(a.k.a. “THE FRODIS CAPER”)
The Monkees battle a mad wizard who hypnotizes TV viewers with
a test pattern planted with powers of an alien from outer space!
|Vital Stats, Credits and Releases On Home Video:
Production No. 4770
Revised Final Draft: November 24, 1967
Filmed At: Screen Gems Studios, Hollywood, CA, and on location in Los Angeles, CA.
Filming Dates: November 27–29, 1967 (this episode); between December 18 and 22, 1967 (Tim Buckley's number)
Original Air Date: March 25, 1968
Ratings: 16.3 rating/27.3 share (9,130,000 viewers)
© Raybert Productions; 3-25-68; LP37629
Sponsor This Week: Kellogg’s™
Rerun Dates: November 8, 1969, January 6 and August 26, 1972 (CBS)
Teleplay by Micky Dolenz & Dave Evans; Story by Jon Andersen & Micky Dolenz.
Directed by Micky Dolenz.
Executive Producers: Robert Rafelson & Bert Schneider.
Associate Producer: Gerald S. Shepard.
Produced by Ward Sylvester.
Background Music Composed and Conducted by Stu Phillips.
“Zor And Zam” Written by John & Bill Chadwick;
Produced by The Monkees.
Home Video Releases:
Monkees: The Collector's Edition - VHS Tape #20 (Columbia House #19948, May 22, 1995)
- The Monkees Deluxe Limited Edition Boxed Set - VHS Tape #20 (Rhino R3 2960, October 17, 1995)
- Our Favorite Episodes - The Monkees (Rhino DVD R2 4464, November 17, 1998)
- 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 5 (Eagle Rock Entertainment DVD EM351369, September 27, 2011)
- The Monkees - The Complete Series - Blu-Ray Disc 7 (Rhino BD2-552705, July 8, 2016)
The sun rises one morning, causing a suspended rope to burn and trigger a phonograph which plays The Beatles’ song “Good Morning," waking Michael, Micky and David who all drop their alarm clocks on the floor to shut them off. But when Peter’s alarm clock continues to ring they all jump out of bed and realize he’s missing. They soon head downstairs and search frantically around the pad, even going so far as to visit Michael as The Lost and Found Man but it seems hopeless until David finally finds Peter in a trance, frozen in his easy chair in front of the TV set, showing a huge eye (disguised as a test pattern) planted with subliminal triggers, pulsing to strange music. The Monkees nearly fall into a similar trance themselves until Michael quickly turns off the TV. Then they head outside as Michael explains what’s going to happen after the commercial.
Micky, Michael and David race out into the street to check out their neighbors: Michael and Micky head to the Parkers home and find them in their living room littered with TV dinner trays and also in a trance, tuned to the same program; David heads for his neighbor Nyles gazing at the eye and assumes he's hypnotized, too, but Nyles replies, "What TV? Man, I'm always like this!" Then they head for the KXIW-TV station to find out what’s wrong. When they get there, they find the stage hand is also in a trance from a nearby television showing the exact same eye, and they all wonder what kind of warped maniacal mind is plotting such a conspiracy when suddenly the scene is intercut with Glick, a mad wizard giving an evil laugh, which answers their question. Deciding this a job for Monkeemen, they dash for a nearby phone booth to change into their secret identities, but they discover a sign in the booth stating that Federal Law W443 paragraph seven prohibits such a thing, so they instead decide to stop the evil Glick themselves. Meanwhile at the studio, the evil Wizard Glick makes his maniacally warped plan at noon to use the power switch which will activate the magnetic freeble energizer which will then release the incredible power of The Frodis, so he’ll be able to control the minds of millions! His chief henchman reports seeing the boys coming on The Monkeemen Monitor (which hasn’t worked in five years); figuring The Monkees are heading to the studio, Glick orders the release of a Two-Headed Org, who confronts they guys arriving at the studio. Micky, Michael and David, following the instructions of their Monkeemanual, make quick disposal of the creature by jumping up and down thrice, rolling a head of cabbage, and giggling.
