When flower power bloomed in pop culture Ginger Baker 71 Roger McGuinn 72 David Crosby 73 The Doors 74 John Densmore 75 Robby Krieger 76 Ray Manzarek 77 Justin Hayward 78 John Kay 79 Vanilla Fudge 80 The Zombies 82
THE GENESIS Introduction 4 Overview 8 Timeline 10 The folk scene 12
THE FLOWERING The Beatles’ evolution 14 ‘Pet Sounds’ 16 Brian Wilson 17 The Rolling Stones’ evolution 18
TOP 40 Hit singles 1964-1972 20 Tommy James 22 Mark Lindsay 25 Susan Cowsill 26 Hitmakers 30 The Turtles 34 The Guess Who 35 Donovan 36 The Rascals 37
TELEVISION Television trips 38 ‘The Monkees’ 40 Davy Jones 42 Micky Dolenz 44 Peter Tork 46 Michael Nesmith 48 But were they a real band? 49 Monkees memorabilia 50 The Smothers Brothers 54 ‘Laugh-In’ 56 Ruth Buzzi 58 Lily Tomlin 60 ‘Laugh-In’ memorabilia 62 Tiny Tim 64 Tiny Tim memorabilia 67
ALBUM BANDS 33 1/3 revolutions per minute 68 Cream 69 Jack Bruce 70
FILM Groovy movies 84 ‘Riot on Sunset Strip’ 85 ‘The Trip’ 86 ‘Psych-Out’ 87 ‘Head’ 88 ‘Wild in the Streets’ 89 ‘Yellow Submarine’ 90 ‘Easy Rider’ 92 ‘Easy Rider’ vignettes 94 Peter Fonda 95
Insets: “Their Satanic Majesties Request” © London Records, © Decca Records; “Laugh-In” © George Schlatter-Ed Friendly Productions and Romart, Inc.; “Psych-Out” © Dick Clark Productions, © American International Pictures
Ten Years After 138 On Jimi Hendrix 140 The Altamont free concert 146
MESSIAHS The original hippie 150 ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ 152 Ian Gillan 153 Long-hairs on Broadway 154 ‘Superstar’ the movie 155 Tommy Chong 156
ART Psychedelic posters 96 Peter Max 98 Peter Max memorabilia 101 John Van Hamersveld 102 Diana Prince transformed 104 DC Comics in the groove 106 On Steve Ditko 108 Jim Steranko 109 Archie Comics in the groove 110 Underground comix 112 On Robert Crumb 116
FAMILY FARE Post-revolution sitcoms 157 Florence Henderson 158 Barry Williams 160 Maureen McCormick 162 Eve Plumb 164 ‘Brady’ memorabilia 165 David Cassidy 166
Every effort has been made to verify the ownership or source of all illustrated material. We regret any errors of attribution, and will make the appropriate corrections in future editions.
‘SUMMER OF LOVE’
Monterey Pop and Woodstock 130 Richie Havens 131 Arlo Guthrie 132 Melanie 133 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young 134 The Who 135 Sha Na Na and Canned Heat 136 Mountain 137
Front cover: Hippie girl from Madhouse Ma-ad Freak-Out #72 (1970) by Stan Goldberg © Archie Comics; Woodstock poster (1969) by Arnold Skolnick © Woodstock Music & Art Fair; Snorky doll (1969) © Hanna-Barbera Productions; “Live For Today” picture sleeve (1967) © Dunhill Records; “Stoned Agin!” artwork from Your Hytone Comix (1971) © Robert Crumb; Jimi Hendrix artwork from the cover of “Axis: Bold as Love” (1968) © Reprise Records
Back cover: Dancing girl from poster for “Mondo Mod” (1967) © Timely Motion Pictures Inc.
Black is Beautiful 120 On the Vietnam War 122 Politicians in the groove 123
‘Groovy’ logo by: Ed Gabel Proofreader: Scott Peters
Frontis page: Susan Strasberg from poster art for “Psych-Out” (1968) © Dick Clark Productions and American International Pictures
The San Francisco scene 124 Paul Kantner 125 Jorma Kaukonen 126 Jack Casady 127 Big Brother and Janis Joplin 128
Written and designed by: Mark Voger Publisher: John Morrow
Danny Bonaduce 170 Shirley Jones 172 ‘Partridge’ memorabilia 173 Teen magazines 176 Saturday morning TV 178 ‘The Banana Splits’ 180 ‘Banana Splits’ memorabilia 180 ‘H.R. Pufnstuf’ 182 ‘Pufnstuf’ memorabilia 184 Casey Kasem 185 ‘The Brady Kids’ 186
ENDSVILLE Epilogue 188 Index 190 Acknowledgments 191
Insets; “Love” poster © Peter Max; “H.R. Pufnstuf” © Sid & Marty Krofft Productions
For Cholly “Groovy: When Flower Power Bloomed in Pop Culture” © 2017 Mark Voger
ISBN 978-1-60549-080-9 First printing, October 2017 Printed in the USA All rights reserved under international copyright conventions. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from Mark Voger, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review. Inquiries should be addressed to Mark Voger c/o: TwoMorrows Publishing. Photos credited to Kathy Voglesong © the estate of Kathy Voglesong
Published by: TwoMorrows Publishing 10407 Bedfordtown Drive Raleigh, North Carolina 27614
Timeline 38,000 B.C.: Cave paintings from this era are thought to have been inspired by hallucinogens.
Grooviness has many historic precedents. And some decidedly non-groovy events (segregation, the Vietnam War, the assassinations, the election of Richard M. Nixon) had powerful reverberations in groovy culture.
2/7/64: The Beatles land at JFK Airport in New York City. Two days later, they perform on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Thus, the “British Invasion” is up and running.
9/2/66: TV’s “The Monkees” debuts. 8/5/66: “Revolver” by the Beatles is released. 7/2/64: The Civil Rights Act passes.
1816: The kaleidoscope is invented by Scottish scientist David Brewster (1781-1868).
11/22/63: President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas at age 46. 8/28/63: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his “I have a dream” speech during the March on Washington.
Late 19th century: The Modernism art movement originates.
8/2/64: A battle between U.S. and North Vietnamese vessels in the Gulf of Tonkin will spur President Lyndon Johnson to announce, without formal declaration, a state of war with North Vietnam. (Decades later, the validity of this impetus is questioned.)
8/60: Timothy Leary (1920-96) samples hallucinogenic mushrooms. 5/9/60: “The pill,” the first oral contraceptive, is approved by the FDA. Sexual revolution, ho!
11/16/38: LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide, a.k.a. “acid”) is synthesized by Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann (1906-2008). 1950: In a presage to the Vietnam War, the U.S. sends military advisors to French Indochina.
1956: The term “psychedelic” is coined by British psychiatrist Humphry Osmond (1917-2004).
6/66: The National Organization for Women (NOW) forms, a harbinger of the women’s liberation movement. 5/16/66: “Pet Sounds” by the Beach Boys is released.
12/3/65: “Rubber Soul” by the Beatles is released.
1962: Andy Warhol (1928-87) founds The Factory in New York City. 1920s: The term “groovy” is coined by jazz musicians.
12/9/66: “Fresh Cream,” Cream’s debut, is released.
8/64: “The Psychedelic Experience,” a hallucinogen instruction manual by Leary, Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert, is published. Summer 1964: A group calling itself the Merry Pranksters led by writer Ken Kesey takes an LSD-fueled crosscountry trip in a psychedelic bus. 2/21/65: Malcolm X is assassinated at age 39 in New York City.
7/25/65: Bob Dylan shakes up the folkie world by plugging in for an electric set at the Newport Folk Festival. Dylan’s set is met with a mix of cheers and boos.
1/4/67: “The Doors,” the title band’s debut, is released.
5/12/67: “Are You Experienced,” the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s debut, is released.
6/1/67: “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by the Beatles is released.
6/21/65: “Mr. Tambourine Man,” the Byrds’ debut, is released.
6/16-18/67: The Monterey Pop Festival takes place.
4/4/68: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated at age 39 in Memphis. 2/68: The Beatles, Donovan, Mike Love and others meet Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India.
7/14/69: “Easy Rider” starring Peter Fonda opens.
4/19/68: “Odessey and Oracle” by the Zombies is released.
1/22/68: TV’s “Laugh-In” debuts. 12/31/67: Abbie Hoffman founds the “Yippie” (for “Youth International Party”) movement.
7/3/69: Brian Jones dies at age 27 in Sussex, England.
1/13/69: “Yellow Submarine,” the movie soundtrack album, is released. 4/29/68: “Hair” opens on Broadway.
8/8-10/69: Manson Family members murder seven people, including actress Sharon Tate, then-pregnant wife of director Roman Polanski.
8/15-18/69: The Woodstock festival takes place.
11/6/68: The film “Head” starring the Monkees opens.
4/30/75: As Saigon falls to North Vietnam, U.S. civilians are evacuated. 1/23/73: Nixon announces an end to the Vietnam War in his “peace with honor” speech.
7/3/71: Jim Morrison dies at age 27 in Paris. Among his lyrics: “This is the end / beautiful friend.”
11/5/68: Nixon defeats Hubert H. Humphrey in the presidential race.
12/8/67: “Their Satanic Majesties Request” by the Rolling Stones is released.
6/6/68: Sen. Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated at age 42 in Los Angeles.
11/27/67: “Magical Mystery Tour” by the Beatles is released.
7/17/68: The film “Yellow Submarine,” “starring” the Beatles, opens.
10/3/67: Woody Guthrie dies from Huntington’s Disease at age 55 in New York City.
8/68: “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” by Tom Wolfe is published.
8/27/67: Beatles manager Brian Epstein dies from a mix of alcohol and pills at age 32 in London.
Summer 1967: The so-called “Summer of Love” takes place, or not, in San Francisco.
11/1/68: The MPAA ratings system goes into effect, allowing greater freedom for nudity and vulgarity. Hooray!
9/6/69: TV’s “H.R. Pufnstuf” debuts.
9/26/69: TV’s “The Brady Bunch” debuts.
10/4/70: Janis Joplin dies at age 27 in Los Angeles.
9/25/70: TV’s “The Partridge Family” debuts. 9/18/70: Jimi Hendrix dies at age 27 in London.
10/68: Zap Comix #1 is published. 12/6/69: The Altamont free concert takes place.
8/28/68: Televised clashes between police and protestors outside of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago prompt the chant “The whole world is watching.” 9/7/68: TV’s “The Banana Splits” debuts.
9/16/68: Richard M. Nixon appears on “Laugh-In.”
12/17/69: Tiny Tim weds Victoria Mae Budinger on “The Tonight Show.”
9/12/70: TV’s “Lancelot Link” debuts. 9/70: The album “Jesus Christ Superstar” is released. 5/4/70: Ohio National Guardsmen kill four Kent State students during anti-war protests.
