 27, 2011)
  • The Monkees - The Complete Series - Blu-Ray Disc 6 (Rhino BD2-552705, July 8, 2016)

Synopsis:

When half their audience—one patron—walks out, The Monkees lose their jobs as musicians at a waterfront café, and Micky, Peter and David drown their sorrows in buttermilk in a bar. Then they overhear two rough looking sailors, Harry Hooker and Frank Reynolds, declaring they need strong guys with the ability to use their hands and knowledge of The Seven Seas. Upon hearing this, the guys try to impress the men by showing these abilities with Micky breaking a chair, David juggling and Peter naming the The Seven Seas. Harry suggests The Monkees, but Frank doesn’t think they look like sailors until the guys present themselves in sailor uniforms and are hired for $15. Then they’re ordered to report to Pier 3 at 6 in the morning. The guys celebrate getting hired, dubbing themselves the fastest-talking, cleverest, shrewdest sailors of the high seas, unaware that Harry and Frank are informing their boss on the phone that they got "the dumbest, dullest suckers in the world!"

The next morning, The Monkees arrive with Michael onboard a schooner and are soon giving the task of hoisting a mainsail only to wreck it trying to hoist and unfurl it. When they feel seasick due to the ship rocking, Michael takes some seasick pills from Micky on which he gets seasick, and he goes to the galley to rest (where he stays for the remainder of the episode!). Soon the remaining Monkees are called for roll call, but Peter is detained when he's pulled into the air from holding on to the rope as they reattempt to hoist the mainsail. To make matters worse, with The Captain now present, the boys’ ignorance during roll call lands them in all in serious trouble. Then Peter is spotted on top of the pole and when he's ordered down, he winds up landing headfirst in a barrel. The The Captain orders the guys to cut their long hair which they refuse (they’ll lose their strength) and as punishment for disobeying orders, he orders them to be keelhauled and lashed 10 times for insubordination, plus 10 extra strokes if they laugh. David claims this punishment violates Naval law and when The Captain asks who he is, Frank tells him his name. Upon learning his name is Davy Jones (“Davy Jones?! As in Davy Jones’s Locker?!?”), The Captain spares the guys since he's feeling lucky to have David on his ship. He then orders Micky and Peter to swab the deck but promotes David to cabin boy and orders him to the galley.

At the galley, David carries a tray of the captain’s lunch to the captain after entering the wrong cabins, first Micky’s as Captain Ahab still looking for the great whale Moby Dick, Peter as Giacoma Casanova forcefully seducing a damsel (who slaps him!), and Micky as a groovy trumpet-playing Captain Horatio Hornblower. When he finally enters the Captain’s cabin, The Captain quickly orders him out claiming he’s in a middle of a conference. there is no one else but The Captain in the cabin to necessitate a conference, a curious David peeks in and sees The Captain talking to his parrot, Horace about two million dollars in gold which convinces David that he’s gone “crackers” (English slang for “crazy”). After informing the others what he overheard, they want find out more so they decide to sneak into The Captain’s cabin later that night as The Captain sleeps. Then with Peter taping the parrot's beak shut, Micky impersonates the parrot as he grills The Captain about the plan; he angrily reveals about how he was Captain of the Queen Anne for 30 years when they sacked him, and, in revenge, he plans to hijack the ship and strip her of her riches.

The next morning on deck, Micky tries to convince the others it’s all a fantasy, until the Captain and crew, now dressed like pirates, unsheathe sabers, hoist The Jolly Roger, and unwrap a cannon! Back in their cabin, the guys try to come up with a plan to stop the crew from hijacking the Queen Anne and decide to incite a mutiny. Peter whispers to each of the crew members and soon Micky makes a speech to the guys before he informs the Captain of a mutiny and orders him to hand over his sword. When the Captain refuses, he orders the men to seize him but they do nothing since Peter only mumbled nonsense in their ears. The Captain grabs Micky while David and Peter try to play innocent, but Frank exposes them as accomplices and The Captain prepares to make them walk the plank.

Soon they're on the planks as the captain declares them guilty of insubordination to a commanding officer, inspiring to mutiny and impersonating a parrot and forces them to walk the plank. Micky and David buy some time by pretending there's a secret interesting the Captain until a clueless Peter gives them away. Then the guys are saved when the execution ceremony is stopped by the arrival of the Queen Anne, and the crew prepare the cannon. Just as they prepare to fire, Micky, Peter and David step in and snatch the cannon away, setting off a wild musical romp to “Daydream Believer,” in which they engage captain and crew in mad swordplay and finally catch them in a fishnet. Grateful, Mayberry, the captain of the Queen Anne, thanks the guys for saving his ship, the gold and its passengers, and promotes them to first mates of his schooner as a reward. He then presents their new captain—Horace, the parrot—who immediately begins to bark out orders! Michael recovers from seasickness long enough to join Micky, David and Peter in the closing musical number: the stimulatingly psychedelic “Star Collector.”

