|"Always changing inside, what does it become?"|
February 15, 1968
|INT. ARAB TENT - DAY|
MUSICAL # 3
Micky pops into this original splendor in the same angle but
is in sheik regalia. He moves off to the SOUND OF bubbling
water pipe and finger chimes to join the other ensconsed [sic]
Monkees and their dancing harem girls in this number called
"I'm Sorry Bubbles, But It Is Only A Sheik Who Offers You His
Heart." This number will end as Micky takes a drag on the
water pipe of many visions and the "mirage" disappears.
|EXT. DESERT - DAY|
The stem of the pipe turns into a Western pioneer
pretty girls finger which sports a drop of blood and she
says over the whooping and circling savage Indians.
Quick, suck it before the poison
reaches my heart.
ANGLE - MIKE
In coonskin leather and an arrow through his shoulder.
There is a covered wagon in the background.
And when you're finished, you'll
have to remove this painfully
barbed savage's arrow from my
shoulder. Probably by snipping
off the arrow head in back, and
then pulling it out with one quick
Are you gonna help me or not?
Where's Davy and Peter?
|INT. HAREM - DAY|
Davy and Peter with harem LADIES, having grapes peeled
for them, etc.
Another mass of overlaid images translate quite a staid and sober script direction into a memorably trippy sequence for the big screen.
The 'Harem' setting presented here is effectively a rewrite of the Geisha Girls sequence in the discarded 'Godzilla' part of the script (see 'Changes' - Page 21, Shots 68-69). Note that both scenarios depict some of the bandmembers having set out on a rescue mission and getting distracted by forbidden delights along the way (rescuing Toshiko's father from Godzilla suddenly seeming less important than being bathed by Geishas, and - in the cowboy sequence - Davy and Peter's supposed mission to fetch reinforcements to fight the Indian onslaught taking second stage to being fed grapes at the Harem)
Depending on how much you squint your eyes while watching the cascading, shimmering overlays, there appear to be eight dancers in all. None are identified in the credits aside from ex-Hollywood-a-Go Go dancer June Fairchild, who has another role later on in the film as 'The Jumper'. Fairchild had previously appeared briefly in an episode of The Monkees called 'The Chaperone' (NBC tx date) and, as mentioned previously, would later feature in Jack Nicholson's Drive, He Said (1971) with all her bits showing. A March 1970 article in Life reported how Nicholson held long drawn-out auditions for the latter, interviewing literally dozens of naked actresses before deciding that none of them quite displayed the qualities he was looking for. Remembering Fairchild from Head, he subsequently gave her a call and asked her to get her knockers out too.
|June Fairchild in 'The Chaperone'|
A French press pack caption identifies the grape-feeding dancers as being Fairchild and Chelsea Brown (the latter best known at the time as one of the dancers on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In). Both IMDb and Psycho Jello's 'profiles' page identify a third dancer as Helena Kallianiotes (whose dalliance with the Rafelson/Schneider/Nicholson lot extended to Easy Rider (1969), Five Easy Pieces (1970) and Stay Hungry (1976)). The June Fairchild page on Gazzari Dancers.com identifies a fourth as Jacqui Landrum.
'Musical # 3' became 'Can You Dig It', the first of two songs in Head written and produced by Peter Tork. An embryonic, acoustic instrumental of the song had been showcased as a demo during sessions the previous year and can be heard (erroneously, but who's counting?) on the Rhino Headquarters Sessions boxed set. The full-band version commenced recording on January 28 1968 and was worked on almost daily until February 3 1968 (with a few refinements made on March 8 1968). Like so many other pop performers bitten by Eastern bug in the late 60s, Peter Tork's lyrics allude to the I Ching' (the 'Book of Changes', get it?)
|Touched-up image from the original Columbia Pictures Pressbook|
Throughout the song's development Tork himself sang the lead. However when it was decided to use the song in the film, Bert Schneider as executive producer suggested that Micky Dolenz instead provide the lead vocals - so as to emphasise the changing from the previous Micky-starred scene to the Harem setting (it is after all his 'mirage'!).
A Tork-vocals version of the song features as an extra on the Rhino Head CD and on the Rhino Handmade Head Deluxe boxed set while several scratchy acetates of test mixes do the rounds with collectors.