The “flowering” of the Beatles’ sound couldn’t have happened during the insane days of wanton, screaming Beatlemania. Who can innovate, when you are four jet-lagged zombies in “They were at a major crossroads. It was time to take stock, matching suits and haircuts, struggling in vain to hear yourselves time to go back to their first love: making music. They made a play over a high-pitched, eardrum-splitting din? unanimous decision: No more tours. They all agreed they would It wasn’t until the Beatles extracted themselves from their concentrate on TV broadcasts and their recorded music.” “prison of fame” — as their producer George Martin called it — During a hiatus, Lennon wrote the landmark psychedelic song that John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo “Strawberry Fields Forever” while in Spain shooting the World Starr were able to, pardon the expression, let their hair down. War II comedy “How I Won the War” for Richard Lester (director This didn’t happen overnight. With of the Beatles’ films “A Hard Day’s “Rubber Soul” (1965), the Beatles Night” and “Help!”). were finally able to record an album “The song that started it all was without the constant interruptions of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever,’ ” Martin touring. The results are a long way said during his lecture, which focused from “Meet the Beatles.” Psychedelia on the recording of the Beatles’ next was creeping in; “Norwegian Wood” album, 1967’s “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely features George Harrison’s first Hearts Club Band.” recorded performance on sitar (an “It immediately demonstrated instrument that figured largely in much where the Beatles were at that time. psychedelic music to follow). Though When I first heard it, I was spellbound. Harrison was not yet proficient on the “At Abbey Road Studios on a cold instrument, he plucked at his sitar and night in November 1966, John started “kind of found the notes.” singing it and playing on his guitar. It The trippy look of the “Rubber was spellbinding. His lyrics painted a Soul” cover wasn’t part of some psyhazy, impressionistic world. I was in chedelic master plan; it happened by love with what I heard. All I had to do accident. After the boys were shown was record it.” an unintentionally distorted projection The fade-out/fade-in/fade-out on of the image, they had a “That’s it!” the song — a highlight of psychedelic moment, and requested the photo music — happened by accident, appear that way on the cover. according to Martin. He explained that “Revolver” (1966) was the followon his favorite take, something went up, though in some ways, it feels like out of sync near the end. “The soluthe third and fourth sides of a doubletion: Fade down, and then bring it album begun with “Rubber Soul.” back up again,” Martin said. The closing track, “Tomorrow “We finished up with a track that Never Knows,” is full-on psychedelic, showed the way. This was our first with Lennon sounding like a guy from psychedelic track.” another dimension, while otherworldly “Strawberry Fields Forever” was tape loops play over hypnotic drums. the seed from which “Sgt. Pepper’s “Yellow Submarine,” of course, blosLonely Hearts Club Band” sprang somed into a very psychedelic animat(though ironically, “Fields” didn’t ed film. “Rain” — which was recorded appear on “Pepper”). The Beatles comduring the “Revolver” sessions but pleted their transition from lovable released as a B-side — featured the moptops to important artists. Beatles’ first-ever backward lyric, Freed from the onus of playing the courtesy of Martin. songs live, the boys went for it, with “Revolver” was released on Aug. The Beatles’ studio evolution began with “Rubber songwriting, lyrics and arrangements 5, 1966, one week before the Beatles that were absolutely new. The album’s Soul” (1965) and continued through “Revolver” embarked on a tour that proved to be packaging — the boys dressed as the (1966) and, opposite, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely their last. fictional title band amid cutouts of Hearts Club Band” (1967). © Capitol Records; © Apple Records “On tour, the boys couldn’t even nostalgic figures — represented an hear themselves play over the screams of the crowd,” said Martin ironic, colorful, united front. “Sgt. Pepper” is called the best (1926-2016) during a 1999 lecture at the Count Basie Theatre in Beatles album, the quintessential psychedelic album and, by more Red Bank, New Jersey, which I attended. than a few estimations, the greatest album ever recorded. “Every concert sounded like 1,000 jet planes going off. There With “Sgt. Pepper,” the psychedelic album finally came into its were no monitors in those days. The Beatles knew they weren’t own. Many would follow by such artists as the Rolling Stones, the playing very well. The boys had a very bad case of hotel fatigue. Jimi Hendrix Experience and the Zombies. But for all of them, it They had grown tired of their prison of fame. They all wanted out. seemed like “Sgt. Pepper” opened the door that led to their being.
Mick Jagger had a girlie face and full lips, which made him the ideal poster boy for British psychedelia. More so than any of his four contemporaries in the Beatles. The “Satanic Majesties” cover — the band in multi-colored, Back then — before Jagger’s visage collapsed into “Whatever satin-y costumes amid flowers and way-out graphics — could be Happened to Baby Jane” territory — he could wear eyeliner, lipcalled the Stones’ answer to “Sgt. Pepper.” Or, if you’re feeling stick and a wizard hat, and still somehow look like a man. Well, less charitable, a rip-off of “Sgt. Pepper.” (I’ve always wondered not to my dad or his refinery buddies, but to us. if John Lennon’s lyric “I roll a stone-y / you can imitate anyone Between the Rolling Stones’ 1966 tour (still a pop band, still you know” was a reference to the Stones’ transparent mimicry.) playing to screaming girls) and their 1969 tour (Brian Jones gone, all focus on Jagger, evolution into modern Stones complete), the THE STONES HOSTED A TV SPECIAL WITH GROOVY band had its psychedelic period: shortlived, frequent interruptus. overtones during this period, though no one got to see it at the The Stones’ 1967 album “Their Satanic Majesties Request” time. In “The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus” (1968), the was, like the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper” and the Beach Boys “Pet boys were dolled up in eclectic fashions befitting the circus motif, Sounds,” a studio-bound project (unlike previous collections that with Jagger playing ringmaster in a top hat and red tails. The were typically recorded between appearances, schedules permitguest list makes rock fans salivate: Lennon and Yoko Ono, Eric ting). But in the Stones’ case, this was more the result of Jagger Clapton, The Who, Marianne Faithfull, Taj Mahal, Jethro Tull. and Keith Richards’ drug busts, and the defense against same, This was the (extremely) shortlived lineup of Tull, with Black than some willful artistic entrenchment. The band had, via necesSabbath guitarist Tony Iommi making his only appearance with sity wrought by outside forces, slowed down. the band. For Iommi, then an unknown kid from Birmingham, This did not guarantee wonderful results. “Satanic Majesties” England, this was a heady experience. was no “Sgt. Pepper.” Jones’ dete“It was like being in a dream, realrioration — exacerbated by the ly,” Iommi said. “I was so knocked awkward Jones-Richards-Anita out. We got together at a reception; Pallenberg love triangle — escalatthe Stones held their own reception ed, unchecked. Vitally transitional at their hotel. And all the people that though it was, this was a messy were in the film were at the recepperiod for the band. tion. And we just had drink and “A sort of dither” is what bassist drugs and whatever. Everything! Bill Wyman said of inter-Stones “I just couldn’t believe I was relations in 1967, when I commentinvolved in all this. From sort of ed on the metamorphosis that nothing happening, to all of a sudoccurred between ’66 and ’69. den, here I am with the biggest “Yeah,” Wyman said, “where people in the world at that time — we’d gone back to ‘Beggars there are just no words for it. I was Banquet’ (1968) and all that, hadn’t just gobsmacked, you know?” we? And back to the basic roots, The once-in-a-lifetime lineup of really, in a way. We were all wanting Lennon, Clapton, Richards (on to play, and we’d made a couple of bass) and drummer Mitch great albums. And we were getting on Mitchell — calling themselves the some again after a sort of dither in Dirty Mac — teamed up for “Yer ’67, when you didn’t know who was Blues” from the Beatles’ “White going to be in and out of jail, and all Album.” And the Stones gave their Dolled up on the “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” sleeve. that. (Manager) Andrew Oldham had last public performance with Jones. Opposite: “Their Satanic Majesties Request.” left and so on. It was a whole rebirth, The band also went glam for its © Decca Records; © London Records really. And we were up for it.” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” video and Oldham quit, in fact, during the “Satanic Majesties” sessions, sleeve. In the video, Jagger’s face is painted something like Henry citing frustration over the Stones’ sporadic participation and Brandon’s in “The Searchers,” and Jones’ like Shirley Eaton’s in apparent lack of commitment to the project. “Satanic Majesties” “Goldfinger.” On the sleeve, Jones holds a plastic red devil’s tribecame the Stones’ only self-produced album — a disjointed one dent and a glass of red wine (symbolism?); Wyman (we presume) with the odd brilliant song. Another Stones album from ’67, wears a Halloween mask; and Richards wears perhaps his glam“Flowers,” was a U.S.-only compilation of odds, sods and singles. miest look ever: black “pleather,” Jackie-O shades, red nails. Based on the album’s cover graphics and track list (not to mention Somehow, you can’t picture Richards — who is largely its title), “Flowers,” too, can rightly be called psychedelic. responsible for the Stones “bad boy” image — running through a More than a few Stones songs from the period are hallmarks of field of daisies in slow motion. Granted, the guitarist partook in psychedelia: “She’s a Rainbow,” with its off-time, almost silly illegal substances (to say the least) and wore some wild stuff durpiano and spacey lyrics (“She comes in colors everywhere”); ing the Stones’ psychedelic period. But he was no flower child. “Dandelion,” with its playful harpsichord and high-pitched harmoWhich is what Wyman meant when he said “Beggars Banquet,” nies; “2000 Light Years From Home” and “We Love You,” with the Stones’ universally lauded follow-up to “Satanic Majesties,” their languid vocals over hypnotic rhythms. was “back to the basic roots.” They never looked back.
Albums were something hippies sat around listening to, smoking weed. But Top 40 was heard by square and hip, young and old.
Photo by Mark Voger
It was heard at shopping centers, cafeterias, parks, drive-ins, dances, gas stations, swim clubs, train stations, bus depots, stadiums — any place that had a radio, a record player or a jukebox. And Top 40 exposed John and Jane Q. Public to grooviness earlier and more effectively than any other medium. Because even if you weren’t looking for it, there it was. At the dawn of the 1960s, there were still doo-wop songs in Top 40. Beatlemania in 1964 marked a turning point. Of course, the Beatles’ early hits weren’t yet what you’d call groovy. (The boys were still singing about wanting to hold hands rather than girls with kaleidoscope eyes.) And their instrumentation, though undeniably singular, still fell along conventional lines: vocals, two guitars, bass and drums. No ethereal Moog ... yet. Still, the first groovy singles sprang from the British Invasion.
