Saturday, July 15, 2006


After 9 years of absence from prime time television, DC comics returned on January 12, 1966 on ABC with Batman. I was only about 4 years old but I remember seeing the first episode. It has been rumored that the producer of the show was to meet with network executives who wanted to turn Batman into a series. The producer had never read a comic book until he was on a plane to attend a meeting with the executives. Unfortunately he didn’t get any of those with the new more serious look for Batman. The ones he did get made him laugh and that became the basis of what he thought the series should be like. Oddly enough the campy sit-com has remained timeless. Stanly Ralph Ross, one of the writers on the show, said that the reason the show seems to remain up to date is that they tried not to make jokes about people that were in the news at that time. On occasion they would but usually not. Also, Gotham City was not a real place. Most shows that remain timeless take place in some type of fantasy land. The show was hot it’s first season and so many famous people wanted to be on the show that they couldn’t create enough villains for the series. So they started the cameo scenes. You know they were usually the ones where Batman and Robin where climbing up the wall and Sammy Davis Jr., Jerry Lewis, Col. Klink etc. would open a window and talk to them. The networks also used this as a way to promote their other shows. As I just mentioned Col. Klink from Hogan’s Heroes showed up looking for Col. Hogan. Why was he looking for WWII P.O.W. in the 1960’s? Also, where is the time machine that Col. Klink had used to get there? Before the Green Hornet crossed over with Batman they met as allies when Green Hornet and Kato popped out of a window to promote their new show. Neil Hamilton was once a big movie star. By the time the 1960’s came around his star was not shining as brightly. I read an interview back in the 70’s where he said that Batman saved his life. You see he was about to kill himself because he could not get cast in any parts. What is it with actors who want to kill themselves because they can’t get parts? If your career is not going well there is no shame in finding another way to make a living. I am trained to be a broadcaster but I am making my living as a bill collector.
This was not Adam West first TV show. He had already done a Three Stooges film and co-starred in the TV series The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor. He did some ill fated pilots but this is the one that took off and made him a star. Unfortunately it typecast him and the only parts he has gotten in most films and TV shows have had something to do with Batman. At one time he did the voice of Batman in one of his many Saturday morning cartoons. Burt Ward was not on anything till this show. His name was really Burt Gervis but the producers thought he should change his name. Since he was to play Dick Grayson the ward of Bruce Wayne he changed his last name to Ward. A lot of stunts were done during the series and stuntmen are paid more if the stunt is dangerous. Since Mr. Ward was a rookie actor it cost the producers less to have him do his own stunts. The more dangerous the stunts became the more they used Mr. Ward. If it was just a drive down the street they used the stunt man. If it was where they had to tie him up to a bomb with real dynamite then they used Mr. Ward. The show slowed down in the ratings and in order to save it half way through the second year they cast Yvonne Craig as Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl. How good a cop could Commissioner Gordon be to not figure out that his own daughter is Batgirl? The show aired on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Between the two Thursday was the biggest in the ratings because it was the ending to the two part adventure. With ratings low there was no way they were going to have a low rated show anchor two nights. Batman was dropped from Wednesday and continued as a regular half hour sit-com on Thursday. The changes didn’t save the show and ABC canceled the series. The producers tried to get another network interested but none of them were. They destroyed most of the sets. Ironically NBC called to say they might be interested if all the sets were still intact. Since they weren’t that was the end of the series. It lived on in reruns on local stations in the 1970’s and still appears on cable networks from time to time. During its brief time on network television it made stars out of the entire cast and the guest villains who ranged from Julie Newmar and Frank Gorshin to Victor Buono and Eli Walich got an added boost to their careers. There have been other TV series based on Superman since the 1950’s. Fox once aired some episodes of their Batman animated series in prime time. Perhaps one day there will be another live TV series in prime time based on Batman. You can click here to go to Adam West website. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 14, 2006

Rest In Peace Red Buttons

I just heard that comdian/actor Red Buttons passed away. This is sad news to all lovers of old comedians of TV and Films. In the 1950's Mr. Buttons starred in his own variety series. The show was a big hit in the first year. His theme song called the "Ho Ho Song" was popular among the childern of the day. It started out on CBS in 1952 but during it's second year it started to fad and CBS canceled the series. NBC picked it up but ratings didn't improve so they took the unusual steps and changed it from a variety series into a sit-com. In this format Red was a TV star who was always getting into trouble. There were changes in the cast and the writing staff but nothing seemed to help and the show was canceled by May of 1955. He went on to a good career in movies. He was in one of my favorites The Posiden Adventure. This is the second person from the cast of that movie to die this year. He also came back to be in episodes of other TV shows from time to time. He was in an episode of the Cosby show and is famous for his "Never Had A Dinner" speech from the Dean Martin Roast in the 1970's.
I love old TV Guide covers and chose this one to show you. It shows Mr. Buttons as the character that he played so well. The nice, innocent, lonley guy who was looking for love. Hats off to you Mr. Buttons and I hope when you get to Heaven they will have a dinner for you. Posted by Picasa

