TEEN YOUR ENTHUSIASM (3)
April 8, 2023
One in a series of 25 enthusiastic posts, contributed by 25 HILOBROW friends and regulars, on the topic of heartthrobs from our adolescences). Series edited by Heather Quinlan.
For a girl in the late 1960s, Tiger Beat, 16, Flip and the like were centerpieces of life, providing behind-the-scenes dish about our ever-changing heartthrobs, plus photos to swoon over, cut out and tape to the wall. For me, though, the most effective delivery system belonged to NBC, which beamed four charismatic, crush-worthy young men into our homes every Monday evening for two years. Babysitters had sighed over The Beatles, whose age and worldly edge put them out of my reach; The Monkees were accessible and fun. Their appeal was instant: winning personalities, zany senses of humor, just long enough hair, danceable rock and a nonthreatening man-child masculinity. Desexed for young eyes, the four romped shirtless on the beach with chests and forearms free of hair, which adult me was startled to see flourishing on Peter’s chest in a 1980s interview.
Each member of the quartet had something to offer. Davy was the dreamboat, whose eyes twinkled with stars at the sight of each week’s new guest starlet. Micky was a goofball with underrated vocal chops and a machine-gun delivery that presaged Robin Williams. Mike was laconic, radiating (comparatively) mature sensibilities and a vague off-limits vibe. My favorite was Peter, idiosyncratic and, I was certain, misunderstood (after all, we were both Aquarians), but affection did not rate him a place on my wall. That honor went to the quartet, in faux Victorian finery dusted with obviously fake snow, in a full page clipped from a mainstream magazine.
Their screen personae soon grew evolved, as the outside world’s psychedelia seeped into their costumes, music and album covers. Wild colors and prints overtaking my own style, I ran along happily. (Zappa! Tim Buckley! Did any other teenyboppers recognize these guests as outlier geniuses?) When news of the show’s cancellation hit, I refused to accept it. I circulated a petition to keep it going, so passionately that a friend’s mother signed on.
The group’s hold on me remains. I still listen to their music. I have all my albums and teen magazines. The series has retained its charm, even with decades between viewings. Their film and special Head and 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee gave me slack-jawed respect for their burnout and the surrealism that inspired. I’ve followed their lives and solo work and no longer play favorites with the group (meeting Peter cured that). Still, it was startling a few years back to dream out of the blue that Davy kissed me and said, “I love you.” It felt like a thank you. When he died only months later, I went to his celebration in New York City. Though he hadn’t been a media darling for decades, the place was packed.
TEEN YOUR ENTHUSIASM: INTRODUCTION by Heather Quinlan | Adam McGovern on ANDY GIBB | Crockett Doob on DREW BARRYMORE | Kathy Biehl on THE MONKEES | Josh Glenn on SHAUN CASSIDY | Catherine Christman on ELI WALLACH | Carlo Rotella on VALERIE BERTINELLI | Miranda Mellis on EDDIE VAN HALEN | Paul Finnegan on KIM WILDE | Heather Quinlan on MIKE PATTON | Mariane Cara on NKOTB | Mimi Lipson on ARLO GUTHRIE | Gabriela Pedranti on GUSTAVO CERATI | Michele Carlo on MICHAEL JACKSON | Ingrid Schorr on PAUL McCARTNEY | Carolyn Campbell on ROBERT REDFORD | Erin M. Routson on JOHNNY KNOXVILLE | Amy Keyishian on JIM MORRISON | Fran Pado on TONY DEFRANCO | Krista Margies Kunkle on LUKE PERRY | Lucy Sante on FRANÇOISE HARDY | Lynn Peril on DANNY BONADUCE | Jack Silbert on CHERYL TIEGS | Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons on CHRISTIAN SLATER | Cynthia Scott on LEONARD WHITING | Elizabeth Foy Larsen on OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN.
JACK KIRBY PANELS | CAPTAIN KIRK SCENES | OLD-SCHOOL HIP HOP | TYPEFACES | NEW WAVE | SQUADS | PUNK | NEO-NOIR MOVIES | COMICS | SCI-FI MOVIES | SIDEKICKS | CARTOONS | TV DEATHS | COUNTRY | PROTO-PUNK | METAL | & more enthusiasms!