That first wave, the Beatles and the Stones, opened the door, but it was second-wave Invasion bands, with less resources and a bit more hunger, who took pop in new, dangerous, beautiful directions. What was the first psychedelic Top 40 song? I give it to “She’s Not There” by the Zombies. The song sounds like it came out in 1967 or ’68, but it was actually released in July 1964, less than six months after the Beatles landed at JFK. “She’s Not There” pointed to the future. The jazzy electric-piano opening is Doors-esque; the high-pitched harmonies are haunting; and Rod Argent’s virtuosity on the keyboard wraps the song in love. Even the lyrics about an enigmatic heartbreaker sound somewhat cosmic: “Her voice was soft and cool / her eyes were clear and bright / but she’s not there.” The Zombies song was followed by two more from secondwave British Invasion bands: the Animals and the Yardbirds. The tone of the Animals’ “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” (#15), released in January 1965, is set by the introductory riff: tinny guitar backed by eerie organ. Eric Burdon’s vocal is vulnerable, even pleading, in a way that Lennon, McCartney or Jagger never conjured. The backing vocals are more like cries. The arrangement is simple. The stops are dramatic. The production is super raw. This song would be right at home playing in the background while a joint is passed around. A month later came the Yardbirds’ “For Your Love” (#6). It, too, has an intro that grabs in unexpected ways: harpsichord and bongos? (The innovation was a happy accident; no organ could be located for the recording session.) The backing vocals are decidedly non-slick, yet the simple harmonies transport you. The tempo change, which temporarily shifts the song into Beatles-style rock ’n’ roll, already seems like ironic comment, even this early in the game.
For the Cowsills, pop success was all in the ...
A GROUP OF SIBLINGS WEARING MATCHING stagewear tour the country with their mom, singing their pop hits. “The Partridge Family,” right? On TV, yes. But there was a real-life inspiration for the fictional Partridges. The Cowsills were the real thing: a touring, recording family who put out real hit singles. Tie for the toothy clan’s highest chart position was “Hair,” which went to #2 in 1969 and raised more than a few eyebrows. A squeaky-clean family act, covering a song from a counter-culture musical? Susan — the youngest Cowsill and the only sister in the act — sang the immortal lyric “and spaghetti” in “Hair” (to her chagrin). I spoke with the singer (born 1959) in 2015. Q: Do you remember much about your childhood in Rhode Island prior to joining your brothers’ band? COWSILL: I totally remember my childhood. More than I remember the band, in fact. It was a rural, in-the-woods kind of lifestyle the whole time. I missed it greatly when we moved to New York City, until Paul found Central Park. Then there was a place for all of us. Q: You aren’t on the Cowsills’ earliest records. When the band started getting attention, were you itching to join? COWSILL: I was. I bullied my way into the band. I would beg, borrow and steal, do laundry, whatever it took. I saw all the fun my brothers were having, and I wanted in. Although, they didn’t want me at first, because I was the creepy little sister (laughs).
born a 30-year-old. I knew exactly what was going on. I made it into the band two months before we did “The Ed Sullivan Show,” so my timing was impeccable. I knew I was a musician, even though I was very young. I was into music. Q: It seemed almost wrong that the Cowsills recorded “Hair.” But it went to #2. How did the idea to cover it come about? COWSILL: The “Hair” thing came about when we were doing a TV special with Carl Reiner. It was about art and culture of the time. He had us on, and he thought it would be funny if we did the song from “Hair” — the dichotomy of having the Cowsills do “Hair.” The boys did a recording of it, just for that TV show. It came out so well that we wanted to put it out as a single. MGM didn’t want to put it out, so my brothers brought it to a (radio) station in Chicago, and they secretly played it on the air. The switchboards lit up. Today, they would call it “going viral.” Q: What do you remember about recording “Hair”? Do you remember anything about developing the arrangement? COWSILL: The guys would know. I just remember that I wished I didn’t have to do the “and spaghetti” thing. I remember not appreciating that part. The others got such cool parts to sing, and I’m singing what? I got the cute part, because I was the little girl. Q: But after all, “and spaghetti” is a part of pop history. And history is history. COWSILL: History is history. Q: Did you see “Hair” on stage?
Q: You were 8. Did you know what you were getting into?
COWSILL: We did go see it. But not me. My mom wouldn’t let me. My brothers all saw it, at the Aquarius Theater in Los Angeles, in fact.
COWSILL: I knew what I was getting into. I think I was
Susan Cowsill rocks “The Mike Douglas Show” (1970).
What a beautiful feeling IT’S ONE OF THOSE STRANGER-THAN-FICTION STORIES IN ROCK lore that Tommy James’ career was just about dead when out of the blue, a song he recorded years earlier was discovered by a new audience, resuscitating his prospects. But is it a true story? u “Of course, the ‘Hanky Panky’ story sounds like it was made up by a press agent, but it’s absolutely the truth,” James told me. “It’s one of those early rock stories that could only happen in America.” u In late 1963 or early ’64, James and his high school group, the Shondells, released the garage-rock song “Hanky Panky” on Snap Records, a small label in his hometown of Niles, Michigan. “It went #1 in about six square blocks,” James told me with a laugh. “We were on all the local jukeboxes and got airplay in the cities around Niles. But then the record just died, because we had no distribution. So we had long forgotten about the record. I graduated from high school in ’65, and took my band on the road.” u While these Michigan boys were playing clubs in Chicago, something unexpected was going on in Pittsburgh. Recalled James: “A deejay in Pittsburgh played the record at dances, and got such an incredible response that he then took it to the radio station. They started playing it, and a week later, we were sitting at #1 from requests. The local distributor pressed up 80,000 bootlegged records that sold in 10 days. So we were sitting at #1 in Pittsburgh.” u But James knew nothing of this. As far as he was concerned, his dream of rock stardom was over by the spring of 1966. “A club we were working at went broke in the middle of our two-week gig,” he said. “I just happened to be home, out of work and very depressed. The week I arrived back home, I got a call from Pittsburgh that Fenway Distributors in Pittsburgh had pressed 80,000 copies of ‘Hanky Panky.’ They tracked me down because on the original record label, it said ‘Snap Records, Niles, Michigan,’ and they happened to call the one place in the universe that knew me and knew who I was: the old record shop where I used to work. They got my home number, and I just happened to be home. u “All those things came together in one moment when they got ahold of me, and it changed my life. That was the beginning of my career. I went to Pittsburgh and did some shows there and put a new group together of Shondells, because I couldn’t put the old group back together. The people who were in Pittsburgh then took us to New York to sell the master to a major label. We ended up on Roulette Records. This all happened in about six weeks. Roulette put the record out, and it went #1 in the world, basically. It became the #1 record of the summer of ’66, and that began my career.” u James admitted that the story sounds like the stuff of a Hollywood film. “When you tell that to people — that’s just how the good Lord works,” said James, an avowed Christian. “There’s no other explanation. I, basically, had nothing to do with any of that. I was a spectator as much as anything else. All I did was show up.”
ducer) Chip Douglas. He says, “Okay, we’ve got these 13 tunes here.” He played “Daydream Believer” and he said, “What do you think?” I said, “Yeah, that’s the one. Get rid of that.” I figured he’s asking me which one we should dump from the album. And I’m saying dump “Daydream Believer.” He says, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no. We’re thinking this would be the single.” I said, “What? Please! Don’t embarrass me.” Q: The ad-lib at the top of the song (“Just because I’m short”) is charming. Please set the scene that brought about that moment. JONES: Usually, I’d go in because we were doing songs for the TV show only. Most of those are one take. Only one take. In you go; do it; gone. Because this was for a TV show. How much time did you have to put into it? To sing this stuff that was being written for us? Because it was supposedly part of the story, I was told each time I went in, for the TV show. I mean, that’s why I sang a lot of that stuff. And we went in there, and I started singing it (“Daydream Believer”) the first time, and I said, “I can’t sing another one of these, guys!” I probably said, “You f***ing guys! F! F! F! F! F! F! F!” Then all a sudden, I got embarrassed and I said (whispering), “OK, OK, you guys. I know. It’s just because I’m short that you’re making me do it again.” When the album came out, they put a little bit of ad-libs on there. And that is exactly the reason that thing in “Daydream Believer” is on there. They were smart enough to leave it, and make it something the Monkees became known for: talking on their records. Then they had the Beatles with “Sgt. Pepper”; you play it backwards and it says, “I am dead. I am dead.” That’s all baloney. Q: Was it weird seeing your likeness on lunch boxes and comic books and finger puppets? JONES: It’s kind of weird seeing the lunch boxes and books and everything, but it’s a compliment. I don’t think about it, but that was all money made by the company. Those things should irk me, because I see them all still. I have a few bits of memorabilia. My father collected a few things, whether it be the little Monkeemobile car and things like that. But, you know, somewhere deep inside, a little thing turns and I go, “Well, that’s all very nice. I guess they’re all retired in Mexico now, and there’s me still working my ass off.” Q: Was 1966, when “The Monkees” debuted, the end of innocence? The next few years is when the drugs and “free love” and rebellion set in. JONES: All I saw were 14-, 15-yearold girls who were screaming and shouting and running after us. As soon as we got to the pop festival stage, when all these people were out there, it was no longer, like, “Be careful who you smoke with.” They were all smoking out in the field, and it was on TV. It was the end of the innocence, but the innocence can start again whenever you want.
Davy Jones in 1998 and looking mod in a 1960s publicity photo. 1998 photo by Kathy Voglesong
Same thing goes for alcohol. For instance, if I had two beers at lunch, I was doomed for the rest of the day; I could just barely drag myself through the day. If I kept it to one, I could work that day. So I had to make sure I didn’t drink two. It took me a couple of times to realize what was happening. If you can’t remember your lines, and you’ve been smoking a lot of dope, and somebody points it out to you — “Listen, you smoked quite a bit before you came on the set, and you can’t remember your lines. Do you think maybe there’s a connection?” So you back off on a lot of that, because you want to do your work as well as you can. Q: Was it an adjustment going from obscurity to being mobbed by screaming teenage girls, almost overnight? TORK: That was a little difficult. I didn’t get it then, what it was about and why things went the way they did. I get it now. It took a long time to put it into some kind of order that I could deal with. Q: What do you “get” about it now? TORK: I basically figure now that American kids — well, EuroAmerican kids — of all stripes were severely repressed. I mean, all cultures repress their people to some extent, and I think ours does just as good a job as any. Particularly in the ’60s, they were so severely repressed because they were the children of people who grew up in the ’40s; it was World War II, post-war peace and prosperity. These are the people who raised these kids, and they expected: “We did right in the world, so we can tell you what to do.” Q: What effect did the Monkees have on this? TORK: Nobody was paying any attention to the kids. Enter the Monkees, who brought Marx Brothers-style comedy to the small screen and hit songs “I’m a Believer,” “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone,” “Daydream Believer” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday” to the airwaves. Along come these freedom-looking kids (the Monkees) on this TV thing, whose idea was to project freedom and fascination and danger and adventure and fun and music. It was enough to make you just lose your little heart. Q: So the Monkees had sociopolitical significance. TORK: (The Monkees were) an expression of the ’60s, particularly as seen on the television show. Four young adults without any authoritarian father figure over them, I think, was the message — that young people could get together and by hanging together, young people could get along. I don’t think anything like that has happened since. So these kids who were screaming at us — basically, it was out of their repression towards their dream of freedom, which we stood for. They didn’t know it at the time. We didn’t know this at the time. Nobody knew this. It was beyond any information. But this is what happened, I think. All I knew was that they were screaming and wouldn’t shut up and I was playing music, and I thought I was a hot musician.