The Adventures of Superman

Recently on this site I have been talking about TV moguls. Since I started this site to talk about my stories (which I hope and plan to get back to soon), my hobbies on comics, music and the Monkees and an occasional Bible verse, I wondered how I could include that into the mix. Then it hit me. Now moguls seem to usually have at least 3 hit shows in prime time. With companies usually licensing their characters for TV shows and movies some comic book companies might actually qualify. In prime time Marvel has, to date, only had one hit show with the Incredible Hulk. However, DC comics is looking like the Aaron Spelling or Quinn Martin of the comic book field.
Now Superman started out his licensing to other mediums as a radio show. Then he went on to movie serials with Kirk Alyn and Superman and the Mole Men with George Reeves. That film was the basis for the TV show the Adventures of Superman. It was syndicated instead of being tied to a network. Production started in 1951 but it didn’t get aired until 1952. Most of the cast of Superman and the Mole Men returned to their roles. It aired until November of 1957 having produced 104 episodes. The show was produced mostly for children but in trying to capture the adults the first year the episodes came close to being film noir. Superman was rarely seen and most of the work of solving the crime was left to Superman in his Clark Kent identity with Lois, Jimmy and Inspector Henderson and sometimes Perry White. The first year was in black and white but eventually the series was filmed in color even though no one had color TV back then. It was a smart move as that has helped syndication for the series to continue even to this day. Jack Larson said that his manager told him that the producers wanted him to play the part of Jimmy in the TV show pilot. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to do it. His manager said he had seen the script. He said it wasn’t that good and they wanted to pay him $500 for the pilot. Mr. Larson was told the script wasn’t that good and would probably not air. If I were you I would take the money and run. Mr. Larson said that he did and the show ran for 5 years. The show was fun to watch and was so popular that George Reeves made a guest appearance on a network show, I Love Lucy, playing Superman. Not George Reeves. I think this is the only time that a character on a hit syndicated series played the same character on a hit network show.
The show was shot on a low budget. There was barely enough money for the special effects to make Superman fly. So I can understand why they didn’t have him fight supervillains with superpowers. He usually fought bank robbers and spies. Why didn’t he ever fight Lex Luthor? He didn’t have super powers. It couldn’t have been the inventions. They had inventions from Professor Pepperwinkle on the show that crooks were always trying to steal. They could have had Lex as the boss of the crooks trying to steal his inventions.
Phyllis Coates left the part of Lois Lane early on in the series and I have no idea what her reason was for that decision. I suspect that since the first episodes were filmed in 1951 and the 2nd season didn't air until 1953 she may have had another job and not been available for the role. Noel Neill took over the part in 1953. Perhaps I should say that she came back to the role. She played it in the serials with Kirk Alyn.
The series became shrouded in mystery near the end of the series run with the death of its star George Reeves. It is said that he committed suicide after a party in his home. However, over time other items have come out that make it look like it might have been murder. First is that his fiancĂ© and some friends from the party were still in his house while he was upstairs getting ready for bed when he decided to kill himself. He decided to kill himself while there were friends in his home? That doesn’t sound right to me. He also was about to get married. He was signed to star for another year of the Adventures of Superman and direct some episodes. He was also under contract to direct a feature film. So his personal and professional lives were looking up. It doesn’t sound as if he was the perfect picture of someone who was suicidal. However, he was known to have just broken off a relationship with another woman since he was about to get married. She was the wife of a Hollywood executive who had mob connections. Maybe she or her husband knows what happened. We may never know the truth. I have heard that they are about to make a movie out of George Reeves life and mostly his death will be the focus of the film.
Here is a fan site for George Reeves and for the man who played Inspector Henderson on the series, Robert Shayne. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Phyllis Coates other shows

