January 24, 1968
A piece of newspaper is blown and we follow it past the
Monkees as the wind hits them. They lean into it. Various
hats and things blow by.
(above the wind)
I mean, did you ever
just ask yourself what
you're doing here?
Why? Am I doing something
A woman spins by in the wind, holding her dress down.
Who was that?
What's right or wrong mean?
I mean, what? You're doing...
doing? Actually doing!
He begins to skip and is joined by the others in the ring
around the rosie.
Doing, doing. Actually doing.
Doing, doing. Actually doing.
Wondering what we are actually
They break and continue walking into the wind.
You know what bothers me?
CLOSE ANGLE - DAVY
The wind blows a John Lennon poster onto Davy's face.
It stays in a mask like effect.
CLOSE ANGLE - MIKE
Into the wind.
Keep reading... we're just getting to a good bit!
January 24, 1968
Psst. I said that bloody
Psst is what bothers me.
(imitating Davy's cockney)
Oh, it's that bloody psst that bothers
It's Monkee business.
Oh well, we'll 'ave nun...
of that then...
Oh wow...polarized negatives.
He takes the poster off Davy's face as they step
out of the wind.
Let's do some of this jive
in it, right? That's it, right?
No, no. I really don't think so.
|EXT. STUDIO STREET - DAY|
Close on Dernsie as he chokes himself
Including the stunned boys.
|Production photo - Shot 150F - Davy Jones about to be attacked by a wind machine-propelled John Lennon poster.|
You see, this is one of the great things about researching a film like this. You start off with a basic script page featuring a cut scene which has very little context to accompany it - and no viable information outlet to check with. 'The wind blows a John Lennon poster onto Davy's face,' it says, allowing our imaginations to run wild. Which John Lennon poster would that be? Micky grabs the poster and mentions polarized negatives, suggesting they do 'some of this jive' in the film. Might it be that iconic Richard Avedon shot of Lennon from 1967 where he's rendered in yellows, reds and purples? If so, does this scene specifically back-reference - and deconstruct - the use of such effects in the 'Porpoise Song' sequence earlier, effectively owning up to the cultural borrowing? Was the Lennon poster scene ever even filmed?
At which point, a transparency of a Henry Diltz production photo of the very scene pops up on eBay - equally shorn of context. But, stick the photo and the script together and suddenly most of the theories above become fact, we have proof that the scene (or something close to it) was definitely filmed and now all you lovely people have yet another illustrated 'missing bit' of Head to stick in your heads and bang on about at the next movie club social meet.
The filming location of the scene appears to be Columbia Ranch's 'Park' set (which would make perfect sense - it's within easy walking distance of 'Brownstone Street' where Davy's violin recital was interrupted a few minutes earlier). The Monkees had made quite extensive use of this location in the TV series, notable in 'The Chaperone' (Season 1, Show 9, NBC tx: November 7, 1966).
|Richard Avedon's John Lennon poster (1967)|
Once again, the scripted dialogue here appears to resemble a straight transcription of stoned chatter from the Ojai tapes. The notion of having one of the groupmembers mocking Davy Jones's (ahem) 'cockney' accent with a bad impression would no doubt have been a regular private gag - in fact, just such a fey pisstake occurred during the group's performance of 'Everybody Loves a Nut' on The Johnny Cash Show the following year.
Note the cute little back-reference to the Black Sheik's 'Psst'.
'Dernsie' is, as we'll shortly see, the character who eventually became known as 'Lord High 'n' Low' and played in Head by Timothy Carey. Carey was not, however the first choice for the role...
Shot 150H doesn't take place on the 'Studio Street' in the film but in some unknown section of the Columbia Ranch which seems to double as a building yard for props, with half-assembled wooden artifacts, flats, steps and fake rock walls/stalagmites strewn haphazardly about the place. 'Dernsie'/'Lord High 'n' Low' is introduced to the action while perched on some kind of raised platform as he bellows into the air, seemingly in pain. Shot 150J meanwhile is a cutaway shot showing the not particularly 'stunned' boys emerging from a stationary cattle-truck.
|"The whole phallic thing is happening!"|
January 24, 1968
Aggh!! I'll choke from excitement. I'm looking all over for
you bum creeps. Where you rats
been? You aint been givin' me
the runaround, have yuh?
