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Episode No. 42:

“The Wild Monkees”

The Monkees turn chicken—figuratively and literally—when they
unwittingly befriend the girlfriends of a tough motorcycle gang.

Vital Stats, Credits and Releases On Home Video:

Production No. 4765
Final Draft: September 27, 1967
Filmed At: Screen Gems Studio 6, Hollywood, CA.
Filming Dates: October 2-6, 1967
Original Air Date: November 13, 1967
Ratings: 17.7 rating/28.1 share (9,910,000 viewers)
© Raybert Productions; 11-13-67; LP38293
Sponsor This Week:
Yardley Of London™
Rerun Dates: January 17 and September 5, 1970, January 8, 1972 (CBS)

Teleplay by Stanley Ralph Ross; Story by Stanley Ralph Ross and Corey Upton.
Directed by Jon C. Andersen.
Produced by Robert Rafelson & Bert Schneider.
Associate Producer: Gerald S. Shepard.
Production Executive: Ward Sylvester.
Background Music Composed and Conducted by Stu Phillips.
“Star Collector” Written by Gerry Goffin & Carole King; Produced by Chip Douglas.
“Goin’ Down” Written by Diane Hilderbrand, Peter Tork, Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz & David Jones; Produced by Chip Douglas.
Guest cast:

Blauner.............................................................................Henry Corden
Butch.........................................................................Norman Grabowski
Nan............................................................................Carol Worthington
Jan.............................................................................Christine Williams
Ann........................................................................................Ginny Gan

Home Video Releases:

  • The Monkees: The Collector's Edition - VHS Tape #13 (Columbia House #13690, May 22, 1995)
  • The Monkees Deluxe Limited Edition Boxed Set - VHS Tape #8 (Rhino R3 2960, October 17, 1995)
  • Rhino VHS R3 2316 (April 22, 1997)
  • The Monkees - Season 2 DVD Boxed Set - Disc 2 (Rhino RetroVision DVD R2 970128, November 18, 2003)
  • The Monkees - Season 2 DVD Boxed Set - Disc 2 (Eagle Rock Entertainment DVD EM351369, September 27, 2011)

Teaser Sequence:

Micky performs an alternate take of “Goin’ Down” in a swath of superimposed saxophones, trombones and guitars.

Synopsis:

The Monkees arrive by Monkeemobile in a town for a gig at a hotel. Following a map, Micky states that they should be right at their destination, The Henry Cabot Lodge; Michael retorts, "Well, that's groovy; I always wanted to play a gig in a prairie dog hole!" Suddenly they are buzzed by a motorcycle gang twice and eat their dust, causing Michael to cough so much that Micky scares him out of coughing at gunpoint! Peter then gives Michael water to drink (from The Monkeemobile’s petrol tank!) driving him into a choking fit! After seeing the sign “Henry Cabot Lodge and Cemetery (If You Are Dying To Have a Good Time, Come and See Us)”, The Cool Quartet book up at the hotel to find it surrounded by senior citizens (one of whom is covered in cobwebs!). They soon learn from Mr. Blauner, the owner, that The Henry Cabot Lodge And Cemetary doesn't hire bands, but waiters, bellhops and groundskeepers, and immediately hires David, Micky and Peter in those positions, respectively. They balk at first, but, desperate for cash, the guys accept, with Michael added on as a "strolling musician." Their first customers arrive in the form of four motorcycle gangs all hidden by helmets, goggles and scarves, and each of the intimidated guys assists them only to be surprised when they take off their regalia to be four beautiful girls: Queeny, Jan, Nan and Ann.

