The Monkees’ TV Show Was Inspired by 2 Beatles Movies

The Beatles made several classic movies. Two of those movies inspired The Monkees’ TV show. On the other hand, The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz said The Monkees’ differences from The Beatles helped make them endearing.

The Monkees' Davy Jones in front of a curtain
The Monkees’ Davy Jones | Express/Express/Getty Images

The Monkees wouldn’t exist without the director of some classic movies

Under the name Boyce & Hart, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart wrote numerous songs. They are most famous for working with The Monkees. In his 2015 book Psychedelic Bubble Gum: Boyce & Hart, The Monkees, and Turning Mayhem Into Miracles, Hart discussed when he and Boyce got a job writing songs for the Prefab Four.

“We were directed to the offices of Raybert Productions for our first meeting with television producer Bert Schneider,” Hart recalled. “Bert was the ‘bert’ in Raybert and the ‘Ray’ was Bob Rafelson, the future acclaimed director of movies like Five Easy Pieces, Stay Hungry, and The Postman Always Rings Twice. Schneider was a relaxed 6′3″, soft-spoken and laid-back, dressed in a white knit sweater and jeans with loafers.”

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What Boyce & Hart thought about writing songs for a show inspired by The Beatles’ movies

During the conversation between Boyce & Hart and the producers, The Beatles’ movies came up immediately. “Wasting no time, [Schneider] asked us if we had seen Hard Day’s Night and Help! and, of course, we told him we had,” Hart recalled. “Then he explained that he and his partner were planning a new show utilizing the same madcap chase romps and filmic techniques that The Beatles had used in their movies.”

Schneider then distilled the upcoming show to its essence. “‘Basically,’ he said, it was to be ‘an American Beatles on television,'” Hart wrote. “They were calling it The Monkees with two e’s.”

Boyce & Hart were taken with the concept immediately. They thought The Monkees’ songs had the potential to sell very well because they would be promoted on weekly television. After all, Ricky Nelson’s appearance on The Ozzie and Harriet Show helped him to sell records. Boyce & Hart convinced the producers they should write songs for the show and the rest is history.

RELATED: Why The Monkees’ Songwriters Felt Their Songs Couldn’t Sound Too Much Like The Beatles

What Micky Dolenz said about the difference between The Beatles and The Monkees

During a 2021 interview with The Arizona Republic, The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz discussed his feelings about Schneider and Rafelson. He noted they were about the same age as he was when The Monkees’ show started, making them young for Hollywood producers. He thought it was “really kind of cool” to work with producers so young.

Dolenz had a theory as to what made The Monkees connect with fans. He noted that, on the show, The Monkees wanted to be The Beatles but they never were. He said this meant kids who wanted to be famous could relate to The Monkees and their struggle for success.

The Beatles inspired The Monkees but Dolenz felt the difference between the two groups is what made The Monkees endearing.

RELATED: The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz Wanted to Cry While Singing This Beatles Song from ‘The White Album’