Living with…The Monkees…for a week

Introducing the…

Like for many others, the death of Davy Jones last week was a sad and nostalgic moment for me.  The Monkees brought a smile to our faces, coming from an age when we weren’t jaded yet by manufactured groups. We liked the Monkees because you couldn’t help but like them, and actually the music was pretty good.

So it’s back to memories of 70’s Saturday morning television when each show had a wonderful introduction.  Pardon me the indulgence.

Starting with the Banana Splits, who not only had the catchiest song of the lot (even if it only went Tra-la-la) but also had those wicked buggies that they used to zoom around in.  We ALL WANTED one of them.

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Rosemary the telephone operator? Henry the mild mannered janitor?

It can only be the start of Hong Kong Phooey the karate gifted hero who was a mystery to all except those who could recognize a dog dressed in martial arts garb.  The song of the playground, obviously to be accompanied by appropriate high kicking and a swift reprimand from a passing teacher.

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Everyone will know the name of Champion the Wonder House.  A very personal favourite evoking memories of a love for cowboys that only lasted a year or two while I watched this.  The love never returned.  Clearly, I saw this on the re-runs as the series originated  from the ’50s but as we only had black and white until the late ’70s that didn’t make much difference

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Although not necessarily the coolest piece of music around – after all what is rinky dink but only something that rhymes with pink – the intro to The Pink Panther Show brought us another COOL vehicle.  The PPmobile with that annoying boy driving it.  In hindsight and with over 20 years behind the wheel – how totally and utterly impractical are the driving arrangements for that car!!  Watch carefully, they can barely keep it going in a straight line.

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And finally, the opening scene to The Monkees

That walk across the beach that we would copy in the playground, crossing over each other’s steps!  Riding around on motorbikes. Dressed up as the foreign legion.  Driving along with heads out of the car window.  Running around in a Benny Hill sort of way.  Looking like they are having so much fun.  The opening to every Monkees show was a moment of delight.

A week with their greatest hits is also full of moments of delight.  For a start, how cool is it to have a song called Randy Scouse Git, even if maybe their American ears didn’t quite understand it the same way as us Brits!  The term of course comes from Alf Garnett in Until Death Us Do Part.

Then there’s Last Train to Clarksville, Pleasant Valley Sunday all great singles in their own right that stand up against anything else from the ’60s.  And you can’t go wrong if Neil Diamond writes you two beauties in I’m A Believer, and A Little Bit Me A Little Bit You.

But my all-time favourite is Daydream Believer.  On the unofficial chart of how many variations of the songs exist on the football terraces of Britain, it must be in the top ten.  The Seagulls’ version centres on a certain Barry Fry, ex Peterborough United manager  ‘a fat ‘boro b*****d’ but I’m sure each club will have its own favourite take.  At the end of the day, it’s a song that puts a smile on your face and leaves you better than it found you.

Rather like the Monkees and Davy Jones, so that’s my epitaph.  You leave us better than you found us.

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And today marks my century, my 100th post as no81bob. Cheers.

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