The scene is Chasen’s restaurant in late June ’66, before The Monkees show reached the public. NBC is entertaining its affiliates, the men who decide what their stations will carry, and stars of the new fall shows are making appearances. While the whole hippie movement has by now gained wide acceptance in American life, the affiliates are conservative, sceptical men, known to be opposed on principle to anything long-haired. ‘Bert Schneider was against the boys going,’ recalls a behind-the-scenes participant. ‘He figured it for a square scene and the affiliates wouldn’t dig it anyway. But the network insisted the affiliates had to be won over. The head writers had a sketch for them, and the boys were supposed to kind of come in on the end of things, make a quick appearance and get out.
‘But things ran late. They stood outside, tired, nervous, unfed. I said, ‘Are you guys going to do the material?’ ‘Hell no,’ they said. Somebody had dragged along a stuffed peacock. They played volleyball with it, stopping traffic on Beverly Boulevard. Micky got into the restaurant’s switch box and turned off all the lights. Finally they were introduced by Dick Clark. Since they hadn’t any musical instruments – we were afraid to let ‘em try to play – they did ‘comedy’ material. Micky shaved with the microphone, Davy pretended to be a duck. The jokes began to die. The affiliates were already hostile and what was not needed was a bunch of smart-aleck kids. On the way out I heard an affiliate say, ‘That’s The Monkees? Forget it.’