Tork beaming in 2003 (right) and rocking the love beads in the ’60s. 2003 photo by Kathy Voglesong; publicity photo by Henry Diltz
Clockwise from top left: Transogram game (1967); Bland Charnas mask (1967); Mattel guitar (1966); Corgi car (1967); Mattel talking puppets (1967); Fairchild puzzle (1967); KST lunchbox (1967). Opposite: Remco Davy Jones puppet (1970). “The Monkees” © Raybert Prod. Inc. ™ Screen Gems, Inc.; Jones puppet photo by Mark Voger
Clockwise from top left: Popular Library paperback (1967); charm bracelet (1967); Whitman hardback (1968); Donruss Co. trading cards (1967); Monkees buttons (1967). Opposite: Monkee-centric 16 Magazine cover (1967). “The Monkees” © Raybert Prod. Inc. ™ Screen Gems, Inc.; 16 Magazine © 16 Magazine, Inc.
It’s to ‘Laugh’ Psychedelia. Bawdy humor. Goldie Hawn in body paint. These are some reasons America turned on to “Laugh-In.” It also didn’t hurt that the irreverent, innovative 1968-73 comedy hour “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In” — hosted by tuxedo-clad Dan Rowan (chain-smoking straight man) and Dick Martin (girl-watching funny man) — had a sparkling cast that included Hawn, Lily Tomlin, Ruth Buzzi, Arte Johnson, Judy Carne, Chelsea Brown, Henry Gibson, Alan Sues, Teresa Graves, Jo Anne Worley, Gary Owens and Dave Madden, all fresh-faced kids doing madcap stuff. With its quick-cut editing, psychedelic set design and often risqué comedy, “Laugh-In” picked up the torch from Ernie Kovacs and paved the way for “Saturday Night Live.” The casting of “Laugh-In” was prescient. (Hey, Hawn won an Oscar, and Tomlin was nominated for one.) I asked producer George Schlatter the secret of his “Laugh-In” hiring strategy when we spoke in 2011. “A lot of luck,” Schlatter said with a laugh, “and an absence of network interference. None of them auditioned for the network. They just came in, I saw them and I hired them. “In each life, only one Lily Tomlin comes along, only one Goldie Hawn. Can you imagine that collection of talent? Arte Johnson — just think of that plethora of characters he created. “These were not sitcom people, they weren’t stand-up comedians; they were sketch performers. They walked in and we started. We would tape for hours. We’d tape what was written, but then we kept the mistakes. That, of course, developed a whole new technique of editing.” “Laugh-In” offered familiarity in its structure and recurring characters, but an element of the unpredictable in its riffing. Rowan and Martin opened with a monologue in the best straight man/funny man tradition. (Martin deftly played both innocence and carnality.) The “cocktail party” skit had
Opposite: The back cover of Signet’s paperback “Rowan & Martin’s LaughIn” (1969). Right: Goldie Hawn in the same edition. “Laugh-In” © George Schlatter-Ed Friendly Productions and Romart, Inc.; book © 1969 Signet
groovy dancing to groovy music, punctuated with (often silly) jokes. But the characters made the show: Johnson’s Nazi soldier, lecherous old man and “funny foreigner”; Buzzi’s homely spinster Gladys; Tomlin’s bratty tyke Edith and squinting telephone operator Ernestine; Sues’ alcoholic kiddie show host and flamboyant sportscaster. The fun was infectious, and before long, guest stars of every caliber gamely joined in, from Bing Crosby to William F. Buckley, Raquel Welch, Sonny and Cher, Diana Ross, Sammy Davis Jr., Hugh Hefner, Otto Preminger, Liberace and Richard M. Nixon. Tiny Tim gained overnight stardom with his appearance on the premiere episode. How did “Laugh-In” attract such guests? “Nobody knew what the show was,” Schlatter said, “but once it happened, everybody wanted to do it. “In the beginning, we taped across the hall from the Johnny Carson show (‘Tonight’). People were wondering what all the ruckus was, what we were up to. They would come over and watch the mayhem. So we’d go across the hall and just grab people. We go, ‘Just stand here and say, (the catch phrases) “Sock it to me” or “Look it up in your Funk & Wagnall.” ’ It took no time. You’d just come in and read the jokes off the cards. The fact that it made no sense appealed to people.” Schlatter attributed much of “Laugh-In’s” freewheeling vibe to the era in which it was created: the swinging ’60s. “It was a wonderful time,” Schlatter said. “Today, to hire a cast like that, you’d have to look at 25 people for every role. I saw Goldie and I said, ‘I don’t know what I’m gonna do with you, but you’re hired.’ Those people were hired on the first day they came in. That kind of freedom doesn’t exist anymore. “Today, it’s all so controlled. It’s like the saying about an elephant being put together by a committee. Our success gave us total freedom. That’s how we were able to get the results we got.”
Aladdin’s “Laugh-In” lunchbox (1968) features artwork by Elmer Lehnhardt. “Laugh-In” © George Schlatter-Ed Friendly Productions and Romart, Inc.; lunchbox © Aladdin Industries Inc.
Cover girl Judy Carne mugs on “Laugh-In” magazine’s sixth issue (1969). Left: The Topps Co.’s “Laugh-In” trading cards (1968). “Laugh-In” © George Schlatter-Ed Friendly Productions and Romart, Inc.; magazine © Laufer Publishing Co.
Groovy movies YOU KNOW A GROOVY MOVIE WHEN YOU SEE one. Chicks dancing in miniskirts ... “liquid projection” backgrounds . . . quick-cut editing of wildly dancing youth at weird camera angles . . . seizure-inducing strobe lights ... generic rock with rude fuzz guitar over shimmering Hammond ... accoutrements like lava lamps, protest posters, peace medallions ... Of course, in any movie released between, say, 1966 and 1971, grooviness may occur on a dime. It could be a cop drama, a James Bond flick, even a Bob Hope movie. The protagonist — in search of a clue or a missing offspring or a drink — may stumble into a hippie nightspot, and suddenly, he’s bathed in that liquid projection. It happened all the time back then, and discovering these moments is like a treasure hunt. But I’m talking about movies that are groovy through and through . . . groovy to the core. Such as? Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Blow-Up” (1966) is a mod twist on Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window.” A fashion photographer in swinging London (David Hemmings) may or may not have inadvertently captured a murder with his camera. Adding to the swinging-ness is the Yardbirds (with Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page) wreaking Who-style destruction in a nightclub. The fact that Antonioni was an Italian director filming in England makes “Blow-Up” something of a voyeuristic experience. In Michael Reeves’ “The Sorcerers” (1967), 78-year-old Boris Karloff plays a marginalized senior citizen hobbling along the periphery of London’s youth-obsessed nightlife scene. When you see hipster Ian Ogilvy “chatting up birds” in a nightclub as a Yardbirds-like rock band performs in the background, you swear you’re back in Antonioni Land. Peter Watkins’ “Privilege” (1967) has Manfred Mann singer Paul Jones as a rock star who goes all cult-of-personality. Roger Vadim’s sci-fi comedy “Barbarella” (1968) sparked a debate: objectification of women or postmodern sendup? It raised eyebrows when Vadim’s then-wife, Jane Fonda, willingly bared all in what could be construed as titillation. When, in the opening-credits striptease, a weightless astronaut removes a glove, we realize that “he” is a she. More sections of the breakaway costume fall off as Fonda’s lithe figure comes into view, accompanied by a theme song worthy of Austin Powers, with lyrics like “You’re so wild and wonderful . . .” Fonda looks delectable, like cotton candy. The contoured cockpit of her spaceship — covered floor-to-ceiling in light
brown faux fur — is, shall we say, the opposite of phallic. Barbarella is a sex object, but Fonda deftly keeps the viewer in on every joke in this playful celebration of human desire. Old-schoolers Jackie Gleason, Carol Channing and Groucho Marx apparently sought to impress their grandchildren by appearing in Otto Preminger’s LSD-themed disaster “Skidoo” (1968). Christopher Jones is “punished” by a trio of randy gals in Richard Wilson’s “Three in the Attic” (1968). Blake Edwards’ “The Party” (1968) stars Peter Sellers as an awkward interloper at an elite hipster bash in an ultramodern abode. Lee H. Katzin’s “The Phynx” (1970) is a smartly written rock comedy with Leiber-Stoller songs and nods to “A Hard Day’s Night” and “The Monkees.” Plot: A government agency has spies embedded in various factions such as the Black Panthers, the KKK and the Boy Scouts. When old movie stars begin to disappear, the agency turns to a matronly robot, MOTHA (Mechanical Oracle That Helps Americans), for guidance. MOTHA’s plan: Form a band that becomes so popular, it can infiltrate enemy territory with ease. The old stars who cameo as themselves are a buff’s dream: Pat O’Brien, Johnny Weissmuller, Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Ruby Keeler, et al. See also Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg’s “Performance” (1970), with Mick Jagger as a faded rock star who enters an unlikely relationship with a gangster (James Fox), and Roger Corman’s “Gas-s-s-s” (1970), a farce set in a world where everyone over 25 is dead. Films set on college campuses often featured anti-war hippies: Arthur Dreifuss’ “The Love-Ins” (1967), Stuart Hagmann’s “The Strawberry Statement” (1970) and Jack Nicholson’s “Drive, He Said” (1971), with Michael Margotta as a college kid who takes psychotic drugs to avoid the draft ... to the point where he actually goes psychotic. Why else would you walk into a laboratory naked, and set all the lab animals free? I wasn’t kidding about Bob Hope. Even “Ol’ Ski Nose” made a groovy movie. In “How to Commit Marriage” (1969), Hope’s daughter (JoAnna Cameron) joins a real-life rock group, the Comfortable Chair, and follows the teachings of the Baba Zeba (Irwin Corey, sending up Maharishi Mahesh Yogi). Hope in mutton-chop sideburns, Nehru jacket and love beads is every bit as uncool as it sounds.
