THE MONKEES TV SERIES: Show Facts & Speculation About Possible Future HD Releases

Tony Bensley

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THE MONKEES - Seasons 1 And 2 DVD Sets:

Though there are a few HTF Threads that relate to THE MONKEES DVD Sets, it appears that they died without there having been very much discussion. The one Thread dating from 2003, the "Here we come...Monkees Season 1 DVD Box Set" that mysteriously was never archived (Meaning that new posts can still be made!), had stopped after THE MONKEES SEASON 1 DVD set's release date had been announced on March 18, 2003!

While I've made a few relevant posts on the aforementioned "Here we come...Monkees Season 1 DVD Box Set" Thread, it occurs to me that a new one might be in order for this underrated and heretofore, under documented (On HTF, at least!) Television Series.


A Few Fun Facts About THE MONKEES TV Series/DVD Sets:

- A total of 58 Episodes, originally broadcast on NBC from September 12, 1966 to March 25, 1968.
- In subsequent CBS Saturday Morning and later ABC Syndicated Broadcasts, some Episodes utilized Song Substitutions (IE. Episode 58, "Mijacageo" used "I Never Thought It Peculiar" in place of the original "Zor & Zam."). In at least some cases, these were meant to promote their latest Record releases. THE MONKEES Season Sets have the Original Songs. Some Consumers (Who presumably, only viewed the Series in Syndication!) actually complained that a number of the Songs weren't as originally presented!
- As alluded to above, ALL of the Original Songs are included on the DVD Season Sets. This is, in my opinion, an aspect to be appreciated, especially given the challenges of clearing copyrighted Music these days!
- To date, there have been two DVD releases of the 2 separate Season Sets. The first, in 2003, consisted of Casing shaped like a Record Player, with the discs being individually housed inside Cardboard Record Style Sleeves. The subsequent 2011 Reissued Season Sets are a more compact, Fold Out Style in which the discs snap into place in an overlapping fashion. The DVD's themselves are identical to the 2003 Release, in terms of content.


Having just given a handful of Season 1 Episodes a fresh viewing, I've made the following observations:

- The 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio is just fine. It should be remembered that this TV series was made almost 20 years before TV Stereo even started to come into play! As it is, I've found the sound to be clean, crisp and clear, and in my opinion, that is all we can really ask from a show of this vintage!
- The Visuals, on the other hand, while likely just about as good as can be reasonably expected of an early 2000's Pre HD era Digital Transfer, could benefit from a new 2 or 4K HD Digital Transfer for Blu-Ray! Perhaps an in time for 50th Anniversary Release is in order?
- I think it's really cool that these sets include Original Kellogg's/Yardley's Of London Commercial spots! For a guy who was a bit too young to remember the Original Broadcasts, this is a real treat!
- It's a small thing, but I would have loved it if the originally aired "Screen Gems" Logo (OK, I remember these solely from the 1970's Syndicated Broadcasts, but I'm sure these ARE original!) had been included to follow the end of each Episode!


A Few Suggestions For Future Series Releases:

- A "Play All" feature, or at least the ability to click just once (As opposed to the current two times!) to play each Episode would in my opinion, eliminate what is now a minor annoyance.
- English Subtitles, or at least Closed Captioning would be a useful feature, especially for the Songs!
- If feasible, to satisfy Viewers of the Syndicated Broadcasts who have fond memories of the Substituted Songs (Though frankly, I prefer to have the Originals!), perhaps some Episodes could include an alternate Audio track that features the Song Substitutions from the initial Saturday Morning and Weekday Syndicated Reruns? In my opinion, the Dolby Digital Surround Track could also be eliminated to simplify the Audio options.
- As THE MONKEES only ran 2 Seasons, how about offering up a Complete Blu-Ray Series Set, rather than having to buy them individually? A less expensive DVD Series Set could also be offered as an alternative for the budget conscious Consumer!


Further Discussion:

A Complete listing of Songs performed comes to mind. Sure, all of the Songs performed by THE MONKEES are well documented, but there are also Songs performed by (Or with.) Guest Stars that are not listed anywhere, to my knowledge. Thus, it is my desire to document a Complete Listing for ALL of the Songs that were performed on each Episode throughout THE MONKEES Original Series run! Any contributions by other HTF Members would be most welcome and appreciated!