With everyone still thinking of Superman Returns I thought I would talk about one of the first Lois Lanes. I am talking about Phyllis Coates from the Adventures of Superman. She has always been a mystery to me after she left the series that made her famous. I never saw her in anything again. As it turns out she did do other series and movies they just didn’t become hits and most of the TV series were on and off the air before I was born. Actually the Adventures of Superman was too but it was a big enough that it reran for years and I saw it in reruns. Most of what she starred in on TV were sit-coms. I guess she wanted a break from the drama and superheroics.
From July 2 1954 to September 3, 1954 she co-starred in “The Duke” with Paul Gilbert as “Duke” London a boxer who also wanted to become a famous painter. He met a Harvard graduate named Rudy who helped him try to accomplish this goal. Duke’s trainer Johnny (Allen Jenkins) and his promoter Sam (Sheldon Leonard) kept trying to get him to concentrate more on his fighting. Miss. Coates played his new society girlfriend Gloria in the series.
From January 8, 1955 to July 2, 1955 Miss. Coates was seen on TV in Professional Father. Steve Dunne was Thomas Wilson MD a child psychologist. At work he gave wise advice to parents on how to handle the problems they were having. At home with his wife Helen, played by Barbara Billingsley before Leave It to Beaver, and their children he seemed to forget everything that he told his patients. What part did Miss. Coates play? She was cast as Nurse Madge Allen. It doesn’t sound like it was a very big part to me.
In 1958 she was on This Is Alice. I couldn’t find much information on this program but it was about the adventures of a 9 year old little girl named Alice. Miss. Coates played her mother. It sounds like it was a female version of Dennis the Menace.
She kept busy making movies in between series but these are the other TV shows that Phyllis Coates starred in. I just wanted to let any of her fans who, like me, were only familiar with her work on Superman. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Dean Martin and Coca Cola

Over at Booksteve's he sometimes tells of the songs that are stuck in his head. Well not too long ago I got to hear this CD of Dean Martin songs. Many of them were pretty catchy and got stuck in my head. When I was younger I knew singers like Mr. Martin, Bing Crosby , Nat King Cole were good singers but I never really got into them as they were from my parents generation. Mine was The Beatles, The Monkees, Bee Gees, Boston etc. As I have gotten older my appreication for the crooners has increased and now I am proud to say I am a fan of their music. One of the songs that stuck in my head from this CD is called "Houston." It was a top 40 hit for Mr. Martin in the 60's. There was a story about that song in the liner notes of the CD. Mr. Martin was headlineing in Las Vegas & his daugther was singing in the lounge. He let her sing his newest hit Houston and let her use his arrangement. Later at dinner with her Dad she told him that there was a sound at the beginning of his record that even with his arrangement they were not able to duplicate. She asked him what it was. He said "Was it this?" Then he started tapping an empty Coke Bottle. She said that was the sound and that is how her Dad tapped an empty Coke bottle into a hit song. Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 10, 2006

Quinn Martin Misses

Quinn Martin was a world class dramatist in the early days of television. He divided his programs into four acts, used a narrator to set the stage and wrote wonderful scripts and cast great actors. However, not every formula is fool proof. Some shows didn’t become hits and others were just unsold pilots.
His first series after the Untouchables and leaving Desilu was The New Breed. It was a police drama that starred Leslie Nielsen as Lt. Price Adams. It was called The New Breed because they were a new breed of policeman. They were trained on the more sophisticated electronic equipment. It helped track down criminals that more traditional polices methods failed at capturing. The show aired on Tuesday nights on ABC from October 3, 1961 to September 25, 1962. It was not renewed for a 2nd season.
Most new independent producers would have stopped there. Thankfully Mr. Martin didn’t. His next show, The Fugitive, was one of the biggest hits in the history of television.
Another show that went to series but didn’t make it was in 1974. It was called Manhunter. It was a cross between his detective dramas and the Waltons. It took place in the 1930’s and Ken Howard starred as Dave Barrett. He was fresh out of the Marines and just wanted to go back to being a farmer. Then his best friend was killed by bank robbers. He quit farming to become a private investigator and he traveled the country tracking down the gangster types that killed his friend. He occasional went back home to visit his sister and his parents. The series aired on CBS on Wednesday nights from 10-11pm from September 11, 1974 to April 9, 1975.
This was actually a very good series. I watched it with my parents. We all thought it was a shame when it was cancelled. Kent Howard is a very good actor and I was happy a few years later when he had a hit with the White Shadow.
The pilots that went unsold should be called everything old is new again. In the 1970’s he did a pilot called Escapade. It was to be the American version of The Avengers. The pilot was written by Brian Clemens who created The Avengers. It starred Granville Van Dusan as Joshua Rand and Morgan Fairchild as Susie.
In 1980 Mr. Martin tried to revive the Invaders. The pilot went through some name changes. It was called The New Invaders, The Aliens and finally (can you believe this title?) Aliens Are Coming. Tom Mason starred as Dr. Scott Dryden instead of the David Vincent character. He was trying to stop the aliens from completing their evil plan. This time he was not alone. He works with the Nero Institute with Leonard Nero ( Eric Braedon) and Gwen O’Brien (Melinda Fee). This pilot also co-starred Max Gail from Barney Miller, Caroline McWilliams, Matthew Laborteaux from Little House on the Prairie, and Gerald McRaney.
Now in an earlier posting I mentioned that Cannon would not syndicate well. Mr. Martin must have not have agreed with that thought. He seemed to believe in 1980 that the world was ready again for THE RETURN OF FRANK CANNON. In the pilot for the series that aired on CBS Cannon now owns a restaurant. Instead of catching crooks he spent his time catching fish for his cook to prepare. An ex-CIA buddy if his commits suicide. Frank doesn’t believe that it was suicide. He thinks it was murder and becomes a detective again to solve his friend’s murder. If the pilot became a series Cannon would double as a restaurant owner and private investigator. Critics weren’t kind to the pilot and ratings must not have been very good as the series was not picked up.
The above photo of a VHS copy of some episodes of the Manhunter series is from this e-bay auction. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 09, 2006