Jane Fonda with ray gun — or is that a hair dryer? — in “Barbarella” (1968). © Dino De Laurentiis Cinematografica Studios
Dean Stockwell wears the headband in “Psych-Out” (1968). © Dick Clark Productions; © American International Pictures
You can’t visit Oz, Gotham City or Mayberry. You can, however, visit San Francisco, just not the one in your mind. You know — the one with the dancing hippies on every block, the psychedelic posters in every window, the acidrock bands playing in every tavern. So here’s to an earnest, if sometimes a bit silly, movie titled “Psych-Out” (1968). If there’s one flick that can transport you back to a groovy, late-’60s San Francisco that may never really have existed, it is Richard Rush’s “Psych-Out.” Plot: Jenny (Susan Strasberg), a beautiful young deaf woman, buses it to Haight-Ashbury in search of her missing brother, Steve (Bruce Dern). New in town, Jenny falls in with Mumblin’ Jim, a rock band of fun-loving acid heads who tool around Frisco in a psychedelic van (one year before the “Scooby-Doo” gang). Mumblin’ Jim includes sardonic guitarist Stoney (Jack Nicholson), nice-guy keyboardist Ben (Adam Roarke) and perennially smiling drummer Elwood (“The Mack” star Max Julien). The band takes Jenny in like a stray, dressing her up in hippie garb, letting her crash at their filthy, overpopulated pad and helping her search for Steve, whom they know as “the Seeker.” They glean a lead from headband-wearing Dave (Dean Stockwell), a hipper-than-thou dude with a piercing gaze who lives in a box on a roof. They are attacked in a junkyard by a gang of short-hairs who are likewise seeking the Seeker. Cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs (who later shot “Easy Rider”) documents the hippie paradise that was San Francisco, just when it was on the cusp of extinction. (Interiors were shot in L.A.) For example, Kovacs captures the free-form look of “liquid projection,” a stage-lighting technique that was all the rage at those legendary acid-rock marathons. The Strawberry Alarm Clock is one of the bands seen playing live; their #1 hit “Incense and Peppermints” is heard on the film’s soundtrack. It’s weird seeing king of Hollywood Jack Nicholson pretend to rock out on guitar, and even weirder that he stole his stage moves from Davy Jones. (Well, Nicholson did write “Head” for the Monkees that same year.) Dern is styled as a Christ figure with a crazy brown wig, beard and flowing white shirt. Did hippies really do this? There’s a mock funeral in a park at which the Seeds perform. (Seeds singer Sky Saxon shakes some mean maracas, mannn.) Although, it’s unclear exactly where in the park the Seeds plugged in their amps.
Inventive, colorful, a product firmly of its time, with music beyond reproach. If only “Yellow Submarine” really was a Beatles film. True, the Beatles bestowed their names, likenesses and songs by Al Brodax, a New Yorker who specialized in not-so-hot aniupon the 1968 animated feature. But the four lads from Liverpool mated adaptations of comic strips for television: “Popeye,” didn’t truly have an emotional, intellectual or artistic stake in “Beetle Bailey,” “Snuffy Smith and Barney Google.” Most signif“Yellow Submarine” — just a financial one. icantly, Brodax produced the quickie Saturday-morning ’toon It would have meant so much more if John Lennon, Paul “The Beatles” (1965-67), a curio of its time. The series was greenMcCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr had voiced their lit in the days when the establishment assumed that Beatlemania cartoon counterparts. The fact that the Beatles couldn’t be bothwould be shortlived; the object was to cash in while you could. ered speaks volumes about their commitment to the project. The Beatles were unimpressed with the series, not that you The meandering story, “based on a song by John Lennon and could blame them. So why use Brodax for “Yellow Submarine”? Paul McCartney,” has the Blue Meanies attack utopian It seems the band owed one more movie in a three-picture deal Pepperland. Wearing a mockery of Mickey Mouse with United Artists, and sought release from the obligation. ears, the head Meanie employs Snapping Turtle “The Beatles wanted more than anything else to go to Turks, Apple Bonkers, the Flying Glove, India to get their lives straightened out with this guru The Blue Meanies’ clowns and anti-music missiles. The Beatles (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi),” Brodax told Bob apple bonking was are enlisted by veteran seaman Old Fred to Hieronimus in 1994. a metaphor for fight the Meanies. Along the way, they Brodax had a suggestion for the boys: While they encounter the Boob, an odd but likeable little were off achieving enlightenment in India, he could the 1940s Blitz. fellow whose theme song is “Nowhere Man.” complete an animated film. “Yellow Submarine” © Subafilms Ltd. The bombing of Pepperland is a psychedeli“All they had to do was sign a piece of paper — I’d cized revisiting of the Blitz. The head Meanie is do the work — thereby fulfilling their contract of the threeAdolf Hitler, and the apples that rain on Pepperland picture deal,” Brodax said. “So they latched onto this.” are akin to “doodlebugs” — bombs that sounded a shrill whistle He enlisted German artist Heinz Edelmann (1934-2009) to when dropped, signaling an impending explosion — which devasexecute the character design. Edelmann realized John, Paul, tated London and surrounding regions during World War II. George and Ringo as comic strip-like figures. “Yellow Submarine” was not alone in exploring this theme. “When I had seen Heinz’s work, (his) renderings of the four “British Invasion” musicians were toddlers during the Blitz, which Beatles, there was no question that he was the guy,” Brodax said. raged between 1940 and 1945. Keith Richards, who was born in “He had never done animation, and therefore, his technique 1943, spoke of a doodlebug that demolished his family abode. was not really suited for animation … they (the character designs) (Thankfully, no one was home at the time.) Wrote the musician in were very difficult to (animate), but worth the trouble.” “Life,” his 2011 memoir: “A brick or two landed in my cot. That When the flesh-and-blood Beatles finally show up at the end of was evidence that Hitler was on my trail.” Black Sabbath bassist the film, it’s a curious moment in Beatles history, and not a Geezer Butler told me that as a boy, he’d flattering one. The boys pretend to be singing along with the find shrapnel while playing in his yard. final song of the film (which obviously hadn’t yet been The Blitz sometimes shows up in the selected at the time of filming, because their lip-synching British rock of the period, like PTS put to and movements are, to coin a phrase, non-song-specific). The music. The Blitz rears its ugly head in Beatles wear matching shirts, as if the revolution hadn’t hapthe Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the pened — this was 1968, yo! And they half-heartedly deliver Devil” (1968) and Black Sabbath’s “War dialogue that references plot points in the film, in a transparent Pigs” (1970). Jethro Tull’s “Thick as a bid to connect them with it. Even that rebel Lennon comes off like Brick” (1972) largely talks about the a toe-the-line cream puff. effects of the war on the home front. In the 1995 documentary “The Beatles Anthology,” McCartney “Yellow Submarine” wasn’t the first derided the voice artists’ “terrible, fake Liverpool accents.” time the Beatles took ’toon form. The “I’m not sure why we didn’t do our own voices,” said film was produced Harrison in the same documentary. “But probably, the actors did it better, anyway.”
Many years ago, Peter Fonda gleaned some wisdom from a colleague of his movie-star dad, Henry Fonda. “At 14,” the younger Fonda recalled, “I heard Gary Cooper say, ‘If I know what I’m doing, I don’t have to act.’ “I’ve never forgotten that.” Fonda became a movie star in his own right, and applied this know-your-character philosophy to his best remembered role of Wyatt, the laid-back biker in the American-flag getup in “Easy Rider” (1969). “I wrote it and I talked it over with people. By the time it came for us to film it, I knew everything about this character,” New York City native Fonda (born 1940) told me in 2013. “It was the first time I realized that it’s better when you don’t act. Wow! It’s so easy to do if you know the character.” Fonda used another acting technique — internalization — in observing “Easy Rider” director/co-star Dennis Hopper in action. (The two sometimes clashed during filming, and by all accounts, Hopper could occasionally be something of a maniac, especially during “trial” filming in New Orleans.) “We shot the stuff at Mardi Gras first,” Fonda recalled, “then we came back and finished the script, so we could break it down and make a schedule. It’s just what happens. “During that time, I realized this is going to be a lot of fun. And I was thinking, ‘Gee, Dennis is being an a**hole.’ But I kept that for myself. I took that as an actor, and wore an enigmatic look on my face, being that person on that bike.” It was a lot of fun for Fonda, but filming “Easy Rider” was not without its downsides. Like their characters, Fonda and Hopper were occasionally hassled by “hawks” along the way. There were some physical side effects as well. “On the first day of riding, we shot while crossing the Colorado River,” Fonda recalled. “We rode 55 miles from Kingman (Arizona) to Needles (California). Dennis was all into different lenses and camera angles and stuff, which is kinda cool, but it can be overdone. Every time we’d do a (riding) scene, we’d go back and he’d change the lens size and do different camera angles. We must have crossed that bridge a dozen times. “It had been a long day, and it was hot on the road. I just wanted to get in the (hotel) pool with the crew. I peeled off my leathers, and my legs were purple from the leather dye! I thought, ‘I’m skinny enough. I don’t wanna go down to that pool with purple legs.’ ” Instead, Fonda put on jeans and repaired to the hotel bar. He recalled: “I said, ‘I want the coldest, tallest beer you got.’ They weren’t quite sure who I was, but they put this tall, frosty stein full of beer in front of me. “I slapped down my money. I’m left-handed, so I picked up the stein with my left hand, but I could not move it to my mouth. Then I picked it up with my right hand, and I still could not move it to my face.” Thankfully, this too was a temporary condition. Fonda concluded that it resulted from a day of slow riding while holding his arms high to accommodate the chopper.
“All day, I had been riding at 25 miles per hour with soft tires, so the camera could focus on the background going by,” Fonda said. “Otherwise, it would just be a blur. That’s the trick. Nobody’s ever commented on that, and you can imagine how many questions I’ve been asked about the film. “But I had no idea what would happen to my arms. I was confident about the character, but not about my arms holding down that bloody bike.” After the film wrapped, Fonda and Hopper realized they needed to shoot one more sequence, a campfire scene that sets up the climax. Hopper had a lot of dialogue for Fonda, which Fonda basically boiled down to three words — again, in the interest of keeping his character enigmatic. “I knew the strongest line in ‘Easy Rider,’ ” Fonda said. “In ‘Easy Rider,’ it was: ‘We blew it.’ No matter what else was said, ‘We blew it’ was the stunner. That was the real bag that captured everyone with, ‘What?’ and left them without an answer.”
Fonda as Wyatt
“Forget the old . . . The new Wonder Woman is here!” So goes psychedelic lettering on the cover of Wonder Woman #178 (1968). The art, by Mike Sekowsky — once described as a “frustrated fashion artist” by fellow DC Comics artist Murphy Anderson — shows Diana Prince in an up-to-the-minute getup (complete with thigh-high boots) that would make Diana Rigg envious. Behind her is a poster in which the “old” Wonder Woman and her alter-ego, Diana (unsexy in spectacles), are crossed out with paint. For the next 25 issues, Diana fought evil wearing mod threads; ran a trendy boutique; studied martial arts under mysterious blind instructor I Ching; and generally associated with hippies, bikers and beautiful people. Very “Austin Powers” and, for its time, revolutionary in comics. More than any other artist then working for DC Comics, Sekowsky (1923-89) — the founding Justice League of America artist derisively called a “speed merchant” by one inker — captured the look and sensibility of the late 1960s. In a scene in John Schlesinger’s 1969 film “Midnight Cowboy,” Jon Voight is riding a bus to New York when he spots a little girl reading a comic. The child is clearly reading Wonder Woman #178, with that wild Sekowsky cover. To a tiny faction of comic-book geeks, the significance of the scene is deep and resonant. Here was a comic book that reflected the changing mores of society, grabbing screen time in a movie that also reflected those changes. The likely reality? Don’t tell those comic-book geeks, but Schlesinger’s assistant director probably sent a gofer to the closest drug store to buy any current comic book that a young girl might read. Perhaps Betty and Veronica was sold out, so Wonder Woman again saved the day.