The May 1968 edition of Tiger Beat magazine ran a piece about the movie's progress and claimed that it would feature eleven new songs (a claim which had also appeared, a month earlier, in an NME article). Micky Dolenz apparently showcased three of these songs (solo with a guitar) for the Tiger Beat journalist. Curiously, all three were Tork songs. Even more curiously, only one of these - 'Can You Dig It' - was actually featured in the movie, the other two being 'Lady's Baby' and 'Seeger's Theme', both of which were certainly recorded during Tork's elongated sessions around the time of Head's production but neither of which saw the light of day until Rhino's Missing Links series and expanded CD reissues.
|Production photo - Mike Nesmith chats with Bob Rafelson during the filming of 'Can You Dig It'.|
The claim of eleven new Monkees tracks is particularly odd, given that the far-more-rigid-than-you'd-expect framework of the shooting script calls for eight musical numbers in total (at least around the time of the draft under discussion here). Those eight numbers were later reduced to seven, after it was decided to a) feature 'The Porpoise Song' twice, b) cut one musical sequence completely and c) add 'Ditty Diego'. And, no, we're not counting 'Happy Birthday'.
|Production photos taken during 'Can You Dig It'...|
A German-language edition of Head, broadcast on KABEL, erroneously stripped the song of its vocal track during the re-dubbing process, giving viewers a rare opportunity to hear an exclusive instrumental version.
The theatrical trailer opens with a section of the harem sequence while a tersely edited 'Can You Dig It' plays on the soundtrack. Oddly, as the soundtrack fades under the scene we hear what appears to be the 'natural audio' recorded during the shoot itself - the dancers' hands clapping together as they perform. No such sounds occur in the movie itself. Assuming these claps weren't dubbed on especially for the trailer (and it's doubtful they'd have gone to all the bother) it rather suggests that the dance was choreographed without the aid of playback music during the shoot.
|"I don't wanna do this anymore, man."|
Note the set-up for Shots 147 - 148: 'EXT. DESERT - DAY'. Although this appears on first glance to be erroneous, it's likely that they intended to film at least some sections of the cowboy sequences during the Palm Springs desert location shoot, albeit with the same fake Western backdrops. Evidence of this can be found later in the script when Davy leads the group through a reprise of the cowboy scene (see 'Changes' - Page 80, Shot 257), a sequence which also calls for an exterior desert setting. The latter is set-up so that the filmmakers could cut to a reverse angle showing the group trudging off the fake cowboy set and towards the Coke machine in the desert.
However, it's doubtful that any of the cowboy scenes were filmed at Palm Springs - or that they were genuine exterior shots for that matter. In the event, Head renders the whole cowboy scenario more obviously 'fake' from the outset, The only 'circling savage Indians' featured are in a comically brief cutaway inserted between Shots 147 and 148, which appears to be a bit of footage snipped out of another film altogether (although this didn't stop said footage ending up in one of Head's theatrical trailers).
The pioneer girl is namechecked in the Head credits as 'Testy True' and played by Teri Garr (erroneously credited as 'Terry'). Garr is probably best-known as Richard Dreyfuss' screen-wife in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and 'Inga' in Young Frankenstein (1974).
Extra gags were added by the day of the shoot, including a water bottle hanging from the tree behind Mike which gets skewered several times by arrows and leaks a steady stream of fluid throughout the ensuing amusement (a shame Micky didn't have such an exuberantly full bottle in the desert), and a couple of attacking natives who are dealt with swiftly by Mike (using a rifle and a pocket knife) without him even acknowledging that they're there.
|Production photo: Mike shoots a somewhat camp-looking Red Indian...|
Note that there's no direction which specifically describes Micky pulling the arrow out of Mike's shoulder (although we have to presume that latter's cries of "Aug...auug...ow...ouch..." are the results of such a maneuver). Also note that in the movie, Micky totally ignores Mike's suggestion of snipping the head off the arrow "so that it doesn't hurt me" and just gives it a right royal yank.
Shot 149 takes us briefly back to the harem but without any of the visual overlay effects of 'Can You Dig It'.
2nd Revised Page
January 24, 1968
They've been sent to Fort Bridger
in hopes that they can bring reinforcements before our position
You're kidding? What're we supposed to do?
Hold on against insurmountable
odds...what's with her??
|EXT. WAGON TRAIN - DAY|
As the whooping of the Indians continues, the rain
of arrows and hand to hand fighting continues, in the b.g.,
we see the girl who was connected to the finger Micky held,
has succumbed to the attack.