60's FLASHBACK: The Story of VALLERI

Recently the e-mail letter that I subscribe to from Kent Kotal / told the true story on the creation of the Monkees song Valleri. If any parties are interested in signing up for their FORGOTTEN HITS Mailing List, then drop them a line. They've got some GREAT features coming up like THE TOP 200 BIGGEST TWO-SIDED HITS OF ALL TIME, an exclusive interview with PETER NOONE of HERMAN'S HERMITS and a special series spotlighting their readers' choices for their FAVORITE, FORGOTTEN B-SIDES.

Kent says that "For the record, the story behind THE MONKEES' song VALLERI ran as part of our 3-week series spotlighting THE SONGS OF TOMMY BOYCE AND BOBBY HART, which first ran back in late 2004. Since then, it has been sent out FOUR MORE TIMES by way of special mailing lists ... so if any of your readers would like to sign up for a special rerun series, let me know that as well. I have no specific rerun dates yet but figure that audience demand will dictate just how soon this will happen."
If any of you want to subscribe write to them at
Now for your reading pleasure with consent from the good folks at Forgotten Hits, the real story on the creation of that Monkees hit song Valleri.

In his book HOW TO WRITE A HIT SONG...AND SELL IT, TOMMY BOYCE tells a funny, interesting story revolving around one of THE MONKEES' last big hits.
THE MONKEES were always being supplied new musical material from a virtual who's who of songwriters: NEIL DIAMOND, GERRY GOFFIN and CAROLE KING, NILSSON, NEIL SEDAKA and DAVID GATES (later of BREAD) all had their songs recorded by the band in the first couple of years. In addition, MICKY DOLENZ, DAVY JONES, PETER TORK and, most frequently, MIKE NESMITH were submitting their OWN compositions for consideration. Therefore, as time wore on, when BOYCE AND HART were called upon to supply a song, they pretty much needed to have one "at the ready."
According to BOYCE's account (as published in his book), back in the day when DON KIRSHNER oversaw those musical selections, he called BOYCE AND HART one morning and told TOMMY (who just happened to answer the phone ... BOBBY was still sound asleep) that he had a dream last night that the title of THE MONKEES' next #1 Record should be a girl's name. Spontaneously, TOMMY BOYCE replied, "Donnie, you won't believe this!!! But, last night while you were having that dream, BOBBY and I wrote an unbelievably great song for THE MONKEES ... and, are you ready for this? ... it has a girl's name in the title!" KIRSHNER was flabbergasted! "Tell me the title, quick! I want to hear it! What's her name?"
Of course, TOMMY couldn't comply ... the song hadn't been written yet! "Donnie, her name is so beautiful and so exciting that I couldn't possibly tell it to you over the phone. But I'll tell you what ... you're going to love it when you hear it tomorrow." Despite KIRSHNER's insistence that TOMMY come over now and play him the song ... or, better yet, that KIRSHNER drop by THEIR place to hear the tune (that hadn't yet been written!), TOMMY finally stalled him with the excuse that BOBBY was still sleeping. (Of course, HART didn't know ANY of this as he really WAS still asleep ... and had no idea what TOMMY had just committed them to!) KIRSHNER was adamant ... "How about noon TODAY at my place?!?!" BOYCE says it was more of a command than a question. "Okay," he said, giving in, "but do me a favor. Please have everyone there who's connected with the television show." KIRSHNER agreed to assemble producers BERT SCHNEIDER and BOB RAPHELSON, vice president LESTER SILL, and chairman-of-the-board JACKIE COOPER. (Nothing like putting a little more pressure on the situation!!!)
At 10:00 BOYCE decided to wake BOBBY and tell him the news ... after all, having just committed to writing the next #1 song in America was a pretty big deal!!! Realizing the pressure they were under, both songwriters quickly began making a list of girls' names but none particularly struck their fancy. TOMMY had the beginnings of a melody but they just weren't able to put it together with any of the names on the list. They decided to take a drive, hoping for inspiration (or divine intervention). At 11:00, while driving along Mulholland Drive, TOMMY finally asked BOBBY to "reach deep into your past for a recollection of one girl in your life, or even in your dreams, that you had never told anybody about." HART gave it some thought and then replied that there WAS a girl in High School that he liked a lot but she never returned the favor. He would think about her every once in a while over the years and once had even written a song about her. "I was never too hot on the song," he said, "but what I liked about it was the name, which was hers."
"Come on, BOBBY," TOMMY exclaimed, "tell me her name and my melody will flow right out to meet her." And, of course, BOBBY then replied, "And her name was VALLERI" ... which INSTANTLY fit the melody that TOMMY had been working on! Now fifteen minutes away from their meeting at KIRSHNER's house, that left them all of twelve minutes to complete the song!!! They got as far as "There's a girl I know who makes me feel so good" which, along with the chorus, "and her name is Valleri ... I love you, Valleri" was all they had when they pulled into the driveway.
BOYCE was banking on the fact that KIRSHNER had wanted a song with a girl's name in the title SO badly ... and the fact that he had already told him about the GREAT song they had written "the night before" ... that the conditions were, in effect, pre-programmed for them to present THE MONKEES' next big smash hit single. (With all those executives sitting in the room waiting for the debut, the anticipation was exceptionally high ... TOMMY believed that ANY song they would have played based around a girl's name would have qualified as "exactly what they were looking for.") They sang the chorus line in two-part harmony and then the first two lines of the verse ... which was all they had. They then explained that the song still needed a little work but there was nothing to worry about ... they'd have it completed by tomorrow. They then "did a reprise on the part we had written, singing it with the all gusto one reserves for GOD BLESS AMERICA." For the grand-finale, BOYCE hit a big final chord, tossed his guitar over his shoulder and went down on one knee in his "best ELVIS fashion." The room fell silent as they waited for KIRSHNER's reaction. Finally, KIRSHNER jumped to his feet and shouted "It's a smash ... Number One!!!" All the other execs in the room agreed. They had pulled it off! According to TOMMY, they completed the first verse later that day and then booked studio time for the following afternoon. Then they went to a movie!!! THE MONKEES were told to report to the studio the following day at five o'clock and between two and five, the basic musical backing tracks were recorded. In twenty minutes, BOYCE AND HART wrote a second verse and between five and six o'clock THE MONKEES' vocals were added. The whole process took all of FOUR HOURS!!! It was quickly mixed and put into the television show the following week!!!