Production Notes:

"Hitting The High Seas" was the first episode of The Monkees TV series to be produced and to air on NBC this season without a canned laugh track. Episode No. 32, “The Monkees On Tour”, the series finale of The Monkees' first season, was the first episode altogether to leave out canned sitcom laughter.

Screen Gems’ original synopsis for "Hitting The High Seas" lists the Queen Anne as the Queen Elizabeth; it also reveals an alternate ending to the romp which has The Monkees bowling the pirates over with cannonballs.

“Daydream Believer” makes its only appearance here (its fourth on the series overall and the last) in its mono mix heard on the A-side of the Colgems 66-1012 single and the ultra-rare mono version of The Monkees' fifth LP, The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees (COM-109); all other appearances of this song (in Episode No. 37, “Art For Monkee’s Sake”, Episode No. 40, “Monkees Marooned,” and the previous episode, “A Coffin Too Frequent”) was of an alternate mix which features no echoed lead vocals and no string parts in its instrumental break. In any case, “Daydream Believer” went on, of course, to begin a 5-week run as The Monkees' 3rd and final #1 hit, ironically a full day after "Hitting The High Seas"'s telecast on NBC, November 28, 1967. 

On the first day of shooting this episode, Michael Nesmith actually contracted a real case of seasickness, rendering him physically unable to compleet the shoot. When his insides abandoned ship, so did Michael, who then boarded another boat which returned him to shore, and he was written out of the rest of the episode. Other Monkees segments to feature seasick Monkees are Episode No. 19, “Find The Monkees” (a.k.a. "The Audition") (Peter) and No. 52, “The Devil And Peter Tork” (David). 

Also, you can spot in the galley Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork performing an impromptu acoustic rendition of the latter's newly composed "Tear The Top Off My Head." Peter would fashion a nice little studio take of the song 3 months after this episode's telecast; it would be shelved untill the 1991 release of the four-CD Monkees box set, Listen To The Band.

The short edit of Goffin and King's “Star Collector” heard in the outset of this episode (making its first appearance on the show in its mono mix with Moog synthesizer effects from the mono version of the Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. album) is reused in Episode No. 49, "The Monkees Watch Their Feet".

Writer Jack Winter and director Jim Frawley would also combine their elements to make the very next episode, "The Monkees In Texas". It would be their third and final Monkees collaboration; Episode No. 34, "The Picture Frame" (a.k.a. "The Bank Robbery"), was the first Jack Winter-composed/Jim Frawley-helmed venture for the series.

“Hitting The High Seas” tied with Episode No. 56, "Some Like It Lukewarm" (a.k.a. "The Band Contest"), as the highest-rated episode of The Monkees' second season (both with 11,140,000 viewers!).

Ironically, “Hitting The High Seas” and the next 2 Monkees episodes which followed it, No. 45, "The Monkees In Texas", and No. 46, "The Monkees On The Wheel", were all filmed within weeks of each other! They were produced in the exact order of their telecast on NBC.

When “Hitting The High Seas” was rerun on CBS Saturday Afternoon, “Oh My My” replaced “Daydream Believer” on its soundtrack.

The script for “Hitting The High Seas” called for an old schooner. After much searching, the crew eventually found one, the Seadog---old, decrepit and overrun by hippies, with a compass as her only navigational equipment. Filming on board the schooner to obtain the footage needed for the episode took 3 days. Apparently, The Monkees were so taken with the old Seadog that once filming was finished, they actually made plans to buy the vessel...only to helplessly watch as she tragically sank days before the final details could be drawn up and compleeted! 

The romp for “Daydream Believer” was a tricky shoot, as well as a risky one, as a thick fog bank had set in and engulfed the ship and crew! 

Inconsistencies:

Harry Hooker doesn't read the roster in alphabetical order.

When they show the close-ups of Micky under the curtain in The Captain's cabin, he's kneeling. When they pan out (Micky is on the far left), he is standing up.

In the "who's ringing that bleeding bell" scene in the tag, notice the car parked behind Mayberry (Leslie Randall). It pulls away, disappears, and then it's parked there again.

Trivia Notes:

In addition to sharing the honor with “Monkee Versus Machine” as one of the first Monkee episodes to see video release in July 1986, “Hitting The High Seas” was also one the very first episodes of The Monkees to be distributed on digital video disc (DVD), along with “Monkee Versus Machine”, "Mijacogeo" (a.k.a. "The Frodis Caper"), and "Fairy Tale", on Our Favorite Episodes, which was released individually on DVD by Rhino on November 17, 1998 (R2 4464) after previously being available only on VHS inside Rhino's Monkees lunchbox. 

