Hello again friends, family and readers! Thank you for joining me today to review “Getting Davy Jones”. It is a fun episode with a well remembered guest star. It stretches believability a time or two, but by this point, that was par for the course on The Brady Bunch. Along with Davy Jones, this episode gives us quite a few other guest stars. Perhaps in getting Davy Jones, the producers were given a larger budget for the episode. So dear readers, let us begin reviewing, “Getting Davy Jones”.
The episode opens with no guest star credit like we saw for Desi Arnaz Jr and would later see for Joe Namath. I can’t help but think this was done on purpose as much of the episode’s plot centers on Marcia’s attempts to meet Davy Jones, having it made known in the opening he was appearing would kill the suspense. Their ploy worked me for when I was a kid. I hope you will tolerate a quick stroll down memory lane. One day in 1986, my brother, sister and I were channel surfing and came across a show that had a vampire, a wolfman and other monsters on it. This immediately grabbed my attention and it was soon discovered we were watching an episode of The Monkees. Once the adventure in the monster ridden castle ended, another episode came on, then another and another. All of which we watched! The cable channel MTV had reintroduced the Monkees to a new generation via a Monkees marathon. My friends and I were fans right away. Therefore, the prospect of seeing the Monkees front man, Davy Jones, on another of my favorite shows (also over a decade old) was an exciting one. The first time I saw this episode, I was anxious to see if the star of The Monkees would indeed appear on The Brady Bunch.
The episode’s story begins in the girls’ bedroom. Marcia and two other girls named Doreen and Laura are struggling to find an entertainer to perform at their junior high school’s senior prom. The prom is less than two weeks away and nobody has been found. Laura bemoans their lack of finding talent and says they aren’t a very good entertainment committee. She is right! One would think providing the music by which the students would dance to would be the number one top priority, and likely not left solely in the hands of three students. I can only surmise that at this point in history, a DJ with a crate of records had not become the standard for school dances. Never in my own school days, nor those of anybody I’ve ever known, was a live band on hand to perform for a school dance. It must have still been happening someplace though as the kids from Saved By The Bell and Full House had a live band at their school dances. Downstairs, Jan has just seen something in the newspaper that warrants being shared right away. She rushes up to the bedroom to share the news that Davy Jones will be present in their southern California town! All the girls are beyond excited that Davy Jones will be in their zip code! However, Marcia gives them reason to ratchet their excitement up another notch! She can get Davy Jones to perform at their prom! Her friends are of course skeptical and suggest that if she can get a star as big as Davy Jones, why not have The Beatles and the Fifth Dimension come play too? From out of nowhere, Marcia pulls out a framed copy of a letter from Davy Jones. Seriously, she must have had it under her pillow or someplace like that, because it seems like she is holding it out of the blue. The letter from Davy Jones is handwritten and says that in return for being president of his local fan club, he will gladly help her out should he ever be in her town. I could not help but think poor Davy must not have a lot of fans if he has time to write out a handwritten letter such as this one to every fan club president. More on this later though.
For the first time in a while, we get a chance to scrutinize a newspaper on the show. We see that Chamber Music will soon be doing something. Also, Hazel Masseli- will star in a new Bailey production. A Google search for Hazel Masselini produced a hit for Hazel Masselin who lived in Glendale, CA and passed away in 2008. There is another link for the name at Legacy.com, but the obituary makes no reference to any role in the entertainment industry. I checked the closing credits for this episode and did not see her name.
Doreen was played by Tina Andrews. She was no stranger to television in the 1970s. She was the first actress to portray part of an interracial romance on daytime television. She would make appearances on a slew of hit TV shows. Among them was one of my favorite Sanford and Son episodes titled “Sanford and Niece”. She was a regular on Falcon Crest and Room 222. Her final acting appearance was in 1989 on an episode of Charles in Charge. IMDB lists some writing and producing credits from 2000-2003. Tina Andrews also fulfilled a labor of love and saw that the story of Sally Hemings made it onscreen. Curiously, nothing beyond 2003 could be located about her.
Downstairs in the kitchen, Carol and Alice discuss how angry Jan and Cindy were that they could not accompany Marcia to the hotel to speak with Davy Jones. Alice comments on how they are sure are fans of his and Carol compares their admiration of him to rivaling that of pepperoni pizza. Mike enters with a mangled newspaper. He said he was checking it for the “ball score” but can’t read it now because Davy Jones picture has been cut out. Those of us who like to nitpick will notice that nothing on the side of the paper Mike had been reading suggests it was the sports page with ball scores. Mike feigns excitement over the news about Davy Jones. Carol reminds him they too had their idols when they were kids. Alice compares the girls’ fandom for Davy Jones to her own teenage experience with Frank Sinatra.
