1 9 8 7 (USA)
13 x 25 minute episodes
Twenty years after the mammoth success of The Monkees TV series, The New Monkees was announced, cast, recorded and unleashed on to the television screens of America.
The open casting call for the series in 1986 attracted more than 3,000 applicants. Included in the long list of hopefuls were the young sons of rock stars Donovan, the late Bobby Darin, Frankie Avalon and Mike Nesmith. When the dust had settled from the stampede of prospective Monkees, the producers announced their choices:
20-year-old “Dino” Kovas had been grilling hamburgers at a restaurant called Sneaky Petes in Livonia, Michigan; 19-year-old Jared Chandler was a former busboy at a Victoria Station restaurant in Universal City, California; 18-year-old Larry Saltis was a Kent State, Ohio student; and 27-year-old Marty Ross from Los Angeles was the only member of the foursome who was an active musician.
The majority of the TV show took place in The New Monkees’ mansion which was the most imaginative fantasy television set since Pee Wee’s Playhouse. It was never explained how the four musicians got together or how they became the masters of a lavish mansion in the first place.
The debut episode found the foursome wandering the halls of the huge house looking for a suitable room in which to shoot their next music video. Thanks to jump-cut editing, opened doors in this mansion exposed beach scenes, black-and-white cartoon rooms, mad scientists’ laboratories, snowstorms, or any number of imaginary locations.
The mansion also had several other advantages, including a British butler named Manford (Gordon Oas-Heim).
Instead of having a kitchen, the New Monkees’ house had a 24-hour diner, complete with a full-time waitress.
The house was also inhabited by ‘Helen’ (Lynnie Godfrey), a set of upside-down woman’s lips, who existed on video monitors placed all over the house.
Helen always had a fresh, snappy comment to make amid all of the goings-on in the house, and by switching video screens she followed the boys from room to room.
Like the original Monkees TV show, approximately half of each episode was devoted to some new plotted adventure.
The other half of the show was taken up by music videos and a myriad of unrelated short comedy bits. Also identical to the original show was the use of footage from the auditions of the fours stars, intercut into the action of the half-hour show.
The New Monkees’ first single, What I Want, was released in October 1987. Unfortunately, both the record and the television show quickly perished.
The New Monkees ceased production before the year was up, and their record failed to make the charts. Hey hey, they were history . . .