BOYCE then goes on to say that "Just as soon as the television show was aired, two disc-jockeys, one from Florida and the other from Chicago, decided on their own to make a tape of VALLERI and pipe it out from their radio stations. On each of those two stations, before it had even sold a single record, the song became Number One on the request list. RCA called Donnie Kirshner and told him that if he released it as a single, they would pre-ship two million records and guarantee that it would be the Number One Record. Good to their word, they released VALLERI the following week and within three weeks it was Number One in both Cash Box and Billboard. Two weeks later, it was Number One in almost every country in the world with sales of close to three million records."
Now that's a pretty amazing and fascinating little story ... but a little bit of research indicates that TOMMY may have "stretched the truth" just a little bit here and there.
What first tipped me off was the end bit regarding VALLERI's astounding chart life. Now PART of this story is true. After VALLERI aired on an episode of the television series, WCFL, right here in Chicago, started playing the heck out of it from a tape they had made from the broadcast. Every night it came in at #1 on the Top Five Most Requested Songs Of The Day ... and this went on for weeks and weeks and weeks. (From what I understand, some folks believe that WCFL then sent out copies of their "bootleg" version of VALLERI to other stations around the country to air ... however, I am more inclined to believe that they kept it to themselves as a "SUPER 'CFL Exclusive." However, a radio station in Florida DID get the same results when THEY played a taped copy on the air ... the request lines lit up like a Christmas tree and Florida fans couldn't get enough of the song.) Growing up here at the time, I clearly remember ALL of these events as I, too, thought VALLERI was a great song and listened to WCFL's Top Requests Countdown every night! I remember my frustration at not being able to BUY the song because it was only available on tape at the radio station.
However, THIS is where BOYCE's story falls apart. VALLERI first aired on the CAPTAIN CROCODILE episode of the television series on February 20, 1967, five months after the series premiered on NBC. It was not released as a single until March of 1968 ... a full THIRTEEN MONTHS later!!! (An RCA / COLGEMS recording log that I found shows that THE MONKEES first laid down this track on August 6, 1966 ... HARDLY the week before it aired! In fact, this was before a single episode of the TV series had ever been shown ... so, if ANY of that conversation between KIRSHNER and BOYCE AND HART ever really happened, they wouldn't have referred to VALLERI as THE MONKEES' "NEXT Number One Hit ... it would have been their very FIRST Number One Hit!!! They had not yet released a single recording!!!)
When VALLERI WAS finally released as a single a year later, it was a completely re-recorded version, which DID go to #1 in Cash Box but stopped at #3 in Billboard. THE MONKEES recorded a completely new version of this song in December of 1967 (sessions were held on the 26th and the 28th), which ultimately became the hit single release. (Being a HUGE MONKEES fan at the time, I remember personally being VERY surprised to see this single finally being released after all that time.) Songwriting partner BOBBY HART explains that after wrestling control away from KIRSHNER regarding the selection of the material THE MONKEES would record ... and then winning the rights to play their own instruments on those records ... by the end of 1967 they also had it written into their contracts that ALL future recordings would show "Produced by THE MONKEES" on the label. (By this time, each member of the band was generally recording their new tracks individually anyway, so when a new album was completed, they simply went with the group production credit.)
As such, the 1966 track (which was produced by BOYCE AND HART) had to be scrapped because the Musicians Union contracts had already been filed with BOYCE AND HART's names on them as producers. This meant that when THE MONKEES decided to release VALLERI as a single, a whole new track needed to be created. BOYCE AND HART (who, by this time, had been dismissed as producers) were approached about coming back and, according to HART, "making it sound as close to the original as possible." Contrary to TOMMY's account, BOBBY says "VALLERI was specifically written for them. Over a year after we cut the song, LESTER SILL came back to us and said, 'They want you to recut VALLERI. You can't have producers credit, but we want you to go back in and do it again, making it sound as close to the original as possible.' So that's what we did."
During the re-recording process, yet ANOTHER mix was created ... and this is the one that seems to have found its way to oldies radio ... in fact, the "cold ending" version is now more likely to be heard than the original hit single version! Today, we give you all THREE versions in FORGOTTEN HITS ... the very rare TV-version mix (VALLERI-1), the hit single version (VALLERI-2, which is the re-recording from 1968 that fades out at the end) and the other now-more-popular "cold ending" version (VALLERI-3). Hopefully, along the way we've also shared a fascinating look at the song's origins! (Unfortunately, this seems to be yet another case of 30-year hindsight propaganda making for a better story than the truth ... with so many erroneous "facts" stated in BOYCE's account of the song's success, one cannot help but wonder what other "mistruths" might exist in his account of the events of the day ... writing the song in an hour and a half, selling it to a room full of executives with two lines of verse and two lines of chorus and then recording the whole thing with THE MONKEES in one hour ... now knowing that at LEAST three complete takes exist!) However, the "embellished" account sure does make for a fascinating story!!! Posted by Picasa

