|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 (guitar and vocals), Dino Kovas (drums and vocals), Marty Ross (bass 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 synthpop 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.
In 2014 The Monkees Podcast "Zilch" aired an interview with Marty Ross of the New Monkees which discussed the making of the show and its reception. The podcast can be found on iTunes.
- "Weather the Storm" - A personal storm cloud follows Dino. It's raining, it's snowing, it's hailing—but only on him.
- "All My Martys" - When Marty takes a nap on the copy machine, numerous duplicate Martys are set loose in the mansion.
- "Test Tube Tube" - Dino, Marty, and Larry, dressed in ridiculous fruit costumes, are rehearsing for a children's party. Meanwhile, Jared discovers a strange room with only a TV and remote control inside. He zaps himself and a girl from the TV world in and out of various TV programs as the other boys wonder why he's yet to show up for practice in his Amazon costume
- "Minister Bob" - The boys meet two sumo wrestlers who also want to start a singing group. Meanwhile, Larry's Uncle Bob (a televangelist) causes trouble around the neighborhood.
- "Ruff Day" - It's a dog eat dog world, and Jared knows all about it. While walking his pet, Jared has a mind exchange with his dog.
- "Don't Touch That Dial" - Larry and Dino are catapulted into an evil parallel universe when Dino disobeys Jared's warning not to touch a certain red dial in the lab. Their plans to return home are complicated when Larry falls in love with the alternate universe version of their maid.
- "Monkee Mail" - The boys decide to answer some fan mail. The result? They meet some interesting fans.
- "Larry Leaves" - Larry takes it upon himself to cast the role of his girlfriend on the show.
- "King of Space and Time" - Jared steps through a forbidden doorway in the mansion and enters a "video world," where space and time are controlled by a TV-channel selector.
- "Meet the Pope" - Pope John Paul II is in town, and the boys are caught up in the Pope-mania. They discover that the Pope has left his guitar at their diner, so they must run downtown to return it to him. Along the way, they begin to wonder if anyone really realizes the significance of the Pope's visit as they encounter shady characters who are exploiting the Pope's image to make a fast buck. Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini portrays a street huckster.
- "Helen Goes Shopping" - The guys' super computer is addicted to shopping. Unfortunately, she has no money of her own and uses the band's credit cards.
- "The Game of Games Show" - The boys are contestants on a game show. Unfortunately, they get caught up in the excitement and wager all of their possessions.
- "My Three Sons" - When the show gets a new soundtrack, the boys dream the whole show is changing. In this version, Jared and Helen are the parents of three naughty boys.
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. Viewable on YouTube, search "Affection (Acoustic)"
- 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.