I was hoping to see the 8-button Monkees shirts (as designed by Gene Ashman) available at the merchandise booth during this year's concerts...just for the novelty factor. Surely they would have been an instant hit!
Gary Strobl is a longtime Monkees collector and confidant of the group. Fans will remember his efforts in organizing Monkees conventions and, for a brief time in the '80s, his contributions to the publication Monkees West.
Gary has been compiling a book on The Monkees since 1983, conducting research and amassing numerous amounts of interviews through the years. Strobl, in collaboration with Henry Diltz and Harvey and Kenneth Kubernik, previously announced that a deal had been signed to publish their work.
In this June 1988 interview on the Headquarters radio program, Gary speaks with hosts Paris Stachtiaris and John Di Maio about how he became a Monkees fan and reveals intricacies behind the work on his book.
Thanks to Kevin Schmid for sharing this photo of Michael and Monkees wardrobe designer Gene Ashman, taken on the set of Head (during filming of the "Long Title" sequence) in 1968. This is the first time this photo has been made available publicly!
Wardrode designer Gene Ashman talks about creating the 8-button Monkees shirts and more in this article from the October 1967 issue of 16 Magazine.
A big thanks to Perry Corvese for scanning his program from the 1988 Chicago Monkees Convention!
A Monkees convention was held in conjunction with the group's Los Angeles area concerts during the 20th Anniversary Reunion Tour in September 1986. Thanks to Jeff Gehringer who took these pictures at the event!
Left to Right: frequent Monkees TV show guest star Monte Landis, Jessica Jones, Monkees wardrobe designer Gene Ashman, Monkees screenwriter Dave Evans, Davy, Talia Jones, Monkees TV show production assistant Marilyn Schlossberg, Monkees TV show editor and associate producer Gerald Shepard, Sarah Jones, Linda Haines (Davy's first wife), Anita Pollinger (Davy's second wife)
Rhino's online Monkees store doesn't sell them, but can you imagine the popularity of the 8-button shirts if they were offered for sale? Below is an example of one sold in the 1960s, along with its value as listed in Marty Eck's Monkees Collectibles Price Guide book in 1998. Beneath that, Michael Nesmith, who fostered the idea of the 8-button shirt to Monkees wardrobe designer Gene Ashman, recalls the origins of the group's unique clothing trademark in Harold Bronson's book, Hey, Hey, We're The Monkees.
For further reading about Gene Ashman and the 8-button Monkees shirts, check out this 1987 interview with Ashman here.
The 3rd Annual Los Angeles Monkees Convention took place in Universal City, California on July 9 and 10, 1988. Among the guests were longtime Monkees associates, friends, and family members.
Below are a few pictures from the event that come from my collection. You'll see Chip Douglas, who produced what are widely regarded as The Monkees' two best albums, Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.; Coco Dolenz (Micky's sister) and Janelle Scott (Micky's mother); David Pearl (Peter's stand-in on the TV show and a friend and associate of the group); Julie Newmar (actress and guest star on The Monkees); longtime Monkees collector Gary Strobl and Monkees screenwriter Dave Evans; and finally, famous character actor Vito Scotti, who appeared in an episode of The Monkees and in the band's feature film, Head. (Click all photos to enlarge.)
The convention was dedicated to the late Gene Ashman, wardrobe designer on The Monkees television series and the man responsible for creating the 8-button shirts worn by the group.
Monkees West was a mini-magazine published by a variety of people including Gary Strobl (longtime Monkees collector) and Gene Ashman (wardrobe designer on The Monkees television series). There were only two issues ever released. Here is the second and final issue from the fall of 1987. It includes an excerpt from Davy's book, They Made a Monkee Out of Me, a great picture of The Monkees and the crew of their television series, an interview with Ashman (including a discussion about the origins of the Monkees 8-button shirts) and a spotlight on the pilot episode.
The first issue can be found here. For easier reading, click on each image and then click on it again.
"Dr. Duck's Super Secret All-Purpose Sauce" was one of Michael's follow-ups to "Television Parts." The home video release was a montage of sketch comedy with a variety of stars (including Bobcat Goldthwait, Ed Begley, Jr., Jimmy Buffett, Rosanne Cash, Whoopi Goldberg, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld and Garry Shandling).
Monkees West was a mini-magazine published by a variety of people including Gary Strobl (longtime Monkees collector) and Gene Ashman (wardrobe designer on The Monkees television series). There were only two issues ever released. Here is the first from the spring of 1987. It includes a recap of the 1986 Reunion Tour, an interview with rock photographer Henry Diltz, and a spotlight on the "Hitting the High Seas" episode.
The second issue can be found here. For easier reading, click on each image and then click on it again.