The Night a Monkee Upstaged the Beatles

beatles with ed sullivan

Sunday, February 9, 1964

Television changed that night and hasn't been the same since. That night an estimated 73 million people tuned in to see the Ed Sullivan show, the largest TV audience to date.

Those viewers saw the television debut of a British singing act that would go on to be one of the biggest singing sensations of all time.

That act was...Davy Jones!

Davy Jones?!

davy jones

Yes, two years before the Monkees caught The Last Train to Clarksville, Davy Jones originated the role of Artful Dodger in the Broadway Musical Oliver, and earned a Tony nomination in the process.

On February 9, 1964, Davy and other members of the cast performed one of the songs from the play on the Ed Sullivan Show. Davy was, in a strange way, the warm up act for the Beatles that night. quotes Jones:

I was on The Ed Sullivan Show the same night as The Beatles ... I saw all the screaming girls and I thought, I want a piece of this action. I like screaming girls.

Hey, Hey We're the Monkees
In 1966, NBC debuted The Monkees television show as what many thought was essentially a low rent version of the Fab Four to capitalize on the mania of the 1960's British invasion.

But the four guys they picked were more talented than anyone had imagined. Though they were initially pressured by network execs to front for studio musicians, Davy Jones, Mickey Dolenz, Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork were persistent about making their own music.

Richer than Paul McCartney
By the way it was reported in 1997 that rock star Davy Jones' net worth -- at nearly $1 billion -- had surpassed that of Beatle Paul McCartney.

Davy Jones?!
No, not that Davy Jones.

Early in his career, David Jones, who most of us know as David Bowie, had to take on a stage name so as not to be confused with the -- at-that-time more popular -- Monkee.


Other Apocalypzia Posts about the Beatles:

Meet the Beatles...Again!

(Pete) Best of the Beatles

The Bleeping Truth

Was Trinity Jump-Jivin' in the Matrix?

Swing Dancing

In the late 1990's swing dancing was having quite a revival and the Gap was all over it. But what really set their Gap Khaki commercial apart had nothing to do with the dancing.

It was the first place that many of us were exposed to something the Wachowski Brothers were soon to become famous for in their 1999 film, The Matrix. They called it bullet-time.

The swing dancers mysteriously freeze in mid-air for several seconds while the camera appears to circle around them.

Wake up, Neo
Not long after, black leather-clad Trinity showed us that she knew a little something about Jump-Jivin' too.

Real Women of the Apocalypse Series: Hedy Lamarr

hedy lamarr

Ecstasy, White Cargo and the Cuban Missile Crisis

"I am Tondelayo."
With that sentence the world's most beautiful woman set the silver screen on fire in 1942. But it wasn't the first time she had fanned the flames of desire in a darkened movie theatre.

Ten years before, she had appeared in the Czech art film Extase, or Ecstasy. That cinema classic was banned in the US not because of its nudity but because an orgasm in one scene was so vividly portrayed by the lead actress that audiences were unsure whether or not it had been the real thing.

Such is the legend of Hedy Lamarr.

In the film White Cargo, she played the mysterious and exotic Tondelayo. The scorching primal excitement of her character is captured by the line:

"It wasn't the heat that drove Ashley crazy. It was Tondelayo!"

Beyond Hollywood
Hedy Lamarr's most successful film was Samson and Delilah with Victor Mature in 1949. But her true claims to fame have nothing to do with Hollywood. Without her, those few survivors left might this year be marking the 46th anniversary of World War III and there might never have been an iPhone 3GS for you to lust for.

Escaping the Nazis
Born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, Ms. Lamarr, in 1933, married Fredrich Mandl, an arms merchant who was controlling and possessive. Mandl forced her to attend his business meetings, during which the mathematically adept Ms. Lamarr learned a great deal about the munitions industry.

But when her husband began consorting with the Nazi high command and holding grand parties for Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini, Ms. Lamarr sought escape.

