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Film Threat – The Bootleg Files: Hey, Hey, It’s The Monkees

April 3, 2011 by  
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BOOTLEG FILES 369: “Hey, Hey, It’s The Monkees” (1997 TV special reuniting Davy, Micky, Mike and Peter).

LAST SEEN: The entire show can be seen on


REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: The only Monkees production that was never commercially released in home entertainment channels.


Thomas Wolfe was spot-on when he observed that you can’t go home again – and this seems especially poignant for once-popular music groups that reunite years after splitting up. Belated get-togethers are inevitably a bad idea: the cruelty of time robs most performers of their energy and vibrancy (not to mention their vocal prowess), and this is particularly embarrassing when older performers attempt to recapture magic that evaporated decades earlier.

The wiser music groups resist the siren call of well-funded nostalgia – the four members of ABBA, most notably, have reportedly rejected extraordinary financial offers to team up again for reunion tours. Sometimes, old bands are constituted with a few of their founding members and a lot of new people who had no connection to the past glories. In a way, those hodgepodges are more than disappointing – they represent a genuine cheat.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the launch of The Monkees, and three members of the original quartet are planning a reunion tour across the U.K. and the U.S. However, the last time that all four Monkees reunited was a 1997 one-shot TV special called “Hey, Hey, It’s The Monkees.”

Although The Monkees play a significant part in today’s consideration of 1960s pop culture, the band originally had a fairly brief life. “The Monkees” TV show only ran two seasons, from September 1966 to March 1968, and their follow-up projects – the 1968 film “Head” and a 1969 TV special called “33? Revolutions Per Monkee” – were disastrous commercial failures. Even worse, their skein of hit tunes abruptly stopped once their TV show was over. Peter Tork quit the group after the TV special wrapped, which Michael Nesmith left in early 1970. Remaining band members Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones gamely attempted to carry on The Monkees as a duo, but they lost the rights to the Monkees name after a single unsuccessful album was released in mid-1970.

Yet The Monkees never really vanished from sight. Their TV show remained on the air for years, first as a staple of Saturday morning kiddie program and later as a syndicated offering that was rerun to death by hundreds of independent television stations. In the mid-1980s, MTV and Nickelodeon began to rerun the show, and The Monkees’ albums were simultaneously re-released. Dolenz, Jones and Tork reunited in the mid-1980s for a Monkees tour, and a newly recorded single called “That Was Then, This is Now” found its way to the Billboard charts. Of course, the group’s hit songs remained part of the play list of radio stations specializing in “oldies” music.

However, the reunited Monkees were only three-quarters complete. Nesmith, whose post-Monkees career included successful ventures in songwriting and music and video production, was not eager to participate in the revival. He turned up twice in 1989 – once for a Los Angeles concert and once for the dedication of a Monkees star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame – but, otherwise, he kept his distance.

via Film Threat – The Bootleg Files: Hey, Hey, It’s The Monkees.

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