COMPLEET SYNOPSIS FOR THE MONKEES’ MOTION PICTURE HEAD
With throngs of people, honking automobiles, policemen and the National Guard watching on, Mayor Feedback, aided by his establishment cronies, is about to commence a ribbon-cutting ceremony on a new suspension bridge in San Pedro. As he is “dedicating this magnificent model of modern architecture, one of the largest suspended arch bridges in the world,” Micky, from out of nowhere, rushes into the scene, breaks the ribbon, and races through the bridge, with Peter, Michael and David bringing up the rear. At the middle of the bridge, Micky whips off his jacket and plummets overboard, and Peter, Michael and David watch in horror as their buddy splashes into the bay. At the bottom of the bay, under a mélange of color solarization effects, Micky does an underwater ballet with a pair of mermaids to the tune of “Porpoise Song.”
As Micky comes up out of the aquarium in the boys’ beach pad, he is immediately smooched by Lady Pleasure. She smooches Michael under a tree of chimes, Peter in a barber’s chair, and David by the window, which opens to reveal sea gulls chirping and flying about as they smooch. After she leaves, a “storyboard” of 20 TV monitors depicting future happenings in this movie flash on the screen to the tune of “Ditty Diego”.
As throngs of screaming teenage girls rock the grandstands, Peter, Micky, Michael and David dress in white clothes, leave their pad, and run down a dark corridor. The Monkees wind up on the field as cheerleaders in the Pasadena Rose Bowl conducting a “War Chant.” That’s exactly where our heroes are thrust: back in time to 1945 as GIs in a foxhole during a WWII situation. David’s height makes it impossible for him to see over the foxhole, and Micky gives him his helmet to stand on. Peter volunteers when Michael declares they are out of ammo, and during his trek under the lethal fusillade, he has his picture taken by a LIFE photographer. He leaps in another foxhole and is senselessly tackled by Private One, a has-been Green Bay Packers player. Peter ducks out of the foxhole just in time to avoid another tackle by Mr. One, who gets so peeved he tosses his helmet at Peter, which he brings back to his foxhole to give to Micky. The Monkees, firing rounds from their rifles, emerge from their foxhole and crouch beside a cave into which David tosses flares; then the four venture inside the cave where they are enveloped by flames and find themselves back in the present 1968, clad in white, racing down the corridor.
In the Valley Auditorium, our heroes hustle through throngs of screaming teenage fans, saddle up their instruments on the “rotating turntable” bandstand, and perform “Circle Sky.” (This electrifying split-screen concert performance is repeatedly inter cut with footage of Vietnam.) At the end of the number, as the frenzied teenage girls scramble onto the bandstand, the cool quartet make a strategic exit and leave mannequin replicas of themselves for the girls to rip to shreds.
CLICK! We see clips featuring Bela Lugosi, Rona Barrett, Ralph Williams, Ronald Reagan, and Ann Miller on a TV screen, being switched by remote control from channel to channel, finally stopping on a channel featuring Micky as a single Allied soldier in the middle of a desert, dying of thirst and driven by his own inner voice. He stops at, puts a quarter in, and attacks a non functioning Coca-Cola machine, with the old Coca-Cola jingle pervading the soundtrack. Shortly thereafter, Micky gets into an argument with his own inner voice and tells it to “Shut up!” It does, and Micky, thinking he has gone deaf, freaks out. Far above the scene, a voice inquires, “Quiet, isn’t it, George Michael Dolenz? I said, ‘Quiet, isn’t it, George Michael Dolenz?” Then, a Black Sheik on horseback arrives to greet Micky, but embarks when he spatters “Psst!” in his face! Then a huge tank arrives, out of which I. Vitteloni, an Italian Army general, emerges, and, handing Micky his gun, surrenders, along with his Italian regiment. Micky gets in the huge mechanism, aims its cannon at the Coke machine, and blasts it to pieces. Smiling, Micky becomes a sheik in a harem, along with Michael, Peter and David, surrounded by beautiful harem girls belly dancing to the tune of “Can You Dig It?”