According to some accounts, during a Nazi celebration, she drugged her husband, disguised herself as a maid and fled the country. She made her way to Hollywood by way of London and Paris.


Hedy Lamarr and the Cuban Missile Crisis
During World War II, when her film career was in high gear, Ms. Lamarr had a conversation with composer George Anthiel that helped change the course of homeland security and human communication.

Anthiel, a Hollywood neighbor of Ms. Lamarr, was fascinated with the automated mechanism of player pianos that caused them to play the right notes at precisely the right times. He and Ms. Lamarr, who had learned quite a lot about torpedoes from her munitions-merchant husband, started trading ideas.

The two collaborated to develop a guidance protocol for torpedoes that couldn't be jammed by enemies of the Allied forces. The result was a patent for a process by which radio transmissions hop rapidly across 88 different frequencies like notes on a keyboard.

The Patent Documentation for the Frequency Hopper, in Ms. Lamarr's then-married name H(edwig) K(iesler) Markey:

hedy lamarr patent

The US Navy thought it was a good idea but ahead of its time.
They were right. It was 1962 before the US military used the technology to aid in the blockade of Soviet ships carrying nuclear weapons components during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

And it was 1997 before the very same concept became an integral part of the spread spectrum technology that makes your cellphone and Wi-Fi network possible today.


Beyond Beauty
Hedy Lamarr was once considered to be the most beautiful woman in the world but we salute her today as a Real Woman of the Apocalypse.

As an artist she revealed new frontiers of artistic expression of human intimacy. And as a scientist, she helped to save the world when it teetered on the brink of a thermonuclear Armageddon.

Thank you, Ms. Lamarr.

Apocalypzia has two questions:

1 - Why hasn't Hedy Lamarr's Hollywood made a definitive movie about her fascinating and inspirational life?

2- When they do make the bio-pic, who should play the role?

Read our Top Ten Women of the Apocalypse post.

TV Fall Preview - The New Dramas

tv viewing

The new 2009 Fall TV season is almost ready to roll.

Join Apocalypzia for a fast preview of the dramas debuting on CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox and CW. Is your soon-to-be new favorite show on the list?

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NCIS Los Angeles Tuesday 9/8c

Looks like a solid NCIS spin-off. (Why not call it NCIS LA?)

The Good Wife Tuesday 10/9c

The Gov. Mark Sanford story? Julianna Marguiles is back and may have a hit.

Three Rivers Sunday 9/8c

Organ donors, organ recipients and the doctors who love them.

Welcome to the Future! Video-in-Print? Is this even possible?!

By the way, CBS is introducing its entire fall line-up in an innovative high-tech way. They've teamed up with Pepsi to produce what they claim is the first Video-in-Print promotion. You'll be able to watch video clips of CBS shows embedded in the pages of a magazine.

Watch for a groundbreaking issue of Entertainment Weekly at the newstands.

The Forgotten Tuesday 10/9c

Not exactly Cold Case -- let's call it Warm Case

Flash Forward Thursday 8/7c

Lost without the island

Eastwick Wednesday 10/9c

Charmed: The Sequel

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Trauma Monday 9/8c

ER al Fresco

Mercy Wednesday 8/7c

Nurses with an edge

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Glee Wednesday 9/8c

The Nip/Tuck team tries musical dramedy.

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Three of the new CW dramas (including two Fox retreads) look like the same show with different titles.

90210 Tuesday 8/7c

How is 90210...

Melrose Place Tuesday 9/8c

...any different from this show...

The Beautiful Life Wednesday 9/8c

...or this show?

The Vampire Diaries Thursday 8/7c

TV Twilight

Apocalypzia previews Fall Season Comedies

TV Fall Preview - The New Comedies

The new 2009 Fall TV season is almost ready to roll. Join Apocalypzia for a fast preview of the comedies debuting on CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox.

We're pulling for some of these shows, but we don't see any breakout hits. What's your take?

