bluemoonalto

Home of Monkee Magic: a Book about a TV show about a Band

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The Continuing Analysis of the Fairy Tale Script (Pt 8)

The next scene begins with either Micky or Mike saying “Trudge, trudge.”  (I can’t tell who’s talking.)  That line isn’t in the script—but the stage directions do say, “The boys, armed with scythes and pitchforks, are trudging through the forest.”   This is a similar riff to Gwen’s earlier “Languish, languish.” 

Mike’s line, “Hold it!  Man, we’ve been searching for this castle for three days.  We’re liable to get lost,” is a substantial change from Micky’s line in the script, “Listen, we’ll never find the tower.  We’ve been wandering around for hours.”  Why the timeline was widened from hours to three days, I have no idea.  The rest of the dialogue is only very loosely tied to the dialogue in the script, though the pertinent details (split up, bread crumbs, birds) are all the same. 

DELETED SCENE!

Had you noticed that Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks each have a scene in the second act, but Hansel and Gretel do not?  Guess what!  In the script, they do.  Sort of.  It begins when Micky—crossed out in ink , and replaced with Mike—“passes a gingerbread house.  The WITCH has set up a little stand in front of the house, and is hawking her cookies.  A sign reads: Gingerbread Cookies, 10 cents.”

  WITCH:  Gingerbread Cookies!  Buy my Gingerbread Cookies!

  Micky stops, picks up two cookies that look remarkable [sic] like Hansel and Gretel. 

  MICKY: I’ll take these two.

  He hands her a coin.

  WITCH:  Wonderful.  I’ll draw up the adoption papers.

Presumably Micky had to be replaced with Mike because Micky had earlier appeared as Hansel.  (Remember that the cross-dressing double roles were not part of the original concept.)  In the scene that follows (with Little Red Riding Hood) the switch is done in the opposite direction—Micky meeting the girl, instead of Mike.  These two scenes (with Little Red and with Goldilocks) are very close to the script, except for Goldilocks’ frantic, “Help, help!  Oh, help me!” which was apparently ad libbed.

In the script, Micky arrives at the tower alone, and doesn’t meet up with Mike and Davy until he has already been frightened by the dragon and run away.  The stage direction (based on the more special-effects dragon introduced in Act I) “rises up, breathing fire and smoke.” 

The scene in which Gwen and Peter “laugh it up” is also very close to the script, except that the script calls for “Harold and Richard, men and horses, [to] burst in.”  On screen, it’s just Harold and Richard.  Good thing, too.   I have no idea what Peter Meyerson was thinking of, having all these horses traipsing around inside the tower!

Micky knows the answer to the dragon’s riddle, and the dragon says, “C’mon, mount up.”  Yes, once again we’re deprived of some serious special effects in exchange for a reprise of the “Lower the drawbridge!” joke.

Next time: The Battle is Joint.  I mean, Joined.

Filed under fairy tale

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So… it would seem that Fairy Tale took place in Peruvia?  And, perhaps, Princess Gwen was a distant relative of Prince Ludlow? 

(Purpure, on a cross cendrée, a four-point star argent.)

Filed under Dat flag!

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While recording the Monkees episode commentary for the Zilch podcast last month, I was suddenly and unexpectedly inspired to point out that those of us who discovered The Monkees in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and beyond, did not experience the same show that the first viewers did.  Those viewers were seeing something revolutionary.  Raybert was breaking all the rules of sitcom storytelling.  Subsequent generations would see something comfortable and friendly, because it has been copied and imitated so often.
I am in that latter group.  Technically old enough to have seen The Monkees on NBC in 1968, but I’m 99.99% sure I didn’t—my parents would not have stood for it, and I was only six.  No, I was not part of that cohort who saw the revolution being televised. 
Except… today, I remembered when a different revolution happened, and I was there.  It was 1978 and the show was Mork and Mindy, and there had never, ever, ever been anything like it on television.  It’s not just that large chunks of each episode were improvised, though that’s part of it.  It was that the improvisation was delivered in massive, volatile, multi-faceted, multiple-character ricochets of random sense, nonsense, and wisdom, leaving us helpless on the living room floor, laughing so hard we couldn’t even breathe.  
Or control our bladders.  
The expression “rolling on the floor laughing my ass off” may have been coined sometime in late September, 1978.  
Robin Williams’ arrival on the domesticated television sets of America was like a roman candle soaked in gasoline.  We watched in astonishment and sympathy as Pam Dawber, Conrad Janis and Elizabeth Kerr exercised their personal acting expertise in just Staying the Hell out of Robin’s Way—and in doing so, wove a warm, loving, supportive net around the careening fireball that enabled us to bear the brightness of his blazing.  We loved him, because they loved him.  
The Monkees flared and faded in just two brilliant years.  Mork and Mindy lasted a bit longer than that, but in truth its inventive fire was far too explosive to sustain.  There simply wasn’t enough oxygen in the room.  It happened, and just as quickly, it had happened.  In subsequent years we could all look back at Mork and Mindy, smile and sigh in awe and nostalgia at the comic genius of Robin Williams just being Robin Williams, but by then we’d come to expect it.  
In September of 1978, we were laughing too hard to understand why it hurt so much. 