During shooting of a Western at Columbia Pictures Studios, Michael, as a wounded frontiersman, makes vainglorious speeches to Micky, as a Calvary soldier, while blindly shooting and stabbing attacking Indians. Micky rips a painfully barbed savage’s arrow from his chest and Testy True, as a pioneer woman, lies “dying” from snake venom. Disgusted and unwilling to complete his role in the scene being shot, Micky brushes fake arrows from his chest and stumps off through the painted backdrop, with Michael following him. They cull David, in knickerbockers, from playing violin on a bowery brownstone set. In a railroad yard, the trio are immediately set upon by Lord High ‘n’ Low, who explains the millions of dollars they can reap from byproducts and tie-ins. Uninterested in his crude lingo, the three set off for The Columbia-Screen Gems Studio Club, the studio's commissary. Signals from smoke to gun to mirror abound, and the messenger bursts inside the Studio Club, warning the people of the trio’s arrival. Trying to get inside, Micky, Michael and David squeeze through disgruntled exiting patrons. Once inside, the three exchange insults with Mr. & Mrs. Ace, an overly-dramatic female impersonator, while Peter stares at an ice cream cone melting in his fist. Micky and Michael leave, while David and Peter stays behind. David suggests to Mr./Mrs. Ace that they go someplace where they won’t bump into each other again, and is smacked across the face.
In a boxing ring, David fakes a bout with an extra but takes a severe beating about the face, with Micky, Michael and Sally Silicone watching in the crowds. Micky, a runner, shouts at David to stay down to impress Michael, a fight racketeer, who has made a bet on David to take a dive. Struggling to keep on hands and knees, a battered David sees Minnie in the grandstands and has a flashback:
Minnie (here called Theresa) begs David not to go, but David, thinking that playing a violin in two bit clubs aren’t up to his standards, ignores her begging, declaring “at this, I could’ve been champ!” and adding “They pick the round, and I pick the guy!” Then the director rushes David upstairs to face a line of extras as boxers for him to choose in the boxing scene. He chooses Sonny Liston.
Back in the ring, David is once again knocked down for the count. Micky shouts “Stay down, dummy!” and Michael counterattacks Micky’s insult: “You are the dummy, dummy!” Enraged, Micky clambers into the ring and knocks out David, the extra, the referee, Michael—and even Sally Silicone!!!!!!! A quintet of policemen intercede and immediately subdue riot-crazed Micky until Peter, David’s second, enters the ring, declaring “I’m the dummy, Micky. I’m always the dummy!” Micky, on his knees and out of breath, agrees and apologizes.
In The Columbia-Screen Gems Studio Club, Peter is consoled by Mrs. Ace—and feeds her a knuckle sandwich! After the director yells “Cut!” the actors—including Mrs. Ace, who slowly peels off her wig and becoming Mr. Ace—and crew praise Peter’s performance, but Peter, a non-violent person, feeling what he did would damage the group’s image, decries it. He frustratingly walks off the commissary set and takes a seat, where it starts snowing on him. We then encounter another song sequence, “As We Go Along,” which features alternating shots of each Monkee taking a stroll whithin a different seasonal outdoor setting: Peter walking in snow-covered Alpine territory (winter), Micky through a forest (autumn), David in a garden (spring), and Michael alongside a beach (summer).
The Monkees don protective radiation suits and join Inspector Shrink for a tour of inspection through a factory, where only David bears witness to a series of mishaps: a man hanging on a hook, a cleaver chopping meat, a person’s head falling off, a man drinking rusty water, a man stepping forward to check his watch and miss being clobbered by boxes falling from a conveyor belt above him, and an injured man being carried on a stretcher. Inspector Shrink guides the boys inside a dark room and shuts the door on them. Spotlights shine upon the boys, and they are called by off-camera voices (Bob Rafelson and Jack Nicholson) to step forward, get inside a hag of hair, and jump up and down, as flecks of dandruff for a commercial for Tough Shampoo. The camera pulls back to reveal the countenance of The Big Victor, muscular 1940s motion picture idol—and the boys being sucked up from his hair by a huge vacuum cleaner! As Micky, Michael and Peter tumble inside the cleaner, David clings onto the tube for his dear life.
The three fool around with a button, a needle, and a cigarette, and find David missing. Deducing that he is stuck up the tube, Michael, Peter and Micky clamber on top of each other and Micky shouts into the tube for David. The vibrations of Micky’s shouting prove to be so great that David is thrown out of the vacuum cleaner tube onto the floor. Picking himself from the floor, he sees a strange opening and goes inside.
Clad in a white tuxedo, David struts his stuff and sings “Daddy’s Song.” During his performance, his white tuxedo on the black set repeatedly flashes vice-versa, giving a positive- negative effect. (At one point, he can be seen dancing with choreographer Toni Basil!) At the end of his performance, David encounters a group of stage hands, giving him a standing ovation. Emerging from the sound stage onto the lot, David converses with a critic, who carries a bull on a leash. The critic declares that David’s dancing doesn’t leave much time for his music and that he should spend more time on it because the youth of America depends on him to show the way. “Monkees iss der craziest people!” titters the bull as he and the critic marches off.
