March 25, 1968 is a milestone date in Monkees history. That evening, the last original episode of The Monkees aired on NBC. "The Frodis Caper" was written by Micky Dolenz and Dave Evans, and in his debut behind the camera, directed by Micky. Rip Taylor made a memorable guest appearance as "Wizard Glick." The episode is also known as "Mijacogeo," which is made-up of the names in Micky's family: Micky, Janelle (mother), Coco (sister), and George (father).
The show opens with The Monkees being awakened by the Beatles song "Good Morning Good Morning," first heard on that group's seminal album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. When writing in the liner notes of his 2012 solo album Remember, Micky believed this was the first time The Beatles allowed their music to be utilized for an outside project.
The episode is about the evil Wizard Glick, played by Taylor, who is out to control people's minds through a hypnotic eye that is being broadcasted on television sets. "This is my attempt to address the manipulation of the American mind by the media," Micky relayed in a 2003 DVD commentary for the episode. "Hooray, The Monkees save the world from the evil machinations of the media...I guess it didn’t work, though, did it?" Singer/songwriter Tim Buckley, personally selected by Micky, was featured at the end of the show performing "Song to the Siren."
As the second season came to an end, and with the group tired of the format of the show, talks abounded about what direction a third season of The Monkees would take. "We started talking about what we would do on the next season–a live show? A variety show? A series of sketches?," said Micky years later. "One idea that came up was an awful lot like Laugh-In. We were, to be quite honest, getting tired of the same format. We wanted to do something a little more unusual, a little more out there." It wasn't meant to be, however, and the television series left the airwaves in 1968.
Ironically, The Monkees' TV show, the whole reason behind their conception, was never as big of a hit as the records were with the public. Andrew Sandoval happened to broach the topic of a third season at the 2014 Monkees convention. It is accurate to say that the group cast aside another season on TV because of creative differences, but according to Sandoval, the real reason the show ceased production is because Kellogg's, who sponsored the 7:30pm time slot on NBC on Monday's, contended that The Monkees didn't sell enough product for their company.
"The Frodis Caper" concluded with a final Monkees romp, featuring Bill and John Chadwick's anti-war song "Zor and Zam," which was heard in an early mono mix. "It was basically about two kings who gave a war and nobody came," Bill Chadwick told Andrew Sandoval. "We all had friends going off to Vietnam, and nobody was real happy about the way things were being handled. Guys were going over there and weren't getting any support. Basically the idea of, 'If you're not going to get support from your own country, why the hell should you go?'"
The website Ultimate Classic Rock is also taking a look back at "The Frodis Caper" today:
For more about this episode, check out some articles from the Live Almanac's archives:
In late 1968, The Monkees toured Australia and Japan. On September 30, The Monkees left Australia and traveled to Tokyo, Japan for the second leg of the tour. The group and their tour party were forced to stop in Hong Kong when their flight hit severe weather.
When the 3-CD deluxe edition of The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees was released in 2010, fans were treated to a previously unheard alternate mix of "Auntie's Municipal Court," this time with Michael on lead vocals:
There are also two versions of "Zor and Zam." An early mono mix appeared on the last original episode of The Monkees television series ("The Frodis Caper") but wasn't officially released until the 1996 Missing Links, Volume Three collection:
An embellished production of "Zor and Zam" courtesy of arranger Shorty Rogers appeared on The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees in April 1968:
Brand new to the Live Almanac's YouTube channel is Bill Chadwick's single for Dot Records, "Talking to the Wall"/"If You Have the Time." Thanks to Kevin Schmid for providing the audio, and the scans of the 45s in the video are courtesy of Monkee45s.
Bill Chadwick talks about the 1968 tour of Australia & Japan and more on the Headquarters radio program
This episode of Headquarters also includes a live solo version of "I'll Spend My Life With You" by Peter, "Pleasant Valley Sunday" with Nez at the Greek Theatre in 1986, a live performance by Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart of "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight," and a Christmas song by The New Monkees!
Be sure to check out the recent blog post about Bill and his years spent working with The Monkees.
Bill Chadwick is familiar to Monkees fans as a songwriter, TV show extra, studio musician, and confidant of the group throughout its initial run in the 1960s.
Bill was a regular along with Michael Nesmith and John London at the famous Ledbetter's club in Los Angeles and the Troubadour in Hollywood during the pre-Monkees era. The three were soon part of a folk group called The Survivors that was assembled by Randy Sparks, who also founded The New Christy Minstrels. Bill auditioned for The Monkees in 1965, making it past the initial round of interviews and being one of the few to participate in an actual screen test with Bob Rafelson (fast forward to 13:35 and 17:20 to see Bill).
Despite not being chosen, Bill contributed to the Monkees project through multiple avenues. His song, "Of You," was recorded at one of the earliest Monkees recording sessions in the summer of 1966. His other songwriting credits for the group include "If I Knew," "French Song," "Time and Time Again," "If You Have the Time," "You and I," "Smile," "How Can I Tell You," and "Zor and Zam." Bill also contributed backing vocals and instrumentation on many Monkees tracks. He went on to become a lighting director and tour manager for The Monkees, and photographed the group extensively throughout the late 1960s.
In 1969, Bill released a single on Dot Records, "Talking to the Wall"/"If You Have the Time." Both tracks were produced by Michael Nesmith, and Nez later recorded his own version of "Talking to the Wall" for the 1972 album Tantamount To Treason Volume 1. Michael also produced a few unreleased sessions for Chadwick in the early 1970s.
Bill remained close with The Monkees after the television show was canceled. Years later in the 1980s he worked for the Tiffany glass company and was often seen in pictures backstage at Monkees reunion concerts. Bill also performed his songs at several Monkees conventions in the late '80s, and was present when the group received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1988, his book (co-authored with Maggie McManus and Ed Reilly) The Monkees - A Manufactured Image: The Ultimate Reference Guide to Monkee Memories & Memorabilia, was published.
Below is his memoir that appeared at the beginning of the Manufactured Image book.
Read more about Bill and listen to interviews he has given about his experiences with The Monkees in the Live Almanac's archives.
A big thanks to Kevin Schmid for providing the audio files for Bill's 1969 Dot single, and for contributing some of the information in this blog post.
To accompany today's blog post about Bill Chadwick and his relationship with The Monkees, here's an insightful and revealing interview with Bill from the Headquarters radio program conducted by host Paris Stachtiaris in the summer of 1988. Bill covers a lot of ground, including his recollections of Jimi Hendrix opening for The Monkees at Forest Hills in New York in 1967.
A big thanks to Perry Corvese for scanning his program from the 1988 Chicago Monkees Convention!
The hardcover book, The Monkees - A Manufactured Image: The Ultimate Reference Guide to Monkee Memories & Memorabilia, was published in 1987. Its authors included Monkees collector Ed Reilly; the editor-in-chief of Monkee Business Fanzine, Maggie McManus; and longtime Monkees associate Bill Chadwick.