I Meet the Monkees

by Ann Moses on August 16, 2012

Daydream Believer

Posted on March 2, 2012 by Ann Wicker

Davy Jones (1945-2012)

When I was 12, in my daydreams, I was Ann Moses, the editor of Tiger Beat, my fave teen magazine that featured stories and photos of bands and actors. She always wore groovy clothes, white or light pink lipstick and had bright red hair. She talked to Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz on the phone. Bobby Sherman called her “babe.” She was cool.


Visits to the Monkees set were always fun! This is me and Davy riding through the “streets of New York” on the Screen Gems back lot.

Me? Cool? I didn’t think so at the time. Lucky, slightly star-struck, assertive in my journalistic pursuits, but in my mind I was a bit awkward and sometimes shy.

On February 29th I told some of my friends at work that a friend of mine had died. They said, “we’re so sorry, who died?” I told them Davy Jones, and it only registered with one of two of them because I work with several twenty-somethings and early thirty-somethings. I know it had the same impact on me that it had on Peter Tork as he described on the Rachel Maddow Show: “I was gobsmacked,” he told Rachel. Davy was one year older than me.

The Monkees (Micky, Mike and Peter) announced last week that they would be going on tour as The Monkees. Before I began writing this post today I watched quite a few YouTube videos of Davy, but the one that hit me the hardest was purported to be the last video of him. It was taken ten days before his death and it was fans (our age) getting his autograph and photos after a  live performance. The Davy in that video, all these years later, was the same Davy I met for the first time on September 11, 1966. Genuinely friendly, open, affable;  just a very real, warm human being.

 Los Angeles radio station KHJ ran a contest to meet the new group the Monkees, who’s record “Last Train to Clarksville” was already moving up the Billboard charts. As part of the press, I was invited on the “Train to Clarksville,” actually a Union Pacific Passenger Liner, leaving from historic Union Station in downtown Los Angeles and arriving in the coastal town of Del Mar, California, which had been renamed “Clarksville” for the day by the town’s mayor. The press car was separate from the fan cars and as we pulled into “Clarksville,” we all piled out of the train cars and walked down a hill to reach the beach were a stage had been assembled. At this point there had been very little pre-publicity about the upcoming TV show, we only knew that it had been bought by NBC to air on Monday nights beginning September 12th.

There was a warm-up band, but we paid little attention, we were anxious for the real deal.  All of a sudden comes the roar of four helicopters flying overhead and getting closer and closer. They landed on the beach and out of each helicopter jumped a Monkee dressed in their signature long sleeved, doubled breasted shirts. They ran up onto the stage and performed their soon to be number one hit “Last Train to Clarksville.” The new fans went wild and I remember thinking, these guys are going to be huge! Huge!

My first introduction to Micky Dolenz, here with Tommy Boyce on the trip home on “The Last Train to Clarksville.”

After their performance we all piled back onto the train, the Monkees joining us, and they performed two songs live in the caboose, then the rest of the two hour ride they visited with fans and spent a long time visiting in the press car. I remember chatting with each one individually and they were very much in character at this point, Mike – sardonic, Micky – the joker, Peter – the sweet, dense one, and Davy – the nice one. With only four of them to spread around, I got little face time on that first occasion with each of them. I do have a clear recollection of Micky asking for my phone number, and that was most unexpected and I had bats flying in my stomach. But he never called, big surprise.

In the next two years I would come to know the Monkees and Davy Jones, Peter Tork, Mike Nesmith and Micky Dolenz very well. And together we had many adventures which I’ll share with you.

Good times. . .Ann Moses reporting about “back in the day.”


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ann Wicker August 21, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Ann! I’m so pleased that you enjoyed my story about seeing and eventually meeting The Monkees. And really, to a girl from a small town in North Carolina, you were (and are) very cool! And lucky! You were a reporter and editor and very much an inspiration to this aspiring writer. Thanks so much for sharing your own stories with us — the personal touch makes all the difference! Looking forward to more!


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