OK, we’ve firmly established that Mike Sekowsky had a thing for thigh-high boots. Above: Diana rocks the Tangerine Trolley in Wonder Woman #178 (1968). Opposite: Sekowsky’s wild #178 cover. Diana pulls on some — what else? — thigh-high boots, in Wonder Woman #181 (1969). © DC Comics Inc.
Showcase showdown: As superheroes
Dolphin is in the swim, from Showcase #79 (1968). Far right: The Maniaks hold a pow-wow, from Showcase #69 (1967). Opposite: Jason is on his quest, from Showcase #88 (1970). © DC Comics, Inc.
initially neglected to keep up with the times, DC shrewdly used its “tryout” title, Showcase, to explore youth culture. Early stabs such as “The Maniaks” (#68, 69 and 71), a British pop group drawn by Mike Sekowsky, were cute, funny and a bit square. Still, authentic hipness crept in. “Dolphin” (#79), by J. Scott Pike, was a water-breathing humanoid who resembled a flower child in her flowing blond hair and cutoffs. “Jason’s Quest” (#88-90), also by Sekowsky, had a shaggy, guitar-strumming, motorcycleriding teen searching for the twin sister he never knew.
Dynamic duo: They didn’t come much
Teen dreams: By definition, the “teen” comic books were about youth culture — albeit, wholesome youth culture — and groovy fashions made their mark on the genre. You found contemporary looks in DC’s Binky, Swing With Scooter and Debbi’s Dates; Marvel’s Millie the Model and Patsy and Hedy; and all of the books from Archie. Teen Titans, not a “teen” book per se, gave Wonder Girl a kinda groovy costume. DC’s comedy titles, too, flirted with modernity. The Adventures of Bob Hope introduced Super-Hip, a parody of pop stars and an alter-ego for Hope’s nerdy ward, Tadwallader. Angel’s wardrobe in Angel and the Ape was all colored tights and miniskirts.
more “old guard” than Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, the duo behind Captain America. Working separately for DC in the early ’70s, these old-timers got a bit “with it.” Simon brought out Brother Power the Geek, a quasifantasy about a clown-faced mannequin who comes to life to face the chaos of modern times. Simon was also behind Prez, the “first teen president,” which borrowed heavily from the 1968 film “Wild in the Streets.” Kirby’s Forever People looked, and sometimes acted, like hippies on a commune. Except, of course, for that constantly pinging Mother Box.
Left: The decidedly unhip Super-Hip, from Bob Hope #100 (1966). © DC Comics, Inc.
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Above: The Archies audition for Don Kirshner in Archie #189 (1969). Opposite: Josie goes antiwar on the cover of #34 (1969).
Below: Psychedelic jalopy, Reggie and Me #27 (1968). Below left: Stylish dancer, Madhouse Annual #7 (1969). Bottom right: Veronica in bloom, Pep #27 (1968).
All artwork ÂŠ Archie Comics
The underground FREDRIC WERTHAM DIED IN 1981, SO IT’S possible the self-appointed Blamer-of-All-Societal-Illson-Comic-Books may have looked at Zap Comix. But since there were no reports of Wertham’s head having exploded, it’s safe to assume he never read Zap. Wertham often saw decadence where there was none. But the underground cartoonists who proliferated from the mid ’60s on really did put the bad (good?) stuff in. In the pages of Zap Comix, Snarf, Big Ass Comics, Despair, Bijou, Rip Off Comics, Trashman, Subvert Comics, Slow Death, Wimmen’s Comix, Dope Comix, Cocaine Comix, Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary and many others, no sexual act was too obscene, no language too lewd, no depiction of drug use too graphic, no idol too lofty to topple. Also, it seemed, no artist was too stoned to draw. Reading certain underground comics was like tagging along on someone else’s acid trip. Underground comics offered total freedom to artists because they were published completely outside of the mainstream. Publishers were usually fellow hippies. Distribution occurred in head shops, urban record stores, iffy cafés and book stores, even on street corners. Advertising, and censorship, were non-existent. Major underground scenes sprang up in New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee and — that scene of so many scenes — San Francisco. Mere mention of the artists’ names conjures their styles and signature characters: R. Crumb’s Mr. Natural and Fritz the Cat; S. Clay Wilson’s smirking demons; Kim Deitch’s Méliès-esque moons and cats; Trina Robbins’ inclusive feminism and reverence for comics history; Spain Rodriguez’s machine gun-brandishing Trashman; Jay Lynch’s Mutt and Jeff-like Nard n’ Pat; Justin Green’s über-brat Binky Brown; Gilbert Shelton’s Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, with their motto: “Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope.” These were the pen-and-pipe pioneers.
Robbins made her professional cartooning debut in 1966, in the New York Citybased underground newspaper the East Village Other. “Of course, I didn’t get paid,” the Brooklyn native (born 1938) told me in 1993. “I was just thrilled to actually be in the paper in those days.” In 1969, Robbins headed west to San Francisco. “The whole of underground comics seemed to be here in San Francisco,” she said. “There was a publishing company called Print Mint that had done all those fabulous psychedelic rock posters, and now they were doing
Robert Crumb’s cover for Zap #0 (1969). Below: Zap #4 detail by Victor Moscoso. © Respective copyright holders comics. A couple of other publishers kind of popped up at the same time, all in San Francisco. It was like San Francisco was the mecca of underground comics. Not just me, but at least five other New Yorkbased underground cartoonists all kind of migrated west. I think of it as a lemming-like migration, except we did stop sort of the ocean.” Robbins’ breakthroughs were It Ain’t Me Babe (1970), the first comic produced entirely by women, and Wimmen’s Comix (1972). “Up until that point, underground comics was very much a boys’ club,” Robbins recalled. “The guys hung out and drank with each other and networked with each other and asked each other to be in their books. And they weren’t hanging out with us and not working with us and asking us to be in their books. And so we realized that we had to it ourselves. And so we did.” Robbins was once married to Deitch, another important underground comics artist who kicked off his career in New York City.
Depicting the id
The fetishy sex. The acid trips. The objectification of women. The profanity. The racism and misogyny. The self-flagellation. These shocking elements in the work of underground cartoonist Robert Crumb certainly commanded attention. But if R. Crumb had been nothing but a shock artist, would we remember him? Whether or not you are personally offended by Crumb’s frequently raunchy comics, you must make certain concessions about his work. He is funny. He is accessible. He is deceptively sophisticated. (Allusions to earlier artists, and artistic movements, inform his work.) And above all, he is honest. Crumb seems to hold nothing back. (“Depicting the id” is how his second wife, Aline Kominsky, described his process.) Crumb’s comics are frequently autobiographical, but he never sugar-coats his twisted thoughts, nor does he flatter himself physically. The Crumb you saw in real life, and the one on the printed page, were one and the same: magnified eyes peering through “Coke bottle” specs, slouchy posture, face contorted into a perma-grimace. He was, virtually, a cartoon character come to life — and the ultimate loner exacting revenge on the cold, cruel world through the printed page. Crumb always wore his artistic influences on his ink-stained sleeve: John Stanley (Little Lulu), Carl Barks (Donald Duck), Harvey Kurtzman (Mad), even 19th-century political cartoonist Thomas Nast (a master of the shading technique known as “cross-hatching”). Thematically, Crumb’s work betrays his fixation for big-bottomed girls, as well as his lingering bitterness over his pre-fame lack of luck with the ladies. Crumb’s comics may be considered pornographic by some readers, but in the artist’s defense, they were never created with the intention to titillate. Born in Philadelphia in 1943, Crumb apparently had an older sibling to thank for his career. “My brother Charles forced me to draw comics,” wrote Crumb in 1997. “If I didn’t draw comics, I was a worthless human being.” In 1952, he spotted Kurtzman’s Mad #1 on a stand, but it was Basil Wolverton’s “beautiful girl of the month” cover for Mad #11 that “changed the way I saw the world forever,” Crumb wrote. In 1962, he turned pro working for a greeting card company in Cleveland. While there, he submitted a “Fritz the Cat” strip to Kurtzman’s Mad follow-up, Help! Crumb’s work began to appear in alternative publi-
Robert Crumb revisits a life milestone in “My First Acid Trip” (1973). Below: Peddling Zap Comix in 1968, in 1992 art. Opposite: “Stoned Agin!” poster. © Robert Crumb cations such as the East Village Other and Yarrowstalks. Crumb first dropped acid in 1965. It was a milestone in his life. “The first trip was a completely mystical experience, shocking, frightening and visionary. I wanted to do it again,” he wrote in 1997. “(LSD) altered the way I drew, the arrangement of my ego, why I drew … the LSD thing was the main big inspiration of my life. I stopped drawing from life.” In San Francisco in 1968, Crumb had two breakthroughs. One was his influential underground comic book Zap Comix #1, which he sold on the streets. (Imagine time-tripping to the Haight in ’68, and seeing Crumb peddle Zap.) Another was his cover for the “Cheap Thrills” album by Big Brother and the Holding Company. (Singer Janis Joplin was a Zap fan.) Crumb’s work was now being seen in record shops from coast to coast, and posters bootlegged from his comic pages “Keep on Truckin’ ” and “Stoned Agin!” would hang in many a head shop and hippie’s bedroom. “By the fall of that year, I was already a minor cult hero,” Crumb wrote in 1988. “That’s when things really started to go
Festivals: Hippie heaven SOMEWHERE BETWEEN DICK CLARK’S CARAVAN of Stars and Ozzfest came the great music festivals of the late 1960s — multi-act, and often multi-day, events attended by multitudes of long-hairs carrying multitudes of marijuana. Such events happened all over the country and abroad — in Los Angeles, Atlanta, San Jose, Denver, Atlantic City, New Orleans, San Francisco, Toronto, the Isle of Wight. But the three festivals that cling to the collective consciousness are the Monterey International Pop Festival (June 16-18, 1967), the Woodstock Music & Art Fair (Aug. 15-18, 1969) and the Altamont free concert (Dec. 6, 1969). Monterey: The genesis ... “Love, Flowers and Music” . . . San Francisco meets Southern California (but they don’t always agree) ... star-making turns for Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, Ravi Shankar ... Woodstock: The apex ... “Three Days of Peace and Music” (though it wound up being four) . . . the one that proved that hippies could shut down the Thruway and live happily ever after . . . that is, until . . . Altamont: The nadir … “Who’s fighting and what for?” . . . the rock festival to end all rock festivals (and not in the good way). Do we remember this particular trio of fests best because such historic things happened at them? That, plus the fact that movies — excellent concert films which doubled as anthropological documentaries — resulted from each: D.A. Pennebacker’s “Monterey Pop,” Michael Wadleigh’s “Woodstock,” and Albert and David Maysles’ and Charlotte Zwerin’s “Gimme Shelter.” At Monterey, organizer John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas held court wearing a crown of fur. Some San Francisco musicians cast a wary eye on Phillips for composing Scott McKenzie’s hit “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair),” which they saw as a plastic L.A. vision of the Frisco phenom. Mind you, it didn’t stop some of them from playing Monterey, and getting a career bump in the process. Big Brother and the Holding Company walked onto that stage as locals with a chick singer who could scream. Within a year, they had a #1 album and a superstar vocalist. Monterey Pop was a groundbreaking, stylistically integrated affair with an eclectic
roster which included the Mamas and the Papas, the Grateful Dead, Canned Heat, Simon and Garfunkel, the Animals, the Jefferson Airplane (the only band to play all of the “big three” fests), The Who, Hendrix, Redding (backed by Booker T and the MGs and the Mar-Keys Horns) and Shankar. Brian Jones attended — looking regal, if wasted, in a cape — and introduced Hendrix as “the most exciting guitarist I’ve ever heard.” Hendrix had been London’s best-kept secret, but after his cosmic set at Monterey, he belonged to the world. (What was Hendrix on that night? His eyes were bugging out of his head.) Folk went neck-in-neck with bombastic rock. Hendrix and The Who played (literally) explosive sets, but Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel’s hushed set put forth but three fragile instruments: two human voices and one acoustic guitar. Theirs was an amazing demonstration of intricate harmonies and arrangements that made you hear orchestras. Shankar’s hypnotic set — involving, emotional, trance-inducing — seemed to communicate in some international language, and brought down the festival.