After settling them in, the boys make a play for them but are rebuffed at every turn: David tries to wine and dine Queeny but is unable to open the champagne bottle; Peter reads poetry to Jan who in turn calls him a sissy; Ann shows Michael a picture of the someone who he reminds her of which is a cocker spaniel; and Micky, giving Nan a smooch on the neck, is repaid with a rap in the mouth! Deciding they must get really, really rough to win them, the guys, in a fantasy sequence, imagine a School Of Hard Knocks And Bruises, under the tutelage of Micky (mounted on a motorcycle whose engine is still running!); there, after taking the pledge, Micky inspects their hands and compliments Michael and David on their dirty hands but chides Peter on his clean hands ("You're a renegade, not a dentist!") and threatens to kick him out of the club in 3 seconds if he doesn't do something about it. Peter dashes out and returns with muddy hands, and is won over by his mates. Later the guys in Marlon Brandoesque-leather gear as motorcycle freaks, learn that the girls, now wearing ordinary clothes, are tired of the open road. The Monkees still attempt to impress them with their tough-guy act (Micky failing with a karate chop on the table; David explaining they're so tough, they kill their new members!) but the girls reject them claiming they are too tough, which is the reason they left their boyfriends, The Black Angels, a for-real motorcycle gang comprised of Big Frank, Big Neal, Big Bruce and Big Butch, the leader.

This scares the guys since this was the same gang responsible for a recent massacre at Pismo Beach! As The Monkees head for the door, The Black Angels break in and sneak up behind the boys, and they keel over. Butch keeps shoving them about and tries to challenge them into a fight because they stole his woman, but the boys, who claim themselves to be The Chickens, decline as it is against their club regulations. The situation is made worse when Micky inadvertently affronts Queeny when she comes to their defense. Butch challenges them to an Annual Best Riders Contest, where first prize is a chance for the contestant to destroy everything in sight, including himself! In their room that night, the guys hold a meeting discussing what they should do. Peter moves that they fight, as "Our honor has been smeershed...uh, smerped...be-dirtied...well, they hurt my feelings!" But Micky objects to Peter's motion, as "fighting is, #1, unconstitutional; #2, it is very fruitless in solving a problem; and #3, you can really, really get hurt!" Michael, as The Chickens' duly elected president, moves that they take some immediate course of action: leaving! The boys try to escape but Butch and Neil blocks their path.

They next morning, The Monkees and the Black Angels prepare for the motorcycle race in front of a crowd. The Wild Angels start out by emitting a severely loud war cry! The Monkees/Chickens retort with their own "war cry": clucking and squawking! Queeny announces the start of The Black Angels Olympics, and Monkees and Angels are sent running for their cycles. Then, a wild motorcycle race set to “Star Collector” ensues. While Micky, Michael and David zoom off with The Black Angels, Peter is stuck behind, having to cope with mechanical problems with his bike (obviously it doesn't have enough "Tork" [torque]!), and so he misses out. The Black Angels end up winning the race and are greeted in arms by the girls. Butch then asks which one wants to be destroyed first. The Monkees decide on drawing straws, but Butch grabs Micky and decides to either tear him apart single-handedly or crush him with his bike, but is stopped by Queeny. Tired of the open road, she tells Butch she wants to settle down, build illegal motorcycles and “raise little scooters!” Blauner offers to give him room and board and a job at his hotel if he promises not to destroy anything, and, through Queeny, Butch accepts as everybody rejoices.

Pledge of The School Of Hard Knocks And Bruises:

“We pledge to Obey the Laws of Dirt And Violence, to Curb our Desire For A Bath, and to Offend All Living Things!”

Production Notes:

In the final draft of Stan Ross and Corey Upton's original script for “The Wild Monkees”, The Henry Cabot Lodge's proprietor was originally named "Mr. Schwimmer."

An excerpt from “The Wild Monkees”' script included as part of the booklet for the 1995 Monkees Deluxe Limited Edition Boxed Set (R3 2960) erroneously credits Neil Burstyn as its cowriter.

“The Wild Monkees” was the first filmed episode of The Monkees in which Michael Nesmith appeared without his wool hat. Also, it's the last Monkees episode to be produced with a studio laugh track mixed in.

The day after this segment went to air saw the release of Monkees’ album #4, otherwise known to one and all as Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. (Colgems #COM/COS-104).

The version of “Star Collector” used in this segment is alternate to that which was used on PAC&J, as it featured no Moog Synthesizer parts dubbed over it. This is the first of 6 Monkees episode appearances of the Goffin-King tune, ranking it second to “Last Train To Clarksville” (and tying with “Goin’ Down”) as the most frequently-used Monkee songs on the show.

Collector's Note: A full-length alternate stereo version of the pre-Moog mix of “Star Collector” has been discovered and included as a bonus selection on Disc 1 of Rhino's July 10, 2007 2-CD Deluxe Edition reissue of Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. (R2 77767).

