The Monkees....they were the Marx Brothers to a hip generation. The Monkees music became the sound track for our young lives. Their antics made us laugh, but while were laughing, we were learning. We learned things that have stayed with us well into the 70ís the 80ís and now..the 90ís.
Like the Marx Brothers the Monkees magic was captured on film. Both groups shared similar comedy technique; the play on words, the wise cracks, the loser who was selected by a hand over hand on a baseball bat-or a golf club. Groucho would break the 4th wall and talk to the viewers. The Monkees would later do just the same and Micky would ask us "Isnít that dumb?"
The Marx Brothersí fans sat in darkened theatres and from time to time laughed along
with their latest film. The Monkees were invited into their fans homes once a week. The
Monkees became a part of our extended families , and so we gave them our strictest
attention. We were given our first glimpse of what life might be like (we hoped) in our
future, when we no longer lived with our parents. The Monkee were out of school, they
had jobs (sometimes!) they paid rent (usually!) and were interested in the opposite sex, (all
the time.) No matter how crazy the episodes were, the Monkees themselves were very
real. We were offered brief views of them at them at the end of selected
Peter was our guru. He taught us about peace, love, non violence and that
"love is understanding." We could always count on Peter to make it through all the chaos
and give us a beautiful smile, with a dimple. Peter was our perfect example of a 60ís
flower child. We could see the joy and love in his face. Peter gave us our first glimpse
of the "natural" things that were the emerging, ideas that would come full force in the 70s.
Things like health foods, organic anything, moccasins and hand made gifts. We also
knew that Peter loved the music. He loved playing music and loved being with musicians.
When Peter played he would shine with a light of his own. Peter had an appreciation for
almost all types of music, classical, folk, rock, pop, blues. Many of us got our first taste
of Bach and Rock by "sitting at Peterís feet." We were also introduced to eastern
philosophy and that "where there is clarity, there is no choice. Where there is choice,
there is misery." Oh- there was one more thing. We learned that you have to be very
smart to play dumb so convincingly. But then WE always knew that Peter was
very intelligent. Peter would make sure that we understood, by dropping out of character
every so often to dazzle us with the real man behind the beautiful clown.
Mike was our mentor. Mike was as wily as a fox and always seemed to
know what to do if all else failed. Mike was often the designated driver of the Monkees.
He had a plan- complete with a great vocabulary. Mike forced us to actually use
the dictionary and to think it was hip. Banal and incipid were the first in a long string of
words we would learn from Mike. He also gave new meaning to the phrase "think before
you speak." To this day many of us will never forget Mikeís lessons on why we shouldnít
ask stupid questions. If we should catch ourselves saying something totally ridiculous, we
just hope that Mike is not somewhere nearby. Mike also taught us that you didnít have to
follow the crowd and that it was harder to "love something ugly." Mike made us realize
that we should expect no less than we were promised. And Mike could make us laugh
hysterically with a few words from his dry wit or with just an expression. He could later
turn around and make us cry with a "love is where the powerís at" speech. Mike was
always ahead of the times in many things like country-rock music and even fashion. Did
you notice his tux at the Emmys? Mike had style and Mike was the only man under 25
that looked cool in a tie.