MONTEREY MADE HUGE WAVES ON the hippie grapevine, but not so much in the “straight” world. Woodstock was another story. The traffic jam alone made national headlines. Walter Cronkite introduced a segment about the festival on “CBS Evening News.” Blackand-white footage of trash-strewn acres was accompanied by reporter Richard O’Brien’s narration: “Estimates of the crowd ranged up to more than 300,000, and it was that size that caused most of the trouble ... One youngster died of a suspected overdose of heroin. Eighty others were arrested on drug charges. Another boy was killed when the driver of a tractor failed to see him inside a sleeping bag. One of the promoters said he wouldn’t try this again unless he could rent the Grand Canyon. He may have to.” Wrote Barry Farrell in the Sept. 5, 1969, issue of Life: “It was a groovy show, all right, but I fear it will grow groovier in memory.” It did. Especially in the minds of people who weren’t there. Woodstock grew into something more than a gigantic, historically unprecedented, four-day rock concert. It was the largest Vietnam protest rally, and pro marijuana-legalization rally, ever organized. It was a wake-up call for the Establishment. And it was a validation of the hippie lifestyle — as long as you weren’t the guy cleaning up all that trash.
Wild thing Like a supernova, Jimi Hendrix materialized suddenly, and blew the world away with his spacey music and look. And then he was gone. It’s hard to believe Hendrix’s stardom lasted a mere four years. His songs such as “Foxy Lady,” “Purple Haze,” “Hey Joe” and “Little Wing” occupy an unshakable place in the rock canon, and his cosmic-blues playing style has never been duplicated. But Hendrix’s art was born of pain, his nomadic childhood touched by poverty and domestic upset. His song “Castles Made of Sand” seems to refer to the fighting he witnessed all too often between his parents, Al and Lucille: “Down the street you can hear her scream ‘You’re a disgrace’ / As she slams the door in his drunken face.” Lucille died in 1958 at 32, when Hendrix was 15. Born in 1942 in Seattle, Hendrix fell in love with the guitar before he even owned one. In 1961, he joined the Army — the law twisted his arm — and later played on the “chitlin circuit,” backing Little Richard, the Isley Brothers and Sam Cooke. Hendrix relocated to New York, where former Animals bassist Chas Chandler caught his act and essentially “exported” him to London, on a Sept. 24, 1966, flight. Hendrix began jamming with, and dazzling, the elite of British rock. Among audience members at his pivotal Jan. 24, 1967, set at the Marquee Club — home of the first-ever Rolling Stones show — were all four Beatles, most of the Stones, half of The Who and Eric Clapton. His hastily assembled band, the Jimi Hendrix Experience (Noel Redding on bass, Mitch Mitchell on drums), followed Cream as the newest “power trio.” The Experience’s first release, the single “Hey Joe,” shot to #6 in the U.K. An unforgettable set at Monterey Pop (1967), during which Hendrix set his guitar on fire, sealed his fame. Hendrix’s rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” at Woodstock (1969), with its solemn excerpt from “Taps,” seemed to articulate, via electric guitar, what a mess the country was in. Still, beneath it all was a faint ring of hope. No one on Earth played guitar like this guy.
Jimi Hendrix’s art was born of pain. Opposite: The cover of “Axis: Bold as Love.” Screen shot © Monterey International Pop Festival Foundation, Inc.; album cover © Reprise Records
JANIE HENDRIX Younger sister “I wrote many reports in school on how Jimi was my hero. I won’t say I idolized him, because we only idolize God, but he was definitely my hero. When he’d come back home, he’d like to sit and play games. ‘Monopoly’ was one of his favorites. He’d play that all night, ’til the sun rose. You get to know a lot about people when you play games. Jimi would want to buy all of the, what we called, ‘Skid Row’ properties. Then he’d put big hotels on them, and try to upgrade the inner city, basically. Then, of course, it always happened that you landed in those areas, vs. Park Place and Broadway. He didn’t want to buy any of those places. He just wanted to buy the slums and build them up. And that really was his dream. I’ve listened to interviews of him in Harlem, when he said that he wanted to build big, round, beautiful buildings — studios and places for people to go to express themselves. Just make it a beautiful place.”
RICHIE HAVENS Folk singer “I remember well Jimi Hendrix at the end of the Greenwich Village years. I mean, I actually sent him to Greenwich Village to become Jimi Hendrix. He wasn’t even ‘Jimmy James’ (an earlier stage name used by Hendrix) yet, you know? Which is interesting.”
DONOVAN Rock singer “In ’67, I was the first, with (sculptor) Gypsy Dave (Mills), to meet Jimi Hendrix at the airport when he flew in from New York. Chas Chandler found Jimi in the Village playing in a blues club, and brought him over. And I was there on the very first day that Jimi set foot in a cruddy, little hotel in London where we musicians used to stay, in Bayswater. When I then saw Jimi play with the Experience a week later, my mind was blown. I heard guitar from Pete Townshend before and Dave Davies of the Kinks. I mean, I’d heard guitar before. But never like this.”
The middle sister
OF THE ORIGINAL “BRADYS,” EVE PLUMB SEEMED THE MOST aloof on the subject. It’s not as if she rolled her eyes when asked about the beloved 1969-74 sitcom. You just sensed there were more pressing matters in her thoughts. Mind you, Plumb — remembered as “middle” sister Jan — endured my “Brady Bunch” questions with a smile, a sincere smile that was only a tad weary at the edges. I spoke with the Burbank resident (born 1958) in 1992. Q: Do you have a favorite “Brady Bunch” episode? PLUMB: I don’t even have a favorite color. Q: Do you have any theories why so many identify with Jan, the “middle” sister? PLUMB: Not really. I’m not a sociologist. Q: Did you agree with Robert Reed that the scripts were often under par? PLUMB: Well, I think they were what they were, you know? But I’m proud of him, because he always cared about the scripts and scenes.
Q: Not much documentation exists of the live singing engagements you all did as the Brady Bunch Kids, when the original “Brady” children embarked on a tour in 1972. For one thing, none of the shows were filmed. PLUMB: Thank God they weren’t. It was not great. It was like low-level Osmonds (laughs). You know, they beat us into shape to take us on the road, and we did a lot of one-nighters and county fairs. Q: But Barry Williams said that sometimes, you kids had a good night. PLUMB: Oh, yeah! It was extremely popular. Q: Where did you get the outfits you wore on that tour? Super-’70s fringeand-beads in blinding reds, oranges, greens and yellows? PLUMB: (Sarcastically) Yes, it was wonderful, wasn’t it? I can’t remember. The stuff just sort of appeared. Q: In 1976, you passed on “The Brady Bunch Variety Hour,” a show which a lot of your old “Brady” colleagues lived to regret. Are you glad you did? PLUMB: With that one, I was. With that one, I think I made the right decision. Q: In “The Brady Brides” (1981) and thereafter, your character evolved more than the other “Brady” kids. Jan became a yuppie, almost a snob. Did you have anything to do with that arc? Did you press for it? PLUMB: Nope. Uh-uh. They just wrote it that way. Q: What would you call your personal highlight of all the “Brady Bunch” spin-offs that you participated in? PLUMB: Gosh, probably (the 1990 drama series) “The Bradys,” believe it or not. It was sort of fun. I got to wear some nice clothes. Q: Though you’ve done reunions, you’ve never allowed yourself to be pigeonholed as Jan Brady. That must be important to you.
Eve Plumb in 1992. Photo by Kathy Voglesong
PLUMB: Well, imagine if people thought that, OK, you’re a writer, so you must not be able to cook.
King-Seeley Thermos’ lunchbox (1970); Whitman’s paper dolls (1972) and coloring book (1974).
The Topps Co.’s trading cards display box and wrapper (1969); more Whitman paper dolls (1973). “The Brady Bunch” © Paramount Pictures
Mother, rocker, bus driver DEPENDING ON YOUR AGE, SHIRLEY JONES IS either A. the gorgeous young blonde who sang in widescreen, Technicolor musicals in the 1950s wearing frilly period garb, or B. the still gorgeous, but not-as-young blonde who sang in a small-screen musical sitcom in the 1970s, wearing a redvelvet suit with a frilly collar. In the movies, Jones won an Oscar for “Elmer Gantry” (1960) and counted James Cagney, Marlon Brando and James Stewart as leading men. Jones lent her Rodgers-andHammerstein-trained voice to pop music as Shirley Partridge, who kept house . . . and drove the Mondrian bus. I spoke with the Pennsylvania native (born 1934) in 1992. Q: Prior to “The Partridge Family,” you’d done a lot of singing, to be sure. Suddenly, you were singing in a new genre —
pop music — although you were singing mostly backup. JONES: The music was built around David Cassidy and selling records. Still, a couple of times I had my own solos — on the Christmas show, and I did a thing about the whales, “The Whale’s Song.” But it was basically teeny-bopper time. Q: Was it an adjustment, singing pop? JONES: It was like a foreign language to me (laughs). It’s one of the reasons I didn’t really do much singing. I was basically background for David. That was fine, because it wasn’t my milieu at all. It still isn’t. Q: Was it at all awkward playing the birth mother of your real-life stepson? (Jones was then married to Cassidy’s father, actor Jack Cassidy.) JONES: I was always kind of the “wicked stepmother” in David’s eyes, even though I tried in every way possible to win favor with him. He was very bitter about his father’s divorce (from Cassidy’s mother, Evelyn Ward, in 1956). Only when we worked on “Partridge” — until we had a close, daily relationship on an adult level — did we get to know each other. Q: The haircut you wore on the show really became you. JONES: I actually did it for the show. I had long hair up to the “Partridge Family” time in all my movies. I had very long hair, in fact. And then I cut it for the show and found that was the only way I’d ever want to wear my hair again. I still have that haircut. Q: When you heard about all of the trouble that Danny Bonaduce has gotten into over the years, did you ever have any maternal feelings toward him? Did you want to call him up and talk some sense into him? JONES: I did talk to him a couple of times. But, you know, I had my own children to raise. I know a lot of performers, when they work with kids, do that. But I think mostly it’s because they don’t have their own kids. And I had my own responsibilities here, so I never really took it on. Q: Did you ever regret doing “The Partridge Family”? JONES: I don’t regret it. At first, I had misgivings about doing it. In retrospect, perhaps, I would have had a longer movie career had I not done five years of television. But at that point in my life, I was really eager to have some routine, a normal life. I had been traveling all over the world on movie locations, and I had small children. The work (on “The Partridge Family”) was hard, but it was a half-hour show, so it wasn’t that difficult. Six months work, six months off. I really enjoyed the five years we had, I really did. And we had a wonderful, wonderful group. We really loved each other and enjoyed working together.