Barnaby Jones

In 1973 Quinn Martin produced what I believe was his last hit series. That series was Barnaby Jones a detective drama that starred Buddy Ebsen. Ebsen had starred for almost a decade as Jed Clampett on the Beverly Hillbillies. Perhaps the transition from a sit com to a drama was easy because he was the straight man to his crazy family and friends on the show. The Beverly Hillbillies was canceled because the networks didn’t want shows that only appealed to the rural sections of the country. There wasn’t as much money there to attract advertisers. Beverly Hillbillies ended in 1971 so Mr. Ebsen only had a short rest before Barnaby Jones. Mr. Ebsen said that he had a friend who couldn’t tell when something was going to be a hit. Every time he asked his friend if he should do something his friend would say it would be a flop. He said his friend said that about the Beverly Hillbillies and Barnaby Jones so he knew they would be hit shows. At age 65 when most people are thinking of retirement Buddy Ebsen was embarking on another career move. Mr. Ebsen might be the first actor who went from making people laugh to solving crimes. Others who do so in later years were Dick Van Dyke with Diagnosis Murder and Bill Cosby with the Cosby Mysteries. The closest that I can think of before Mr. Ebsen is Dick Powell who went from movie musicals to playing movie detectives.
Barnaby Jones aired on January 28, 1973 to September 4th 1980. During that time its production company, QM Productions, was sold to Taft Broadcasting. I remember watching the show with my parents and my Grandma. We use to tease my Grandma telling her that her boyfriend’s show was coming on.
Barnaby Jones was a retired private investigator who left the business to his son Hal. When Hal was murdered while working on a case, he was shot to death while calling his Dad, Barnaby came out of retirement and along with Hal’s widow, played by Lee Meriwether, solved Hal’s last case and caught his murder. They worked well together and they decided to keep the Jones detective agency open. Like Columbo many crooks mistook his home-style country ways and his age as making him seem abit slow. They really masked a keen detective mind. Their mistake gave Barnaby the upper hand in solving the crime. Later Mark Shera, formerly on the show S.W.A.T., as his young cousin Jedeiah Romano (J.R.) Jones. He did Barnaby’s leg work on investigations while also study for the bar to become a lawyer. He was a welcome addition to the cast but it always seemed funny that J.R. would chase the crook through half the city. The only way he caught the crook was when Barnaby would show up gun in hand at the end of the trail. He usually said “Hold it right there!” With Barnaby in front of him with a gun and J.R. coming up from behind the villain knew he was cornered and gave up. When the show Cannon was on the air the two shows would often cross over.
When the show ended in 1980 Mr. Ebsen went into semi retirement. He came out on occasion to do TV movies mostly reunion movies for the Beverly Hillbillies. He did do some episodes of other shows and I heard that his last TV work was a voice over on King of the Hill. His last film before he died was the film version of the Beverly Hillbillies. He played Barnaby Jones who was hired to find Granny when she was kidnapped. Mr. Ebsen died in July of 2003. Mr. Ebsen had started writing a Barnaby Jones novel before he died. It has been completed and will soon be released. You can go to his website to learn more.
I loved that I found this TV Guide cover. You see my first part-time job when I was a kid was delivering TV Guide to their local customers. This cover I remembered as being one of those that I delivered. Posted by Picasa

