|Out of gas in a ghost town!|
I have three words for you... six hundred dollars!"
After the opening credits, Peter's playing with some hay when he realizes he doesn't know where Micky is! Looking over, he sees a menacing shadow on the ground, that looks like a western gunman with his pistol drawn. Peter ducks behind a wall, but of course, it's only Micky, holding a stick (who knows where he got the hat from). But then, there's real gunfire from a machine gun hitting the ground near Mike and Davy! Davy looks at Mike and says, "If this is a ghost town, what do you call that?" To which Mike replies, "Well, I'd say it's a circle of bullets around our feet!"
|"Say your famous line, Lenny!"|
|Peter catches us up on the plot.|
Lenny then mentions that they've never seen the Big Man, and wonder how come he gave them this job. Outside, Micky and Peter overhear this, and Micky gets an idea (Peter helpfully puts a light bulb above Micky's head). Back in the jail, Mike and Davy wonder what happened to their bandmates. Lenny wishes the Big Man was here, and George says the Big Man will get here when he's ready. Suddenly, the door bursts open, and Peter (in a gravelly voice and gangster clothes) says, "He's ready!" He's followed by Micky, in a pinstripe suit, scar on his right cheek, doing his Cagney impression (this same shot is used in the first season opening credits). When he's asked who he is, Micky acts like they should know, and Lenny asks if he's the Big Man. Peter helpfully replies, "There's no bigger!" Lenny and George are glad to see him, and go to shake his hand, but Peter slaps their hands away, saying, "Nobody touches the Big Man's trigger finger!" Micky asks where the dough is, and who the kids are. Then he tells Spider (aka Peter) to take care of the kids in the cell.
|The jig is up!|
|Romp antics on the beach!|
|"We want to play baseball!"|
|"I have no more than I did before..."|
|The Big Man... er, Big Woman!|
The Big Woman notices the boys, and asks who they are, but then decides to just order Lenny and George to get rid of them. George tells Lenny to knock them off before they start singing again, but this makes the Big Man's eyes light up! She asks if they're professionals (Mike says, "Yes, ma'am, we're the Monkees," to which she replies, "Oh, a chimp act, eh?"), and Mike notes that she sounds like she knows show business. She says that, "Thirty years ago, the name Bessie Kowalski brought a throb to millions of hearts." She tells George to go out and shoot them, but the Monkees beg her, from one act to another, one last request -- Micky does a bad Jimmy Durante impression (at least it's not his Cagney again) to convince her to let them have one more encore! She agrees, and Peter asks if she'd perform the number with them, to which she agrees.
|Did Davy get through on the phone?|
|"George, I think I'm falling in love with the Big Man!"|
Mike stalls some more, and hands Bessie the sheet music to their theme song, insisting that she could do that, and Mike hits it, and him playing piano, with Micky on drums, Davy on maracas, and Peter on guitar (no, there's no explanation for where the rest of the instruments came from so suddenly -- although it's north noting that the bass drum doesn't have the Monkees logo on it in any form) with Bessie singing along, they perform the "(Theme From) The Monkees." Bessie and Mike convince Lenny and George to join them, and Davy trades Lenny his maracas for Lenny's gun! Micky realizes this, and tells Davy to use it! Suddenly, Lenny and George dash off to one side of the saloon, and the Monkees to the other -- Bessie keeps singing, because Mike flips a switch to put the piano in player piano mode, playing the Monkees' theme.
As the music starts, Lenny convinces George not to shoot, for fear he'll hit The Big Man. George fires at the bar, and as bottles are smashed, Micky pops up with a straw hat and cane like a carnival barker, but when his cane is hit by the next bullet, he ducks back down again! Bessie continues singing. Then, the Monkees start running back and forth behind the bar like ducks in a shooting gallery! There's some stock footage of cannons and battleships firing inserted in the midst of this, too. Finally, Davy reaches up and fires the pistol a few times, to no avail. Suddenly, an arrow lands in the wall behind the bar, and Micky notes that's usually when the cavalry shows up. We get some stock footage of the cavalry approaching, playing the Monkees theme on bugle, but apparently they ride on past (Micky: "Don't trust the cavalry!").
|"You guys ain't going nowhere!"|
|"Well, I guess this ought to cover it!"|
|Fun with camera filters.|
Why Lauren St. David? I have no idea. I do know why the gangsters were named Lenny and George, however -- it's a reference to "Of Mice and Men," naturally (as anybody who's up on literature no doubt figured out already). It was a common gag in many old cartoons to have versions of Lenny and George in them, though greatly exaggerated. This is more apt, however, because Lon Chaney Jr. did play Lennie in the film version of the novel, making thi another tie-in with Chaney's background.
Of the episodes I've covered so far, this one is probably my favorite, not only because of how much fun it was to watch an the guest-stars, but also because I feel that each of the Monkees got a chance to shine, rather than one of them being the focus.
OK, here's the scoop on the guest stars, although the first two should be no surprise what they'd done! While Lon Chaney Jr. began his career (using his birth name of Creighton Chaney) mostly doing westerns, his first real genre role was as Capt. Hakur in Undersea Kingdom in 1936, but mostly had bit parts until playing Lennie in Of Mice and Men in 1939. This was followed by playing Akhoba in the 1940 version of One Million B.C., but of course, his greatest genre role was playing the lead in The Wolf Man in 1941, aka Lawrence Talbot (a role he'd reprise in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein, House of Dracula, and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein). He also played the Frankenstein Monster in The Ghost of Frankenstein, the Mummy in The Mummy's Tomb, and Dracula in Son of Dracula. He played the Monster again on a 1951 episode of The Colgate Comedy Hour, as well as in a 1952 episode of Tales of Tomorrow. His movie roles became more and more low-budget affairs, such as I Died a Thousand Times and The Indestructible Man. He played Chingachgook in all 39 episodes of Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans, and continued to mostly play bit parts on TV shows and movies, most of them in westerns. His last role was playing Groton in the 1971 Dracula Vs. Frankenstein, and he died in 1973.
Rose Marie's screen career stretched back to 1936, when she as billed as "Baby Rose Marie," and played a fair number of roles until being cast as Sally Rogers on The Dick Van Dyke Show, a role she'll forever be associated with. She made a second Monkees appearance in the episode "Monkee Mother" the following year. Her last part to date was reprising her role as Sally on The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisted in 2004.
Len Lesser, who played George, may be most recognized for playing Uncle Leo on Seinfeld, but earlier in his career, he'd appeared in two episodes of The Jack Benny Program, an episode each of The Outer Limits, The WIld Wild West, The Munsters, Honey West, two My Favorite Martian episodes, one Mr. Terrific, three Get Smart episodes, and he returned to The Monkees for another role in the episode "Monkees in Texas." He later guested on episodes of Land of the Giants, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, The Ghost Busters, Wonderbug, The Amazing Spider-Man (1977, the pilot), and Amazing Stories before being cast as Uncle Leo on Seinfeld, also appearing in the 1998 movie The Werewolf Reborn! (and its sequel in 2005, Frankenstein & The Werewolf Reborn!), and an episode of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch. He died in 2011.
Next: "Don't Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth"!