While recording the Monkees episode commentary for the Zilch podcast last month, I was suddenly and unexpectedly inspired to point out that those of us who discovered The Monkees in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and beyond, did not experience the same show that the first viewers did.  Those viewers were seeing something revolutionary.  Raybert was breaking all the rules of sitcom storytelling.  Subsequent generations would see something comfortable and friendly, because it has been copied and imitated so often.

I am in that latter group.  Technically old enough to have seen The Monkees on NBC in 1968, but I’m 99.99% sure I didn’t—my parents would not have stood for it, and I was only six.  No, I was not part of that cohort who saw the revolution being televised. 

Except… today, I remembered when a different revolution happened, and I was there.  It was 1978 and the show was Mork and Mindy, and there had never, ever, ever been anything like it on television.  It’s not just that large chunks of each episode were improvised, though that’s part of it.  It was that the improvisation was delivered in massive, volatile, multi-faceted, multiple-character ricochets of random sense, nonsense, and wisdom, leaving us helpless on the living room floor, laughing so hard we couldn’t even breathe. 

Or control our bladders. 

The expression “rolling on the floor laughing my ass off” may have been coined sometime in late September, 1978. 

Robin Williams’ arrival on the domesticated television sets of America was like a roman candle soaked in gasoline.  We watched in astonishment and sympathy as Pam Dawber, Conrad Janis and Elizabeth Kerr exercised their personal acting expertise in just Staying the Hell out of Robin’s Way—and in doing so, wove a warm, loving, supportive net around the careening fireball that enabled us to bear the brightness of his blazing.  We loved him, because they loved him. 

The Monkees flared and faded in just two brilliant years.  Mork and Mindy lasted a bit longer than that, but in truth its inventive fire was far too explosive to sustain.  There simply wasn’t enough oxygen in the room.  It happened, and just as quickly, it had happened.  In subsequent years we could all look back at Mork and Mindy, smile and sigh in awe and nostalgia at the comic genius of Robin Williams just being Robin Williams, but by then we’d come to expect it. 

In September of 1978, we were laughing too hard to understand why it hurt so much. 

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nakedpersimmon:

More sad news today, this time from Monkees world: Actress Arlene Martel, who starred in two episodes of the TV show (she played Madame in The Spy Who Came In From the Cool and Lorelei in Monstrous Monkee Mash) has passed away at the age of 78. The news comes from Marc Cushman, with whom Arlene had appeared to promote a series of Star Trek books written by Cushman.

You fool, it was not my kiss, but the magic necklace!

♥ R.I.P. Arlene Martel, 1936-2014. 

I actually watched The Spy Who Came in from the Cool today, on the train. I focused in on that exact moment, when Madame tilted the brim of her hat to such a glamorous angle, as being a terrific bit of business. One of the myriad ways that a great actor adds depth to a character.  So sorry to hear that she died today.

(via radarsteddybear)

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pippielongstocking asked: I just read your post about the Fairy Tale script. I just wonder something, since the script listed Mike as "Mike Dolenz" do you think that this is why at the end Mike addressed himself as Micky Dolenz?

nevadafightr:

bluemoonalto:

Oooh!  Now, I suppose that might have inspired the joke in which all four of them misidentified themselves.  But we’ll probably never know.  Did they do that shtick in any other episode?

The Monkees Paw is the first one that comes to mind. I am not sure which was filmed first.

Back-to-back, and Fairy Tale was filmed first!  I think we may be onto something here.  Well done! 

Filed under Behind the scenes They all say goodbye but they get their names wrong/and then do a spoof of their famous theme song.

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pippielongstocking asked: I just read your post about the Fairy Tale script. I just wonder something, since the script listed Mike as "Mike Dolenz" do you think that this is why at the end Mike addressed himself as Micky Dolenz?

Oooh!  Now, I suppose that might have inspired the joke in which all four of them misidentified themselves.  But we’ll probably never know.  Did they do that shtick in any other episode?

Filed under pippielongstocking

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California Dreaming: Barbara Ann

andrewhickeywriter:

Late 1965 was a time when everyone was jumping on the folk bandwagon, no matter how inappropriately.

Brian Wilson had started writing songs for a new album, inspired by the Beatles’ Rubber Soul, that would be the Beach Boys’ big album as artistic statement. This would be complex, intricate — and time-consuming, and the Beach Boys needed to get some product out for the Christmas market.

The decision was made to knock out a quick album, one that wouldn’t require much in the way of songwriting or production, like the live album the band had released the previous year. But this time it would have more of a hootenanny feel — it would be the band with acoustic guitars and bongos, recording fairly unrehearsed covers of their favourite songs, and with party noises and chatter overdubbed, and session conversations left in, to make it sound, as the cover put it, “recorded “Live” at a Beach Boys Party!”

