We continue our look at unaired pilots with a strange take on The Monkees. This was shot on 16mm film by Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider in 1965 to pitch the show to NBC, and you’ll see several major differences here.
The opening is different, and the songs are performed by songwriters Boyce and Hart, and not the actual Monkees. In fact, this was made so early in the process that the Monkees are lip-syncing along to demos by Boyce and Hart.
Instead of the spectacular Monkeemobile, created by Dean Jeffries, the boys drive a beat-up old station wagon. Mickey Dolenz is credited as “Mickey Braddock,” which would be a great name for a hard-boiled detective.
The plot (co-written by Paul Mazursky) was remade as episode ten of the first season (“Here Come The Monkees”), but the differences are pretty remarkable. The Monkees are a bit more sedate, and are way more respectful of their manager.
Some versions of this start out with black and white footage of The Monkees addressing the camera, but this version looks better, and that black and white footage later turned up in the regular series, on the same episode that re-used the plot, so we went with the better quality video.