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Episode No. 53:

“The Monkees Race Again”
(a.k.a. “Leave The Driving To Us”)

David drives The Monkeemobile in an auto race when the
British entry is sabotaged by The Baron and his Klutzmobile.

Vital Stats, Credits and Releases On Home Video:

Production No. 4745
Filmed At: Screen Gems Studios, Hollywood, CA.
Filming Dates: December 18-20, 1967
Original Air Date: February 12, 1968
Ratings: 19.8 rating/29.9 share (11,090,000 viewers)
© Raybert Productions; 2-12-68; LP37624
Sponsor This Week:
Kellogg’s™
Rerun Date: July 1, 1968 (NBC)

Written by Dave Evans, Elias Davis & David Pollock.
Directed by James Frawley.
Executive Producers: Robert Rafelson & Bert Schneider.
Associate Producer: Gerald S. Shepard.
Produced by Ward Sylvester.
Background Music Composed and Conducted by Stu Phillips.
“Hangin’ ’Round” Written by Travis Lewis & Boomer Clarke; Produced by Chip Douglas.
Guest cast:

T.N. Crumpets..............................................................William Glover
Butler.....................................................................Maurice Dallimore
Officer...........................................................................Don Kennedy
David Hurst as The Baron
Stubby Kaye as Wolfgang

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 4 (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)

Synopsis:

Our story opens outside The Monkees' pad, where three of them are seen giving The Monkeemobile a tune-up; David is behind the wheel, Peter is frustrated trying to fix what's under the hood, and Michael works under the car, lying on a creeper. Michael asks Peter to give him a shove, expecting a knife; instead, Peter literally gives him a shove with his foot, creeper and all, sending Michael rolling under The Monkeemobile, bouncing off a wall onscreen, and back again. Just then, David gets a call from T.N. Crumpets, his grandfather’s friend and England’s major racing driver, who wants the guys' help. The guys decide to head over to Crumpets' place and as David starts the car, the telephone is triggered instead and, with wheels, drives itself into The Monkees’ pad!

At T.N. Crumpets’ garage at the racing track, The Monkees admire his race car (#54) and they meet the elderly racer and his butler, Carruthers. Crumpets believes that someone is sabotaging his car and soon Peter and Michael look under the hood when the engine blows up leaving them convinced it’s the work of saboteurs. Meanwhile at another garage, Baron Von Klutz and his henchman Wolfgang, German officers of The Third Reich, work on The Baron’s racecar, The Klutzmobile (#13) but are having difficulties with their engine. Then The Baron spies on The Monkees through a periscope as amateur greasemonkees, clumsily working on Crumpets’ car and notices their strange techniques (using a hammer and a nail, a saw and wood). Back at Crumpets’ garage, The Monkees have nonchalantly taken Crumpets’ engine apart - Micky removes a tiger tail in the process! - but still can’t get it working again. When The Baron and Wolfgang come over to find out about the sad condition of Crumpets' car, The Monkees throw the car’s engine parts about to allay their suspicions, saying it’s a way to get rid of excess. After reassembling the engine again, David attempts to turn it over, but it's still no go until Micky starts the engine running again with his hand. Meanwhile, The Baron plots with Wolfgang to kidnap the mechanic and the driver since a fixed car is useless without a driver.

The Monkees and Crumpets engage in their tea to celebrate; as Carruthers sprays London Mist Spray around, the gasmasked villains spray knockout gas and everyone passes out. They kidnap greasemonkee Micky and Crumpets and drag them to their garage, where The Baron has them tied up as he explains his plans to win the race and make The Klutzmobile the most famous race car in the country and the world, and demands that Micky work on it. Crumpets tries to tell Von Klutz that Micky is no mechanic, but The Baron won’t hear of it, and has him gagged. Micky at first defies The Baron's methods of brainwashing, solitary confinement and starvation, but he relents when Von Klutz threatens physical torture. Meanwhile, back at the Crumpetts' garage, Peter, Michael, David and Carruthers come to, realizing they've been doped, and discover Micky or Crumpets are missing! After fixing The Klutzmobile, Baron orders Micky to start to car so he can analyze her engine, but only music emanates from it instead (despite the car not having a radio or a stereo tape deck!). Then, Wolfgang spots Michael, David and Peter arriving at their garage; The Baron orders Wolfgang to get rid of them while he hides Micky and Crumpets. The three other Monkees enter the Klutz garage, where Peter find a tuning fork Micky used on The Baron earlier, and when Wolfgang greets them he insists that only Klutzmobile personnel can enter the garage, meaning you have to be a Klutz to get in. Peter points out Micky’s B flat tuning fork he found but Wolfgang claims it’s his and that it’s an A. Soon Peter, Michael, David and Wolfgang then spend time trying out Micky's tuning fork, claiming it’s a B flat arguing back with Wolfgang who tries to send them away. When they won't budge, Wolfgang pulls a gun on them, which the boys object to. The Baron then intervenes, asking the three what they want but they leave, failing to find or rescue Micky or Crumpets, The Baron having hidden both of them under a stack of tires; The Baron schemes to have them dispose of after the race when they are no longer needed.

