“The Monkees In Texas”
In The Lone Star State, The Monkees outwit Black Bart
and his gang to save Michael's Aunt Kate's ranch!
|Vital Stats, Credits and Releases On Home Video:
Production No. 4761
Filmed At: Screen Gems Studios, Hollywood, CA, and on location at Columbia Pictures' ranch, Burbank, CA.
Filming Dates: October 16-19, 1967
Original Air Date: December 4, 1967
Ratings: 18.3 rating/30.1 share (10,250,000 viewers)
© Raybert Productions; 12-4-67; LP37684
Sponsor This Week: Kellogg's
Rerun Date: May 27, 1968 (NBC)
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.
“Words” Written by
Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart; Produced by Chip Douglas.
“Goin' Down” Written by
Diane Hilderbrand, Peter Tork, Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz & David Jones; Produced by Chip Douglas.
|Marshall..........................................................................James J. Griffith|
|Barton MacLaine as Bart/Ben|
Home Video Releases:
Monkees: The Collector's Edition - VHS Tape #6 (Columbia House #13226 , May 22, 1995)
- The Monkees Deluxe Limited Edition Boxed Set - VHS Tape #4 (Rhino R3 2960, October 17, 1995)
- Rhino VHS R3 2238 (March 26, 1996)
- The Monkees - Season 2 DVD Boxed Set - Disc 3 (Rhino RetroVision DVD R2 970128, November 18, 2003)
- The Monkees - Season 2 DVD Boxed Set - Disc 3 (Eagle Rock Entertainment DVD EM351369, September 27, 2011)
- The Monkees - The Complete Series - Blu-Ray Disc 6 (Rhino BD2-552705, July 8, 2016)
After a 3-day drive on a golf cart, The Monkees arrive in Texas, at the ranch owned by Michael's Aunt Kate Nesmith. As soon as they arrive, Aunt Kate and her daughter Lucy quickly ride up on horses and hurry in the house. Convinced that they picked a bad time to visit, the foursome are about to leave until three masked riders in black—Black Bart and his masked riders Red and Sneak—ride up shooting and soon there's a gunfight leaving the guys are in the middle. They retreat to the house where Kate doesn’t waste time in ordering Michael and his mates to grab rifles—Micky takes a Winchester '73, David chooses a Colt .45, Michael picks a Smith and Wesson .38, and Peter grabs a bottle of Vintage '66 - and help drive off Bart and his cohorts, who are trying to drive Kate and her daughter Lucy off and take over the ranch. They assist Kate in firing at the bandits except Peter who uses his fingers instead (he hates violence). Bart, Red and Sneak briefly stop their gunfire and the leader gives Kate an ultimatum to sell them the ranch; when she refuses, they continue to attack with knives and even go so far as to set a kitchen sink afire and wheel it towards the Nesmith ranch!
David saves the day by turning on the sink's faucets, dousing the flames. Frightened, Black Bart and his minions beat a hasty retreat. Peter, David and Micky want to cut out, too, but Michael insists they must stay, simply because "a man's first obligation is to his kinfolk, and because it's better to have a brave death than a cowardly life. And besides that, they killed our golf cart!" Michael and David hold the fort at the ranch with Kate and Lucy, while Micky and Peter leave for town to get the Marshall; Kate cautions them to appear more Western since people in the area don’t take kindly to strangers. Then Kate explains to Michael that Black Bart and his gang have been trying to run Kate off her ranch for about a year. Meanwhile in town, Micky and Peter, in cognito as The Lone Stranger and Pronto, respectively, ask help from The Marshall, who tells them he won’t be available (he's busy shooting...his TV series) and advises them to go to the saloon he advises them to hire their own posse of outlaws at the local saloon, just like he does.
Meanwhile back at Kate’s ranch, Ben Cartwheel, who owns half the valley, and his sons Mule and Little Moe come riding up and Ben orders David to water his horse, which he does literally by using a watering can! He then asks Kate to sell out to him so she won’t have to worry about Black Bart and his gang, but she rebukes his offer. Micky and Peter go to the saloon and ask for men with prices on their heads and the bartender points to three men who do (literally). They are spotted by Red and Sneak and Micky explains he wants hired guns. One thing leads to another, and before either know what's happened, Micky unwittingly agrees to be inducted into Black Bart's posse. At the ranch, Kate explains about her cattle dying because of some filthy dirt on her ranch; Michael takes a sample of the dirt to town to be analyzed. While at Black Bart’s hangout, as Micky and Red play cards waiting for the boss (Peter, who looks on, unintentionally ruins Micky's strategy by calling Red's bluff), Sneak informs Red that there’s one guy left at Kate’s ranch and now is the time to strike, Red says they will, upon Bart's return. Micky sends Peter to warn Kate and Red threatens to kill him if Peter isn't back in 10 minutes!