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Accidentally On Purpose
We've been madly in love with Jenna Elfman ever since Dharma and Greg but we wonder if the pregnant cougar angle is enough to carry this show. Can Jenna's likeability and charm turn this newcomer into a hit?

Welcome to the Future! Video-in-Print? Is this even possible?!

By the way, CBS is introducing its entire fall line-up in an innovative high-tech way. They've teamed up with Pepsi to produce what they claim is the first Video-in-Print promotion. You'll be able to watch video clips of CBS shows embedded in the pages of a magazine.

Watch for a groundbreaking issue of Entertainment Weekly at the newstands.

ABC is bringing back Fox's 2008 bomb
Back to You, sort of...

back to you

Spare Parts
ABC has blown out its entire Wednesday schedule for new shows made primarily of parts stripped from Fox's failed and disappointing Back to You. Kelsey Grammer, Patricia Heaton and Ty Burrell, all stars of the 2008 Fox series, headline CBS's Wednesday night lineup.

Kelsey Grammer seems to be working a theme here.
In 2008, Fox's Back to You was about a Frasier-type character -- a big time TV news anchor -- who lost his job and had to come back to the town where he got his start.

Hank is about a Frasier-type character who loses all his pre-financial-crisis riches and has to move back to the town where he got his start. Maybe Kelsey's plan is to continue to work this theme until he gets it right.

The Middle
Why does this show seem awfully familiar? Maybe the title should be Malcolm in the Middle without Malcolm but Co-starring a Kid to Remind You of Dewey.

The always-talented but ever-grating Patricia Heaton, late of Back to You, stars.

Modern Family
Ty Burrell, also fresh on the heels of the disappointing Back to You, is one of the co-stars of this ensemble comedy which, for some odd reason, reminds us of CBS' Rules of Engagement.

Cougar Town
Cougars are obviously big this season. Friends' Courtney Cox stars in a show that will have to work hard not to be a one-trick pony.

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This new show stars the clever Joel McHale and SNL/movie veteran Chevy Chase. Because E Channel's The Soup has given so many other TV programs grief, the pressure is on for Community to live up to its hype. Otherwise, Joel will end up in the awkward position of having to trash his own sit-com on The Soup.

By the way, there's one bad omen for Community. An official NBC promo for the show describes Joel as the host of Talk Soup. Oops.

Jay Leno
NBC is, quite simply, betting the farm on the new Jay Leno Show. If it succeeds, NBC execs will be seen as absolute geniuses. If it doesn't... well... for NBC's sake, it better work.

jay leno

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Carl Weathers, the great CCH Pounder and ex-NFL star Michael Strahan team up for Fox's new non-animated comedy, Brothers. Actually, Strahan doesn't seem to come off worse than other sit-com stars in this clip. Does this show have a chance?

The Cleveland Show
Fox continues their all animation Sunday programming, swapping out Mike Judge's King of the Hill for Seth MacFarlane's The Cleveland Show.

Cleveland was the best choice for a Family Guy spin-off because he's one of the few characters not voiced by the already way-overworked MacFarlane. But the real question is, can Cleveland carry a show without Quagmire as a sidekick? Giggity-Giggity.

The Show Must Go On

milton berle

The Original Must See TV.
Jerry Seinfeld used to be the King of Must See TV. But in the TV's Golden Age, someone else wore that crown. That someone was known as Mr. Television. That someone was Milton Berle, who developed his comedy chops in Vaudeville and the Borscht Belt.

During the Eisenhower administration, people across the USA started buying TV sets just to watch Milton Berle on Tuesday nights. There was a time that no one was bigger than Berle. And he would have been quick to tell you that Elvis Presely made his TV debut not on Ed Sullivan but 5 months before on Berle's show.

elvis presely

So what's Uncle Miltie's Apocalypzian angle?

One winter long after his TV career was over, Milton Berle played Chicago's Empire Room, one of the last great night clubs of an earlier era. The room was routinely sold out during his two week run, but one night, the city was hit with one of its killer snow storms. At showtime, The Great Empire Room, was nearly empty.

