Saturday, January 28, 2012
33 1/3 REVOLUTIONS PER MONKEE
Like some people I'm not a Monkee hater, I always thought they had some good tunes and their TV show was a mild diversion but, I have to say, this TV special Sucks! The main problem: not enough Monkees and Too Much Brian Auger and Trinity with Julie Driscoll (a group nowhere near as good or as important as they imagined themselves).
There is so much Auger and Driscoll that it made 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee seem like it's their special with The Monkees simply being guest stars. To further add to my misery while watching this special, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Fats Domino are featured only briefly and are used primarily as backing for Auger and The Monkees.
33 1/3 Revolutions has a plot of sorts, what I guess someone thought was "heavy man" (Hey! It was 1969!): The Monkees are stripped of their personalities and then molded back into plasticized Pop Stars and at the end of the special given their freedom to be individuals again. All of this is orchestrated for the most part by Auger and Driscoll. The Monkees dress up as robots and sing "Wind Up Man", this is followed by a scene with Auger in a stack of piano players (with himself at the top) and Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Fats Domino all under him. This is the point where I almost became disgusted enough to turn the whole thing off. Next, Darwin (yes, it is supposed to be that Darwin) takes over and Paul Arnold and the Moon Express do an expressive dance....once again, I had thoughts of ending my misery.
Each Monkee, under the watchful eyes of Auger/Driscoll, gets a solo in order to discover their own personality: Mickey sings a funky "I'm a Believer", Peter gets all Eastern mystical with "I Prithee (Do Not Ask For Love)," Mike comes off best doing a split screen duo with himself with a country tune "Naked Persimmon (The Only Thing I Believe Is True)"and Davy, dressed as a toy and true to his musical theater roots, sings and dances to "Goldilocks Sometime."
33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee continued to go downhill for me as The Monkees, dressed as apes, performed Neil Sedaka's "I Go Ape", the "ape" Monkees evolve into a 1950s group and Auger introduces them as "idolized, plasticized, psychoanalyzed, and sterilized". The Monkees do a medley of 50s hits with Little Richard, Fats Domino, and Jerry Lee Lewis having very short song segments. Fats Domino gets slightly more screen time than the other two, although Jerry Lee steals the show in the few seconds he is on screen.
Auger decides the group should have complete freedom which leads to the final segment. Davy begins by singing "String For My Kite". Peter enters and shows off his skills on the harpsichord. Mickey and Mike show up and a party scene (extras were rounded up off Sunset Strip) develops with The Monkees, Buddy Miles Express, Brian Auger, Julie Driscoll, and Trinity all joining in on "Listen To The Band". The special closes on a book with a page reading "Chaos Is Come Again" and as the book closes we see the back cover reads "The Beginning of the End", which is apt since this is the last time The Monkees would perform as a quartet until 1986. 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee was such a disaster that two other planned specials featuring the group were deservedly scrapped.