Up in the boys’ room, Jan and Cindy share with Peter and Bobby the exciting news about Davy Jones. They are not impressed. Jan suggests they have reason to be as there are over 2,000 Davy Jones fan clubs. Did this teen idol hand write 2000 letters to every club president? Okay folks, with Jan’s line, I must stop for a moment. I am and always will be a fan of Davy Jones. “Daydream Believer” ranks among my all time favorite songs and The Monkees are one of my all time favorite singing groups. However, I feel this episode overdoes it with his level of fame at this point in time. Jan’s line about over 2,000 Davy Jones fan clubs just rings as being labored and strange. I am certain the producers were very happy to have him on the show and needed to talk him up a bit, but some research shows his solo career was not very memorable. His records as a solo artist performed poorly and a song that reached #52 on the Billboard charts was the peak of his solo career. I suppose at this Jan, might ask me how high did any of my songs make it on the billboard chart. Well, none. From what I can tell, Davy Jones just wasn’t the superstar this episode is trying to make him out to be. If I am wrong, please let us know! The comparison to Frank Sinatra, throngs of people at his hotel and all this excitement that he is in their town (though apparently not there to perform) was a tad annoying. Also annoying was Bobby’s pretending the play the guitar while singing/yelling “I’m wild about you baby”. The scene ends with him doing that.
The following scenes are of the other two committee members calling friends with the exciting news about Davy Jones performing at their prom. Their elation at Davy Jones performing at the prom shows that the level of fandom was not limited to the Brady girls. Doreen even tells her one friend that their prom is going to be “out of sight”.
The other girl from the entertainment committee, Laura, was played by Kimberly Beck. This was one of two Brady Bunch appearances for her. Her later TV career would see her as a regular on Dynasty and Rich Man Poor Man, Book II. As for feature films, she would later appear in “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter” and “Independence Day”. She also appeared in the film “Yours, Mine and Ours” which some debate was the inspiration for The Brady Bunch. Per IMDB she last acted in 2009’s “Heidi 4 Paws”.
Marcia arrives home dejected as the hotel was too crowded with others hoping to meet Davy Jones that she could not even reach the lobby. She also could not get a call through to him as all his lines were busy. At this point Marcia ready to abandon her efforts at getting Davy Jones and is glad there was no harm done. The next day she arrives at school to see a bright yellow banner welcoming Davy Jones. She is then surrounded by a group of girls who celebrate her being able to have him perform at the prom. Mrs. Robbins approaches and is quite excited too about Davy Jones performing at the prom. Marcia tries to explain her difficulty in doing so, but the teacher is dismissive as other students told her Marcia and Davy Jones are good friends. One would think an educator would put such a claim under a tad more scrutiny.
Mrs. Robbins was played by the late great Marcia Wallace. She previously appeared in “Will The Real Jan Brady Please Stand Up?”.
Marcia’s next attempt at reaching Davy Jones is by that old fashioned means of communication, the telegram. Greg, Jan and Peter try to help her by suggesting she jazz it up a bit with some gushing over Davy Jones. Peter then suggests she send a telegram sharing that Davy Jones has won a $10 million sweepstakes and to contact her about the winnings. Marcia appreciates the help, but says she will handle it herself. This means of reaching Davy Jones is another miss as Marcia learns there are over 600 telegrams all ready waiting for him at the hotel desk.
The next scene begins with the episode’s talking-to. Mike tells Marcia she shouldn’t make promises she can’t keep. That’s it for the parental lectures this time around. Carol is still determined that there might be some way Marcia can reach Davy Jones. It is surprising that neither of them suggested to Marcia that even if she reaches Davy Jones, he might turn down performing at her junior high prom on a Friday night. Especially with only a week’s notice! Even if he wanted to, he could have been prevented by a commitment to some paying gig, personal appearance or being out of town by then. Jan and Cindy rush in to let Marcia know that Davy Jones is on The Hank Coleman Show! Mike rushes Marcia down to the TV station so she can meet Davy Jones there. With hordes of kids at the hotel, it was surprising to find the TV station lobby virtually empty. One would think that several others had the same idea. More disappointment awaits as Marcia learns the guest in the studio for that day is the head of the department of sanitation, not Davy Jones. Hank Coleman records all his shows one day in advance. Hank Coleman must be super popular in his own right! He had the celebrity prowess to secure the superstar Davy Jones on his own locally broadcast talk show. Also, what a curious repertoire of guests he has; one day his guest is a teen idol, the next day a local government figure who oversees a department few people care much about.
The man working the desk of the TV station was played by Whitney Rydbeck. IMDB lists his final acting credit as 2007’s “The Oates Valor”. His only recurring TV roles were multiple appearances as the same character on Simon and Simon and a two part Lassie episode. He did enjoy a long and busy acting career though. He even appeared in “A Very Brady Sequel” as an auctioneer.