At Aunt Kate's ranch, Peter brings his horse into her kitchen (nobody was at the barn) and warns them of the imminent attack; Kate sends David to The Cartwheels for help. David rides over to the Cartwheel place on horseback backwards to inform Ben of Bart’s plans. Meanwhile at the saloon, Michael arrives and goes to the assayer who’s also the bartender that the dirt contains the highest grade of black gold: b.k.a. crude oil! Black Bart returns to his henchmen in his hideout and demands to know which one of them is a traitor for going over to the Nesmith ranch to give a warning; Red and Sneak point to Peter, "the Injun!" Peter tries to escape, but he is trapped and Micky is ordered to kill him. He is unable to bring himself to do so, blowing his cover, and they are immediately covered. At the Nesmith ranch, Michael attempts to contact John Wayne by phone; given a rifle by Aunt Kate, he and David prepare for another imminent attack. Meanwhile, outside, Micky and Peter, in desperado gear, secretly listen in on Black Bart, Red and Sneak plotting to give Kate one final chance to sell out or kill her out-and-out and fake her signature on the mortgage. Convinced well beyond the shadow of a doubt that Black Bart and Ben Cartwheel are one and the same, Micky and Peter ride off to the Nesmith ranch to warn David, Michael, Kate and Lucy about Black Bart's attack and of his true identity. Bart and his cronies follow not too far behind, and a see-saw musical battle set to “Words” ensues, with The Monkees defeating the bad guys in black one by one, driving them away for good, and the ranch is saved.
Micky performs an alternate take of “Goin’ Down” in a swath of superimposed saxophones, trombones and guitars.
The original Screen Gems Storyline for “The Monkees In Texas” had Micky and Peter sobbing in each other's arms after the former refused to kill the latter. A see-saw battle then ensues, with The Monkees knocking off the bad guys in black one by one and Black Bart unmasked -- as Ben Cartwheel!
The 1967 remake of Boyce & Hart's "Words" makes its first appearance in a first-run episode of The Monkees television series in “The Monkees In Texas”; previous appearances of the track had been in 3 redubbed 1967 summer repeats: “The Monkees In A Ghost Town” (7-17-67), “Monkee Chow Mein” (7-31-67), and “The Monkees On Tour” (8-21-67).
The piano rendition of "Auld Lang Syne" first used here is used again in Episode No. 56, "Some Like It Lukewarm" (a.k.a. "The Band Contest").
This is the first of 2 times a musical number occupied space of an entire tag sequence of a Monkees episode (in this case, “Goin' Down”); the second is in No. 57, "The Monkees Blow Their Minds" (“Daily Nightly”).
The saloon set in “The Monkees In Texas” was previously used for Episode No. 7, "The Monkees In A Ghost Town," and No. 33, "It's A Nice Place To Visit... (a.k.a. "The Monkees In Mexico")". It will be used again as The Some Little Out Of The Way Place Where Nobody Goes Cafe in No. 56, "Some Like It Lukewarm" (a.k.a. "The Band Contest").
“The Monkees In Texas” is one of 10 Monkees episodes to use voice-over narration; others are No. 4, “Your Friendly Neighborhood Kidnappers”, No. 32, “The Monkees On Tour”, No. 37, "Art For Monkee's Sake", No. 38, "I Was A 99-lb. Weakling", No. 46, "The Monkees On The Wheel", No. 48, "Fairy Tale", No. 49, "The Monkees Watch Their Feet", and No. 52, "The Devil And Peter Tork", and No. 57, "The Monkees Blow Their Minds".
The Monkees finished work on their fourth album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, & Jones, LTD., at the same time this episode was produced.
“Words” and “Goin' Down”, “The Monkees In Texas”'s featured tunes, are also the featured tunes of Episode No. 51, "The Monkee's Paw", in addition to being the flipsides of The Monkees' fourth and fifth singles, respectively.
“The Monkees In Texas” was denied rebroadcasts on CBS and/or ABC Saturday Afternoon because of their Broadcast Standards and Practices objecting to the use of handguns. A similar reason was why Episode No. 53, "The Monkees Race Again" (a.k.a. "Leave The Driving To Us"), wasn't shown on these networks as well.
The version of “The Monkees In Texas” included on the 1995 Deluxe Limited Edition Boxed Set, the select VHS release in 1996, and the 2003 Monkees - Season 2 boxed set is the Colex studio-struck syndicated print from 1986, as its original 35mm prints could not be located in time for it to be restored. Since then, however, a newly-restored, digitally-remastered version has surfaced, and made its first appearance on basic cable on July 4, 2015, on IFC.
Trivia Footnote: An archived copy of the 1986 syndicated version of “The Monkees In Texas” at The Museum Of Broadcast Communications in Chicago has the 1960s NBC "peacock" opening and a Monkees commercial for Kellogg's Rice Krispies grafted onto it.