“Goin’ Down” (also making its debut on the series in this segment) appears at the inset of this episode and the outset of Episode No. 45, “The Monkees In Texas” in a unique alternate version which was particularly recorded with “live” vocals from Micky. A few minutes from the tail end of this alternate take can be heard in the opening seconds of the teaser sequence to Episode No. 51, "The Monkee's Paw".

This is the only occurrence of a musical number in the teaser sequence of a Monkees episode.

Listen for a certain musical sting in this episode in the scene where Micky tries to break a table in half with his hand (and almost breaks his hand in the process!). This cue is reused in the scene from Episode No. 49, "The Monkees Watch Their Feet", where David and Peter enter the main office of UFO Headquarters and greet The Captain (Stuart Margolin).

Aside from penning Episode No. 40, "Monkees Marooned", and “The Wild Monkees” (with Corey Upton), every fourth episode of Batman, and later multiple episodes of All In The Family (CBS, 1971-79), Banacek (NBC, 1972-74), and KIDS Incorporated (Disney Channel/Synd., 1984-93), writer Stanley R. Ross also had a hand in scripting 2 third-season segments of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (NBC, 1964-68): "The Thor Affair" (#8428, first aired Oct. 28, 1966) and "The Deadly Smorgasboard Affair" (#8411, first aired Jan. 13, 1967). The Man From U.N.C.L.E. followed The Monkees on NBC during the first half of the 1967-68 season, prior to its cancellation at midseason.

CBS Saturday Afternoon repeats of “The Wild Monkees” found its audiotrack remixed to replace “Star Collector” with “Looking For The Good Times”, a Boyce-Hart-composed staple from The Monkees' 8th album, The Monkees Present Micky, David, Michael. Its second CBS repeat, on September 5, 1970, wrapped up a sensational first season of repeats of The Monkees on The Eye Network.

Micky, Michael and David, all experienced motorcyclists, did their own motorcycle stunts in the “Star Collector” romp.

The scene of The Monkees' meeting in their room at The Henry Cabot Lodge And Cemetery (as The Chickens) was filmed on the set previously used in Episode No. 37, "Art For Monkee's Sake", as the museum's basement where Peter was held captive. It was first used in Episode No. 18, “I Was A Teenage Monster”, as the laboratory for mad scientist Dr. Mendoza (John Hoyt), and then the interior of The Sweat Shop Gymnasium in No. 20, “The Monkees In The Ring”

Trivia Notes:

This episode is an affectionate parody of The Wild One, a 1954 Columbia picture starring Marlon Brando as Johnny Strabler, ringleader of a gang of 40 motorcyclists, The Black Rebels, who gatecrash a legitimate motorcycle race. (Conicdentally, Michael Nesmith gives brief mention of Marlon Brando in Episode No. 34, "The Picture Frame" [a.k.a. "The Bank Robbery"]; so does Micky Dolenz in No. 44, "Hitting The High Seas".)

Monkee stand-ins David Price, David Pearl and Ric Klein have unbilled cameos as a construction worker (about to eat a sandwich which is immediately snatched by passerby Big Butch), a man with a feather duster (who comes in and dusts Micky), and a racing official, respectively.

“The Wild Monkees”' original storyline reveals a rejected conclusion in which Queenie stops Butch from harming David and proposes to the former. The Monkees play at their wedding, and the bride and groom ride off on their cycles, still clad in their wedding refinery. Also, the synopsis revealed that Black Angels Big Neal and Big Bruce were preceded by Big Harry and Big Ned.

"A jug of bread, a loaf of wine, and thou beside me in the wilderness," a poem which Peter cords to Jan (Christine Williams), is based loosely on The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, by Edward Fitzgerald (1809-1883): "A book of verse beneath the bough/A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou Beside me in the wilderness -- /And wilderness is paradise, now."

Lute in hand, Michael quotes poetry to one of the motorcycle members: "You're a thing of beauty to behold, sitting...like a manifold." His prose is based on the first stanza of Endymion, Book I, composed by John Keats (1795–1821): "A thing of beauty is a joy to behold forever."

Micky can be heard whimpering the phrase "6-to-one and half-a-dozen on the other!", a line which was first rendered in Episode No. 2, “Monkee See, Monkee Die”, by Lea Marmer (as Mme. Roselle).