I don't know. I guess she's
supposed to be dead. Get up!
Get up, lady...quit acting..come
on...get up. get up!
The actress doesn't know what to do. She opens one eye.
(whispers out of the down
CAMERA side of her mouth)
What's going on? Is it an act?
Micky stands up and is immediately pierced by three arrows.
This is it, with the desert.
He throws the arrows aside and is hit by one more.
Enough...with arrows! Fake...
Micky exits through the backdrop, through stage and out studio
|EXT. STUDIO STREET - DAY|
Micky enters through the breach. A Nun kisses an
In Head, the girl is in the foreground rather than the background. Considering the relative smallness of the cowboy set, it's hardly surprising.
Micky meanwhile is already standing up by the time he begins to come out of character - in fact, not just standing up but actually kicking Teri Garr in the side of the leg in an attempt to snap her out of her role too. As such she reacts more with annoyance ("Hey, what is this!?") than with the slight confusion she exhibits in the script.
Only two arrows are fired at Micky in the film but the point is still made - he hardly flinches and simply brushes them away. Jamming around the written dialogue as usual, Micky then bleats "Ah, these fake arrows and this junk and the fake trees - Bob, I'm through! The whole lot stinks, man!", the latter directed towards an unseen Bob Rafelson.
Note the (scripted but unused) line "This is it, with the desert," which again implies that Palm Springs may have been the planned location. As mentioned before, this would have set up a gag about access to the desert being via a torn backdrop in the cowboy set. However, the scene as it's presented in the film makes no bones about where the set-up is taking place - beyond the torn canvas of the backdrop we see the blue-lit studio stage with lights and wires dotted around.
In the film, Mike is quite taken aback by Micky's walk-out, quickly gathering himself and following suit via the same newly-created exit route, all the time calling "Wait, I'll come with you..." The script doesn't cover any of this, although the two shortly reconvene and discuss the whole matter out in the studio street, in a scene which didn't make it to Head.
The shot of Micky exiting the studio door is curiously low-key, almost conveying the notion of a camera spying on the action while trying to stay hidden. It's possible that there was more to this shot originally, considering that Mike would have followed and it would have linked to the cut scene which follows.
The scene in question runs from Pages 39B - 39D and features a fair amount of lost dialogue. This has been highlighted as usual. However, some bridging sections and visuals have been left un-highlighted because, although they may not occur at that exact point in the storyline, they do feature in a new scene which was apparently constructed especially for the film. To illustrate this in simpler terms let's remind ourselves of the chronology of events as they're presented in the final edit:
In Head we cut straight from Micky's stroppy walk-out to Davy's violin recital on the streets of New York. The latter is rudely interrupted as Micky and Mike walk straight into the scene and drag Davy along with them, revealing the whole set-up to be a filming session.
|Production photo: Micky and Mike after the walk-out...|
As the three walk through a background set they are accosted by 'Lord High & Low' (Timothy Carey) who attempts, unsuccessfully, to convince them of the benefits of commercial by-products and tie-ins.
They walk away, disgusted, leaving him dismayed. At which point we're treated to a series of fairly quick-cut shots of several anonymous characters signaling to each other, by a variety of methods (including smoke signals, gunshots, mirrors, Morse-code and a dropped potted plant), by way of tipping off the studio canteen that the group are on their way so that the occupants can vacate the establishment in advance of their arrival.
In the 'Changes' script all of the above occurs... but in a slightly different order, and dotted around a long extra scene. Of particular note here is that the various signalers only appeared in strategic collusion to warn the canteen due to some creative editing. In 'Changes' a few of them are conspiring over alternate methods of messing with The Monkees minds.
So, with all that in mind, on we go. Shot 150A. 'Micky enters through the breach. A Nun kisses an...'
January 24, 1968
Indian in the b.g. As Micky enters, they break the clinch and
the Indian quickly moves single file to a signal fire.
Oh. Excuse me.
(not understanding the
Why? Why am I ashamed?
(to the Nun)
No. Why are you excusing yourself?
I thought you were talking to me
when he said, "I'm ashamed. Aren't
Oh wow. You mean you thought
he said, "I'm ashamed. Aren't
"Aren't you," you said to me? Or
"Are you", you said?