Both Micky and Peter know Black Bart's true identity, despite never having heard it.
“The Monkees In Texas” is the second Monkees episode this season to lampoon Westerns; the first was the second season premiere, Episode No. 33, "It's A Nice Place To Visit...". A number of dramatic musical stings from these episodes were reused in Episode No. 58, "Mijacogeo" (a.k.a. "The Frodis Caper"). Earlier episodes which find The Monkees taking shots at Westerns (pun intended!) are No. 7, “The Monkees In A Ghost Town”, No. 10, “Here Come The Monkees” (Original Pilot Film), and No. 30, “The Monkees In Manhattan” (a.k.a “The Monkees Manhattan Style”).
Ironically, in the 1967-68 season, The Monkees TV show aired head-to-head opposite 2 TV Westerns: Cowboy In Africa (ABC, 1967-68) and Gunsmoke (CBS, 1955-75)! (Another Western, The Iron Horse [ABC, 1966-68], aired opposite The Monkees in 1966-67.)
The Emmys are mentioned twice in “The Monkees In Texas”. First, the caption "FOR EMMY CONSIDERATION" is superimposed in front of a freeze-frame shot of Aunt Kate and Cousin Lucy after they and The Monkees drive off Black Bart, Red and Sneak. Then, as Micky and Peter approach The Marshall for help, The Marshall declines, as he is due to attend an Emmy dinner that evening and is up for an award! These are obvious allusions to The Monkees television series' past 1966-67 Emmy wins.
We learn here that Michael also has a Cousin Clara.
The Roulette wheel seen in the saloon foreshadows events in the very next episode, "The Monkees On The Wheel".
Red chewing bubblegum is an obvious reference to The Monkees' bubblegum image.
“The Monkees In Texas” parodizes 4 well-known TV Westerns: The Big Valley (ABC, 1965-69), Bonanza (NBC, 1959-73), The Lone Ranger (ABC, 1949-57), and the aforementioned Gunsmoke. The Monkees' background music composer/conductor Stu Phillips adapts musical excerpts from the main title themes to 3 of these Westerns--Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and The Lone Ranger--into “The Monkees In Texas”'s incidental music cues. And to focus on The Big Valley, Monkee references are made to its star, Miss Barbara Stanwyck, in Episode No. 40, "Monkees Marooned" and the 1968 movie HEAD.
“The Monkees In Texas” is the second Monkees episode to feature a lampoon on Gunsmoke, following Episode No. 7, "The Monkees In A Ghost Town," which saw a Chester Goode-wannabe country bumpkin making a reference to Bob Dylan over the phone to David.
The brand names of the guns Micky and David wield in preparation for facing Black Bart are reflective of 2 movie westerns: Winchester '73 (the 1950 Universal International picture and its made-for TV remake, which aired on NBC March 14, 1967) and Colt .45 (the 1950 Warner Bros. film and the 1957-60 ABC series it spawned).
The running gag of Michael screaming into an inverted end of the speaking piece of a telephone reciever is borrowed from Episode No. 21, “The Prince And The Paupers”.
The guy with the mustache that Micky bumps into in the saloon (after brushing off a saloon gal ["Not now! This is a family show!"]) is... David Jones!
In his disguise as The Lone Stranger, Micky uses the same buckskin shirt previously worn by Michael in Episode No. 33, "It's A Nice Place To Visit..." and No. 35, "Everywhere A Sheik Sheik".
This is the second episode which finds Peter Tork pretending to shoot the enemy with his finger ("Well, I hate violence. Besides, I have more shells than you!"); the first is No. 2, “Monkee See, Monkee Die”. It's also the reason why not once throughout “The Monkees In Texas” is Peter seen handling a gun.
The character Black Bart is named after a for-real stagecoach robber from 1875-83. He is known for the poetic notes he would leave at the robbery scene. Interestingly, in the Western fantasy sequence of Episode No. 7, “The Monkees In A Ghost Town”, Michael Nesmith can be seen playing a villain called Black Bart!
Just before the romp set to “Words”, Micky runs inside the Nesmith home and makes an inverted 'V' sign towards the camera (or towards Black Bart and his gang). This is the British equivalent of the middle finger and as such would have been a very rude thing to do on TV at the time!
In the teaser, after Black Bart calls them "nestors" (meaning "farmers"), Michael reprimands him, thinking he has mispronounced his surname, Nesmith. This is in reference to previous episodes in which characters have mispronounced Michael's last name: No. 12, “I've Got A Little Song Here”, and No. 36, "Monkee Mayor".
