Sunday, November 01, 2015

The Monkees, Episode #17!

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After being missing here on Random Acts of Geekery since May of last year, my synopses of The Monkees episodes returns this month with the episode "The Case of the Missing Monkee"! This episode was written by Gerald Gardner and Dee Caruso, and directed by Robert Rafelson. The song in this episode is "(I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone," which  was written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, and was on the Monkees' second album, More of the Monkees, with lead vocals by Micky Dolenz, the only one of the Monkees heard on this recording (Tommy Boyce provided backing vocals).

Guest Stars in this episode were Vincent Gardenia as Bruno, Norbert Schiller as Prof. Milo Schnitzler, Nancy Fish a the Nurse, Ivan Bonar as the Policeman, and Vito Scotti as Dr. Marcovich. Of those actors, the only one you might recognize from another geek role would be Vito Scotti, who also played Capt. Gaspar Fomento in The Flying Nun, although he also had guest-starring roles in such shows as Batman, The Munsters, The Addams Family, and Bewitched. Also seen in this episode, uncredited, were Roxanne Albee and Valerie Kairys, both of whom were seen in a number of Monkees episodes, with Roxanne appearing in nine episodes, and Valerie appearing in 14 (she also appeared in two episodes of Batman, as I believe I've noted before).

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Peter gets a note from the Professor!
The episode opens at a dinner for scientists, where the Monkees await their opportunity to play on stage while Professor Milo Schnitzler thanks the attendees, insisting that "War is war, peace is peace, and science is science!" to applause. Mike doesn't seem impressed with this statement, but Peter insists he's never heard it explained that way before. As the professor shakes hands, Peter goes to talk to him, but is interrupted by Dr. Marcovich, who insists there's someone who wants to see the professor as a surprise. He leads the professor away, but he's not aware that the professor has passed a note on to Peter, saying that he's being taken to the Remington Clinic. Pete's not sure what to make of it, but when he tries to tell his bandmates about the note, Mike insists that they'll hear about it later, it's time to play. 

Pete goes to look for the professor, but he can't find him. When Marcovitch sees Pete's looking, he nods to an unseen goon, who bops Pete on the head with a hammer and pulls him behind a curtain, and we fade out for the opening credits.

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Marcovitch claims he doesn't know where Peter is.
After the credits, the Davy notes it's not like Peter to take off in the middle of the gig, while Micky insists Pete takes a lot of looking after, but Mike insists it's not more than the average aircraft carrier. They go to Marcovitch and tap on his shoulder (to which he snaps, "Don't do that," one of the running gags throughout the series), saying they're looking for a musician friend of theirs... to which he replies that they are musicians, and asks why they're not playing. Mike remembers the note Peter gave him, and reads it, so they head off to the Remington Clinic in the Monkeemobile to investigate.

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Marcovitch asks the admitting nurse what the Monkees wanted.
Mike assumes Pete came there looking for the professor, and they enter, telling the nurse on duty that they're looking for Peter, who they think was there looking for the professor (they can't get his name right, but when the nurse asks if they mean "Schnitzler," she says they have no one by that name there). They describe Pete for the nurse, and she looks to see if Pete's listed on the Rolodex. Marcovitch observes in the background, and the nurse suggests that the Monkees go to the police. After they leave, Marcovitch asks the nurse what they wanted.

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Marcovitch in disguise as a Chinaman!
Later, the Monkees return to the restaurant with a policeman, only to find that the restaurant, which was a French restaurant, is now a Chinese restaurant! A Chinaman asks what they want, and when the Monkees insist they were there earlier or a banquet, he denies it, saying that they have fried rice, chicken chow mein, etc. Micky asks if Schnitzler is there, but the Chinaman repeats the menu options again. The policeman tells the Monkees not to bother the police again until they know where they were, and leaves. Confused, the Monkees leave as well (before Davy walks out, he says, "You know, I never liked Chinese restaurants... one hour after you eat there, you disappear!), and as soon as they're gone, the Chinaman takes off his disguise, revealing himself as Marcovitch!