How's that for movie dialogue! A miscommunication scene worthy of Series 4 Monty Python. Note also the 'single file' / 'signal fire' pun - surely a case of Nicholson or Rafelson amusing themselves.
Although none of the above occurs in the movie it was most likely filmed since a shot of the Nun and Indian does appear, albeit recontextualised as part of the montage of 'signalers' later on. The origin of the shot used is unknown however as the characters aren't 'in a clinch', indulging in semantic confusion with Monkees or presiding over signal fires, but playing cards between takes. Moreover, the Indian is creating his smoke signals artificially with a smokepot rather than in the traditional blanket-above-a-fire manner favoured by Hollywood movies.
January 24, 1968
Violin music begins with smoke signals.
Aren't you? He said.
(points to Micky)
You said, "I'm ashamed.
Smoke signals rising. Violin music.
|EXT. NEW YORK STREET - DAY|
Out the front window of a brown stone front, a man
looks with binoculars but as the violin music below him
becomes particularly sweet, he looks down and on his look
we slowly MOVE ACROSS other adoringly filled or filling
windows. We move down and down into Davy dressed in page
boy britches, flowing sleeves and locked into the violin
music he plays. At his feet is Theresa. The CAMERA, after
a pause, pulls back further. Mick and Mike enter.
No. Frankly, I'm not ashamed.
Wow, that's incredible.
Especially for you, etc. etc.
They fade out of the shot. Davy has dropped his pose
and watches them. Everything else has frozen, including
THE CAMERA and the sound crew. The music of course, goes
on. Davy finally breaks it.
Hey fellas...wait for me!
|EXT. STUDIO STREET - DAY|
Micky and Mike are joined by Davy down the street.
In the foreground a man is pressed against the wall, watching
and when he sees the boys, he immediately signals with a
mirror to a man on top of the roof who waves a silouette and
moves off. The first man then moves to a huge wind machine
which faces down the street toward the Monkees.
Davy's violin scene was filmed at the Columbia Ranch (now Warner Ranch), Burbank, California, on one of the many New York street-front facades already assembled (most likely 'Brownstone Street', originally built in the 1930s and used for countless films and TV shows until it was destroyed in a fire in 1974).
The music Davy 'plays' is a delightful Ken Thorne arrangement of The Humoresque No 7 in G Flat Major by Antonín Dvořák, and no doubt chosen as a specific reference to the Warner Bros film Humoresque (1946), which also told a tale of a violinist plagued by self-doubt (although, as mentioned, the main reference point of the violinist-turned-boxer scenario which comes later was the Columbia Pictures film Golden Boy (1939)).
'Theresa' is played by Annette Funicello. Davy later addresses her by that character name - although in the Head credits she's given the name 'Minnie'. Having said that, 'Theresa' is supposed to be a character in the schmaltzy movie-within-the-movie Davy's in the process of filming, so 'Minnie' could just as easily be the character of the actress who plays 'Theresa'...
|Production photos taken at the Columbia Ranch New York street|
Additionally, you may like to enjoy the theory that Psycho Jello puts forward - that 'Minnie' was simply an in-joke aimed at Funicello who was a one-time 'Mouseketeer' on Disney Club.
In Head, the interruption of Davy's violin recital features no actual dialogue. Mike and Micky simply enter the frame - after the camera has pulled as far back into a long-shot as it's ever going to get - and drag a confused Davy along with them through the front doorway of the fake New York building, leaving the suddenly-revealed film crew looking a bit pissed off, the music track stuck in one repeated vinyl groove and a dog running around barking. Of course, the dialogue may well have been performed for the shoot - and then muted in the dub after it was decided to snip the previous scene.
The man 'pressed against the wall' mentioned in Shot 150D doesn't appear in the film, although there is a man on the roof as part of the montage of signalers (in fact it's him using the afore-mentioned mirror, to send a message by morse code - emphasised on the soundtrack by the addition of some incongruous but effective beeps). In 'Changes' the man on the roof appears to double with the signaler who drops the flowerpot since - in the script at least - the latter is also perched on a rooftop.
Neither the initial steam-train signaler nor the gunshot signaler appear in the 'Changes' script. Meanwhile, it appears that the main role of the man pressed against the wall is to slow down the Monkees using a wind machine so that the rooftop signaler has time to send his warning to the canteen.
|The Monkees - Head - 'Changes'|