The only song performed in this episode is the Neil Diamond-penned "I'm a Believer," which, as I've noted before, was on the Monkees' second album, however, "Let's Dance On," from the first album, is performed in part at the ball. Guest stars in this episode were Jeanne Arnold as Maria, Vincent Beck as Marco, Victor Tayback as Rocco, Mario Roccuzzo as Zeppo, Gene Dynarski as Kiko, and Elisabeth Camp as Madame Ramtha. Also look for director James Frawley as a Yugoslavian guest! The same year she appeared in this episode, Jeanne Arnold played Grace in Munster Go Home, and appeared in two episodes of Bewitched in 1972. Vincent Beck had played Voldar in Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, guested in episodes of Mister Ed, Gilligan's Island, Get Smart, Honey West, The Girl From UNCLE, The Man From UNCLE, T.H.E. Cat, The Time Tunnel, Lost in Space, The Wild Wild West, The Immortal, Alias Smith and Jones, Mission: Impossible, The Magician, and The Invisible Man (1975). He'd previously appeared in the first episode aired of The Monkees, "Royal Flush," playing Sigmund, and returned to play Ivan in "The Card Carrying Red Shoes." Mario Roccuzzo later guest starred in the 1974 TV movie Wonder Woman, appeared in the TV movie The Clone Master, guested on an episode of the 1985 Tales from the Darkside as well as appearances in episodes of Sledge Hammer!, Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Flash, and played Nick Bezis in the 2001 TV movie Earth Vs. the Spider. Vic Tayback will be forever remembered as Mel on Alice, but he'd also previously appeared in episodes of The Man From UNCLE, I Dream of Jeannie, Captain Nice, Get Smart, and Star Trek (playing Krako in "A Piece of the Action"). He previously played George in the episode "Your Friendly Neighborhood Kidnappers," and would appear again, playing Chuche in "Art for Monkees' Sake" in 1967. Later, he appeared in episodes of Mission: Impossible, Land of the Giants, Bewitched, multiple episodes of Fantasy Island, two episodes of the 1984-1988 Tales From the Darkside, and voiced Carface in All Dogs Go to Heaven. Gene Dynarski had previously played Benedict in the Batman two-parter "An Egg Grows in Gotham/The Yegg Foes in Gotham," would later appear in another Monkees episode, playing Toto in "Monkees Chow Mein," two episodes each of Mission: Impossible and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, appeared in two Star Trek episodes (playing Ben Childress in "Mudd's Women" and Krodak in "The Mark of Gideon"), and would later appear in single episodes of Land of the Giants, Kung Fu, The Invisible Man, Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color (playing Lawrence in "Beyond Witch Mountain"), Star Trek: The Next Generation, and The X-Files. He also played Ike in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Elisabeth Camp had previously appeared in a small role in the episode "Dance, Monkee, Dance."
|Maria wants the Maltese Vulture!|
After the opening credits, the Monkees are making their way to the gypsy camp in the woods, and waiting for them are Maria and her sons (including Marco, who's playing with a yo-yo). Marco expects to kill them when they arrive, but Maria has other plans... at least until the Monkees help them get the Maltese Vulture. The Monkees arrive, and Maria greets them, saying she wants them to feel like one of them, and has Rocco give them a set of gypsy clothes to wear, as well as a good luck charm to wear around the neck (a boar's tooth -- Mike notices his has a cavity, but Marco says his group had 27% fewer cavities). Micky promises he'll never give his away -- he couldn't! Peter gives Marco a shaker of salt in return for good luck, and Marco throws the whole thing over his shoulder, shattering it.
|Rocco prepares to read Micky's tea leaves.|
|Davy's pinned by Marco's knives!|
|Peter's all tied up!|
Later, the Monkees are tied up and telling Maria that they're not going to steal the Maltese Vulture for her. (Marco is surprised to find Micky knows Maria's name, but it's on her tent -- to which Marco says, "Who told you to read tent?!?" Maria gives him another sugar cube). Micky explains that they're not thieves, but Maria insists the urge to steal is universal (Davy asks Mike where she got that idea, and Mike says she stole it). She says if they won't help willingly, they'll use other means of persuasion (brandishing some hot pokers from the fire). She gives them five minutes to think it over.
|Davy's taller than his bandmates!|
|It's no Michelangelo... no Charlton Heston, either!|
|Micky tries to alert a Yugoslavian guest!|
|Marco performing "Shake, Rattle and Roll."|
In the hallway, Davy suggests that if Mike and Micky distract the guards, he'll try to get in the room. Davy goes to the guards and waves his hands in front of their faces for some reason, while down at the end of the hall, Micky pretends to hold Mike up at gunpoint! The guards pay no attention to it, telling Davy they're not supposed to leave their posts. Next, Mike and Micky fake a fight, but it's still no dice. Next, Mike and Micky come back with lit matches, shouting "Fire!" but there's no reaction from the guards until Micky drops his burnt-out match, which they go to pick up and throw away. When one guards asks don't they know how to read, Micky replies, "No, we're musicians." The guards return to their post, but Davy's already entered the room.
|The safe plays "Last Train to Clarksville"!|
|"You can see the flaw in the midnight!"|
|Peter catches the Vulture!|
|A good thief, but a bad speller!|
|Performing "I'm a Believer."|
|Maria and her boys are still thieves!|
So, overall this was a fun episode, although there are one or two things that slightly mar is -- the gag with the detonator blowing up the wrong thing was used in another episode, for example... and then there's really nothing in the romp that has the Monkees turning the situation around so that the gypsies can be captured. Typically, they'd either tie them up or wear them out, but it's really just pushing a suit of armor at them that gets the guards to finally put an end to things. There's a surprising number of jokes made that the intended audience might not get -- such as the Ethel Merman and Charlton Heston references. Getting back to the detonator gag, this was one of the things that Mike Nesmith in particular grew tired of in the show, complaining that it was becoming too formulaic. It was nice that there wasn't any particular focus on one member of the group for the episode... if anything, there was kind of an unfocus, if you will, on Peter! One would've expected to get a bit of Peter while he was held hostage to make up for his lack of screen time while his bandmates were stealing the Vulture.
Next time around: "The Case of the Missing Monkee," as the Monkees get involved with foreign espionage once again!