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The admitting nurse is impressed when she learns Davy is a musician.
Back at the Remington Clinic, the Monkees try to get inside again, with Davy bandaged up and using a crutch as Mike and Micky bringing him in. They tell the nurse Davy's been in a terrible accident, and the nurse asks him his name and address, and when Mike protests, she insists she has a job to do, so they relent. She then asks Davy's occupation, and when Micky says he's a musician, the nurse is delighted, and says she loves the tuba. She has Davy sign the admitting form, and when she calls the doctor to alert him about Davy's condition (saying he's got fractures and contusions... when Davy adds a cough, she tells Davy he should see a doctor about it), and that he'll probably need the operating room (although she adds discreetly he probably won't need the recovery room). Hanging up the phone, she tells the Monkees they can take Davy on the 13th... and in the meantime, she offers a cough drop. The Monkees start to leave, but Davy decides to take the cough drop, and suddenly has a complete "recovery" from his injuries, and starts singing "Swanee River." The nurse hails it as a miracle. She starts gobbling down the cough drops herself as the Monkees leave.

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Micky unsuccessfully tries to convince Davy to run home.
Outside, the Monkees prepare to climb up a ladder to get into the clinic, but Davy realizes that it's breaking and entering, and therefore a crime. Micky asks Davy if he wants to run home where it's safe and leave Peter in trouble there all alone, and when Davy says, "Of course not," Micky quips, "It was just a suggestion." Micky asks for the bat-hook, and Davy hands him a grappling hook. Mike asks what this bat-hook thing is about, as they have a ladder, so Micky drops the hook and they climb up the ladder, and get into a room that's used for therapy.

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Disguised as patients to try to blend in!
They look around the room and realize they need to try to look like patients, so they duck behind a screen and immediately emerge from the other side in bathrobes and pajamas, and then start looking for Peter. They split up and start searching... Davy and Micky initially find each other wherever they look! 

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Pete yells "Shazam!" and breaks a mirror!
Meanwhile, Marcovitch checks on Schnitzler, who's still unconscious from the drug they gave him. Pete watches from where he's tied to a chair. They plan to transport the professor out of the country, and when Pete insists they can't do that, he's told to shut up! Pete is upset about this, saying that he needs love and understanding... "My mother rejected me, my sister resented me... I've lost all my confidence. And now, this operation..." When Marcovitch asks what that is, Pete snaps out of it and says, "Ben Casey, act one." Marcovitch's goon, Bruno, pulls out a gun, insisting Pete knows too much, and Pete says thanks for that! Marcovitch insists they can't murder Pete there, and besides, he has a better plan. The two leave the room, and Pete starts trying to scoot closer to the professor. When he gets in front of a full-length mirror, he looks at it, then shouts, "Shazam!" There's a boom, and the mirror breaks, causing Peter to say, "Well, another seven years' back luck for Captain Marvel!"

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Mike and Valerie on the rowing machine.
Back in the physical therapy room, the Monkees realize that Peter's not in there... and Mike quips, "Only 39 to go!" Meanwhile, Marcovitch reminds Bruno that the affairs of the clinic mustn't be interrupted. The Monkees are about to leave the therapy room when Bruno comes, and Bruno assumes that they are there for physical therapy. He begins with Micky, who's pulling weights, but is unsuccessful. Davy, on the other hand, is on a vibrating belt machine used to get rid of a "spare tire," which appears in his hands in a few seconds! Mike, on the other hand, is on a rowing machine, where he holds a banjo as a girl (Valerie Kirys), dressed in a striped jacket and straw hat, rows. Bruno tells him Mike won't get anywhere that way, to which Mike responds, "This guy's got to be kidding!" 

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Marcovitch's memory-erasing machine!
Shortly, Davy and Mike are in separate steam booths when Davy points out that Pete might be dying, but what's really happening is that Pete's about to have his memory erased by a diabolical device that Marcovitch is preparing to use on him! By the time he recovers, Marcovitch and the professor will be out of the country (he tells Pete a normal brain recovers in three days... Pete's in early spring). Marcovitch starts setting the dials. 

Meanwhile, Bruno's finished with the Monkees in the therapy room, and tells them to return to their rooms. They make sure Bruno's gone, but before they can leave, the phone rings. Mike answers it and tells the person on the phone what's happened. He hangs up, and Davy asks if it was the police, to which Mike answers, "TV Guide." They sneak out. Back at Marcovitch's lab, he's using his device to erase Peter's memory, and Pete starts having flashbacks to the Monkees playing on the beach, with their voices asking, "Peter, where are you?"

