Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Monkees, Season 1, Episode 9: "The Chaperone"!

This episode was written by Gerald Gardner and Dee Caruso, and was directed by Bruce Kessler. The songs featured in this episode are "This Just Doesn't Seem To Be My Day" by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, and "Take a Giant Step," by Carole King and Gerry Goffin; both songs are from the Monkees' self-titled first album, although this version of "Take a Giant Step" has a different mix from that on the single and album. Also featured in this episode is "You Just May Be the One," by Michael Nesmith, which wouldn't appear on the initial Monkees albums, but would have to wait for Rhino Records to include it on Missing Links Vol. 2. The guests in this episode are Henry Corden as Mr. Babbitt the landlord, Diana Chesey as Mrs. Weefers, Sherry Alberoni as Leslie Vandenburg, Judy Murdock as Cynthia, and Arch Johnson as General Vandenburg.

09-01When the episode opens, the Monkees are laying on the grass beside some bushes, Micky looking through binoculars at a blonde girl whom Davy's been mooning over for some time. Micky convinces Davy it's time for action, and Davy gets up to talk to her. Davy approaches her with a clipboard in hand, posing as a TV ratings taker, and asks her what TV show she's watching, which confuses her, because she's sitting on a chair on the front porch reading a book, not watching TV at all -- in fact, she doesn't watch TV until the evening. Davy then says he'll be back later, and to tell her mother he likes roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. This gets the girl, Leslie, to smile, but then the barked command, "Leslie! We're waiting for you!" comes from inside the house, and Leslie jumps up to go inside, telling Davy that her father is very authoritarian. Davy's response is, "Well, nobody's perfect!" which makes Leslie smile even bigger. As Davy stands there staring at the door, Micky, Mike and Peter rush up to Davy to see what happened. Micky asks if the TV poll thing worked, but Davy's obviously fallen for the girl, as he just spouts words like "divoon, marvelous" to describe her. Peter, impatient, says, "Come on, Davy, quick fooling around, what TV show was she watching?" Mike and Micky turn to stare at Peter, and Micky cracks, "Ours, I hope!"

09-02After the opening credits (which includes two shots from this episode -- Micky sliding down the bannister into a cake held by Mike, and Peter dressed as Tarzan swinging on a rope), Davy approaches the house again, while his bandmates hide and watch again (Mike is initially looking through the binoculars backwards).  He rings the bell, and Leslie's father answers the door. Davy says he's selling magazine subscriptions, and when General Vandenburg (Leslie's father) says, "Oh, working your way through college, eh?" Davy quips, "No, I'm working my way down the block." Davy asks if his daughter is home, but the General says he buys the magazines in this house, and he doesn't want any new ones! That's good, because Davy's selling old magazines. The General goes back in the house and closes the door. Later, Davy and Micky ring the door (with fake moustaches and Civil Defense armbands and helmets) and tell the General they're here to inspect his bomb shelter. When the General says he doesn't have one, Micky suspects the General just doesn't want to share it with his neighbors. The General tells them that he was a general in the last war, but that was a long time ago, and he's put that all behind him -- but then he tells the two to stand at attention while he's talking, and then he sends them away. As Micky and Davy walk away, someone calls from an upstairs window -- Cynthia, who's staying with Leslie's family while her parents are on vacation. She tells them Leslie's father runs the house like an army camp, and that Davy's going about this the wrong way. Davy asks if Leslie goes out sometimes, but Cynthia says only to chaperoned parties.

09-03This gives them an idea... to hold their own chaperoned party! So, at the beach pad, Micky calls the General, posing as Colonel Dolenz (with a fake British accent), and acting like the General should remember who he is. The General falls for this, and asks him how he's doing. Micky goes on to say that his son Micky's all grown up and throwing a bash, and since a bunch of military families will be represented, he'd like the General's daughter (whose name he gets wrong several times in a row) to attend, and he assures the General the party will be chaperoned, and when he's told that Leslie has a friend staying, he figures it'll be okay for her to come, too. Hanging up the phone, they get started preparing for the party!

09-04This leads us to the first romp, to "This Just Doesn't Seem to Be My Day." We see the Monkees doing all kinds of wacky things to get ready for the party, getting balloons and food and so on ready. As the preparation goes on, Mike can't get a bag of pretzels opened (finally resorting to an axe), Peter manages to squeeze a goldfish from an orange (while trying to prepare orange juice), used paper plates are washed, Micky puts up balloons, Peter gets squirted by a bouquet of flowers, Mike prepares a giant multi-layered cake that  Micky manages to slide face-first into from the bannister Peter blows up a balloon until Davy pops it, and streamers galore are spread throughout the pad by various silly means.