After witnessing it all on the monitor, Glick then send in his squad of TV repairmen with portable TVs tuned to the eye to capture our heroes, but each of their attempts to hypnotize The Monkees are unsuccessful. Then Michael, mentioning that it’s time for The Monkees, wonders if anyone has a television set, and as if on cue they are all set upon by the TV repairmen with the TVs. Soon, Micky, Michael and David are tied up in Glick’s warehouse, and in order to contact Peter for help, Micky suggests they use the latest psycho-jello mental telepathy which every group is using, which Micky learned when he sent in a cereal boxtop. They all chant “nam myoho renge kyo” and it appears to be working as Peter slowly rises from the chair and heads for the studio. However, he is spotted on the monitor by Glick, who readies for his most cuning trickery; he greets Peter at the front door and captures him as well. Now with all four Monkees tied up, Peter manages to hop near a phone, call the police, and hop back, but Michael tells him it was unnecessary, since he is already untied. Wondering what to do about Glick, David conjures up another plan, and as Glick and his henchmen are preparing their next phase of their scheme for world domination, armed with megaphones, shout down to the villains below that they are completely surrounded and tell them not to attempt to reach for their weapons, move, or even write home! The trapped villains figure out a way to get free by chanting Micky’s chant, but The Monkees wind up tying them up. Then the police finally rush in but mistake The Monkees as the villains and arrests them while freeing Glick and his men. En route to the police station, The Monkees try to explain their innocence as they are dragged off; then one of the cops mentions Dragnet is about to come on and asks about a nearby TV set. As luck would have it they pass a TV repair shop, which displays in its window a TV set tuned to the Frodis eye, and Micky tricks them into staring into the eye on the set which sends them all in a trance, as The Monkees look away except Peter. With Peter hypnotized again, the guys carry him as they head back to the studio.
The Monkees sneak back to the KXIW-TV studio to destroy the eye and save the world. Because they got back in easily, Michael is suspicious of a Glick trick. His suspicions confirmed, the boys find themselves back in Glick’s warehouse, chained and manacled. They wake Otto, the sleeping guard and try to trick him out of his keys by offering to play cards for keys in exchange for a statue Peter. It turns out that he’s a expert card player so they offer to play him a made up game called “creebage”; since Otto doesn't know how to play, The Monkees use this to their advantage by scattering all the cards and then calling out “creebage” declaring themselves the winners and with that, they grab the keys to unchain themselves and bolt. After escaping, they decide to hang Peter on a coat rack and fetch him later since they can’t keep carrying him. They find the Frodis room and as they rush inside, they come face to face with The Frodis, a gurgling one-eyed philodendron with a football-shaped eye. Armed with a peashooter, they prepare to destroy the plant when they learn it’s a friendly being from another planet captured by the evil Wizard Glick while his spaceship landed on Earth, and is now using his Frodis power to control men’s minds through his machines. To undo the evil that has been done, he must get back to his spaceship and recharge his Frodis energy. Moved by his tragic tale, Micky, Michael and David decide to help him escape, and just as they pick him up, Glick and his henchmen cometh!
In a slow motion-paced “Typical Monkee Romp” set to “Zor And Zam,” Wizard Glick and his minions are in a hot pursuit of The Monkees carrying The Frodis and Peter who manage to make it to the Frodis’ spaceship which is on a hill. Glick and his men are about to capture The Frodis and The Monkees when the alien emerges from his spacecraft and emits a strange smoke, sending the fiends rolling around the hill, laughing in the midst of a love-in. The Monkees along with Peter who is finally out of his trance for good and the Frodis rejoice in their triumph.
Micky off-camera introduces folk singer Tim Buckley who, with guitar, perches atop a cluttered automobile (wrecked by Frank Zappa at the end of "The Monkees Blow Their Minds"'s teaser sequence), and sings “Song To The Siren.”
This was the final firstrun broadcast episode of The Monkees on NBC.
The episode’s official title, "Mijacogeo," is an amalgam of Micky Dolenz’s immediate family: Michael (his middle name), Janelle (his mom), Coco (his sister) and George (his dad); "Mijacogeo," can also be spotted on the rear of The Birds The Bees & The Monkees LP. Micky himself coined the moniker "Frodis" as a sort of code name which he frequently used off the Monkees set; the word itself previously appears in Episode No. 51, "The Monkee's Paw", as one of many words written on a blackboard (along with "Apple," "Kat," "Hare Krishna," "Legalized Wisdom," "Save The Texas Prairie Chicken," and "Phoetus") in the scene where "professors" David, Michael and Peter prepare to give a voiceless Micky a speech lesson.
