Episode #57 of The Monkees saw two of the most “out there” moments of the entire series flanking one of their less memorable escapades—Peter has his mind taken over by an evil hypnotist he visits to get over his writer’s block—and we’ve got an exclusive HD version of that show premiering here for the very first time, an appetizer from the new Blu-ray box set of The Monkees (available only from their official website).
“The Monkees Blow Their Minds,” which aired originally on March 11, 1968 was the next to last show before The Monkees was cancelled. The principals wanted to take the show in a new direction creatively and NBC wasn’t into that. This might explain how viewers came to see the surreal—certainly unexpected—sight of Frank Zappa (playing “Mike Nesmith” in a wool cap) and Mike Nesmith (playing Zappa with wig, rubber nose and false beard) beating the shit out of an old car. Zappa as “Mike” wields a sledgehammer while Nesmith “conducts” and we hear a snippet of Zappa’s “Mother People.” By the standards of 1968—or any year since when you get right down to it—it was a distinctly odd thing to see on television. If you’re forced to bow out, why not go out with a cacophonous bang?
In the narrative part of the show, Micky, Davy and Mike spring into action to rescue Peter from “The Great Oraculo” (Monte Landis, a Scottish character actor seen often on The Monkees-and Batman, too—playing villainous characters) who wants to use Peter as a mind-controlled zombie slave in his nightclub act. Burgess Meredith (seen here in his Batman role as The Penguin) makes a suitably campy cameo appearance.
At the end we get a “music video” for one of the Monkee’s finest numbers, the decidedly avant garde “Daily Nightly” with guest appearance by Micky’s analog Moog synthesizer, one of the very first ever sold. Seeing this segment, which was filmed in stark black and white, in HD for the first time was nothing short of thrilling. Seriously, it’s super cool. The new HD transfer, made from the original color negatives, blows away the regular DVD of the series that came out a few years ago. The Monkees complete series Blu-ray box set (which also includes Head and much more) is only available at the Monkees official webstore in a limited edition of 10,000 copies.
Many thanks to the fab Jason Elzy at Rhino