More Monkees News Rhino Reissues 1st Two Albums Extended Version

Rhino has set an Aug. 15 release date for expanded editions of the first two albums from TV stars turned pop idols the Monkees. Both will be issued as two-disc packages including stereo and mono mixes plus rare and previously unreleased bonus tracks.1966's "The Monkees," which spent 13 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart, sports previously unreleased alternate mixes of "Papa Gene's Blues" and "The Kind of Girl I Could Love," a version of "I Don't Think You Know Me" with Micky Dolenz on vocals, a jingle for Kellogg's and a demo for "Propinquity (I've Just Begun To Care)."The following year's "More of the Monkees" was even more successful than its predecessor, spending 18 weeks at No. 1. Among the bonus tracks are "Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)" with narration by Peter Tork, the first recorded version of "Valleri," an alternate take of "Tear Drop City" and a different mix of "I'm a Believer."Owing to a history of inter-band acrimony, the Monkees last toured with all four original members in 1997. Minus Nesmith, Dolenz, Tork and Davy Jones subsequently hit the road on several occasions but have no plans to work together in the future."I would not work with those guys again if my life depended on it," Jones recently told Scripps Howard News Service. "I can't be responsible for their attitudes and the way they treat people.

Andrew has been busy today! Over at Steve Hoffman forum,he hasposted some "hints" as what is on the 1st 2 releases:The great thing about the new reissues is you get to hear all ofthis music together - in one place. The bonus material is filledwith surprises (different vocals, mixes and studio chat). As for "SoGoes Love" it will appear for the first time at the originalrecorded speed (it is sped up on Missing Links) and with apreviously unheard double tracked vocal.Virtually every bonus track has some extra element to it - studiochat, different mix - something unheard. We've been working up tothe last minute to have these be filled with good sound and greatsongs.And someone asked about what all the designations on the MOTMreissue meant:the designations don't mean anything - all will be revealed soon....We are getting close to getting the whole picture!Stay tuned!

Here we go! Someone over at the Steve Hoffman TV website found thetracklistings for the 1st 2 reissues. The links for the listings: Monkees Of The MonkeesAnd here they are...MONKEES - The Monkees (2CD Remastered Deluxe Edition)CD
1:(Theme From) The Monkees (Original Stereo Version)
Saturday's Child (Original Stereo Version)
I Wanna Be Free (Original Stereo Version)
Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day (Original Stereo Version)
Papa Gene's Blues (Original Stereo Version)
Take A Giant Step (Original Stereo Version)
Last Train To Clarksville (Original Stereo Version)
This Just Doesn't Seem To Be My Day (Original Stereo Version)
Let's Dance On (Original Stereo Version)
I'll Be True To You (Original Stereo Version)
Sweet Young Thing (Original Stereo Version)
Gonna Buy Me A Dog (Original Stereo Version)
The Kind Of Girl I Could Love (Alternate Mix)
I Don't Think You Know Me (Micky's Vocal)
Theme From) The Monkees (Second Recorded Version)
So Goes Love (LP Version)
Papa Gene's Blues (Alternate Mix)
I Can't Get Her Off My Mind (LP Previously Unissue Early Version)
Of You (Previously Unissued Mix)
(I Prithee) Do Not Ask For Love
(Alternate Mix)Gonna Buy Me A Dog (Backing Track)