A turn about. He becomes all business.
Anyways, the idea is this. By
products. Imagine the tie ins.
Blonde wigs for kids and swords
and the whole phallic thing is
happening. I mean, why not use
classic things. Millions...I'm
tellin' you...now in the show
itself we can do fables. I mean,
minimize certain elements but it's
a great way to get sex to the kids...
right? Take Hamlet...
Mike stops him.
Take Hamlet, I said.
Get out 'ta here...
|EXT. ROOF - DAY|
He leaves exasperated, then returns with a flower pot which
he throws over the side.
The Criterion subtitles transcribe 'I'll choke from excitement' as 'I'm too old for excitement'. While this may well have been true as far as Timothy Carey was concerned, it's still incorrect.
'Dernsie'/'Lord High 'n' Low' leaps down from his platform and conducts his business in front of the same cattle-truck the Monkees emerged from earlier.
The cutaways to shots of Mike and Davy reacting to 'Dernsie'/'Lord High 'n' Low's sales pitch have been rendered as mirror-images to disguise what would have resulted in a continuity error - they were standing in the wrong order compared to the accompanying mid-shot of all five characters.
Since these pages are additional it's probably safe to assume that this initial scene with 'Dernsie'/'Lord High 'n' Low' didn't form part of earlier drafts. The character's later appearance in the story (in the infamous scene where his 'cripple' act at Mike's birthday becomes a laughing matter) was present however - and the script descriptions for that scene provide a proper introduction, if not for the character then at least for the actor they had in mind for the role - Bruce Dern (see 'Changes' - Page 68, Shot 228). The character name 'Dernsie' being no more than a matey moniker for one of the film-makers' friends. A year earlier, Dern had appeared alongside Peter Fonda in The Trip (1967), a film also scripted by Jack Nicholson, and would later play opposite Nicholson himself in The King of Marvin Gardens (1972), directed by Bob Rafelson.
|Bruce Dern in The Trip (1967)|
Quite why Bruce Dern didn't take the role written specifically for him in Head is unknown, but Timothy Carey handles it affably. To describe Carey's contributions to the world of film-making as 'underground' probably doesn't do him justice. His most notorious contribution to the genre being the self-written, self-financed and self-starring The World's Greatest Sinner (1962), a low-budget (but some maintain genius) satire on religion - which also provided Head guest star Frank Zappa with one of his earliest music-scoring commissions. Carey's twisted cinematic visions ensured that he never trod the path of Hollywood respectability, yet he was often spoken of in hushed tones as a pioneer by the likes of Jack Nicholson, Stanley Kubrick and Quentin Tarantino. Indeed, Carey was purportedly originally offered the role of the gang boss in Reservoir Dogs until Harvey Keitel, as executive producer, intervened (the film is dedicated to him all the same).
|Timothy Carey in|
The World's Greatest Sinner (1962)
|Production photos of Shot 150J - Timothy Carey as 'Lord High N' Low'|
The idea of marketing "Blonde wigs for kids" would have carried extra weight had the movie followed the idea of Davy's violin-playing character being fitted with such an item. He would presumably have continued to sport it throughout this scene, and in the 'coffee shop' sequence which follows it on the next page (during which - in the script at least - the waitress character scornfully refers to Davy as 'blondie' while querying the group's sudden change of image!). Marketing 'swords' makes perfect sense in relation to Micky's US Cavalry sabre.
In an interview published as part of Shindig's big Head retrospective (Issue 19 - Nov/Dec 2010), Micky Dolenz suggests that ('whether you notice it or not'), Lord High 'n' Low is actually planning to sell 'Monkee bodily fluids and other disgusting things, as merchandise' - yet there's no real indication, even subtextually, that this might be the case. The 'by-products' in question refer pretty clearly to costume accessories.
The ensuing references to using the show to do fables were cut from the script by the time of the filming, which instead wrapped up the scene (and, literally, 'Lord High 'n' Low' himself) in a far neater fashion by having the Monkees simply walk away from their would-be benefactor in disgust while he's in mid-rant. Noticing their sudden departure, he admonishes the group with the legend "Hey! No-one walks out on me - not even myself!" before performing a remarkable sweeping gesture with his cape which results in himself being completely engulfed in its fabric.
