The Monkees

Season 2 Episode 28

Thirty-Three and One-Third Revolutions per Monkee

Aired Monday 7:30 PM Apr 14, 1969 on NBC

Episode Recap

In a spoof on the theory of evolution, Charles Darwin (Brian Auger) takes The Monkees through various stages of musical evolving until they are ready to brainwash the world via commercial exploitation. Hatched in giant test tubes, the four are stripped of all personal identity and names:

Micky Dolenz becomes Monkee #1,

Peter Tork becomes Monkee #2,

Mike Nesmith Monkee #3, and

Davy Jones Monkee #4.

Each Monkee attempts to regain his stripped away personal identity by thinking his way out of captivity into his own world of fantasies. Monkee #1 (Micky) performs an R&B up-tempo duet remake of I'm A Believer with Julie Driscoll; Monkee #2 (Peter) reclines on a giant cushion in eastern garb and, to the lilting backing of sitar music (played by studio ace Mike Deasy), performs I Prithee (Do Not Ask For Love), a gentle number concerning spiritual values. Monkee #3 (Mike), in an inventive split screen number, sings a country tune, Naked Persimmon (The Only Thing I Believe Is True); and Monkee #4 (Davy) capers about in short pants and frill collar in fairytale land, singing and dancing to the tune of Goldilocks Sometime.

But Darwin is alarmed by their fantasies and tries breaking them down by his own hypnotism via Only The Fittest Shall Survive, a slab of swirling psychedelia laden with congas, drums, jungle noises, cyclonic winds, explosions and heavy breathing. After The Monkees perform Wind Up Man in the stiff-legged form of robots, and I Go Ape disguised in white gorilla costumes, they are regenerated to Darwin's taste and, hypnotized, plasticized, psychoanalyzed, and sterilized, they make their debut at the Paramount Theater on December 7, 1956, dubbed "the greatest rock 'n' roll singers in the world." The four, dressed in outlandish 1950s vocal group gear, are then immediately launched into a classic '50s rock medley: At The Hop, Little Darlin', Peppermint Twist, and more. Backing them up are Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Fats Domino, The Buddy Miles Express, and The Clara Ward Singers.

Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll interrupts the proceedings and announces they have decided to give Davy, Micky, Mike and Peter complete and total freedom, resulting in a brief snippet of Davy Jones' String For My Kite, Peter Tork's harpsichord rendition of Solfeggietto by C.P.E. Bach and all four Monkees performing Listen To The Band with Mike on his Black Beauty (Gibson Les Paul Custom) guitar, Peter on keyboards, Micky on drums, and Davy on tambourine as an affectionate swan song performance by all four Monkees. As the song progresses, they are joined by hippies and all of 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee's guest musicians from The Trinity to The Buddy Miles Express, resulting in a climactic frantic cacophony until Darwin literally closes the book on them; the book's title is, prophetically, "The Beginning Of The End." As Peter Tork performs California Here It Comes (his very last Monkees recording as he would formally leave The Monkees after this broadcast), 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee's end credits superimpose over footage of Southern California being the hapless victim of an A-bomb blast.