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:
Monkees Farewell Tour
Dolenz sings Nesmith