Charles Darwin the famous evolutionist takes The Monkees through various stages of evolution until they are ready to brainwash the world via commercial exploitation. Hatched in giant test tubes, the four are stripped of all personal identity and names: Micky Dolenz becomes Monkee #1, Peter Tork becomes Monkee #2, Michael Nesmith Monkee #3, and David Jones Monkee #4. Each Monkee attempts to regain his stripped personal identity by thinking his way out of captivity into his own world of fantasies. Monkee #1 (Micky) performs an R&B up-tempo duet remake of "I'm A Believer" with Julie Driscoll; Monkee #2 (Peter) reclines on a giant cushion in eastern garb and, to the lilting backing of sitar and tabla, performs "I Prithee (Do Not Ask For Love)," a gentle number concerning spiritual values. Monkee #3 (Michael), in an inventive splitscreen number, sings a country tune, "Naked Persimmon (The Only Thing I Believe Is True)"; and Monkee #4 (David) capers about in short pants and frill collar in fairytale land, singing and dancing to the tune of "Goldilocks Sometime." But Darwin is alarmed by their fantasies and tries breaking them down by his own hypnotism via "Only The Fittest Shall Survive," a slab of swirling psychedelia laden with congas, drums, jungle noises, cyclonic winds, explosions and heavy breathing.
After The Monkees perform "Wind Up Man" in the stiff-legged form of robots, and "I Go Ape" disguised in white gorilla costumes, they are regenerated to Darwin's taste and, hypnotized, plasticized, psychoanalyzed, and sterilized, they make their debut at the Paramount Theater on December 7, 1956, dubbed "the greatest rock 'n' roll singers in the world." The four, dressed in outlandish 1950s vocal group gear, are then immediately launched into a classic '50s rock medley: "At The Hop," "Little Darlin'," "Peppermint Twist," and more. Backing them up are Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, The Buddy Miles Express, and The Clara Ward Singers. Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll interrupts the proceedings and announces they have decided to give David, Micky, Michael and Peter complete and total freedom, resulting in a brief snippet of David Jones' "String For My Kite," Peter Tork's harpsichpord rendition of "Solfeggietto" by C.P.E. Bach and all four Monkees performing "Listen To The Band," with Michael on Black Beauty (Gibson Les Paul Custom), Peter on keyboards, Micky on drums, and David on tambourine as an affectionate swan song performance by all four Monkees. As the song progresses, they are joined by hippies and all of 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee's guest musicians from The Trinity to The Buddy Miles Express, resulting in a climactic frantic cacophony.
Music Included In 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee
Micky Dolenz & Julie Driscoll: "I'm A Believer"; Peter Tork: "I Prithee (Do Not Ask For Love)"; Michael Nesmith: "Naked Persimmon (The Only Thing I Believe Is True)"; David Jones: "Goldilocks Sometime"; The Monkees: "Wind Up Man"; "Darwin"; Paul Arnold & The Moon Express: "Only The Fittest Shall Survive"; The Monkees: "I Go Ape"; The Trinity: "Come On Up"; The Monkees: "At The Hop"; Fats Domino: "I'm Ready"; Jerry Lee Lewis: "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On"; Little Richard: "Tutti Frutti"; We Three & The Monkees: "Shake A Tailfeather"; Fats Domino: "Blue Monday"; The Monkees: "Little Darlin'"; Jerry Lee Lewis: "Down The Line"; The Clara Ward Singers: "Dry Bones"; David Jones: "String For My Kite"; Peter Tork: "Solfeggietto" by C.P.E. Bach; The Monkees & Entire Cast: "Listen To The Band" ; Peter Tork: "California Here It Comes" (End Titles).
Created and Produced by: Jack Good
Directed by: Art Fisher
Written by: Jack Good and Art Fisher
Special Guests: Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and The Trinity, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Little Richard, The Clara Ward Singers, The Buddy Miles Express, Paul Arnold and The Moon Express, We Three
Associate Producer: Gene Marcione
Art Director: Gene McAvoy
Choreography: Jaimie Rogers
Unit Manager: Tom Hulbert
Costume Designer: Ray Aghayan
Production Assistant: Lillian Tobinson
Assistant To The Producer: Jud Phillips
Assistant Director: Bud Grace
Technical Director: Ray Connors
Lighting Director: Bob Boatman
Audio: Jack Tenhoor
Stage Manager: Frank Crawford
Music Supervision: The Monkees
Music Coordinator: Brendan Cahill
Recording by: Doc Siegel
Special Film by: Castle Lighting
Executive Producer: Ward Sylvester
A Screen Gems Presentation Produced With: The NBC-TV Network
Recorded: 10/9/68-12/?/68 at MGM Studios, Hollywood, CA
--- The Monkees went into production on 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee on the day immediately following their very last full concert as a quartet, at The Festival Hall in Osaka, Japan.
--- The Monkees were none too happy with Jack Good and Art Fisher's script for 33 1/3, calling it "too sloppy, too fairy-tale like," while David Jones felt that, for a TV special starring The Monkees, it emphasized rather largely on its guest cast than the group itself!
--- In the "Wind Up Man" sequence, The Monkees wear costumes almost similar to those which they wore in the TV series' pilot film.
--- For the "Listen To The Band" climax, Jack Good sent a couple of buses down to Sunset Strip to round up about 100 hippies (free people!) to compromise a live audience.
--- This was the last performance as a quartet The Monkees ever gave. Peter Tork, reportedly suffering from exhaustion, bought out his Monkees contract @ the end of 33 1/3's production, reducing The Monkees to a trio and making 33 1/3, in its initial NBC-TV telecast (pre-empting Rowan And Martin's Laugh-In), look dated! The Monkees would not be seen on network TV as a foursome again for 28 years.
--- Negotiations were originally made in early 1968 for The Monkees to star in three NBC-TV specials to air in 1969; 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee was the first. When The Peacock Network saw the final edit of 33 1/3, they realized that they had much more than what they bargained for, and sensed it was too subversive for John Quincy Public, hence their decision to air it opposite The 41st Academy Awards Presentation on ABC--on the Pacific coast, anyway. Further damage was done to the telecast by a clumsy engineer who accidentally presented 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee out of sequence, making it more confusing than it already was. All this prompted NBC to scrap plans to produce the other 2 Monkees specials.
--- The Hawaiian broadcast of 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee was delayed for 2 whole weeks; it was finally shown there on Monday, April 28. Its telecast in Great Britain occured on Saturday, May 24 on BBC2.
--- In the 1990s, 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee was released commercially by Rhino Home Video in 2 different versions. The version of 33 1/3 released individually in January 1997 (R3 2284) has been on file for years at The Museum Of Television & Radio in New York City, with good sound quality, a fuzzy picture and the segments in original broadcast order, whereas the version of the special released with the 1995 Monkees Video Box Set (R3 2960) has a sharp picture, murky sound quality, and the segments running in an alternate non-broadcast order. Rhino failed to locate the original 2-inch monaural first-generation videotape to which 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee was committed, and so they had to rely on two 1-inch NBC-TV broadcast masters with quality so substandard, they featured glitches. Rhino used both masters to concoct something of at least viewing quality.
NBC Television Network
Monday, April 14, 1969, 8-9pm EST
60-Minute Special In Color On Tape
Thanks to The Monkees Film & TV Vault for the trivia/facts!
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