After releasing Justus, an album of all-new material in late 1996, The Monkees began work on an original one-hour prime time TV special in January 1997, and it eventually aired in the United States on ABC on February 17, 1997. This article, from the March 1997 issue of Monkee Business Fanzine and written by MBF editor Maggie McManus, details the genesis and filming of the television special, the group's first since 1969's 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee.
Bill Martin, an extended member of the Monkees family, has passed away. Martin was a musician, songwriter, screenwriter, comedic actor, and voice actor.
Brought into The Monkees' orbit by his friend Michael Nesmith, Martin's initial contribution to the group came in the form of "All of Your Toys," a song recorded in early 1967 during the very first sessions to feature The Monkees supporting themselves instrumentally in the recording studio. Unfortunately for Martin, Screen Gems was unable to acquire the rights to "All of Your Toys" from its original holder, Tickson Music, for which Martin worked. "All of Your Toys" remained unreleased until it was finally aired on the Missing Links compilation in 1987. After Martin eventually signed with Screen Gems, The Monkees recorded another of his compositions, "The Door Into Summer," which found a home on 1967's Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. album and stands today as one of the LP's finest cuts. Martin later collaborated on songs with an assortment of artists, including Harry Nilsson ("Rainmaker," covered by Michael on his third solo effort, Nevada Fighter), Dan Fogelberg, and The Turtles. He also performed with a variety of bands throughout his career, including playing keyboards for Linda Ronstadt.
In the early '80s, Bill appeared in Nesmith's Elephant Parts and then co-wrote the screenplay to the 1987 movie Harry and The Hendersons (with Steven Spielberg as executive producer). In 1997, he made a cameo appearance in The Monkees' ABC television special (as the refrigerator tour guide). Martin lent his voice to various animated series throughout the years, too, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, and multiple Star Wars video games.
When The Monkees played in Seattle, Washington on their 2013 summer tour, Michael dedicated that evening's performance of "The Door Into Summer" to Bill.
In 1989, Martin was interviewed by Paris Stachtiaris and John Di Maio on the Headquarters radio program:
Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval took a moment to remember Bill Martin on Facebook:
"Davy Jones used to like to go around quoting his favorite Martinism: 'Hummus where the heart is.'
All four Monkees loved him..."
Does anyone have a color version of this photo? Or even a higher quality black and white? If you do and wouldn't mind sharing, please contact me.