Shirley Jones as Shirley Partridge.
“The Partridge Family” © Columbia Pictures Corp.
“The Partridge Family” memorabilia includes, from top left, the single “Doesn’t Somebody Want to Be Wanted,” the lunchbox and the board game (all 1971). “The Partridge Family” © Columbia Pictures Industries; record © Bell; lunchbox © KingSeeley Thermos Co.; game © Milton Bradley
Once again, you can blame it on the Beatles. The songs in 1964’s “A Hard Day’s Night” were like little movies that could be enjoyed as stand-alones. Then TV’s “The Monkees” swiped the format, punctuating episodes with songs acted out using improvisation, choreography and slapstick. Finally — here’s where end-of-days theorists perk up — Saturday morning kiddie shows got in on the racket. Series like, well, “The Beatles” (1965-67), “Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles” (1966-67), “The Archie Show” (1968-69), “The Banana Splits Adventure Hour” (1968-70), “Josie and the Pussycats” (1970-72), “Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp” (1970), “The Jackson 5ive” (1971-73) and “The Brady Kids” (1972-73) had characters performing pop. The “Scooby-Doo” kids (1969-70) drove the Mystery Machine, a psychedelic van. “H.R. Pufnstuf” (1969-70) had Jack Wild, a long-haired Brit who looked like Davy Jones’ poor cousin. And millions of Lucky Charmseating rugrats came to the same conclusion: “When I grow up, I’m gonna be in a band and have groovy adventures like the Archies.” Oh, the agony that was in store for them.
‘The Archie Show’
In the year 1966, “Batman” exploded on TV, while the British Invasion was still in the ether. Those astute trend-spotters at Hanna-Barbera combined the two crazes with “The Impossibles,” a clever, candy-colored parody. The Impossibles were a rock trio — in this sense, more like Cream than the Beatles, let’s say — with secret identities. Off stage, and away from screaming girls, they were a superhero team called, um, the Impossibles. (That would be like the Justice League forming a pop group called ... the Justice League.) Their powers? Coil-Man had Slinky-like legs; Multi-Man could clone himself endlessly; Fluid-Man could take the form of gushing water. Yeah, these guys were never gonna get in the Avengers, but their songs were actually pretty cool. “Hiddy Hiddy Hoo” coulda been a hit, yo!
The passage of time had little effect on the gang at Riverdale High. Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead and Reggie were virtually unchanged from their 1940s beginnings in Pep Comics, until two non-comics formats — pop music and animation — finally instigated change. In Life With Archie #60 (1967), the Archie gang reinvented itself as a pop band called . . . the Archies. The animated TV series “The Archie Show,” which debuted the following year, favored this shift. (Suspiciously, your chances of getting a letter published on Archie Comics’ fan page, The Archie Club News, increased greatly if you raved about “The Archie Show.”) The Archies had four real-life, Don Kirshner-shepherded hits: “Sugar, Sugar” (#1), “Jingle Jangle” (#10), “Bang Shang a Lang” (#22) and “Who’s Your Baby” (#40).
The Impossibles, the Mystery Machine and the Banana Splits. © Hanna-Barbera Productions
‘Josie and the Pussycats’
‘Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp’
‘The Jackson 5ive’
In the comics, Josie was the female Archie — a red-headed teen with colorful friends. And, as with Archie, Josie’s gang reinvented itself as a pop band, which television soon made the focus of an animated series. But at heart, the leopard-print-wearing Josie and the Pussycats did not mirror the Archies so much as the “Scooby-Doo” gang: hip girls and guys, with no (apparent) romantic entanglements, righting wrongs on the road. An important distinction: the Scooby-Doo gang traveled randomly, while the Pussycats were cruising from gig to gig. The Pussycats were a trio with scant instrumentation. Pretty much, the whole group was guitar (Josie), tambourine (Valerie) and drums (Melody). Valerie beat Fat Albert as the first regularly appearing black character on a Saturdaymorning cartoon series. Sexybut-dimwitted Melody was akin to Marilyn Monroe in “Some Like it Hot.”
Simply put, “Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp” was a 007 parody starring chimpanzees. Besides being a superspy working for A.P.E. (the Agency to Prevent Evil), Lancelot fronted a rock band: the Evolution Revolution. The organist played a wicked Hammond B3. The tambourine player put Davy Jones to shame. The attention to detail was remarkable. The monkeys were precisely dubbed, impeccably styled and, it must be said, talented. There were ingeniously utilized exteriors, vehicles, props — anything to make this planet of the apes believable. But the musical “performances” were the big draw. For these sequences, the show’s creators went full-on psychedelic, with wigs, costumes and accoutrements that made you swear these chimps were plucked from an allnighter in the Haight. There was even a Lancelot Link album, from ABC Records. But unlike the Archies, the Evolution Revolution never had a real-life hit.
All sorts of wonderful collisions happened with “The Jackson 5ive.” Pop met soul. Real life met animation. And Motown met children’s television. Even the companies that collaborated on the series were strange bedfellows. Rankin/ Bass were the animators behind “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman.” Motown Productions was a subsidiary of the record company that brought us the Miracles, the Four Tops, the Supremes . . . and the Jackson 5. Bolstered with the Jacksons’ pop confections such as “I Want You Back,” “ABC” and “The Love You Save,” the series followed the fictional exploits of Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael Jackson, who then ranged in age from 13 (Michael) to 20 (Jackie). The credits implied that the Jacksons provided their own voices, which was too good to be true. However, Diana Ross indeed provided the voice for her likeness in the debut episode.
Josie and the Pussycats and the Jackson 5ive. © Archie Comics; © Hanna-Barbera Productions; © Filmation Assoc.
It’s Saturday morning in 1969, and children all over America are having breakfast — say, a bowl of Quisp and a glass of Tang. They do so while sitting inches away from a warm, humming, radiation-emitting color TV. On comes a new show that’s something like “The Wizard of Oz” on acid. It’s “H.R. Pufnsuf,” and it’s a real groovy trip of a live-action kiddie show. There’s a long-haired lad with an English accent interacting with crazylooking characters on a psychedelic island, including Pufnstuf himself, the island’s big, multicolored mayor. The show looks like a cartoon in 3-D, which is just what its creators — brothers Sid and Marty Krofft — intended. “I wanted it to have the look of a cartoon,” Sid Krofft (born 1929), a native of Athens, Greece, told me in 1996. “That’s why the sets were done like that. Actually, it was animation, but in dimension.” As for the show’s psychedelic look: “Well, I’m the original hippie.” The Kroffts created “Pufnstuf” and other colorful kiddie shows such as “The Bugaloos,” “Lidsville” and “Sigmund and the Sea Monster.” Sid described himself as a “fifth-generation puppeteer” who was playing all over the world at age 7, and toured with Judy Garland — a thrill for Sid, since his favorite film was “The Wizard of Oz” (1939). “The land of Oz, to me, of course, was really ‘Pufnstuf” and all of our shows, with the talking trees and everything,” Sid said. “Because you were transported, as a kid — and that was Judy Garland — into this world, this incredible world. That’s what I always felt that I needed to do for children.” The genesis of “Pufnstuf” dates back to a live show titled “Kaleidoscope,” which the Kroffts created for the San Antonio World’s Fair of 1968. “That’s where Pufnstuf was created,” Montreal native Marty (born 1937) told me in 1996. “We called him Luther at the time. He was in a big show, which was a fantasy. The character was so popular — I mean, we were doing the biggest business at that World’s Fair.” The success of “Kaleidoscope” led to the establishment of the Kroffts’ production shop — puppets, costumes, props, amusement rides — in Sun Valley, California, which they called ‘The Factory’ (no relation to Andy Warhol’s headquarters). The Kroffts’ chief client was the Six Flags amusement park chain; but, said Sid, “We started building stuff for everybody. We did the Jackson 5 concert, the Ice Capades and Ringling.” Another client was Hanna-Barbera, who ordered a set of four costumes for a live-action kiddie show they were developing titled “The Banana Splits.” “They came to us to build the suits,” said Sid, “because we were the only people who did that. This was before Disney put Mickey Mouse in a suit.
Pufnstuf, Jimmy and Witchiepoo. “H.R. Pufnstuf” © Sid & Marty Krofft Productions
Clockwise from top left: Kellogg’s giveaway record sleeve (1969); Fleagle mug (1969); Kellogg’s giveaway record (1969); Kellogg’s giveaway Snorky doll (1969); Whitman coloring book (1969); Kellogg’s fan club ad (1968); Kellogg’s giveaway Fleagle doll (1969). Center: KST lunchbox (1970). “The Banana Splits” © Hanna-Barbera Productions
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When Flower Power Bloomed in Pop Culture From WOODSTOCK to THE BANANA SPLITS, from SGT. PEPPER to H.R. PUFNSTUF, from ALTAMONT to THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY, GROOVY is a far-out trip to the era of lava lamps and love beads. This profusely illustrated HARDCOVER BOOK, in PSYCHEDELIC COLOR, features interviews with icons of grooviness such as PETER MAX, BRIAN WILSON, PETER FONDA, MELANIE, DAVID CASSIDY, members of the JEFFERSON AIRPLANE, CREAM, THE DOORS, THE COWSILLS and VANILLA FUDGE; and cast members of groovy TV shows like THE MONKEES, LAUGH-IN and THE BRADY BUNCH. GROOVY revisits the era’s ROCK FESTIVALS, MOVIES, ART—even COMICS and CARTOONS, from the 1968 ‘mod’ WONDER WOMAN to R. CRUMB. A color-saturated pop-culture history written and designed by MARK VOGER (author of the acclaimed book MONSTER MASH), GROOVY is one trip that doesn’t require dangerous chemicals!
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