So determined are Mike and Carol to help Marcia that Mike is calling around seeking help from friends of friends. Mike and Carol even entertain the idea of getting a room at the Royal Towers Hotel so Marcia could hunt down Davy Jones there. Imagine if this plan had worked, only to find that all access to that floor was restricted. Peter and the other kids’ efforts also fail. The most patient and accommodating hotel operator can’t tell she is talking to a child and hears him out when Peter pretends to be a close personal friend of Davy Jones who manages a singing group called “The Three Desperados”. The operator won’t connect Peter’s call as she has never heard of the group. Peter should have called and said he was Mickey Dolenz, Mike Nesmith or Peter Tork! Peter has his siblings sing in an attempt to convince the operator they are a legitimate band, but she hangs up on him.
It is Alice’s connections that finally come through for Marcia. She tells Greg that Sam has just called with the wildest idea. In a funny reply, Greg suggests Sam finally proposed and Alice says the idea wasn’t that crazy. This brief scene ends with the “secret whisper” device often employed by the sitcoms of old.
The next scene opens with an establishing shot of a multistory hotel. The W on the building suggested to me it was part of the Westin chain, but a Google search did not produce this logo.
Adorned as bus boys, Greg and Marcia gain access to Davy Jones’ room. Does this hotel discriminate against women and not allow them to be hired to collect dirty dishes? Why does Marcia have to pretend to be a male here? From the next room, a male voice is heard that the kids assume belongs to Davy Jones. Marcia starts speaking her praise of Davy Jones. As a kid, I remember anticipating finally to getting to see Davy Jones, but suspected that was not his voice and therefore not Davy Jones. Seeing how she is such a big fan and always playing his records, it is hard to imagine her not recognizing the voice as not belonging to him. Alas, we finally get confirmation it is not. The man exits the room and even continues the suspense for a few more seconds as his face is concealed as he wipes it with a towel. The man, Davy’s manager, tells this kids they just missed him. This guy is not the best of managers as he also tells the kids where he went! He tells him he is at Atlas Records cutting an album. If, as this episode suggests, lots of people are clamoring to meet Davy Jones, one would think his manager would keep his location under wraps. Marcia and Greg begin to bolt but the manager reminds them of their responsibility to the dishes. Marcia, as she has never done before or never will again, blows Greg a kiss as she leaves.
After no further adieu, at 17 minutes and 29 seconds, we finally see Davy Jones in this episode. Before he speaks a line, he sings a song. The song “Girl” is one of those sunshine ballads that defined the late 60s more than the early 70s. It is a nice song and well done by Davy Jones. Curiously enough, a recording of the song was not easy to find after this episode aired and the song was not part of Davy Jones’ next album.
As Davy sings his tune, Marcia enters the recording booth. One must wonder how she made it all the way to the booth without being stopped by a security guard or a receptionist. If there was no personnel working in the front end of the recording studio, one would think the doors would be locked to prevent stalking fans from walking in on recording sessions. Davy’s manager tells Marcia she can’t be in the recording studio. She explains her dilemma and desire for Davy Jones to perform at her prom. The manager asks Marcia if she knows how many schools want Davy for their prom. It was as if we needed one more reminder Davy is a superstar. The manager dismisses Marcia and says he will send her a copy of Davy’s next album. After all Marcia had been through it would almost seem fitting for her to rush the glass partition, pound on the window and yell, “Davy! You wrote me a letter!” As the manager and the unnamed studio technician yank her away and push her out the door, she would yell, “I’m president of your Filmore Junior High Fan Club!” Fortunately for Marcia, the intercom was on and Davy was able to hear Marcia’s plight before she was kicked out of the studio. The scene ends with Davy having a pensive look on his face.
Davy Jones’ manager was played by Britt Leach. He was no stranger to Hollywood and enjoyed a long career in feature films and TV. He was a regular on The Waltons and After MASH. He would appear in the John Candy/Dan Ackroyd comedy “The Great Outdoors”, the 80s classic “Weird Science” and ended his career in the Steve Martin comedy “Father of the Bride”. The most recent online reference I found for him was a satiric piece he wrote regarding the Motion Picture Academy in 2007.
Marcia arrives home dejected yet again. She had planned to wait until Monday to let the school know they had 4 days to book an act for the prom, but with the manager’s rebuff, knows she has lost the fight. As she makes the call to Mrs. Robbins, a visitor arrives at the front door. That visitor is Davy Jones! Not many young girls got to have their celebrity crush/idol come through their front door. It happened to Marcia twice! Desi Arnaz Jr. must be but a memory as there has never been any mention of him again. Davy agrees to play Marcia’s prom and even asks her to be his date. I wonder how many songs were in Davy Jones’ songbook that he could perform an entire prom?
The epilogue has Peter, Jan, Cindy and Bobby noisily belting out Davy Jones’ never released hit in the living room. Mike has had enough of the noise and pays them all to leave.
Thank you for reviewing “Getting Davy Jones” with me. It is a fun episode that challenges credibility many times over. However, it is well remembered and well liked thanks to the episode’s guest star. As always your own thoughts are most welcome. If you have some special memory about Davy Jones, feel free to share it. Next week, we will review “The Not-So-Rose-Colored Glasses”. See you then!