January 24, 1968
|INT. COFFEE SHOP - DAY|
The coffee shop is once again filled with "coffee
breakers." Peter sits, ice cream cone melted, musing
on his dummy ship.
Don't listen to them anyway,
Peter. Wise guys. Punks...
all they know how to do is insult
people and abuse.
How do you feel now?
Come si...come sa... [sic]
At this point, Peter sends the waitress sprawling with a
Cut and print!
ANGLE - STAGE
The stund [sic] man rises and removes his wig...and the setup breaks
as we hear o.s. dialogue. "We're in the wrong set, etc."
Peter turns toward camera. The CAMERA becomes hand held,
I don't know, man, how'd
Yeah, but I mean like I don't
know about hitting a chick...and
The stunt man now stands next to Peter, dewigged.
What do you think, Ace?
I think it'll look great.
Yeah, but hitting a chick and, image
and all that...
Peter's 'dummy ship' should be read as 'dummyship' for clarity and avoidance of allusions to sea-faring...
Davy Jones is actually still present in the coffee shop for this scene (although this is only revealed after the waitress gets punched out), so evidently he chose not to leave along with Mike and Micky, despite the face-slap he received for his wisecracks.
Further to earlier ponderings on the initial plans for the waitress's de-wigging, note that the script appears to portray the 'WAITRESS' and the stunt man 'ACE' as two separate entities.
|Production photo of the 'Sunday punch'.|
'NY Action' features an alternate take of Peter hitting the waitress, albeit shot from the same angle. The table he/she lands on is slightly less cluttered for this, which may suggest it was a later take. The Arabian-clad extra seated facing towards the counter in the background also turns to the left rather than the right upon hearing the punch - and does so slightly too quickly (although he would no doubt have been reacting to some kind of director's cue rather than the actual noise of fist-against-jaw, which would have been dubbed later).
|Alternate shot from 'NY Action'|
Several production photos taken during the filming of the scene show Davy Jones teaching Peter Tork the correct way to throw a 'stage punch' (while avoiding actually hitting anyone). This was also reported in an edition of Tiger Beat, which amusingly also featured a photo of Tork demonstrating his newly-taught skills while using Bob Rafelson as the target.
|Production photos. Davy Jones shares his stage knowledge of punching|
The punch also marks the second reel-change in cinematic prints of Head.
Once again, the Criterion edition has chosen to zoom in on the action to disguise the reel-change markings.
As we shall see, the 'documentary' scene is scripted only as a kind of 'guide-vocal' for the filming. The end-result - most likely one of many takes - is surprisingly effective and realistic-looking.
|Production photo. Bob Rafelson, sans shades, looms over the scene|
It's worth observing at this point that, aside from the initial cry of 'Cut and print!', Rafelson's 'Director' character doesn't really feature in the ensuing scene as scripted - the bulk of Peter's objections being directed at other members of the crew.
By the time of the shoot however, Rafelson's 'acting role' in the scene had been expanded, the filmmaker clearly delighting in showcasing his aloof 'auteur' persona, murmuring through his shades and brushing aside any potential niggles - while an un-miked Jack Nicholson strays into shot for what must surely be the most subtle performance he's ever given in a motion picture (his one audible line - "What's wrong...?" - is just about detectable above the hubbub).
The slice of staged cinéma vérité soon becomes ingrowing as Dennis Hopper also pops up, attempting to get Rafelson's attention amidst the general confusion("Bob? Bob? When you have a minute?"). Biographical accounts suggest that Hopper and Peter Fonda did visit Raybert Productions while Head was in production - to pitch Easy Rider. Perhaps exploring the spirit of 'random art' - all the rage amongst arty souls around this time - it would seem that Rafelson decided to pluck an extra bit of reality from the air to flesh out the background of an otherwise fake documentary sequence.
January 24, 1968
I think it'll look fine.
A.D. (JON) comes up.
Peter, I think you have
'A.D. (JON)' is Jon Anderson, Assistant Director of Head and previously director (and sometime writer) of The Monkees TV show.
|Gene Ashman getting the wardrobe ready on Head (note Davy Jones' mandarin-collared top hanging up in the background).|
Peter Tork and Anderson would later collaborate musically after the former's time as part of the Monkees had ended. Here however he's depicted as cold and meticulous as the rest of the crew, regarding Peter's pleas for understanding as little more than an inconvenience in terms of the movie's schedule.