09-05Davy points out, when all the prep is done, that they don't have a chaperone. There's a knock at the door -- their chaperone has arrived! They go to the door, and it's Mr. Babbit! Mike explains that they want him for their chaperone, and Babbit agrees to their relief. However, when Babbit tells them he expects to be paid for it, they push him out the door. Davy wants to know what they'll do now, but there's another knock at the door -- it's Mrs. Weefers, who comes in to clean the second Tuesday of every month with an R in it. She notices the Monkees are feeling blue, and when Davy says they need a chaperone, they get an idea!

09-06So, Davy and Peter proceed to do a My Fair Lady bit with Mrs. Weefers, Davy in blue velvet smoking jacket and Peter in tweed. Davy tries to get her to say, "The dance in France is mainly in the stance," but Mrs. Weefers doesn't think she can do it. Davy tells Peter in six months, he could pass her off as a duchess, and when Peter asks what about at the party tonight, Davy says that'll be a bit harder. Later, Mike tries to show her the proper way to hold a cup of drink, and when he passes it to her, distracts Mike and pours the soft drink out, refilling it from a tap in her purse (we've already seen she's a bit of a lush). Then, Peter tries to show her how to put marbles in your mouth to help you learn to enunciate, with just as little success, especially when Mike slaps him on the back, making him nearly choke! Then, Davy uses a lit candle to try to help her with her speech, but it backfires, with her alcohol-fueled breath making the candles flame even higher.

09-07Later, the party is under way, and the guys bring Mrs. Weefers a dress to wear, but she's passed out, stone cold drunk, and can't be awakened. There's a knock at the door, and Mike and Davy go to answer it while Micky tries to wake Mrs. Weefers up. Of course, it's Leslie and Cynthia, accompanied by the General, but the General says the girls aren't staying without a chaperone... which he doesn't see. When he asks where the chaperone is, Davy and Mike start to try to explain, but then down the stairs she comes -- Micky in drag! Even Peter can see through the disguise, but the General is immediately smitten with Micky!

09-08Peter's told to bring the girls in, while Mike introduces Micky to the General as Mrs. Arcadian, from one of the first families of Philadelphia (Micky: As you go into town, my house is the first house on the right!). The General laughs at the joke, and Davy tries to get the General to leave, but he's not ready to leave! Mike suggests that the General and "Mrs. Arcadian" go sit in the love seat while he and Peter get them some punch, and Micky convinces the General he needs to help them. Micky's not happy at this turn of events, but Mike figures the General will leave in a few minutes. Davy tries to get him to calm down. Micky goes back to the General, and the General says, "I can't help but think I know you from some place." Micky asks, "Have you been to Palm Beach?" When the general says yes, Micky replies, "Is it nice?"

09-09Meanwhile, Peter approaches a blonde girl who doesn't seem to be having any fun, and she says everyone at the party are children, and she wants a man to sweep her off her feet. There's a Tarzan call (and the Tarzan logo from the then-current TV show) and Tarzan swings in on a vine and swings out with her in his arm! Peter looks at the camera and says, "He gets more girls that way." Meanwhile, to Mike and Davy's amusement, the General is still chatting up Micky, who gets up. Over at Mr. Schneider, a pretty brunette asks him if he thinks teenagers should neck, and when she pulls his string, he says, "No, I do not." She says, "I agree with you, but my husband's getting very impatient!"

09-10Micky gets over to the jukebox and grabs Peter by the ear, telling everyone they should  dance, because the boys play so poorly. As they start to play "Take a Giant Step," the kids get up to dance. Amazingly, Micky is able to quick change into his regular Monkee clothes -- and even more amazingly, in one shot they're playing in a corner of the pad, and in the next, they're in the balcony, and back and forth as they sing! And as if this isn't amazing enough, as they perform the song, Micky as Mrs. Arcadian is dancing with the General! Mr. Clean shows up at the party at one point, to start washing the front window. There's other silliness going on, as well, including Micky reaching over from his drums to put Peter's bass out of tune, and we see that the blonde girl isn't really that impressed with Tarzan after all. There's also some repeated gags with an older woman looking through a telescope at different stock footage of black and white stuff.

09-11Everyone applauds when the song ends, and the General sits down next to Micky (who's in drag, remember) and puts his arm around her shoulders. Micky points to a medal the General is wearing and says his late husband got the same medal for doing something that shortened the war -- he deserted. Micky goes back to Mike and says that the general is getting fresh, Mike figures it's okay, it's for a pal, Davy's in love with his daughter -- and Micky responds, "Yeah, and I'm going to be his mother-in-law!" When Mike jokes back, "If you play your cards right!" Micky storms off into the downstairs bedroom. The General asks Mike where Micky's gone, and Mike says, "I don't know, where?" The General then starts looking around for Micky, and Davy goes to Mike and says they need to get Micky out of the bedroom. They go in there, and drag Micky out.