The result was a mixed bag, a mixture of covers of Beatles, Spector, and Dylan, versions of old Everly Brothers and Rivingtons songs, and parodies of their own material. Some of it was excellent — Brian Wilson and Mike Love duetting on Devoted to You is beautiful, while Dennis Wilson’s frail take on the Beatles’ You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away is one of the first signs that he would soon become a talented singer in his own right. But other tracks, like Al Jardine earnestly singing The Times They Are A’Changing while being mocked by the partygoers, are less than great.

Meanwhile, Jan and Dean were also recording their own contribution to the folk-rock craze, their new album Folk ‘n Roll. With their usual studio partners P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri, they recorded a mixture of Sloan/Barri pop (like the rather good single I Found A Girl), songs by Jan’s girlfriend Jill Gibson, new originals, and covers of recent folk-rock hits, like a note-for-note remake of the Turtles’ version of It Ain’t Me Babe, a version of Yesterday, and Jan and Dean’s own take on Eve of Destruction.

It was the originals that caused tensions. Jan Berry was convinced he had no need of Dean Torrence in the studio, since P.F. Sloan could sing his parts better anyway, while Torrence thought Berry’s new material was completely wrong for the duo. With the new material including such “classics” as The Universal Coward — a pro-war protest song, parodying Buffy Saint-Marie’s Universal Soldier and attacking draft-dodgers as cowards and Communists with “thick skulls” (unlike those such as Berry who merely managed to not be called up to fight because he was in medical school even though he was simultaneously pursuing a career as a pop star, but of course he was no coward) — or Folk City, a slight rewrite of Surf City, with the melody changed just enough to remove everyone else’s songwriting credit, one can perhaps see Torrence’s point.

A compromise was reached, and Torrence sang on the cover versions, but not the new original material, with one exception — a truly dire “message” song by Berry, Roger Christian, and arranger George Tipton, about a woman dying in childbirth. While Torrence sang on this song, A Beginning From an End, the song disgusted him, and at one point he stormed out and went to visit the Beach Boys in their session.

As part of the spontaneous, jam session, nature of the sessions, the band were inviting various friends to sing along, and so they asked Torrence what they should sing. He suggested Barbara Ann, a doo-wop song that had been a minor hit four years earlier, and which Jan and Dean had recorded as an album track. The band agreed, and after a couple of false starts (with Torrence being semi-jokingly admonished for singing off-key) and a quick rendition of Baa Baa Black Sheep, knocked out a quick version of the song with Mike Love taking the low bass “Ba-ba-ba, ba-ba-bra Ann” part while Torrence and Brian Wilson doubled each other on the falsetto lead. Half the band forgot what lyrics they were supposed to sing in the second verse, either Hal Blaine or Al Jardine banged an ashtray as percussion (the line “(H)Al, and his famous ashtray!” can be heard), and the result sounded exactly like it was meant to — like a sloppy performance on a couple of acoustic guitars at a party. Carl said “thanks Dean!” at the end, as a way of crediting him since he couldn’t officially be on the record, and no-one thought anything more of it; it was just one more album track on a quickie filler album.

The problem came when, a couple of weeks after the album was released, the Beach Boys’ new experimental single, The Little Girl I Once Knew, came out. The single was one of the best things they’d done, but it had moments of absolute silence, making it anathema to radio, where “dead air” had to be avoided at all costs. It still charted in the top twenty, but was a disappointment by the band’s usual standards.

The Beach Boys’ label, Capitol, quickly rushed out a new single, one that might actually get some radio play — the song they chose was Barbara Ann. And it became a massive hit, reaching number two in the US charts, and hitting number three, their highest position to that date, in the UK.

The song quickly became what Carl Wilson would describe thirty years later as “the bane of my existence”, with the band having to play it at every show they would perform . For the last forty-nine years, through line-up changes, deaths, splits and reunions, Barbara Ann has been played at every Beach Boys show. A sloppy cover version, full of mistakes and party noises, on which the lead singer wasn’t even a member of the band, has become one of the two or three songs most associated with them in the public mind.

1965 was ending with acoustic guitars, bongos, and protest songs. But 1966 would bring something altogether harsher…

Barbara Ann

Composer: Fred Fassert

Line-up: Dean Torrence (vocals), Brian Wilson (vocals, bass(?)), Mike Love (vocals), Carl Wilson (vocals, guitar), Al Jardine (vocals, guitar, ashtray(?)), Dennis Wilson (vocals, percussion(?)), Bruce Johnston (vocals, bass(?)), Hal Blaine (percussion), Ron Swallow (tambourine)

Original release: Beach Boys Party! Beach Boys album, Capitol DMAS 2398

Currently available on: Beach Boys Party! Universal CD, along with many, many budget compilations.

I remember reading about Barbara Ann in your earlier book about the Beach Boys.  It’s a terrific, if somewhat horrifying story.  And funny as hell.