Back at Crumpets, The Monkees realize they don’t have a driver for Crumpet’s race car until David volunteers to stand in for Crumpets in the race since he’s a British subject. The racing official agrees but doesn’t think he’ll be able to see over the wheel since he’s so short. Michael and Peter remedy this problem with a telephone book, which they give David to sit on. Meanwhile, Micky is still working on The Baron’s Klutzmobile, but, an inexperienced mechanic, he completely ruins her engine. Then after spotting Crumpet’s car that is up and running, they decide to steal the engine. For a diversion, the Baron calls Michael and Peter from the loudspeaker, then they sneak in and steal the car in their absence. The racing official tells Michael, Peter and David they can’t be in the race without a car; David wants to run the race afoot, but the official is insistent that he must have a car, so he opts to use The Monkeemobile. After switching the engine from Crumpets’ car to The Klutzmobile, The Baron instructs Wolfgang to shoot one of the hostages at the starting gun and the other one at the end of the race, when everyone is cheering. Later at the track, as the race is about to begin, Michael and Peter tells David they’ll look for Micky and Crumpets while David races the Baron. David wonders where the other contestants are; The Baron drives up and declares that they have all been sabotaged.

Just before Wolfgang gets ready to shoot Micky, Michael and Peter burst in and starts chasing him all over the garage, just as the official fires the gun, starting the race. Despite The Baron’s efforts to sabotage David with an arsenal of underhanded trickery - a newspaper, and a spare tire, which winds up felling him instead - David wins the race and is surrounded by a crowd including pretty women kissing him. In a musical romp set to “What Am I Doing Hangin’ ’Round”, The Monkees chase The Baron and Wolfgang around the garage and wind up turning them into flower children and ends with all of them throwing flowers in the air. Producer Robert Rafelson also sees fit to cameo as “The World’s Oldest Flower Child,” scarfing a chrysanthemum.

Production Notes:

“The Monkees Race Again” (a.k.a. “Leave The Driving To Us”) was the last full Monkees episode to be produced. It was also the last filmed episode of the show to feature The Monkees running afoul of dastardly villains.

Unlike its other appearances on this show (in Episode No. 33, "It's A Nice Place To Visit," and No. 40, "Monkees Marooned"), “What Am I Doing Hangin’ ’Round” appears here in its mix heard on the mono version of Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd.. (Note that its third verse has been cut out in order to run in the episode time alotted.) Travis Lewis and Boomer Clarke are the pseudonyms of Michael Martin Murphey and Owen Castleman, “What Am I Doing Hangin’ ’Round”'s composers, who were Screen Gems' second attempt at a prepackaged group, The Lewis And Clarke Expedition. 

A deleted story idea from “The Monkees Race Again” has David and Baron Von Klutz making all sorts of stops during the race: for tea, girls, relay races, mechanics on skateboards, trading stamps, glassware, and contests! Also, the words "Klutz" and "Klutzmobile" were spelled with the letter C, and an alternate episode ending has Micky and Crumpetts dropping tires around The Baron and Wolfgang.

Principal production on The Monkees' movie HEAD commenced 3 days after this episode originally aired on NBC.

This episode saw the final appearance of The Monkeemobile in an original Monkees segment. It was one of only four episodes this season featuring the George Barris-built Dean Jeffries-styled Pontiac GTO (following No. 33, "It's A Nice Place To Visit...", No. 39, "Hillbilly Honeymoon" [a.k.a. "Double Barrell Shotgun Wedding"], and No. 42, "The Wild Monkees”) whereas in the first season, it popped up on the show a whopping 13 times (in No. 2, “Monkee See, Monkee Die”, No. 3, “Monkee Versus Machine”, No. 5, “The Spy Who Came In From The Cool”, No. 7, “The Monkees In A Ghost Town”, No. 12, “I've Got A Little Song Here”, No. 13, “One Man Shy” [a.k.a. “Peter And The Debutante”], No. 15, “Too Many Girls” [a.k.a. "Davy And Fern"], No. 17, “The Case Of The Missing Monkee”, No. 19, “Find The Monkees” [a.k.a. "The Audition"], No. 22, “The Monkees At The Circus”, No. 25, “Alias Micky Dolenz”, No. 27, “Monkee Mother”, No. 32, “The Monkees On Tour”). (A future episode, No. 57, "The Monkees Blow Their Minds", uses footage of The Monkeemobile as seen in the “Gonna Buy Me A Dog” musical sequence of “I've Got A Little Song Here”.) The Monkeemobile's licence plate # in this episode: PAR 54.