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Peter has amnesia!
Meanwhile, Davy's looking for clues with a magnifying glass when a pretty nurse approaches (not the same one at the desk, I'm guessing this is Roxanne Albee). The Monkees return to the physical therapy room, having given up, when Pete wanders in, dazed. His memory gone, he doesn't recognize his bandmates!

After the commercial break, Micky tells Davy and Mike that he's heard that a shock to the system can bring on amnesia, so Davy figures they can shock it out of him. Micky decides to give it a try, and tells Peter that they're going to try to scare him, so don't be scared. The three get behind Peter and yell "Boo!" in unison, but it doesn't work. Mike reminds them they have to catch Pete off-guard, so they act all casual around him, and then yell "Boo!" again! This time it works, and Pete tells his friends of the plot to smuggle the professor out.

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"With that oxygen mask on, that could be anybody!"
Arriving where the professor is being held, Mike asks how the professor was going to be taken out, but Pete can't recall. There's a knock at the door, and Micky, Mike and Davy hide, while Pete's instructed to "play dumb." Pete sits down, asking why he's always the one to play dumb. The nurse from the front desk enters and puts an oxygen mask on the professor. Pete asks if they're taking the professor away now, and the nurse says it'll be in a few moments. She offers Pete a cough drop, and then leaves. Pete tells his friends the coast is clear, and Micky realizes they'll take him away in an ambulance. Mike notes that with the oxygen mask on, you can't really tell who is wearing it, so it's decided to swap the professor with Micky, and then the other three hide when Marcovich and Bruno enter to take him away. Since they're hiding under the gurney that Micky's on, they have to creep along with it as it's wheeled away.

They head to the operating room to brainwash the professor (who's really Micky now), and put him on an operating table. Bruno checks the instruments, and while he and Marcovitch prepare, the other Monkees slink off and disguise themselves as doctors and re-enter. The three do a whole Marx Brothers routine as they get rubber gloves on, and then they go to Micky to assist. Mike insists that Micky's his patient, and he won't leave him in the hands of a quack. Marcovitch takes offense to this, so Mike offers to cut cards for the patient. Pete cuts the deck of cards in half with an axe, and Mike says Marcovitch loses. 

Marcovitch and Bruno get the oxygen to do something (what, I'm not sure) as the remaining Monkees prepare to perform surgery. Pete looks nervous to Davy, but Pete insists he's not nervous... "Look how slowly I'm twitching!" Marcovitch observes as they start their "operation," which includes Davy handing Mike instruments (as well as a jar of peanut butter). Marcovitch insists that it's his patient, but Mike denies this. The five of them start pushing the table around, and Marcovitch realizes it's Micky on the table and not the professor, and it's romp time!

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Micky on the exercise bike during the romp, a scene that would be used
in the second season opening credits.
As "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" plays, mayhem erupts as the Monkees are chased by Marcovitch and Bruno through the hospital. The Monkees temporary knock out their foes with mallets, but they soon recover and the chase resumes. Several gags take place, such as Micky on the exercise bike that would be used in the second season opening credits, and there's much running around the hallways in and out of doors. At one point, as Micky and Mike are looking around through binoculars, the pretty nurse wanders by, and the two watch her instead! Mike does the rowing machine (another scene used in opening credits), and races are done in wheelchairs. As the song fades out, the Monkees get the best of their foes.

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Mike and Micky wrap things up with a moral!
After the next commercial break, the professor thanks the Monkees for saving his life. As the Monkees prepare to leave, Peter asks Marcovitch to look at a tooth that's bothering him, and they head off in the Monkeemobile.

This was a fun episode, as they pretty much all are. I always enjoy it when the Monkees help someone out in need, and this episode was a nice combination of that basic plot plus the "one of us is in trouble" plot... it's a twofer!

The only real oddity with this episode was the complete lack of a scene at the Monkees' beach house pad... all the action takes place at the clinic and the restaurant! This episode is also notable in that only one song was performed by the Monkees during the course of the episode (unless you count Davy's impromptu rendition of "Swanee River").

Next episode: "I Was a Teenage Monster"!

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