09-12Then, there's a knock at the door, and it's Mr. Babbit! He sees Micky and immediately goes to introduce himself, trying to be charming! As the General goes to get them some drinks, Babbit flirts with Micky! When Babbit suggests that he could kick the boys out if Mrs. Arcadian wanted the place, Micky says the boys think the world of him, and that they were just talking about him before Babbit came in. Babbit says, "They were?" and Micky says, "What's a bloodsucker?" Meanwhile, Leslie's telling Davy that Mrs. Arcadian is a strange woman, and Davy reveals it's really Micky! When she realizes her dad's been flirting with Micky all night, she and Davy start laughing -- but the General's overheard them!

09-13Of course, he's angry, and he starts gathering the Monkees together along with the girls, and marches them all into the kitchen -- except for Micky. Then he turns off the juke box, and marches all the partygoers out of the pad. Once they're all out, he goes to the Monkees and the girls, and tells them Mrs. Arcadian's consented to be his wife! Micky's shocked at this, naturally, especially as the General talks about where they'll honeymoon... and Davy tells Micky to tell him -- but Micky heard Venice mentioned!  He briefly imagines being on a gondola (still dressed in drag). Mike tries to explain, and tries to get Micky to explain, but the General finally pulls the wig off Micky.

09-14
He says there's no excuse for this kind of deceit, but then Leslie stands up to him -- "You're the excuse for this!" she shouts, "For your totalitarian attitudes!" She points out that the boys  did all this because Davy wanted to see her. Suddenly, Mrs. Weefers is on the stairs, and all the speech lessons the boys gave her have taken root! Of course, Peter and Davy are instantly back in their "My Fair Lady" clothes, for a "By George, I think she's got it!" Then Leslie points out that if the general wasn't so overprotective, they wouldn't have needed to do this.

09-15
Of course, that's when Babbit re-enters the pad, because he can't get Mrs. Arcadian out of his mind -- and then he realizes it was Micky, and he leaves! The General can't understand any of this, and Davy explains he just wanted to see his daughter. The General claims he would've listened, he's not unreasonable. Mike says all's well that ends well, but Micky wonders if he has to give back the ring!

Later, Leslie tells Davy that the General's learned his lesson, no more chaperones, ever, which Davy says is swell... and that the General has a lot of confidence in her... except that now she's got a Great Dane, and it's got Davy up a tree! Micky and Mike laugh at this, and go off with their own girls. Suddenly, in swings Peter in Tarzan gear, and splash-lands in a nearby fountain.

09-16Then, we get a mini-romp of the guys in orange wetsuits in a swimming pool to "You Just May Be The One," before we see the Monkees performing this song (Micky's drums has the logo on it) in what looks like the corner of a mansion (it looks like a set we've seen previously this season).

So, a fun episode here, with some nice comic turns -- although the idea that the General and Mr. Babbit can't recognize Micky in a wig is stretching things a bit (then again, nobody saw through the disguises in "Monkee Vs. Machine," either).

09-17I've covered Henry Corden's career in a previous installment of this series, so I won't go into it again.

Diana Chesney had previously played a secretary in an episode of Quatermass II, and after The Monkees, she guest-starred on episodes of Land of the Giants, Nanny and the Professor, Hogan's Heroes (four episodes!), Rod Serling's Night Gallery, Bewitched (playing Enchantra in one episode, Hagatha in another), The Six Million Dollar Man, Rescue From Gilligan's Island, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, provided the voice of Mrs. Judson in The Great Mouse Detective, and played a villager in Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

Sherry Alberoni was one of the original Mousketeers on The Mickey Mouse Club, and also appeared in The 3 Worlds of Gulliver and Cyborg 2087, and guest-starred in The Man From UNCLE. She later had a recurring role as Sharon James on Family Affair, and then started a career in voice acting, voicing Alexandra Cabot in Josie and the Pussycats and the follow-up Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space, and later voiced Wendy in Super Friends, along with some other vocie work here and there, most recently Bo in The Mighty Orbots.

Judy Murdock's only role was in this episode, and she later became a makeup artist, doing makeup for My Pet Monster, The Nutty Professor (1996), Dr. Dolittle 2, Men in Black II, I, Robot, and I Am Legend (2007).

Arch Johnson has had such a long career that he's one of those, "I know that actor" people. He was in three episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Maverick, two episodes of The Twilight Zone, an episode of The Munsters, and later single episodes of The Invaders, Land of the Giants, five episodes of Bewitched, an episode each of Kung Fu, The Girl With Something Extra, The Invisible Man (1975), two episodes of The Bionic Woman, and two episodes of The New Adventures of Wonder Woman.

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