Nearby, Officer Faye Lapid watches a steel crate rise from the ground and order Michael, Micky and Peter out. Brutally inquired what were they were doing in the box, the boys reel off their experience, the factory, the commercial, and the vacuum cleaner. Thinking they are totally crazy, the officer proceeds to take the boys downtown, when the National Guard intervenes, performing their gun maneuvers. The boys ditch the officer by mingling in with the soldiers. After they march off, David regroups with his mates and goes inside the studio lavatory.
In the lav, David throws punches, washes his hands, and opens the medicine cabinet to see a huge eye peering at him! David backs against the wall, terrified. Just then Peter enters the lav, whistling the chorus to The Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever", squeezes a pimple, washes his hands, and looks at terrified David, who points at the medicine cabinet. Peter opens it, but, much to David’s surprise, sees no eye, but instead, a bottle! Peter walks out, declaring “nobody ever lends any money to a man with a sense of humor!” After Peter leaves, David quickly opens the cabinet and the bottle leaps out and shatters in the sink. David grins and gives a sigh of relief, but when he closes the cabinet and looks in the mirror, he finds his surroundings have changed. He turns around and finds that the studio lavatory has changed into a creepy castle! Stumbling over suits of armor and tripping over severed heads, David desperately tries to find a way out; he finds a door, opens it, and sees a huge mantis!
As an explorer in a jungle scene, Micky, looking through a magnifying glass, sees a “Manchester midget greenie!” He screams, jumps in horror and stumbles downhill—right into the waiting arms of natives. They chain him to the wall of a dungeon, along with Peter and Michael. Before Michael can explain an escape plan, the wall on which the three are chained swerves around, and they find themselves up against the studio lavatory wall, with their hands up, once again facing Officer Faye Lapid. Micky explains that the last time they saw David was inside the john. Believing their story, the officer guarantees they’ll find David and lets them go but warns them of the consequences if they cause any more trouble. After they leave, Lapid executes a fey stripper’s stint, washes his hands—and faints upon seeing Victor Mature behind him in the mirror!
At The Monkees’ beach pad, Michael is awakened out of a sound sleep by the door buzzer. He gets up, find Micky and Peter ignoring the buzzer playing guitars, and yells for one of them to answer it. Peter answers the door, receives a letter from a heraldic messenger (who has a teenage lady handcuffed to him!), opens it and crumples it. Hearing a door slam, Michael dons his robe goes looking out the front door, and calls Peter, but the latter finds himself running down the corridor of the same creepy castle as David was; as he reaches for the door, is beckoned by a voice to “STOP!” At the pad, while Michael reads the crumpled telegram (which, coincidentally, also reads “STOP”), Micky also disappears and reappears as a mannequin in a closet! Michael makes a zombielike stagger out the front door and down the corridor of the creepy castle. He opens the door and find what appear to be three monks holding candles and chanting a mantra, but are actually Monkees David, Micky and Peter, who whip off their hoods and sing “Happy Birthday To You.” The lights switch on, their friends emerge from behind the walls to pat Michael on the back and shower him with gifts, and everyone moves and grooves to the tune of “Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again?.” After the dance, Michael is seen perched upon a large throne, surrounded by David, Micky and Peter.
Because he hates surprises, Michael is perturbed with the whole setup, and he shouts at the guests for scaring him to death. Surprisingly enough, the crowd cheers him on for his lecture! Then Lord High ‘n’ Low, crippled from surviving a hanging, emerges from the crowd and confronts the boys. They fall on the floor and laugh at the cripple until they are halted by the sound of gunfire. They look up and find themselves in a Western ghost town, where Lord High ‘n’ Low, surrounded by his henchmen, cocks his sawed off shotgun and bellows “Don’t never, but never, make fun of no cripples!” Micky, Michael and David are locked up in the local jail as a result. In his cot, David is awakened from his sound sleep by a cluttering noise. As Micky and Michael slumber, David gets up from his cot, slumps to the bars, and sees a shimmering image…
In a sauna, as the movie extra (from the boxing scene) looks on, Peter listens to profound superficialities of beliefs and conditioning mouthed from Swami, who reveals he doesn’t know anything. The extra pulls a cord, deluging the sauna with more steam and leaving Peter to search for the nearest exit. Emerging from the sound stage, Peter finds a crowd, along with Micky and Michael, looking up at a bikini-clad lady poised to jump from a high ledge. Peter tries to tell them what he learned from the Swami, but, too busy making bets on the lady’s fate, they inadvertently brush him away. In the studio lavatory, Peter finds David, looking into the medicine cabinet and swearing to Peter that he saw an eye in it!