Yes, Monkeemavens, that is Micky Dolenz you hear screeching and squawking the voice of Horace the parrot. Micky also lent voiceovers to Episode No. 32, “The Monkees On Tour”, the previous episode, "A Coffin Too Frequent", No. 57, "The Monkees Blow Their Minds", and his written-directed effort, No. 58, "Mijacogeo" (a.k.a. "The Frodis Caper"), which, incidentally, began production on the same day “Hitting The High Seas” first aired on NBC. 

The Alan Wolsky-designed front cover of The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees album uses cutouts of Michael, David, Micky and Peter from color stills of “Hitting The High Seas.”

Collector's Note: “Daydream Believer”, another staple from “Hitting The High Seas,” was also a featured track on The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees.

Take notice of the groovy paisley Nehru jacket David Jones is wearing in “Hitting The High Seas”'s teaser sequence. Aside from wearing it in numerous Monkees musical numbers seen in The Monkees' second season (including those for “Randy Scouse Git”, “Pleasant Valley Sunday”, and “No Time”), he can also be seen wearing it in Episode No. 41, "The Card-Carrying Red Shoes", and No. 51, "The Monkee's Paw".

Monkee stand-ins John London, David Price and David Pearl have unbilled cameos as two of The Captain's seamen.

Look for obvious references to Moby Dick and Captain Horatio Hornblower as David searches for The Capatain's cabin, to bring him his food. Also, Micky, in his guise as Captain Horatio Hornblower (blowing a clarinet [off-key!], of all things!), wears the exact same Commodore's outfit worn by Michael (this time, without the hat) in Episode No. 35, "Everywhere A Sheik Sheik".

When David objects to Micky's idea for mutiny, Micky exclaims, "How about, if Clark Gable and Marlon Brando can do it, we can do it?!" Clark Gable and Marlon Brando both portrayed the role of Lt. Fletcher Christian in 2 different versions of the movie Mutiny On The Bounty; Gable in the 1935 MGM release, and Brando in the 1962 MGM version, which, surprisingly, also featured “Hitting The High Seas” guest Chips Rafferty! (Pre-Monkee guest Ben Wright [“The Success Story”] had an unbilled role in the 1962 film as Graves.)

At one point, David Jones exclaims, "Peter's so tough, 'e loves the sight of blood, 'e pours ketchup on everythin' 'e eats; even Cornflakes!", which is, of course, a satirical swipe at Kellogg's, one of The Monkees TV series' main sponsors.

When The Captain (Chips Rafferty) orders The Monkees to cut their long hair, Micky quips, "No! We can't cut it; we'd lose our strength!" This is in reference to that biblical hero Samson.

Micky reports to The Captain that David Jones will inherit his "great-grandfather"'s locker at the age of 25, which means, judging from this episode's air date, the inheritance would've occurred in exactly 4 years, 1 month, and 3 days.

Throughout Act II of “Hitting The High Seas,” David wears the same white shirt with blue and red stripes he will be seen wearing in a fantasy segue in the teaser sequence of Episode No. 55, "The Monkees Mind Their Manor".

Guest Cast Notes:

The late Ted De Corsia (appearing in this episode as Frank Reynolds and in Episode No. 52, "The Devil And Peter Tork", as Blackbeard The Pirate) portrayed a great many movie villains, including Captain Farragut in 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Buena Vista, 1954) and Shanghai Pierce in Gunfight At The O.K. Corral (Paramount, 1957).

The late Australian character actor Chips Rafferty (Captain) had a long and varied film career, writing and producing films (including a combination of both on the 1956 Southern International picture Walk Into Paradise) and acting in a great many more, from a Fireman in Dad Rudd, M.P. (1940) to Jock Crawford in Outback (United Artists, 1972, released in America the year after his demise). Rafferty also turned up in a January 20, 1967 episode of Tarzan (NBC, 1966-68), "Captain Jai" (#6000-18), which also featured Monkee guest Ben Wright (“The Success Story”).

The late Noam Pitlik (Harry) and Monkee guest alum Vince Howard (“Monkee See, Monkee Die”) were in the guest cast of the December 16, 1969 episode of The Mod Squad (ABC, 1968-73), "In This Corner - Sol Albert." Pitlik appeared with Arlene Martel (“The Spy Who Came In From The Cool” , "The Monstrous Monkee Mash") in the December 20, 1966 episode of The Fugitive (ABC, 1963-67), "The Blessings Of Liberty."

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