Just as every girl had her favorite Beatle, so it was with the Monkees.
While lead singer Davy Jones with his devilish English accent, blew the minds of most prepubescent girls right into orbit, wool-capped Mike Nesmith with his deadpan comic style was my fave-rave Monkee. His personally autographed, color pin-up carefully removed from the center of 16 Magazine hung in a place of honor on my suburban bedroom wall. There was a lot of competition for prime bedroom wall space among the mélange of other grrr-oovy teen heart-throb pin-ups scotch-taped to my vinyl wallpapered wall.
Now with the former guitarist’s passing on December 10th, there is just one Monkee left standing of that fab foursome.
One would be hard-pressed to find a woman of a certain age who did not love those madcap Monkees.
Along with other teen idols with E-Z names like Mark, Bobby, and Dino the Monkees eased us into the world of rock and roll sweetly, slowly, and gently. The Monkees were not hard rock. Their music was pure pop pastries. They were safe. They did not sneer. They were not lustful and dangerous like Mick Jagger.
No, the Monkees were clean-cut and wholesome, not like the dirty hippies protesting on the nightly news, or the drug-addled rock stars that were tripping and dying.
They were fun and flirty and sweet.
The Monkees suggested to a young girl that male sexuality wasn’t so threatening. “I’m in love, and I’m a believer” they sang sounding as love-struck as we felt. “I couldn’t leave her if I tried.”
And I believed them.
This Beatles-like fictional group originated as a made-for TV rock band for an NBC show called The Monkees which made its debut in 1966. Though the group was often referred to derisively as the “Pre-Fab4,” ironically at their peak the Monkees sold more albums than the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined.
The Monkees were soon the cover boys of all the Teen Magazines.
Only the year before the Beatles had monopolized the covers, but gradually the Monkees pictures got bigger and the poor Beatles smaller. By the time “I’m a Believer” was released at the end of 1966 they began to monopolize the covers.
By 1967 the Monkees were the reigning favorite of the fickle pubescent girl. Girls who only recently had crushes on Herman’s Hermits or Paul McCartney now walked the halls of their Jr. High Schools carrying notebooks festooned with Monkee’s Luv Stickers.
And their dreamy pictures were plastered on the walls of teens’ bedrooms across the country just like mine. Teen magazines like 16 Magazine were the pipeline to these fantasies offering monthly additions of swoon-worthy pin-ups of the most current pop-crop crushes.
And if that didn’t satisfy your pin-up cravings, for a mere dollar you could send away for the biggest, grooviest most breathtaking pin-up posters yet.
“Each individual Monkees LARGER than life LOVELY to look at and irresistibly KISSABLE! Here they are –just for YOU and YOU ALONE ( Because you can’t get this multi-gorgeous, totally exclusive, Monkee autographed, swinging 16 type, super-gigantic color poster of ALL FOUR of the Monkees anywhere else in the whole wide universe!)
“Each and every adorable Monkee comes to you in living, breathing, color- so true-to-life that you’ll want to embrace then all in a great big bear hug! Pin up the poster on your bedroom wall where I will be he first thing you see when you wake up each morning- and go out to meet the day with a happy smile!
You’ll be on Cloud Nine forever after!
Contest- Up, Up, and Away!
But the grooviest thing of all was a May 1967 contest sponsored by 16 Magazine to meet the Monkees. Appealing to the daydream believer in all of us, we believed we actually had a chance to really meet the Monkees.
Some lucky girl ( it could be you) could fly off to Monkey-land with 16’s editor Gloria Stavers and find what’s really going on behind the scenes with Davy, Mike, Peter, and Mickey ( Who’s gotta groovy secret or two to share with you)
Hold onto your hearts, me little ones—16 Magazine is about to do the impossible!
You are going to meet the Monkees! For the first time any place in the whole wide world—because the Monkees themselves are special-super-wild about all you 16-ers—here’s your chance to meet your fave-rave Monkee! Since the boys simply can’t meet each and every one of you individually (jeez, that would take five whole lifetimes, wouldn’t it?), they’ve decided that the very next best thing they can do for you is to pick a 16 reader and take her (and her chaperone) into their lives for a day (or as much of a day as their work schedule will permit), and that’s just what they’re going to do!!! AND THAT SPECIAL GIRL COULD BE YOU—YOU—YOU! So read on—
Here’s what’s gonna happen: You are going to be transported from wherever you live by plane, train, bus, or car—whichever you choose and whichever is most convenient—along with the proper chaperone to wherever in the world the Monkees happen to be at the time the contest is fulfilled. Since Peter, Mike, Micky and Davy seldom know where they’re gonna be from one month to the next—you’ll be meeting them anywhere from their Screen Gems studio in Hollywood to wherever they’re playing on their tour of America, or perhaps even England (Or any other foreign country where they might be playing).
If, at the time the contest is fulfilled, they are making a movie—then you will go wherever they are filming.
As you can see, the possibilities are super-triple-fab, to say the very least. You’ll not only meet each of your fave Monkee guys—you’ll get to talk with them, listen to them, watch them at work and play. You’ll really get to know Davy, Micky, Peter and Mike! Nothing in the whole wide world could be more wonderful than this magical, bedazzling, fantastic Meet The Monkees And Spend A Day—Or Several Hours—With Them Contest. And it’s so so E-Z-simple for you to become the one special girl who wins you’ll be absolutely amazed that all you have to do is—
Write a one-page letter entitled: “Why I Would Love To Meet The Monkees.” Make your letter simple and sincere—just pour out your true thoughts and feeling about the Monkees, what the boys mean to you. Write on one side of the paper only—don’t write on the back.
After you have written your letter, choose a photograph of yourself taken recently. Attach your photo to your letter—then fill in the coupon on this page, cut it out and mail it, together with your letter and photo, to the address on the coupon. (Note: No photographs will be returned.)
All letters will be judged by the Monkees and Gloria Stavers, editor of 16 Magazine. They will select the one letter which in their judgment is the best—the most heartfelt and the most sincere. And the writer of that letter will be the contest winner.
If you’ve ever dreamed about meeting the Monkees—all four of them!—in person, here’s your gleaming golden opportunity! Don’t let it go by! Pick up a pen, a pencil or a typewriter and write your letter right now!
Now, all I can do is dream…. “Cheer up sleepy Jean /Oh what can it mean to a /Daydream believer….
© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.