Also namechecked during the scene as-performed in the movie (although not specifically in the original shooting script) is Gene Ashman, the wardrobe man on both The Monkees TV show and Head.
Yeah, okay, But Ace...
Listen, I'll see you later, Peter.
Jon, what do you think...
Let's talk while we walk, OK?
ANGLE - STAGE
He moves, Peter off camera follows.
I mean, philosophically, I don't
We see Davy in b.g.
He crosses into shot.
I was just asking Jon...
And Ace and Jerry...
...about hitting the chick...
A hairdresser is now combing Peter's hair.
I thought it looked great.
Yeah, but from an image point of
The 'Jerry' Jon Anderson refers to in the script section above would be Gerald Shepard, at various times director, producer and editor of The Monkees TV show. Although his contribution to Head goes uncredited, several sources indicate that he did work indeed work on the movie (IMDb suggests he was editor of the musical sequences, while an interview with Don Cambern in First Cut: Conversations With Film Editors by Gabriella Oldham (University of California Press, 1992) also confirms his presence - as 'supervising editor' - adding that around this time Shepard had been offered work on Easy Rider but turned it down, suggesting Cambern for the position instead).
Jerry Shepard was no doubt supposed to be anonymous out-of-shot voice who initially answers Peter on Page 47. It isn't known whether Shepard is actually present on-set during the scene as-filmed.
The above highlighted section is the only part of the scene not covered in some way by its interpretation in the movie.
|Jon Anderson, Gene Ashman and Jerry Shepard take their bows in The Monkees Christmas episode.|
The script covers the 'documentary' section over two Shots - 183 and 184, the latter seemingly being the point at which they move off the main coffee shop set (with Jon's "Let's talk while we walk, okay?"). In the film, however, the whole scene is one continuous unedited shot - from the moment Rafelson appears onscreen, to the dissolve into the following musical number.
A MAN interrupts, holding a pad.
Excuse me...I don't mean to...
...interrupt...but it's not for
you ...it's for your niece...
He signs. They move on across the stage.
Thank you very much.
It's really nothing.
Davy spots a passing chick and starts to leave.
He stops, one eye on the girl.
What do you think?
(meaning the stuntman)
Oh, ok by me.
Davy exits followed by the A.D. Peter is left alone and after
an intense moment of nail-biting, it begins to snow on his
head. At first just a few random flakes. Peter looks up and
then the storm builds to blizzard proportions.
|EXT. SNOW AREA - DAY|
We do a simple pastoral ballad beginning in a snow setting
and working through the four seasons.
Note that the autograph scenario is written a lot more caustically in the original script than it was eventually performed, Peter sarcastically spitting the 'not for me, it's for my niece' mantra with the weight of having heard that excuse many many times before. As performed in Head, he does at least care enough to ask the niece's name before signing (which is of course far more in keeping with the scene - Peter worrying, at least in part, about "the kids"' reaction to the preceding violence).
The Criterion subtitles suggest the man's saying 'Murray' rather than 'Mary' - evidently assuming that the joke was that the autograph was actually for himself rather than his niece.
In Head, Peter's nail-biting worries over gaining a bad-image from striking a girl on-screen are immediately proven correct, with various on-set hangers-on suddenly electing to give him a wide-berth as he leaves the coffee shop set.
At this point it would probably be a good idea to transcribe the scene as it appears in Head. This is the best we've managed so far. If anyone has any corrections, do send them in:
Peter's "You're not gonna..." appears to pre-empt Bob Rafelson's "If it doesn't work, we'll cut it out of the film", suggesting that maybe this was a second or third take. We must of course presume that the fact that the scene remains in the film means that Rafelson's director character still believed that it 'worked' by the editing stage!
|'NY Action': Davy's girlfriends exits|
Davy doesn't suddenly 'spot a passing chick' at this point in the movie - he actually leaves the canteen set along with a girl he's been chatting with since the scene began.
The only bit of the whole 'documentary' sequence represented by 'NY Action' is an alternate shot of Davy's newly acquired girlfriend leaving the scene. The image is much brighter in the out-take than on the shot they used.
"Open your eyes|
Get up off your chair... "
'Musical #4' became Carole King and Toni Stern's 'As We Go Along' and is indeed a 'simple pastoral ballad'. Such a curt stage direction for such a beautiful piece of film-making.
