This episode was written by Paul Mazursky and Larry Tucker, and directed by Mike Elliott. Songs featured in the episode are "I Wanna Be Free" and "Let's Dance On," both written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. Both songs were included on the Monkees' self-titled debut album, but a second version of "I Wanna Be Free" (which appears first in the episode) would have to wait for official release until Missing Links, Vol. 2. Guest-starring in this episode were Bing Russell (who could also be seen in The Deadly Mantis as a state trooper, a radio operator in The Land Unknown, as Robert in The Magnificent Seven, two episodes of the original Twilight Zone, an episode of The Munsters, as Dan "Red" Thorpe in Billy the Kid Vs. Dracula, an episode of I Dream of Jeannie, the race track starter in the original The Love Bug, Deputy and later Sheriff Clem Foster on Bonanza, and his last genre-related role was as a Club Ritz Patron in Dick Tracy. He's the father of Kurt Russell), Jill Van Ness, Richard St. John (he'd appeared in episodes of Mister Ed, Hazel, and a tv short based on Dick Tracy, probably the unaired pilot), Robyn Millan (she was Roz on The Patty Duke Show, and also guested on episodes of Mission: Impossible, The Partridge Family, The Magician, and Tucker's Witch), episode writers Mazursky and Tucker, Joe Higgins (he'd guested on a Twilight Zone in 1962, played Nils Swenson on The Rifleman, played Mr. L.C. Porett in Flipper and Flipper's New Adventure, guested on episodes of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, I Dream of Jeannie, My Favorite Martian, Daktari, It's About Time, two other episodes of The Monkees -- "The Prince and the Paupers" and "Find the Monkees" -- and played Sheriff Chuck Bevans on Sigmund and the Sea Monsters), and June Whitley Taylor (who'd guested on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The Lone Ranger, Mister Ed, The Flying Nun, The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk (1977), Rescue from Gilligan's Island, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and appeared in four episodes of Alice).
This episode was actually the pilot, so there are a few differences between this episode and others... as you'll see!
|"How about you, sir?" "Aaaaaaaah!"|
|With manager Rudy at the record store.|
|Davy exchanges twinkle eyes with Vanessa.|
|Mike is not amused at Davy's antics.|
|Davy hits the bell!|
Vanessa applauds the performance, and begs her father to hire the Monkees, and Mr. Russell hires them. A short clip is inserted of Davy and Vanessa dressed as a bride and groom, handcuffed together. Later, Davy tells Vanessa he doesn't want to see her again, but when Vanessa says, "How about tomorrow night?" Davy thinks she has to study for her history final. They're at the front door of the Russell home, and when Mr. Russell opens the door, he says, "I hope this isn't the start of a trend!" Davy walks away.
|"I think we've started a trend."|
|Jill (Rudy's daughter) gives the Monkees bad news.|
|"I think we need a new gavel."|
|Singing the Patrick Henry song.|
At the make-up exam, Vanessa scores 100% on the exam, and tells her teacher she owes it to a Monkee, and that her father is prejudiced. The teacher responds that Vanessa must've worked very hard. Later, at the party, the polka band is playing. Vanessa's teacher tells Mr. Russell that the Monkees were responsible for Vanessa passing, but he still says he won't permit them to come in. Outside, the Monkees show up, but the security guard chases them off (Mike says to the guard, "You're evil!"). Inside, Vanessa starts crying, and says she wants to go home. Mrs. Russell starts crying, too! Outside, the Monkees prepare to scale the wall into the country club, and Mr. Russell asks the guard if the Monkees were there. The guard says they were, and Mr. Russell says it's just as well.
|Monkeeing around, prison escape style!|
|An epic card game!|
|"I've sold out!"|
|Performing "Let's Dance On."|
|Trouble spelled "G-I-R-L"!|
|Davy's audition for "The Monkees."|
The original pilot didn't include the interview segments, and when it was tested, it tested very low. The producers realized that they didn't really know the boys at all, so recut it, and added these two interview segments, and showed it to a new test audience, and it scored high enough for NBC to give them a 32-episode commitment!
It's a fun episode, and part of the fun is seeing what was kept from the original pilot and what was redone. Certainly, if the Monkees were a struggling band, they couldn't afford a place as nice as the one they're shown living in here! One of the elements that is missing was having the Monkees' music used for the romp -- as here, they had the old-time piano score running.
I hope you've enjoyed the return of the Monkees episode reviews! I'm hoping to get back to doing these at least monthly!