The Monkees‘ creators put out a casting call for the sitcom The Monkees that was supposed to attract hippies. One of The Monkees’ songwriters said the casting call had a reference to a certain restaurant. In addition, the advertising had some drug references.
The Monkees’ Peter Tork, Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith, and Micky Dolenz | NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images
The Monkees’ casting call required singers who had the ‘courage’ to work
Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart co-wrote many of The Monkees’ songs. In his 2015 book Psychedelic Bubble Gum: Boyce & Hart, The Monkees, and Turning Mayhem Into Miracles, Hart published the original job listing for the Prefab Four.
Folk and Roll Musicians–Singers
For Acting Roles in New TV Series.
Running Parts for 4 Insane Boys, Age 17–21.
Want Spirited Ben Frank’s Types.
Have Courage to Work.
Must Come Down for Interview.
Call Ho. 6–5188
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The ad included a reference to a diner frequented by hippies
Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider co-created the Prefab Four. The former explained the advertisement to Boyce & Hart. “‘Ben Frank’s types’ was code for ‘hippies,’” he said. “Ben Frank’s was the name of the popular all-night diner on the Strip where the flower children, and sometimes Tommy and I, would hang out after the clubs closed at 2 a.m.
“‘Running parts’ was meant in the most literal sense, considering all the running the boys would be doing during the show’s madcap romps,” Hart continued. “And according to Rafelson, ‘Must come down for interview’ was sending this message: ‘If you’re on drugs, you’ll have to come down from your high, before you come in to see us.’” 437 individuals tried out for the show, with the group’s creators settling on Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davy Jones, and Peter Tork.
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How The Monkees’ songs performed on the pop charts in the United States and the United Kingdom
The ad worked and The Monkees became huge. Three of their singles reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100: “Last Train to Clarksville,” “I’m a Believer,” and “Daydream Believer.” Another seven of their songs — “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You,” “Valleri,” “That Was Then, This Is Now,” “D.W. Washburn,” “Words,” “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone,” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday” — reached the top 20 of the chart.
According to The Official Charts Company, “I’m a Believer” was the group’s only single to reach the top of the chart in the United Kingdom. They released six more singles that reached the top 20 in the U.K.: “Randy Scouse Git” (under the name “Alternate Title”), “Valleri,” “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You,” “Daydream Believer,” “D.W. Washburn,” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday.”
The Monkees were a smash and they might not be the same without some subtle advertising.
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