Note that no mention is made in the script of what the group should acually be doing during 'Musical #4' (whether they were meant to appear together, separately or indeed at all). In the event, each Monkee appears in their own season - Winter, Sping, Summer and Fall - and the 'pastoral ballad' takes us through these twice - the whole sequence comprising of eight simple shots in all. Obviously, given the restrictions of the February-to-May shooting schedule, the film-makers had to employ a wee bit of artistic license.
The fake studio snowstorm which lands on Peter mixes through - via some more literal-looking blizzard footage - to shots of him walking through snow-covered mountains in Alaska, nicely depicting Winter (this fact finally revealed by Peter Tork during the Criterion commentary). An expensive location shoot which ultimately yielded about 50 seconds of edited footage.
Sadly, the exact locations for the other three shoots have yet to be revealed - although Tork ventures a guess at Carmel Beach, California as the setting for Mike's Autumnal coastal stroll (Nesmith's home-town in fact). Davy meanwhile wanders through a bright flowery meadow to convey Summer while some long-shots of Micky (well, presumably - we never quite see his face in any detail so theoretically it could be a stand-in) traversing a botanical garden-style setting represent an aceptable Spring.
On the Criterion DVD commentary, Mike Nesmith explained that Bob Rafelson saw the sequence as "an interlude":
"He said, 'You know, the thing is so manic and so hyper and carrying on so much that we need this interlude,' and I thought, 'Why? What are people going to do with an interlude in a movie that's moving at this pace?' I guess people just wanted to linger over the Tiger Beat images."
The main track for 'As We Go Along' was recorded at Wally Heider's, Hollywood on May 30 1968. Sandoval reports that Carole King produced the session and also provided a rough guide vocal. Ry Cooder and Neil Young both play on this track. The exact date of Dolenz's vocal session hasn't been recorded, suffice to say that it was in place by July 26, when a mixdown for use in the movie was made.
The stereo version released on the Head soundtrack album differs quite a bit from the mono mix as featured in the movie. The former's vocals are mixed quite low for the LP while the opening lead guitar twangs lack the metallic reverb. There's also considerably less of the echoey organ track which lends the movie mix its psychedelic atmosphere. A more subdued mix, generally. For the Criterion 5.1 mix, attempts have been made to recreate something approaching the original mix, guitar FX and all. Quite successfully, as it happens.
Part of Dolenz's vocal track is also tampered with for the movie mix - with the beginning of the first chorus, 'Open your eyes / Get up off your chair...', replaced by a copy of the same lines from the second chorus (although the backing track isn't altered). Quite why this was undertaken isn't known - the untampered LP mix shows both readings of the chorus to be equally lovely.
An exclusive, mono mix was created for the B-side of the 'Porpoise Song' single, while the 1991 Rhino boxed set Listen To The Band presented us with a marvellous remix from the original multitracks (extended by about twenty seconds to boot) - bringing Dolenz's vocals way back up in the mix where they belong. Both were included in the recent Deluxe edition.
In Head, the end of the song suddenly takes a distinctly non-pastoral turn - an ascending note denoting a 'passage of time' feel while the 'unspoiled' natural settings the Monkees have been placed in are superseded by intrusions of 'civilisation' - denoted by zoom-cuts to advertising hoardings and slowly-building industrial sound effects.
It would appear that the location for most (if not all) of this nifty bit of second unit filming was Sequim in Lynnwood, Washington. A heel-digging real estate sign - 'Frontier Realty, Sequim' - is seen earlier in the sequence, while an advertising board for 'Pike's Kennels' also places us in the area (the business was run by Christine and Joe Pike, all you kennels fans out there).
The shots of billboards - depicting both well-known and long-forgotten ad campaigns - become more eccentric in terms of framing as the sequence continues, until only a small detail of each billboard is visible with each cut. All, no doubt, intended as a heavy-handed jibe at the meaningless visual language of commercials (a good example being the fleeting, fragmented crop of the Coppertone sun lotion girl's rear-end, which conveys a somewhat less-innocent image here than it does at full-frame).
|Period photograph of the Vita-Pakt billboard briefly seen in Head. Swiped from here|
|NY Action snippets from the 'As We Go Along' sequence|
This escalation of intrusive 'industry' mixes us seamlessly to the following scene set in a factory. However no such transition occurs in the 'Changes' script, which treats us to another scene beforehand...
|The Monkees - Head - 'Changes'|