A deleted story idea has Otto (Tony Giorgio) reporting the Freeble Energizer is busted, which Glick gets restarted with a swift kick. Also, instead of Dragnet (a staple on NBC from 1967-70), the cops dragging The Monkees off to jail were supposed to have been lured into watching The FBI (ABC, 1965-74) on TV and become mesmerized by the Frodis eye. And speaking of Dragnet, one of the policemen stated it aired at "8:30, 7:30 Central Time!," when, in actuality, it held down the NBC Thursday night slot @ 9:30, 8:30 Central Time.
In addition to being the second Monkee-directed episode this season, “Mijacogeo” (a.k.a. “The Frodis Caper”) is also the only episode of the whole Monkees series to be scriptwritten by a Monkee.
Aside from co-writing and directing "Mijacogeo," which fittingly parodizes the power of TV, Micky is also the voice of the gurgling Frodis alien plant, which is sped up @ 50% of its normal speed (Alvin & The Chipmunks' style!).
Micky hatched a rather excellent idea of employing the use of 2 cameras to shoot certain scenes, so that continuity wouldn't be a headache.
“Mijacogeo” (a.k.a. “The Frodis Caper”) is one of only 2 episodes in the entire second season of The Monkees not to showcase music from Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd.; the other is No. 39, "Hillbilly Honeymoon" (a.k.a. "Double Barrell Shotgun Wedding"), which featured Nes' “Papa Gene’s Blues”.
The version of “Zor And Zam” used in this episode featured different vocal parts and a longer fade; it is the original mix (available on Rhino's Missing Links Volume 3 [R2 72153, released in March 1996]), which was then bounced down with Shorty Rogers' horn section and a new, cleaner-sounding Grace Slick-esque vocal by Micky for the fifth album. The song itself, by John & Bill Chadwick, was originally slated for use in a proposed Saturday morning cartoon about the worlds of Zor and Zam. It is by far the most overtly antiwar, poltical message-oriented song The Monkees ever put to record. When “Mijacogeo” reran on CBS Saturday Afternoon, “I Never Thought It Peculiar” replaced “Zor And Zam” on its soundtrack; the CBS version aired in syndication for the first time on May 26, 2000 on The Screen Gems Network.
Trivia Footnote: “I Never Thought It Peculiar” was presented in the CBS edition of “Mijacogeo” (a.k.a. “The Frodis Caper”) (and most likely that of “Don't Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth” and "The Devil And Peter Tork") in an alternate take which dispensed with the brass/string arrangement it was eventually bounced down with for its inclusion on Changes.
In the end credits for this segment, there is no film editor credited!
Interestingly, both this and the previous episode, No. 57, "The Monkees Blow Their Minds", deal with mind manipulation, as will 1969's 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee. Also, you will find that in both "The Monkees Blow Their Minds" and "Mijacogeo" Peter is seen being hypnotized!
Peter's alarm clock keeps on ringing through the remainder of this episode's teaser! Listen for an off-camera gun shooting the clock and blasting it to pieces before the opening credits!
2 major participants in “Mijacogeo” (a.k.a. “The Frodis Caper”) originally auditioned for a part on The Monkees in 1965: Bill Chadwick (co-composer of “Zor And Zam”) and Nyles Brown (who plays Nyles in the episode).
Towards the end of the “Zor And Zam” romp, a brief snippet of Monkees co-producer Bert Schneider is inserted. It was his one of only 2 onscreen appearance on the series; he can also be seen in a brief snippet of what appears to be a quick run-through for Episode No. 34, "The Picture Frame" (a.k.a. "The Bank Robbery"), which is used in No. 49, "The Monkees Watch Their Feet".
The one-liner Micky makes about his source of his mystical chant coming from a "cereal boxtop" is just a shameless satirical jab at one of The Monkees' chief sponsors, Kellogg’s™. (Coincidentally, it was Kellogg’s™ turn at bat to sponsor the show this week!) And the chant that he learned, nam-myoho-renge-kyo, is a teaching called The Lotus Sutra, declaring that all living beings, regardless of gender or intelligence, have the potential to attain Buddhahood; it is translated as, simply, "the teaching of the lotus flower of the wonderful law."
Listen to Rip Taylor (Wizard Glick) closely, and you will hear him spout a couple of lines he did from his previous guest shot on The Monkees, the manager of the rigged Roulette wheel in Episode No. 46, "The Monkees On The Wheel" (which in turn made reference to Taylor's character in “Mijacogeo”!): "Could you die?", "Separate checks, please!" and "I'm innocent! I didn't do a thing!" (though in this episode, he repeats this last line the other way 'round).
