|Composer(s)||Peter D. Kaye|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Executive producer(s)||Steve Blauner|
Edie Robinette-Petrachi (Singer, Songwriter, sound effects, foley)
|Running time||22 minutes|
Columbia Pictures Television|
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, a remake of "The Monkees", 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.
New Monkees had one particular contrast with the show that inspired it: the four New Monkees lived a far wealthier life than their previous counterparts. On the show, the band lived in a large mansion that 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 Bess Motta. A butler named Manford (Gordon Oas-Heim) was also present, as was a talking computer called Helen (voiced by Lynnie Godfrey); Helen was a decommissioned Defense Department supercomputer that spoke in a pronounced black accent and developed a taste for rock music instead of world destruction. Helen was almost always portrayed solely by a pair of talking lips set on a black, static background.
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 (but playing different characters). 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 failed to yield a hit record single. 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.
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.
|1||"Weather the Storm"|
|A personal storm cloud follows Dino. It's raining, it's snowing, it's hailing—but only on him.|
|2||"All My Martys"|
|When Marty takes a nap on the copy machine, numerous duplicate Martys are set loose in the mansion.|
|3||"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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|6||"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.|
|The boys decide to answer some fan mail. The result? They meet some interesting fans.|
|Larry takes it upon himself to cast the role of his girlfriend on the show.|
|9||"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.|
|10||"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.|
|11||"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.|
|12||"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.|
|13||"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)
In addition to the songs featured on the album, the New Monkees recorded several songs for the TV series that ultimately did not see an official release:
- "Clone of My Own"
- "One of the Boys"
- "Affection" (acoustic version)
- "Late Night"
- "I Can't Forget"
Despite being officially unreleased, most of these songs can be found on YouTube.
Additionally, "What I Want (For Christmas)", a version of "What I Want" featuring Christmas-themed lyrics, was included on the 1987 Warner Bros. Christmas compilation album Yulesville.