CHEERS!

Anthony Bensley
 

Tony Bensley

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Hi Mick!

Thanks for your kind response! I have the 2011 Eagle Media Reissues.

In regards to the packaging of the Reissued Season 1 and Season 2 DVD Sets of THE MONKEES, here are my opinions of their Pros and Cons:

Pros:
1. Much more compact than the previous Record Player Season 1 and Season 2 Sets.
2. The discs don't have to be pulled out of individual Cardboard Sleeves.

Cons:
1. Foldout Style Packaging such as what is used for both Seasons really begs for a proper, outside Protective Cardboard Cover Case!
2. Each Season features several DVDs that overlap each other in pairs, which wouldn't be so bad if there were also an Outside Protective Cardboard Cover Case to prevent the Foldout Style Packaging from flying open!

Overall:
- Even without having ever owned the Record Player Style DVD Sets, it is my opinion that the Revised Packaging wins, though I think the lack of outer casing was a pretty massive faux pas on Eagle Rock's part! I mean, come on, that should have been a no brainer! A separate Booklet for the Episode Listing (As opposed to being completely concealed behind the DVDs!) would have also been helpful.

Note That The Folded Packaging Is For The 6 DVD Season 1 Set of THE MONKEES:


Did you know?

THE MONKEES Reissued Season 2 DVD Set mistakenly indicates ALL "25" ORIGINAL EPISODES, on the Front Cover and the Back Cover Liner Notes! The correct number of Season 2 Episodes is, in fact, 26, and they are all included.

I suspect that somebody just assumed each of the 5 DVDs had 5 Episodes and multiplied accordingly. WHOOPS!

CHEERS! :)

Tony
 
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DeWilson

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A blue-Ray release should have an option of playing episodes with the alternate repeat versions with different song - the NBC reruns and the CBS Saturday A.M. kidvid versions.

Colpix would change songs to match the singles/albums available at the time of rebroadcast - the TV edited all exist and were released as the part of the "Missing Links" CD series, or as supplements on the CD box sets.

Also another option could be the TV edits of the songs in Stereo :)
 

Professor Echo

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Good idea for a new thread, Tony, but wrong forum. This should be in the TV forum. You will get more responses there, I think. :)
 

Tony Bensley

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Professor Echo said:
Good idea for a new thread, Tony, but wrong forum. This should be in the TV forum. You will get more responses there, I think. :)
Hi Glen!


That's one thing that I haven't figured out how to do. Do you have any idea how I could go about switching this Topic to another Forum, or is this a job for a Moderator at this point?


CHEERS! :)


Tony
 

Tony Bensley

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In having checked through THE MONKEES SEASON 2 discs, I was reminded of another error within the liner notes. Contrary to its listing among the Bonus Features, "Vintage Monkees Kellogg's Commercials" are NOT included for Season 2, as they are for Season 1! This leads me to speculate that only the Commercials from the 1st Season of THE MONKEES are represented in these Sets, as I would tend to assume that none of the 2nd Season Commercials would be included in the Season 1 Set.


Too bad!


CHEERS! :)


Tony
 

The Obsolete Man

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Tony Bensley said:
A Few Fun Facts About THE MONKEES TV Series/DVD Sets:

- A total of 58 Episodes, originally broadcast on NBC from September 12, 1966 to March 25, 1968.
- In subsequent CBS Saturday Morning and later ABC Syndicated Broadcasts, some Episodes utilized Song Substitutions (IE. Episode 58, "Mijacageo" used "I Never Thought It Peculiar" in place of the original "Zor & Zam."). In at least some cases, these were meant to promote their latest Record releases. THE MONKEES Season Sets have the Original Songs. Some Consumers (Who presumably, only viewed the Series in Syndication!) actually complained that a number of the Songs weren't as originally presented!
- As alluded to above, ALL of the Original Songs are included on the DVD Season Sets. This is, in my opinion, an aspect to be appreciated, especially given the challenges of clearing copyrighted Music these days!
I don't think there ever would have been an issue with music on The Monkees DVDs.



IIRC, Rhino bought the Monkees catalog lock, stock, and barrel from Columbia in the late 80s or early 90s, definitely before they remastered and reissued the albums in '94. So they didn't have to go licensing the music from anyone else because they already owned it.


