1967: Monkees swing with Screen Gems

A look back at events from the '60s

Nov. 8, 1967

GOOD MORNING: The Monkees were guaranteed a million-and-a-half for p.a.’s during the brief vidhiatus so Screen Gems decided to wait with a feature until their next vidvacation. A bird (or Monkee) in the bank is worth, etc … Jackie Cooper sez both Screen Gems and Columbia will produce the theatrical “Monkees” business. Just returned from Europe, Cooper and wife Barbara Factory hosted Sally Field’s 21st birthday party , where Davy Jones was the “Flying Nun’s” date … Cooper noted the TV-trend to features, but doesn’t plan bigscreen ventures … (2008 Update: Jackie Cooper, who signed the Monkees to their Columbia-Screen Gems pilot contract, admits he was unfamiliar with the Monkees’ music, telling me, “I grew up with Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey.” The next year, the Monkees made the movie “Head” with Bob Rafelson directing, Bert Schneider as exec producer and Jack Nicholson playing a role and involved in the daily shoot. Today, Peter Tork tells me of a possible reunion of all four Monkees, Monday at N.Y.’s Cutting Room in a tribute to Jerry Renino, who with the group 20 years. He died last year. Tork keeps in touch regularly with Jones and Micky Dolenz and is hopeful Michael Nesmith will rejoin for the tribute. They all reteamed in ’97 for the CD “Justus” and toured the U.K. … Meanwhile, Tork tours regularly with his own group, the Shoe Suede Blues and will play a date at the Patchogue Theatre of Performing Arts, April 26. Tork, 66, recalls his Monkees days at Columbia Studios as “a treasured time of my life.” … Jackie Cooper, 86, recalling a long Hollywood history — he sat on Marie Dressler’s lap at the Oscars — had a subsequent TV career won him Emmys. He served in the Navy in WWII and rose to the rank of captain in the Reserve. At 85, he is happily retired. The onetime child star laughs, “My mother made sure I had a good business manager.”)

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