CD 2:(Theme From) The Monkees (Original Mono Version)
Saturday's Child (Original Mono Version)
I Wanna Be Free (Original Mono Version)
Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day (Original Mono Version)
Papa Gene's Blues (Original Mono Version)
Take A Giant Step (Original Mono Version)
Last Train To Clarksville (Original Mono Version)
This Just Doesn't Seem To Be My Day (Original Mono Version)
Let's Dance On (Original Mono Version)
I'll Be True To You (Original Mono Version)
Sweet Young Thing (Original Mono Version)
Gonna Buy Me A Dog (Original Mono Version)
(Theme From) The Monkees (Third Recorded Version)
Kellogg's Jingle
All The King's Horses (Originally Unissued, Album Version)
You Just May Be The One (T.V. Version)
I Wanna Be Free (Fast Version)
I Don't Think You Know Me (Mike's Vocal)
Propinquity (I've Just Begun to Care) (Demo Version)
I Won't Be The Same Without Her (Original Mono Mix)[/font]

More Of The Monkees (2CD Remastered Deluxe Edition)CD
1:She (2006 Remastered Original Stereo Version)
When Love Comes Knockin' (At Your Door) (2006 Remastered OriginalStereo Version)
Mary, Mary (2006 Remastered Original Stereo Version)
Hold On Girl (2006 Remastered Original Stereo Version)
Your Auntie Grizelda (2006 Remastered Original Stereo Version)
(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone (2006 Remastered Original StereoVersion)
Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) (2006 Remastered Original StereoVersion)
The Kind Of Girl I Could Love (2006 Remastered Original StereoVersion)
The Day We Fall In Love (2006 Remastered Original Stereo Version)
Sometime In The Morning (2006 Remastered Original Stereo Version)
Laugh (2006 Remastered Original Stereo Version)
I'm A Believer (2006 Remastered Original Stereo Version)
Apples, Peaches, Bananas and Pears (2006 Remastered LP Version)
Ladies Aid Society (2006 Remastered Original Mono Mix)
I'll Spend My Life With You (2006 Remastered First Recorded Version)
I Don't Think You Know Me (2006 Remastered Second Recorded Version)
Through The Looking Glass (2006 Remastered First Recorded Version)
Don't Listen To Linda (First Recorded Version)
Kicking Stones (2006 Remastered Version)
Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) (2006 Remastered Version With Peter'sNarration)
I'm A Believer (2006 Remastered Alternate Mix)
Mr. Webster (2006 Remastered First Recorded Version)
CD 2:
She (2006 Remastered Original Mono Version)
When Love Comes Knockin' (At Your Door) (2006 Remastered OriginalMono Version)
Mary, Mary (2006 Remastered Original Mono Version)
Hold On Girl (2006 Remastered Original Mono Version)
Your Auntie Grizelda (2006 Remasteed Original Mono Version)
(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone (2006 Remastered Original Mono Version)
Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) (2006 Remastered Original MonoVersion)
The Kind Of Girl I Could Love (2006 Remastered Original Mono Version)
The Day We Fall In Love (2006 Remastered Original Mono Version)
Sometime In The Morning (2006 Remastered Original Mono Version)
Laugh (2006 Remastered Original Mono Version)
I'm A Believer (2006 Remastered Original Mono Version)
Valleri (2006 Remastered First Recorded Version)
Words (2006 Remastered First Recorded Version)
Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) (2006 Remastered TV Version)
I'll Be Back Up On My Feet (2006 Remastered First Recorded Version)
Tear Drop City (2006 Remastered Alternate Mix)
Of You (2006 Remastered Mono Mix)
Hold On Girl (2006 Remastered First Recorded Version)
(I Prithee) Do Not Ask For Love (2006 Remastered Version)
So- With a release date sometime in August ( I have heard anywherefrom August 7th through August 21st), we now know what is coming!I wonder why the MOTM list has 2006 remastered original versions,while the 1st album just says Original versions?I guess we'll just have to wait and see...Bob T
My trade list site: Posted by Picasa

The Monkees On Pax

This is just in from Brad Waddell at his Monkees Yahoo Group.

"I" To Become Classic TV & Movie Network
The former Pax TV network, now called "i" (that's it, just "i"), ismetamorphosing into a network devoted entirely to old movies & TVshows. After signing an agreement last week with Warner Bros. TV forrights to air a number of "classic" TV shows, "i", whose parent companyis now called Ion Media Networks (formerly Paxson Communications), hasstruck a deal with Sony to air such TV shows as The Monkees, Charlie'sAngels, & Silver Spoons, & such movies as Short Circuit, A River RunsThrough It, & the Academy Award-winning musical Oliver. The networkclaims it has a potential audience of 92 million, including those whocan receive it on its owned broadcast stations & on cable. Posted by Picasa