Of course, that snippet of The Beatles' "Good Morning, Good Morning" in the final episode could have presented a problem, but seemingly didn't.
 
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Mark Y

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A few things...
Rhino owns the video rights to the series, but Sony retains the TV rights and presumably has access to the best elements. Some of the episodes they showed on cable "on demand" years ago were in better shape than the ones on the DVDs, while others were in worse shape.
It appears most of the commercials on the Rhino set, aside from one ("lean and hungry look" appeared to be from a good film source, and was the only one included in the prior VHS collection) were from collector video dubs. The ones included were from both seasons, in no particular order. I doubt that's all of them, but who knows? There are later commercials from 1969-70 the Monkees did for Kool-Aid which were not included, which I am guessing was a rights thing, since they do circulate among collectors.
I saw one episode on Antenna TV a couple years ago which had (IIRC) the Colpix 1986 syndication logo, then a few seconds of black video, then the original Screen Gems logo followed by the NBC snake. This must be on the negatives/prints/whatever they have, so their non-inclusion on prior releases either means they couldn't get permission or didn't ask for it.
I absolutely would want alternate audio tracks for the summer 1967 and 1969-70 Saturday morning reruns to feature the different songs, if they ever do an upgrade on the TV show.
 
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Mr. Handley

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Rhino first re-issued The Monkees albums in 1986; this was on the heels of the big Monkees revival that year with the new hit single "That Was Then, This Is Now" and MTV's marathon airing of the original episodes. Rhino even put out an album of all new music (Pool It!) in the fall of 1987.


I bought the original DVDs put out years ago, but would also love to see an upgrade to Blu-ray. I'd love to see some extra features, but would be more than happy with just the original episodes as aired the first time.
 
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Sam Favate

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The original Monkees DVD sets are one of the only examples I can think of where the wasted space of the packaging is welcome. I love those boxes and the 45 rpm sleeves for the discs. Yes, totally wasted space, as the top of the record player is just empty air, but whatever; it's cool!


That said, I'd be down for a complete blu-ray set (without any wasted space).
 
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Mark Y

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One other thing I'd like to see as an extra (if a hypothetical upgrade ever does happen) would be the music video (well, they weren't called that then, but that's essentially what it was) for the Monkees' final single, "Oh My My," which was directed by Micky Dolenz and features Dolenz and Davy Jones riding horses and motorcycles. I know a dupey version of it circulates among collectors; I don't know where it was originally shown, whether it was cut into the Saturday morning reruns or whatever. Also, I wonder if the picture portion of the "We'll Be Back In A Minute" bumper (aka "TV Music Bridge"), also from the Saturday morning reruns, is still archived somewhere.
Supposedly a better source print for the unaired pilot (with Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart singing the songs) has surfaced, as have some outtakes from the TV show. Some great extras (like all four screen tests, including Micky's and Peter's) were included on the recent DVD/Bluray of HEAD as part of the Criterion "America Lost & Found" box set of Rafelson/Schneider films. Supposedly there are HEAD outtakes as well, but apparently Rafelson wouldn't OK their inclusion as extras (?)
 
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Tony Bensley

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I agree with Mark that it would be great to have alternate audio tracks from the Saturday Morning and early syndicated runs. However, he did also touch on a point that could potentially complicate such a venture. If the Dolenz & Jones footage for the final Monkees single was, in fact, surgically inserted into an episode for syndication, the implication is that merely providing alternate audio tracks alone won't suffice. Also, might there be other similarly inserted scenes on other Monkees syndicated prints?


Regarding 33 1/3 REVOLUTIONS PER MONKEE, the version that's included on THE MONKEES Season 2 DVD Set does look pretty lousy in spots, and the poor quality of the video really shows up on LCD Monitors in a way that didn't on our old CRT style Television screen. Better prints (If available!) of this, along with the Monkees Commercials and the Original Pilot (For which the 16mm print on the DVD Set appears to be missing one of the main three colors from the spectrum!) would be indeed, most welcome!


