|Written by||R.B. Armstrong
|Composer(s)||Peter D. Kaye|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Executive producer(s)||Steve Blauner|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Columbia Pictures Television
|Distributor||Columbia TriStar Television
Sony Pictures Television
|Preceded by||The Monkees|
The 20th anniversary of The Monkees in 1986 generated enough interest that New Monkees was conceived later that year, and launched the following year. The show was produced by Columbia Pictures Television and distributed by Coca-Cola Telecommunications (both are now Sony Pictures Television). Straybert Productions, headed by Steve Blauner (a former partner of original Monkees producers Robert Rafelson and Bert Schneider), served as the project's producers.
The group's members were Jared Chandler (bass and vocals), Dino Kovas (drums and vocals), Marty Ross (guitar and vocals), and Larry Saltis (lead guitar and vocals). As it had been with the original Monkees, each had to pass a grueling set of auditions. Unlike the previous series, however, musical ability was a key factor in the selection process. Ross, a multi-instrumentalist, had earlier been signed to CBS Records, with his former band The Wigs.
Album and TV series
The band released one self-titled album, distributed by Warner Bros. Records. The synth-pop sound of the New Monkees was largely the work of producers Carol Carmichael Parks and Dean Parks, and was similar to that of contemporaries Mr. Mister and Glass Tiger. Other New Monkees producers were Steve Barri and Tony Peluso, Matt Wallace, Joe Curiale, and Mike Slamer, who co-wrote a song for the album with Larry Saltis.
On the show, the band lived in a large mansion with a butler named Manford (Gordon Oas-Heim). The mansion had numerous unexplored rooms, and was the main source of their adventures. Instead of a normal kitchen and dining room, the house featured a diner with a waitress named Rita, played by former exercise instructor Bess Motta, of 20 Minute Workout fame. Also present in the mansion was a talking computer called Helen (voiced by Lynnie Godfrey), who used to work for the Defense Department but has found that she preferred rock music over world destruction.
Notable guest performers were few; however, they included boxer Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, Archie Hahn, Russell Johnson (reprising his role as "The Professor" from Gilligan's Island), and Billy Beck, whose appearances made him the only actor to have appeared in episodes of both the original Monkees as well as New Monkees. Cult musical act The Del Rubio Triplets appeared on the episode "New Monkee Mail," which initiated a wave of TV appearances by the trio.
Failure and subsequent revived interest
Originally slated for a 22-episode season, the show earned ratings lower than expected, and New Monkees left the air after 13 episodes. The album also did not catch on, and yielded no hit records. The producers hoped that the TV show would serve as promotion for their record, and vice versa, but this did not occur. A lawsuit was filed by the original Monkees for use of the name. However, the case was settled out of court.
Though a release of the series on DVD had been mentioned as a possibility by Larry Saltis in an interview several years ago, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made no such release to date. The New Monkees album also remains out of print.
Interest in the band has continued on Internet news groups. In 2007, all four New Monkees reunited for a meet-and greet-with fans in Los Angeles, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the band's formation. The gathering featured an acoustic performance; their first since the dissolution of the show, and their first-ever live appearance. This performance was filmed and portions of the show have been released in late 2009 on YouTube. Among those in attendance that night were producers Steve Blauner, Victor Fresco and Matt Fassberg and comedian Tim Powers.
- "Weather the Storm"
- "All My Martys"
- "Test Tube Tube"
- "Minister Bob"
- "Ruff Day"
- "Don't Touch That Dial"
- "Monkee Mail"
- "Larry Leaves"
- "King of Space and Time"
- "Meet the Pope"
- "Helen Goes Shopping"
- "The Game of Games Show"
- "My Three Sons"
Single (45 RPM)
Warner Bros. Records (Released 1987)
- "What I Want" (Side A)
- "Turn It Up" (Side B)
Warner Bros. Records (Released 1987)
Track listing: Side 1:
- "What I Want" (Eddie Schwartz/David Tyson)
- "Do It Again" (Julia Downs/John Parr)
- "I Don't Know" (Michael Cruz)
- "The Way She Moves" (Denis Keldie)
- "Boy Inside the Man" (Tom Cochrane)
- "Burnin' Desire" (Rob Elvis)
- "Whatever It Takes" (Alan Roy Scott/Arnie Roman)
- "Affection" (Ken Brown)
- "Carlene" (Greg Barnhill/Gene Houston/Johnny Hozey/Derrell Brown)
- "Corner of My Eye" (Larry Saltis/Mike Slamer/Charlie Mitchell)
- "Turn It Up" (Joe Curiale/Jimmy Haddox)
- An additional song entitled "Clone of My Own" was featured in an episode of the TV series, but did not appear on the self titled album and was never released commercially.
- A song known as "One of The Boys" was in the pilot but not on the self titled album and was never released commercially.
- An acoustic version of "Affection" closed out one episode of the series, but it, too, was not included on the self titled album and was never released commercially.
- A Christmas version of "What I Want," called "What I Want (For Christmas)," was released as part of a limited Warner Brothers LP release called Yulesville (1987). The song was not completely re-recorded; the backing track and chorus from the original was re-used, with one line, "Peace on Earth" being overdubbed along with new verses.
- "Clone of My Own", the acoustic version of "Affection," as well as many other New Monkees songs recorded for a follow-up album, have circulated privately for years but see no future for an official release.