Prior to his death in 1969, Barton MacLaine (Bart/Ben) portrayed Gen. Martin Peterson on I Dream Of Jeannie (NBC, 1965-70). He also played Marshall Frank Caine in the TV series The Outlaws (NBC, 1960-62). He was previously featured in an episode of Micky Dolenz (Braddock)'s old series, Circus Boy (NBC/ABC, 1956-58): "The Tumbling Clown" (5/5/57). On Gunsmoke, he appeared with Vincent Gardenia (“The Case Of The Missing Monkee”) in the March 4, 1967 episode "Noose Of Gold" (#1615-0226), and with Gene Rutherford (“The Monkees At The Circus”) in its thirteenth season debut, "The Wreckers" (#1615-0251, September 11, 1967), whose first half hour competed with The Monkees' season-2 debut, "It's A Nice Place To Visit...".
Bonnie J. Dewberry appears here as Michael's baby cousin Lucy. Only the original TV Guide listing for “The Monkees In Texas” makes any mention of this! (Picture of the TV Guide listing for “The Monkees In Texas” showing this mention, 184k gif) Dewberry can also be briefly seen on The Monkees in another uncredited role as Dr. Mendoza (John Hoyt)'s beautiful daughter in Episode No. 18, “I Was A Teenage Monster”; she and four other Monkees guest alum (Michael Bell, Felix Silla, George Stratten, and Joseph Mell) appeared in the 1967 MGM movie Point Blank starring Lee Marvin - her only big-screen role.
The late Len Lesser (seen here as Red) has been previously seen on this show in "The Monkees In A Ghost Town," as the chief bank robber, George. Lesser later assumed the role of Jerry Seinfeld's Uncle Leo on Seinfeld (NBC, 1989-98). Lesser died at age 88 in February 2011.
The late Jacqueline deWit's role as Aunt Kate Nesmith in this episode was her last acting job; she succumbed to natural causes in 1998. deWit appeared briefly in the November 20, 1959 episode of The Twilight Zone (CBS, 1959-64), "Time Enough At Last," which had Monkee cameo guest Burgess Meredith ("The Monkees Blow Their Minds") in the tile role.
Rex Holman is known to Trekkies in his role of Morgan Earp in the October 25, 1968 episode of Star Trek (NBC, 1966-69), "Spectre of the Gun" and J'Onn in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (Paramount, 1989). Holman also appeared in a couple of episodes of The Iron Horse: "High Devil" (9/26/66) and "Six Hours To Sky High" (11/25/67); he also appeared with pre-“The Monkees In Texas” co-guest star Stuart Nisbet in an October 18, 1965 episode of The Farmer's Daughter (ABC, 1963-66), "Forever Is A Cast-Iron Mess," which also featured pre-Monkee guests Ceil Cabot (“The Royal Flush”, “The Success Story”), Hollis Morrison (“The Monkees In A Ghost Town”), and Diana Chesney (“The Chaperone”). Surprisingly, both Holman and "The Monkees In Texas" director Jim Frawley were seen in the January 7, 1966 episode of The Man From U.N.C.L.E (ABC, 1964-68), "The Dippy Blone Affair" (prod. #7485), which also featured pre-Monkee guest Robert Strauss (“Alias Micky Dolenz”). And he would later have a turn on the venerable Gunsmoke with Nacho Galindo ("It's A Nice Place To Visit...") in the October 7, 1968 installment, "Zavala" (#1615-0301).
Stuart Nisbet played the bartender in this segment, a role he also had in the TV series The Virginian (NBC, 1962-71), as Bart the Bartender. Nisbet was a regular guest performer of the 1967-70 NBC incarnation of Dragnet and also on Bonanza. His most recent role was as Judge R. Kenney in the October 21, 2001 "The Vanished (Part 2)" episode of The Practice (ABC, 1997-2004).
The late James J. Griffith (Marshall) wrote for the original version of the TV series The Fugitive (ABC, 1963-67). His most famous TV role was that of Deputy Tom Ferguson in The Sheriff Of Cochise/U.S. Marshall (Synd., 1956-60), and he also made a guest appearance on Batman (ABC, 1966-68) as Manx in the Stanley Ralph Ross-written "Catwoman's Dressed To Kill" (#1717, aired Dec. 14, 1967, 10 days after "The Monkees In Texas"'s telecast). Out of this episode's entire guest cast, Griffith is the only one to have made a guest appearance in all four TV Westerns that are parodied here; however, unlike Rex Holman, Len Lesser and Barton MacLane (who all appeared in at least one of those shows - Holman in three), Griffith appeared in The Lone Ranger.
Photographer and L.A. socialite Nurit Wilde makes an unbilled cameo in “The Monkees In Texas”. Also, you can spot Monkee stand-ins David Price ($5000) and Richard Klein ($3500), and Nyles Brown ($1000) in cameos of their own as The Men With Prices On Their Heads; all three turn up again in the Monkees series finale, "Mijacogeo."