CHEERS! :)


Tony
 

Mark Y

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I don't know if the "Oh My My" clip would have been cut into an episode. I have no evidence that it was, but I also don't know where it was shown. Maybe on some music-related TV show(s) at the time to promote the single? Regarding 33 1/3, I guess we're lucky it exists at all, being produced on video and aired only twice on network television back in 1969. I don't know of any actual footage being changed for later reruns (aside from the "cleavage blurring incident" in one Season 1 episode) and the majority of the changed songs would have been in the first season shows, since the overwhelming majority of songs in the second season were lip-synched. I know of at least two episodes in the second season that were changed for Saturday morning reruns ("The Devil And Peter Tork" and "The Frodis Caper") but that may be it.
A good chunk of those redubbed songs were either unreleased at the time, or were different mixes than what was released. I think just about everything has eventually come out on various Rhino CDs.
 
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Tony Bensley

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The Obsolete Man said:
I don't think there ever would have been an issue with music on The Monkees DVDs.



IIRC, Rhino bought the Monkees catalog lock, stock, and barrel from Columbia in the late 80s or early 90s, definitely before they remastered and reissued the albums in '94. So they didn't have to go licensing the music from anyone else because they already owned it.


Of course, that snippet of The Beatles' "Good Morning, Good Morning" in the final episode could have presented a problem, but seemingly didn't.
Hi Robert!


Just this morning, I was struck with the irony of The Beatles' "Good Morning, Good Morning" having been inspired by a Kellogg's Cornflakes Cereal Commercial, Kellogg's of course having been THE MONKEES major sponsor during the original series run!


Though not documented, might John Lennon have viewed his inspiration in the middle of a "Monkees" episode? Though not included in the Season 2 Bonus Features, might have one of the Kellogg's "Good Morning" spots aired during some of the original broadcasts? Just a bit of speculation on my part!


CHEERS! :)


Tony
 

Russell G

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My take on 33/3, its always looked like hell so I doubt it can look much better than it does.


With all the work done on their music with the "Super Deluxe" reissues, they should be able to do some sweet stuff with the soundtracks. Present the original mono tracks, then do "enhanced" stereo track from the remasters for the songs. Kind of like what is on the Star Trek blurays for the original series.


Whether they see the value in doing that for The Monkees though, who knows ha ha. They're certainly more niche market than Star Trek as far as recouping costs.
 

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Hi Russell!


The following information regarding 33 1/3 REVOLUTIONS PER MONKEE might interest you:


In the 1990s, 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee was released commercially by Rhino Home Video in 2 different versions. The version of 33 1/3 released individually in January 1997 (R3 2284) has been on file for years at The Museum Of Television & Radio in New York City, with good sound quality, a fuzzy picture and the segments in original broadcast order, whereas the version of the special released with the October 1995 Monkees Video Box Set (R3 2960) has a sharp picture, murky sound quality, and the segments running in an alternate non-broadcast order. Rhino failed to locate the original 2-inch monaural first-generation videotape to which 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee was committed, and so they had to rely on two 1-inch NBC-TV broadcast masters with quality so substandard, they featured glitches. Rhino used both masters to concoct something of at least viewing quality.


In addition to the above, further details about this special can be found here: http://monkeestv.tripod.com/TVSpecials/33_1-3.html


CHEERS! :)


Tony
 

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Tony Bensley said:
Hi Russell!


The following information regarding 33 1/3 REVOLUTIONS PER MONKEE might interest you:


In the 1990s, 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee was released commercially by Rhino Home Video in 2 different versions. The version of 33 1/3 released individually in January 1997 (R3 2284) has been on file for years at The Museum Of Television & Radio in New York City, with good sound quality, a fuzzy picture and the segments in original broadcast order, whereas the version of the special released with the October 1995 Monkees Video Box Set (R3 2960) has a sharp picture, murky sound quality, and the segments running in an alternate non-broadcast order. Rhino failed to locate the original 2-inch monaural first-generation videotape to which 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee was committed, and so they had to rely on two 1-inch NBC-TV broadcast masters with quality so substandard, they featured glitches. Rhino used both masters to concoct something of at least viewing quality.


In addition to the above, further details about this special can be found here: http://monkeestv.tripod.com/TVSpecials/33_1-3.html


CHEERS! :)


Tony
I've actually have seen a B&W KINESCOPE of the Broadcast! If they could find that, they could LiveFeed process it, and then overlay the best color signal (like they did with those UK Doctor Who recoveries) to create a better looking print. They could sweeten the audio from the two existing sources mixed with the optical sound of the kinescope.
 
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