Between 1978 and 1983, Elias Davis and David Pollock, who teamed up with Dave Evans in writing “The Monkees Race Again,” composed 17 scripts for M*A*S*H (CBS, 1972-83), including its 2-hour, 30-minute February 28, 1983 series finale, "Goodbye, Farewell And Amen" (#9B04). The duo became executive script consultants for the series in its final season.

M*A*S*H Trivia Footnote: Mike "B.J. Hunnicutt" Farrell, who played Agent Modell in Episode No. 26 “Monkee Chow Mein,” scripted a December 20, 1982 episode of M*A*S*H with Davis and Pollock: "Run For The Money" (#9B03).

This is the second of only 2 episodes of The Monkees to bear an actual appearance of show creator/writer/producer/executive producer/director Robert Rafelson; look for him riding in The Monkeemobile (among The Monkees themselves and probably Bert Schneider, David Pearl and Ward Sylvester) and backstage at The Coliseum with David and Peter in Episode No. 32, “The Monkees On Tour”. He also makes a cameo in the commissary sequence in the movie HEAD.

Having compleeted this, his 32nd and final Monkees episode, director Jim Frawley went on to helm several other projects, including numerous episodes of NBC's Law & Order (NBC, 1990-2010). He later served as co-executive producer of Judging Amy (CBS, 1999-2005).

Look closely at The Monkeemobile's dragchute pack and you will find David and Micky's signatures, along with Dean Jefferies' manufacturing symbol.

Brief segments of David, Micky and Michael and special guests of their choosing to be used in the last 3 new Monkees installments of the 1967-68 season (and the series altogether!) were filmed on the side at the time “The Monkees Race Again” was produced. (Peter's segment would not be filmed.)

David Jones married Linda Haines 72 hours prior to the start of “The Monkees Race Again” (a.k.a. “Leave The Driving To Us”)'s production (Dec. 15, 1967). “The Monkees Race Again” (a.k.a. “Leave The Driving To Us”) is the only complete episode of The Monkees to be produced after David Jones' marriage. 

All of the racing scenes featuring The Monkeemobile and The Klutzmobile were filmed in 16mm. 

Stu Phillip's race music used in “The Monkees Race Again” reapeared in the 1970 Four Star Excelsior biker B-movie The Rebel Rousers starring HEAD co-writer/co-producer Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern (during a fight scene); the film also featured Monkees writer/story editor Neil Burstyn in a bit part as a Rebel.

Inconsistencies:

In the scene where The Baron (David Hurst) lures Michael and Peter by loudspeaker away from Crumpets' car, the two are seen leaving in a hurry wearing pantsuits, but later come back wearing overcoats!

The tuning fork that Michael, Peter, David and Wolfgang debate as being 'B flat' or 'A' is actually a 'C'. 

Trivia Notes:

The alternate title for this episode, “Leave The Driving To Us,” is an affectionate nod to the slogan of Greyhound Lines, Inc.

The scene which finds Micky pulling a tiger tail from Crumpetts' car is a satirical jab at the mascot tiger in the old "Put a Tiger in Your Tank" advertising campaign introduced by Exxon, then known as Standard Oil, in 1964.

Crumpett's yellow hot rod is tuned to B-flat. The number of Crumpett's car, 54, is in reference to Car 54, Where Are You? (CBS, 1961-63).

The scene in Act II which finds Crumpett's car engine blowing up is not the only occasion on the show which finds Peter crying "Sabotage!". In Episode No. 36, "Monkee Mayor", after the boys come home from Michael's campaign for mayor to find their pad compleetly ransacked, Peter calls it "the work of political sabotooge!"

This episode aired on NBC exactly 1 day before Peter Tork's 26th birthday.

Micky makes reference to the film The Blue Max (20th Century-Fox, 1966), just as Baron Von Klutz refers to the syndicated 120-minute talk show Open End (a.k.a. The David Susskind Show, 1958-87).

David's exclamation of “Curse you, Red Baron!” is in reference to "World War I flying ace” Snoopy of Peanuts fame. Micky used the phrase in Episode No. 18, “I Was A Teenage Monster”.

After Baron Von Klutz reveals to Micky and Crumpets his crooked scheme to make his Klutzmobile known throughout America and the world, a soundbyte, "Sieg Heil!", is heard. The byte resurfaces in Episode No. 58, "Mijacogeo" (a.k.a. "The Frodis Caper"), along with stock footage of Hitler in The Third Reich.

