The Monkees

Season 2 Episode 20

The Devil and Peter Tork

Aired Monday 7:30 PM Feb 05, 1968 on NBC

Episode Recap

Peter looks through the window Mr. Zero's Pawn Shop and enters calling for Mr. Zero. Peter comments on Zero's instruments, which Zero states are representative of the lives of musicians who have fallen on bad times, and have remained unclaimed. Upon Zero's urging, Peter looks around--and he comes across a golden harp and falls in love with it. Although he doesn't have any money, Peter insists he'll give anything for the harp and Mr. Zero produces a contract for Peter to sign in exchange for the harp. Peter signs the contract without even reading it and Mr. Zero informs him he can play now and pay later. Then Mr. Zero makes reservations over a red phone for Peter's soul which he has just purchased!

Back at the pad, Micky, Michael and David remind Peter that he can't play the harp and urge him to return it since it takes up space. Then suddenly, Zero appears in a puff of smoke and tells Peter he can play the harp and when he does, he plays beautifully. Mr. Zero disappears and the others are surprised at how well he can play and decide to use the harp. Soon Harry's Booking Agency comes calling and the boys are immediately booked into a harp act, which is an instant overnight success! But the following evening, as The Monkees pore over mailsacks full of offers and fan letters from Chicago, London and New York City, Zero appears again and presents the contract he signed which reveals that Peter signed a contract with The Devil offering his soul, which is to be delivered by midnight. Peter states he doesn't believe in devils; Micky thinks it's all an elaborate put-on. Then to prove he's Satan, with a few snaps of his fingers, Zero makes Micky's chair collapse under him, David's shirt disappear, and a broom appear in Michael's hand, which has them convinced! Zero at first wants to deliver Peter's soul four hours early at 8:00, as it is a way to "beat the cross-town traffic!", but, at Michael's behest, he decides to wait until the proper time. Then, restoring Michael, Micky and David to normal, he disappears again. The guys try to reassure Peter that there's nothing to worry about but Peter is as scared as heck. With a flash of lightning and a clap of thunder, a musical fantasy set to "Salesman" begins, in which Zero, with horns and a tail, and his handmaidens, with pitchforks, chase The Monkees through smoke and flame, finally making them his personal demons! Returned to reality and their pad, The Monkees realize that the one thing that's more scary than Hell is saying it on television!

When zero hour arrives, Micky prepares to exorcise the devil with a stake through the heart to protect Peter, but it becomes a feather when Zero appears. Frightened, the boys try to delay Zero (David even offers to take Peter's place!), but Zero is adamant on his contract with Peter. A tug-of-war between Zero and Micky and David for Peter commences until Michael intervenes, stating that can't stop Zero and his contract but he doesn't believe it's valid, and proceeds to take it to court. Zero consents, and with a clap of his hands, The Monkees' beach pad becomes a bizarre underworld courtroom, where Hanging Judge Roy Bean presides with a jury consisting of 12 condemned men from Devil's Island. Mr. Zero presents his first witness, gun-toting Billy The Kid, with whom he signed a contract with Mr. Zero in 1882 for his soul in exchange of becoming the most famous gunfighter in The West. When Michael attempts to cross examine him, he ends up being intimated by the outlaw and quickly backs off. Zero's next witness is Blackbeard The Pirate, and David tries to cross examine him only to wind up getting seasick when the pirate tells him about life on the sea. The last witness is Atilla The Hun with whom Micky tries to cross examine which ends up being an argument in Mongolian, and when Atilla tries to pounce on Micky, Michael stops him with words in Mongolian--which he doesn't understand!

Peter seems doomed until Michael, his defense attorney, calls his first witness: Mr. Zero to the stand; he rejects David's offer to place his hand on The Bible. Michael cross-examines Mr. Zero, who claims he gave Peter the ability to play the harp for his soul. However, Michael contradicts his claims giving a moving speech that Peter's ability to play the harp arose from his love of music, not Zero's power, since love is power. Mr. Zero laughs at Michael's claims and, taking Peter's ability away with a clap of his hands, he presents the harp and dares Peter to try to perform now. Michael persuades Peter to play the harp reminding him that the power is inside him-a power nobody can give to him nor take away. Then Peter manages to play the song "I Wanna Be Free" as evidence to Michael's claim, beautifully moving the judge and the jury, and he is found not quilty. The guys rejoice as a thwarted Mr. Zero disappears back into Hell and the judge asks Peter if he knows "Melancholy Baby" as they guys become friendly with the jury.


Tag Sequence:

The Monkees celebrate with their hip rendition of "No Time."


Soul. Some say it's a man's harp for a spirit. Certainly without it, we cannot survive, for no man can live without love.

-Passage rendered by Robert Rafelson @ the end of "The Devil And Peter Tork's" teaser sequence
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