Micky Dolenz made one quick, cute reference to his TV past in a Monkees episode
A shout-out to 'Circus Boy.'
The Monkees were almost The Lovin' Spoonful. When Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider pitched an idea for a television show inspired by the revolutionary Beatles film A Hard Day's Night, the pair first thought to cast a real, up-and-coming band. Rising New York folkies the Lovin' Spoonful fit the bill. There was one hitch — the band had just signed a record deal which meant the TV series would not be able to use the music.
Back to the drawing board. Rafelson and Schneider decided to cast their own rock 'n' roll group. A whopping 437 actors and musicians applied for the gig. While the final, fantastic (note: we did not say "Fab") four obviously included the relatively unknown Davy Jones, Peter Tork, Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz, the Monkees were not utter newcomers.
Jones had demonstrated his singing chops in a critically acclaimed role as the Artful Dodger in a stage production of Oliver! In fact, in 1964, he had performed a number from the musical on The Ed Sullivan Show — the very same night the Beatles made their historic first appearance on the show!
That was notable exposure, for sure, but none of the Monkees had experience in front of a camera like Dolenz. The California-born kid was headlining his own television series at the age of 11. Only, the audience might not have realized it because, back in the 1950s, George Michael Dolenz Jr. was credited under the name Mickey Braddock.
In the fall of '56, NBC premiered Circus Boy, a family drama with a premise that sounds remarkably like the origin of Robin, Batman's sidekick. A husband-wife act dubbed the Flying Falcons perishes performing a trapeze act, leaving their son, Corky, orphaned. Alas, a billionaire vigilante does not adopt young Corky, rather a circus performer named Joey the Clown (Noah Beery Jr.). Corky quickly finds a role in the circus, as the water boy to Bimbo the baby elephant. As Corky comes of age under the big top in the late 1890s, he deals with growing pains and general circus problems.
Circus Boy aired for two seasons, jumped networks between years one and two.
And in case you thought Dolenz tried to bury his child-star past, oh no — Micky made subtle reference to his Circus Boy days on The Monkees.
The nod comes in the episode "Monkees at the Circus," naturally. In an early scene transition, Micky begins singing a tune:
It’s great, it’s terrific
It’s the best show on Earth
The circus will…
Michael shoots him an annoyed look.
"It's… an old TV series, uh…," Micky mumbles apologetically. You can hear it in the clip up top.
The song, as you have likely gathered by now, was an old theme from Circus Boy.
Yes, in the wacky world of the Monkees, Micky Dolenz grew up watching an alternate version of himself, Mickey Braddock, on another NBC series!