This is the only time Michael Nesmith wears his shades throughout virtually an entire episode.
This also marks the only appearance of The Monkeemanual, which also shows instructions on how to dispose of a 3-Headed Gleeb, a 6-Eyed Creebage, a 3-Side Snark, a 6-Headed Org and a 4-Headed Org.
2 John Lennon/Paul McCartney-penned Beatles tunes are heard in “Mijacogeo”: the aforementioned “Good Morning” (which, ironically, hails from the very album which bumped The Monkees' Headquarters from the top spot in 1967: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band!) and "Hello, Goodbye," which is sung briefly by David Jones. Shockingly, it is "Hello Goodbye" which knocked John Stewart's "Daydream Believer" out of the #1 spot on the Billboard charts!!
When Wizard Glick activates the Freeble Energizer button, a sound efffect from the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise (NCC-1701) on Star Trek (NBC, 1966-69), is heard.
Having 86ed the horrendous Two-Headed Org, Micky, Michael and David sing a reprise of Harold Allen's "Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead!" (sung by The Munchkins in the classic The Wizard Of Oz, [MGM, 1939], au naturel). Their version: "Ding Dong! The Org Is Dead"! Interestingly, the group The Fifth Estate cut their own version of "Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead!", which was released in May 1967 on the Jubilee #5573 single and peaked @ #11 on the Billboard chart.
Wizard Glick's insidious garb is a rip on Doctor Caligari, the subject of the groundbreaking 1920 silent film The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, one of the earliest, most influential and most artistically acclaimed German Expressionist films, directed by Robert Wiene and written by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer.
In the scenes where The TV Repair Troops make many vain attempts to ensnare Micky, Michael and David with their portable TV sets tuned to the Frodis eye in many rooms in the KXIW-TV studio, be on the lookout for a director's chair bearing the name of Pat Blymyer, The Monkees TV series' head gaffer.
Take notice of KXIW-TV's studio gates, out of which The Monkees, The Frodis, Wizard Glick and his henchmen emerge at the beginning of the “Zor And Zam” chase climax. They are the same studio gates used by Mammoth Studios in Episode No. 12, “I've Got A Little Song Here”, and No. 34, "The Picture Frame" (a.k.a. "The Bank Robbery"). Interestingly, in the scene where Peter puts through a phone call to the cops, he tells them that, "we're being held captive behind the Mammoth TV studios!" instead of KXIW-TV!
This is the fifth and final occasion on The Monkees in which they engage in card games, folowing Episode No. 6, “The Success Story”, No. 10, “Here Come The Monkees” (Original Pilot Film), No. 15, “Too Many Girls” (a.k.a. "Davy And Fern"), and No. 33, "It's A Nice Place To Visit...".
“Valleri”, previously presented in "The Monkees Blow Their Minds", peaked @ #3 on Billboard's Hot 100 in the same week “Mijacogeo” (a.k.a. “The Frodis Caper”) aired on NBC.
Once again Micky utters "You don't mean--?!" to Michael; he first did so 7 episodes before, in No. 51, "The Monkee's Paw", during the young Mendrek/Regular Llama encounter fantasy sequence.
"Mijacogeo" (a.k.a. "The Frodis Caper"), The Monkees' series finale, aired on the same night as the final new episode of another popular series: "A Girl for Goober," which aired @ 9:00pm EDT on CBS as the 249th and last first-run installment of The Andy Griffith Show.
The henchmen here are portrayed by Monkee stand-ins David Pearl, David Price, Richard Klein, and Bruce Barbour; of the four, Klein is the only one credited. Price and Klein are also seen as the monstrous Two-Headed Org!
Nyles Brown, the neighbor, is another Monkee stand-in.
Tony Goirgio (Otto) went on to portray mob underboss Bruno Tattaglia in the Oscar-winning The Godfather (Paramount, 1972); it also starred Monkee guest alumnus Vito Scotti (“The Case Of The Missing Monkee”, HEAD).
Progressive singer/composer Tim Buckley's showcase in this segment was a result of extensive promotion in fan magazines by Micky Dolenz. Buckley later rerecorded "Song To The Siren" (with slightly altered final lyrics) for his January 1971 LP Starsailor (Straight #STS 1064).