The stage manager came to Berle's dressing room to give him the bad news. No audience, no show. "How many people are out there," Berle asked. "Only four," was the reply.

Milton Berle said, "I don't care. They came here for a show and, damn it, they're going to get a show."

And a Show They Got.
Milton Berle went out that night with his full accompaniment of singers, dancers and musicians and put on the same great show he did when the room was SRO. And never once did Milton Berle refer to the size of the crowd.

A young kid working the props to make some college money learned something that night, never thinking he'd be blogging about it years later.

If you're a true professional, you're never playing to the crowd.
You're connecting with individuals, no matter how large -- or small -- that group might be. Whether you're playing for a packed house or not, you show up with your best material and give it your best shot.

berle tv

Mr. Television taught us something about the nature of Apocalypzia that night, so long ago...

(And yes, there is a naughty pun somewhere in this post...)

Read other Apocalypzia posts in the Entertainment / Media category

Designer Jeans: How America Bottomed Out in the 1980s

brooke shields

Calvin Klein - Jailbait Jeans
There's something disturbing about the following commercial. Maybe it's that Brooke Shields was only 16 when it was made! The tagline was supposed to be risque and innocent all at the same time. Having Brooke whistle "Oh My Darling, Clementine" while sitting spread-eagle was someone's idea of a good commercial.

Maybe they were right. The nothing between Brooke and her Calvins was a topic of conversation for much of the early 1980s.

Jordache Jeans: "You Got the Look I'd Like to Know Better"
It's hard to believe that white stitching on your butt could turn heads at a party, yet once upon a time jeans were fashion statements and status symbols. That was then.

Now you can buy Jordache Jeans at such fashion-forward retailers as Sears and Wal-Mart.

Lee Jeans - Attitude!
This mid-1980's commercial screams MTV in the worst way. It was a different place and a different time where and when our jeans, were like, you know, about an attitude, man.

Bonjour Jeans - Ac-tion!
While Jordache and Lee were doing the more mainstream kind of marketing at the time, Bonjour decided to go all edgy and everything. Even with its I-Dream-of-Jeannie special effects, this commercial couldn't have cost more than 38 bucks to make.

Bon-Jour! Ac-tion! Bon-Jour!

Chic Jeans - Sex and the City Disco-Style
We don't know how anyone was ever inspired to go out and buy a pair of jeans after watching this commercial but some MadMan must have thought it had potential. But we don't think the company had much confidence in their jeans since they were ready to give you a free skirt if you'd just buy a pair.

Read other Apocalypzia posts in the TV Commercials category.

From Russian Mad Men, With Love

Free Entertainment for a Long Holiday Weekend.

Sandybro put this YouTube clip together of three TV commercials from Soviet TV circa the 1980's. Our unnecessary comments and comparisons to US ads are below.

Commercial 1 - A Dimmer Switch?
We speak a little Russian here but obviously not nearly enough to know what the hell is going on in the first commercial. As far as we can tell it's an ad for a dimmer switch. But not just any dimmer switch.

This is largest most colorful dimmer switch in world! In Russia, you don't dim lights. Lights dim you!

Free World Competitor - The Clapper
This Soviet dimmer switch commercial was pretty bad but the Clapper spot isn't exactly Clio material. By the way, does the woman -- turning off the TV while in bed -- fall asleep awfully fast?

Commercial 2 - Men's Clothing - What the well-dressed KGB agent is wearing this year!
We always wondered where Borat bought his clothes. Is it just us or was that a young Putin in there somewhere?

Free World Competitor: Men's Warehouse
Actually we think the Soviet ad is a little more fun -- in its own wacky way -- than this vintage George Zimmer commercial.

Commercial 3 - Portable Cassette Player
The Russian cassette player was so huge it apparently took two people to carry it.

Free World Competitor - Sony Walkman
At least there was a romantic angle to the Russian commercial. This speak-and-spell US Walkman commercial doesn't even have that going for it.