Dolenz also directed the TV film of a one-act play by Michael Palin and Terry Jones. The Box was based on Buchanan’s Finest Hour, the second of two short plays that made up Palin and Jones’ Their Finest Hours. A footnote in Palin’s diaries gives these plot summaries:
Underwood’s Finest Hour is set in a labour room with a mother straining to give birth and a doctor straining to listen to a particularly exciting Test Match. Buchanan’s Finest Hour is about a marketing idea gone awry. The cast, including the Pope, are trapped inside a packing crate throughout.
Micky Dolenz will always be known as a Monkee and not as a dramatic actor, but he did do some non-Monkee acting after the band broke up in the early 1970s. One of Dolenz’s legacies as an actor is certain high-profile roles he did not end up getting cast in. He famously auditioned for the role of Arthur Fonzarelli in Happy Days (Michael Nesmith did too). The only thing we can say for sure about that is that there is zero chance he would have been as successful in the role as Henry Winkler was. He also was considered for the Riddler in Batman Forever, a part that eventually went to Jim Carrey.
One of his early acting roles was his star turn in Night of the Strangler, an exploitation film that came out in 1972. Directed by Joy N. Houck Jr., it’s a pretty run-of-the-mill serial killer movie except for two things, the complete and total lack of any strangling whatsoever during the entire movie and the progressive (???) use of an interracial love affair as the driver of events. The movie begins with the hasty return of Denise to her native Louisiana from Vassar College, where she has fallen in love with an African-American fellow who has impregnated her and whom she intends to marry. (I had to work in a mention of Vassar, seeing as how the same institution unwisely furnished me with an undergraduate degree.) This news is taken rather differently by her brothers Vance (Dolenz) and imperious Dan, who throws around the N-word a lot and threatens to kill Denise and her betrothed. Before that can happen, though, her man is shot by a sniper and Denise is drowned in her bathtub…...
The taglines for the movie were “He Gets Them All!” and “Southern Revenge!” As happened with many B-movies in the 1970s, this movie was released under multiple titles. I guess it wasn’t common for movies to have quite this many titles, most of which play up the race thing and (thank goodness) don’t mention strangling, as in Dirty Dan’s Women and Is the Father Black Enough? and The Ace of Spades (really?).
As with many violent B-movies, there isn’t enough motivation for the series of killings, which are there mainly to draw audience and titillate viewers. In between the spurts of violence, you can barely glimpse a more interesting movie, but even that aspect is just sketched together. Dolenz’s training from the Monkees sitcom helped him, however. He’s not great or anything but he’s perfectly engaging as the more recessive of the two brothers.
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?
Watch “The Monkees Blow Their Minds” in glorious HD for the first time, after the jump..
To me, Micky Dolenz was always the coolest Monkee. Plus he’s one of the first three people ever to own a Moog synthesizer, having bought one after seeing it demonstrated by electronic music pioneers Paul Beaver and Bernie Krause at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June 1967 (Wendy Carlos and Buck Owens bought the other two).
Here’s Micky sportin’ some seriously futuristic shades. At first I described his sunglasses as “retro-futuristic,” but such a concept wouldn’t really have existed at the time, so I changed it.
Below, Micky Dolenz and the boys do “Daily Nightly”:
Gathering up the reactions of remaining Monkees Mike Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Peter to the passing of Davy Jones
All the lovely people. Where do they all come from?
So many lovely and heartfelt messages of condolence and sympathy, I don’t know what to say, except my sincere thank you to all. I share and appreciate your feelings.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.
While it is jarring, and sometimes seems unjust, or strange, this transition we call dying and death is a constant in the mortal experience that we know almost nothing about. I am of the mind that it is a transition and I carry with me a certainty of the continuity of existence. While I don’t exactly know what happens in these times, there is an ongoing sense of life that reaches in my mind out far beyond the near horizons of mortality and into the reaches of infinity.
That David has stepped beyond my view causes me the sadness that it does many of you. I will miss him, but I won’t abandon him to mortality. I will think of him as existing within the animating life that insures existence. I will think of him and his family with that gentle regard in spite of all the contrary appearances on the mortal plane.
David’s spirit and soul live well in my heart, among all the lovely people, who remember with me the good times, and the healing times, that were created for so many, including us.
I have fond memories. I wish him safe travels.
Peter Tork posted the following on his Facebook fan page:
”It is with great sadness that I reflect on the sudden passing of my long-time friend and fellow-adventurer, David Jones. His talent will be much missed; his gifts will be with us always. My deepest sympathy to Jessica and the rest of his family. Adios, to the Manchester Cowboy.
Peace and love, Peter T.”
Micky Dolenz released a statement:
“I am in a state of shock; Davy and I grew up together and shared in the unique success of what became The Monkees phenomena. The time we worked together and had together is something I’ll never forget. He was the brother I never had and this leaves a gigantic hole in my heart. The memories have and will last a lifetime. My condolences go out to his family.”
Below a forever young Davy Jones makes a prom date with Marcia Brady.