“The Wild Monkees” would not be the last Michael Nesmith would hear of biker films - he would compose the music used in the obscure 1976 Cannon biker film Northville Cemerary Massacre.

The Henry Cabot Lodge is, of course, named after Richard Nixon’s Vice-Presidential running mate in 1960.

The Chickens' former monikers: The Fearful Four, The Cowards, and The Yellowbellies.

Micky and Peter are seen wearing the exact same clothing they will wear in the next episode, "A Coffin Too Frequent", whereas David is seen wearing the same neck ascot he did in the previous episode, No. 41, "The Card-Carrying Red Shoes".

The scene where David finagles with a champagne bottle (while trying to open it for Queeny) is reminiscent of a gag in Episode No. 13, “One Man Shy” (a.k.a. "Peter And The Debutante"), which saw him in disguise as a waiter pounding the cork into another champagne bottle (so that Ronnie Farnsworth [George Furth] would have a hard time trying to open it!).

The scene where Micky sticks up Michael at gunpoint parallels a similar scene in Episode No. 14, “Dance, Monkee, Dance”, where The Monkees pull out snub-nosed pistols and mug The Dancing Smoothies; it more directly parallels Micky and Michael's holdup scene to distract guards from The Maltese Vulture in No. 16, "The Son Of A Gypsy".

This episode is another of many occasions which find The Monkees holding a meeting. Previous Monkee meetings were held in Episode No. 1, “The Royal Flush” (an army briefing), No. 10, “Here Come The Monkees” (Original Pilot Film) (a board meeting at a mock law firm of Vanessa Russell & Vanessa), No. 11, “Monkees A La Carte”, and No. 28, “The Monkees On The Line”.

This is the first of 2 episodes of The Monkees this season to feature racing; the second is No. 53, "The Monkees Race Again" (a.k.a. "Leave The Driving To Us").

The red tuxedo jacket worn by David is the same one he wore in Episode No. 11, “Monkees A La Carte”, and No. 30, “The Monkees In Manhattan” (a.k.a “The Monkees Manhattan Style”).

Also this is one of 4 occasions which see all four Monkees being wooed by women! Others can be found in Episode No. 29, “The Monkees Get Out More Dirt” and No. 54, "The Monkees In Paris" (a.k.a. "The Paris Show"), and the movie HEAD.

Guest Cast Notes:

May 1958 Playboy Playmate of the Month Corinne Cole (another one??) has an uncredited role in “The Wild Monkees” as Queenie. 

Look for Ginny Gan (Ann) as the 1st Policewoman in the Jan. 18, 1968 episode of Batman (ABC, 1966-68), "Nora Clavicle And The Ladies' Crime Club" (#1719), which also featured Monkees guest star Larry Gelman (“I've Got A Little Song Here”, “Captain Crocodile”, "The Monkees Christmas Show").

Norman "Woo Woo" Grabowski (Big Butch), in addition to being an actor, was also an noted custom car designer in the mold of The Monkees' own George Barris and Dean Jeffries. Grabowski's most famous on-screen role was as US Navy Rescue Chief Flaker, who gets an earful from fireman Steve McQueen in the Irwin Allen disaster epic The Towering Inferno (20th Century-Fox/Warner Bros., 1974). He is also the second guest actor in “The Wild Monkees” to appear on Batman, in the episode "The Minstrel's Shakedown/Barbecued Batman?" (#9713, Sept. 21-2, 1966).

Carol Worthington (Nan) was a regular performer on The Red Skelton Show (NBC/CBS, 1951-54/1959-71) and later played Ethel, the Babysitter on The Doris Day Show (CBS, 1968-73). Worthington also turned up in the film How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (United Artists, 1967), which also featured Monkee guest alumni Jeff DeBenning (“Too Many Girls” (a.k.a. "Davy And Fern")) and Maureen Arthur (“Alias Micky Dolenz”).

The real name of the actress who plays Jan in this episode is Crystal Sync. "Christine Williams" is just one of the many stage names Ms. Sync has used during her career.

“The Wild Monkees” retains the fifth and final appearance of the late Henry (“Mr. Babbitt”) Corden on The Monkees. He passed away in May 2005.

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