A few frames of extra footage from this location filming can be found on 'NY Action'. These comprise of two main shots which seemingly belong at the beginning and end of the scene. In the first, 'Lord High 'n' Low' is seen standing on his metal platform, master of all he surveys, wearing a large Puritan hat (we hardly get to see this headgear in the actual film as he subsequently loses it while hamming up his "I'll choke from excitement!" line). The second - practically the same angle as the sweeping cape amusement earlier - shows him advancing on the camera while chewing on something large and spongey.
|NY Action shots of Lord High n' Low|
The latter shot may actually have been filmed as a cutaway for use during Mike's birthday party later on in the movie (see 'Changes' - Page 68, Shot 230).
Another brief 'out-take' from the scene appears during the second channel hopping sequence later in the movie, where the Lord is shown on The Big Victor's TV screen hamming it up for camera with "Mother! I'm comin'...". The latter line (indeed the second channel hopping sequence) doesn't appear in the 'Changes' script and is one of a few instances in Head where a scene has been constructed from off-cuts in the editing suite.
Speaking of which, this is the point in the film where, accompanied by some frenetic drumming from the Ken Thorne score, the reconstituted sequence of 'signalers' occurs.
As the Monkees descend a staircase to escape from 'Lord High 'n' Low', they pass a steam train. A grip uses this to send a smoke / train whistle signal to the Indian and the Nun (pictured earlier). The Indian uses a smokepot to alert second grip perched on wooden structure. The second grip fires a gun, alerting third grip perched on a rooftop. The third grip uses a flashing mirror to alert a fourth grip - which brings us to Shot 150K.
In Head the fourth grip who drops the flower pot isn't so much on a roof as on the upper balcony of the building opposite the coffee shop...
January 24, 1968
It lands next to an old man who bolts away and looks down
the street to see the Monkees as they parade away from the
stunned Dernsie toward our position. He bolts to the coffee
...while the old man is dozing on a bench situated directly below. Shots 150K and 150L are combined here, the camera following the fall of the flower pot as it crashes and wakes up the old man. The shot continues to reveal the three Monkees (minus the 'stunned' 'Dernsie'/'Lord High 'n' Low' whose scenes were, as has been mentioned, filmed at another location altogether). We don't see the 'coffee shop entrance' in this shot. Instead the old man exits camera right and we cut straight to him entering the cafe interior (which, as we learn later, is just another fake studio set). The entrance is visible later in the movie however, notably when Peter Tork rides into it on the back of a bull..
|More recent photo of the studio's inner lot - the final signaler dropped his flower pot from the (now green-painted) upper balcony of the building which at one time was the dressing room area - situated between the entrances to Stage 3 and Stage 4.|
In Head, this is our first glimpse of the anonymous-looking inner lot at Columbia Studios (now Sunset Gower) where most of the 'behind the scenes' action actually takes place. Somewhat aptly, it was (and is) the location of many of the behind-the-scenes departments at the studio (electrical, plumbing, maintenance, scenery, etc). In several shots you can see painted lettering on the various buildings denoting their functions.
Pivotal scenes occur on this spot. It's where Davy meets 'The Critic' and his bull; where the Troopers perform their elaborate Cop-confusing drill routine; where the crowd gathers to watch the suicidal 'Jumper' threaten to leap from the top of Building 13; where the group's dune buggy knocks the grip off his gangplank, etc, etc. So not only are The Monkees trapped in the studio, they're actually trapped in one small section of it for the most part!
|Some great photos on Flickr of the inner lot|
It should also be mentioned at this point that this location was effectively a home-from-home for the group since their TV series was shot at the same studios (mainly on Stage 7) and had wrapped for the final time just a couple of months before Head began shooting.
|Google satellite photo of the studio. The arrow denotes where the action takes place|
|Map of the studio (as it was in about 2007 at least)|
This is the final 'additional page' of this sequence. It is presumed that shots 151 to 153, described above as 'omitted' simply became, with suitable amendments and refs to new bridging scenes, shots 150C (Davy's violin recital), 150K (the first signaler) and 150L (the final signaler).
|The Monkees - Head - 'Changes'|