As they emerge from the lav, Michael, holding The Jumper, has defeated Micky in the bet, with Micky paying him $10. Michael hands Peter The Jumper and he and Micky and David start off, leaving Peter to call after them. In the factory, Peter catches up with his mates as Inspector Shrink leads them inside the same black box and tries to warn them, but they ignore him, and they are all locked inside. Micky, David and Michael bang on the steel door, demanding to be let out, and they turn to see Peter, holding a candle. Figuring what he has to say must retain a way out, the three inadvertently sit down to listen. Peter becomes the Swami’s mouthpiece, philosophically passing on to Micky, Michael and David the nature of conceptual reality—and colcludes that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about!
Angry, David rips off his radiation suit, kicks down the factory door and, in a fierce battle, trounces the Inspector, his workers, and the security guard. The four boys escape from the factory and tear through the fake backdrop of the Western setting, where David yanks an Indian from his mount. The quartet journey into the Western ghost town and confronts Lord High ‘n’Low and his men. When High ‘n’Low cocks his sawed off shotgun, David fires a cannon (which appears out of nowhere), instantly wiping out High ‘n’Low and his cronies. Then The Monkees are set upon by The Big Victor, a laughing genie towering above the action. The boys drift tactfully away, but with a clap of Victor’s hands, they are shut inside yet another big black box—this one lifted and transported by helicopter, the vibrations jarring the four boys as they are carried through the sky. Dropped from a great height, the box shatters in the desert, exposing The Monkees to the Forces of Inhumanity: a line of The Black Sheik and his Arab horsemen, Inspector Shrink and his workers, The Big Victor (polishing a golf club), tribes of American Indians, the Italian Army (armed with a tank), and the Coca-Cola machine.
The mind-blown Arab horsemen swarm around the boys, and the tank chases the four and blasts the Coke machine. The Big Victor inadvertently swipes The Monkees into the air with his golf club; as they whisk through the sky, they are shot down by the Indians. The boys crash on studio props and equipment in the Columbia lot: David on a bed, Michael in a trash can, Peter on a bull (which he rides into The Columbia-Screen Gems Studio Club and starts a row), and Micky on a sound boom microphone. To dodge the angry studio personnel, The Monkees duck inside a steam-filled sound stage. Lost in the steam, Peter comes face to face with the Swami in the sauna, while his mates are immediately overpowered by workers in the factory.
CLICK! More movie clips are being switched from channel to channel on the TV screen by remote control; these featuring Micky, footage of Vietnam war atrocities, a scene from a Loopy DeLoop cartoon, an ad for Platex Cross-Your-Hear Bra, the TV commercial for HEAD featuring John Brockman, Rita Hayworth, and Lord High ‘N’ Low. Switching back to the channel of the movie, Micky, Michael and David, in the factory, are strapped to a conveyor belt leading directly into a machine that will chop them to bits. The whole scene becomes a silent movie, wherein Peter enters the fray, defeats the villainous Inspector Shrink and his cronies, and rescues his pals. The Monkees commandeer a dune buggy and drive it through the Columbia lot, tearing apart movie sets and equipment as they go. Ahead of them, stagehands shove a huge green telephone (the same one that was used in Episode No. 28 of The Monkees, "The Monkees On The Line") out of their way as The Monkees zoom closer and closer towards a white backdrop; tearing through it, they find themselves back on the desert lot, where Peter maneuvers the buggy in circles to avoid him and his mates being stomped underfoot by The Big Victor. Watching the whole thing on TV, Victor becomes fed up and smashes the TV screen with his foot, just as Victor, in the movie, kicks over the dune buggy The Monkees are riding in and sends them tumbling down a sand dune.
A swarm of the Black Sheik and his Arab horsemen, Inspector Shrink and his workers, tribes of American Indians, the Italian Army, and Private One chase The Monkees all over the desert set, which transforms into yet another ribbon-cutting ceremony on the same new suspension bridge instigated by Mayor Feedback in San Pedro. Again it is disrupted, this time by all four Monkees and their angry assailants, and the angry mayor, his establishment cronies and the citizens join in on the frantic chase. At the middle of the bridge, Micky, David, Peter and Michael all take the plunge into the bay to escape their violent pursuers. At the bottom of the bay, under a melange of color solarization effects, The Monkees perform an underwater ballet to the tune of “Porpoise Song”; after which, they find themselves in a giant perspex water tank carried by truck into the Columbia Pictures studio gates, as props to be filed away in the property department. At the back of the truck is Victor, seated in a director’s chair, lighting his pipe.