“The Monkees Race Again” (a.k.a. “Leave The Driving To Us”) is the fourth of 5 episodes in The Monkees TV series' package not to be shown on CBS and/or ABC Saturday Afternoon, aside from No. 10, “Here Come The Monkees” (Original Pilot Film), No. 25, “Alias Micky Dolenz”, No. 45, "The Monkees In Texas", and No. 55, "The Monkees Mind Their Manor".

Micky is completely absent from “The Monkees Race Again” (a.k.a. “Leave The Driving To Us”)'s teaser sequence; he makes his first appearance in the episode in Act II---wearing the green shirt he previously wore in Episode No. 20, “The Monkees In The Ring”, and No. 25, “Alias Micky Dolenz”, and also worn by Michael in No. 27, “Monkee Mother”, and No. 34, "The Picture Frame" (a.k.a. "The Bank Robbery")---in the scene where Michael, David and Peter inspect Crumpett's car.

When Micky attempts to switch on The Klutzmobile's engine, music eminates from it. A couple of cues from that music previously appeared in Episode No. 14, “Dance, Monkee, Dance”, in the scene where David applies for a job as a dance instructor for Renaldo's Dance Au Go-Go. Also, as The Baron Von Klutz peers through his periscope to witness the greaseMonkees working feverishly on Crumpetts' car in an earlier scene, musical stings first heard in the underscores of No. 3, “Monkee Versus Machine”, and No. 16, “The Son Of A Gypsy”, are heard.

This episode marks Michael Nesmith's third usage of the word "shotgun"; previous usages were in Episode No. 15, “Too Many Girls” (a.k.a. "Davy And Fern"), and No. 18, “I Was A Teenage Monster”. Also, Michael makes use of the line "That's horrible!" twice, in this episode and No. 56, "Some Like It Lukewarm" (a.k.a. "The Band Contest")

“The Monkees Race Again” (a.k.a. “Leave The Driving To Us”) is one of 4 episodes this season to boast humorous on-screen captions; following Episode No. 45, "The Monkees In Texas" and preceding No. 55, "The Monkees Mind Their Manor", and No. 58, "Mijacogeo" (a.k.a. "The Frodis Caper").

David Price and Valerie Kairys can be seen among the crowd congratulating David Jones in The Monkeemobile for winning the race against Von Klutz.

In the scene where Michael, David and Peter argue with Wolfgang over the tune of Micky's tuning fork, 2 short scenes see the top button of David's red Nehru shirt undone before David gets a chance to undo it.

In addition to The Beatles' base of operations, Liverpool, David Jones' own hometown in England, Manchester, is given mention for the third time on The Monkees in “The Monkees Race Again” (a.k.a. “Leave The Driving To Us”); the first was in the interview segment of Episode No. 6, “The Success Story”, the second, No. 20, “The Monkees In The Ring”.

T.N. Crumpett's car 54 was first used as the hot rod of The Potato Bug (Frankie Avalon) in Bikini Beach (American International, 1964), which also featured Harvey Lembeck (“Monkees A La Carte”), Donna Loren ("Everywhere A Sheik Sheik"), Annette Funicello and Timothy Carey (both HEAD). 

Guest Cast Notes:

David Hurst (The Baron) later appeared as desperate prime minister Hodin in the January 17, 1969 installment of Star Trek (NBC, 1966-69), "The Mark of Gideon," which also featured Monkee guest alumnus Gene Dynarski (“The Son Of A Gypsy”, “Monkee Chow Mein”).

The late comic actor Stubby Kaye (Wolfgang) starred in such films as Guys And Dolls (MGM, 1955, as Nicely Nicely Johnson), Cat Ballou (Columbia, 1965, as Shouter), Sweet Charity (Universal, 1969, as Herman), and Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Buena Vista, 1988, as Marvin Acme). He also starred as Marty Scott in the Screen Gems sitcom My Sister Eileen (CBS, 1960-61), which also featured pre-Monkee guest actress Rose Marie (“The Monkees In A Ghost Town”, “Monkee Mother”) as Bertha.

The late Maurice Dallimore (Butler) played bit roles in film and TV, including the brief role of Willie Shorthouse in the sitcom Fair Exchange (CBS, 1962-63; it also co-starred pre-Monkee guest Diana Chesney [“The Chaperone”]) and had a bit role in My Fair Lady (Warner Bros., 1964) as a Selsey Man. Dallimore later appeared with Monkee guest Milton Frome (“The Monkees On The Line”, "The Monkees Blow Their Minds") and Monkee cameo guest Burgess Meredith (also "The Monkees Blow Their Minds") in the 1966 feature film version of Batman (ABC, 1966-68), as well as a couple of episodes of the TV series.

Also, you may recognize Don Kennedy (seen here as the racing official) from his previous Monkees guestshot as Paul the Policeman in Episode No. 11, "Monkees A La Carte."

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