Jul 162015

Actor Robert Clary’s LeBeau could be inserted into the band pretty much as he appears in Hogan’s Heroes. That ratty red sweater LeBeau was wearing in the 1940s of the 1960s’ show’s setting would have looked vintage hip in a show actually set in the late-’60s. LeBeau could have continued to don his beret and even wear the occasional chef’s hat, although on The Monkees it would be implied that his favor-winning strudels contained an extra herbal ingredient.

LeBeau’s hats would have helped keep Nesmith, the show’s lone hat wearer’s, ego in check. Successful bands of the time could accommodate two hat-wearing members. Nesmith’s hat dominance in the actual lineup of The Monkees provided him a sense of Papa John Phillips entitlement. The actual Monkees were forced to occupy specific, isolated roles, which led to much frustration over time and the eventual departure of the actual studio musicians who played on the records followed by the actual fake band members. Add LeBeau’s hats to the mix and The Monkees would have established a more fluid, democratic sense of hat power, along the lines of Buffalo Springfield and The Band, two contemporaries in the music world who accommodated multiple hat wearers.

Although tiny, foreign-accented LeBeau would have been just as capable of inducing Cute Attacks in the show’s female viewers, LeBeau also would have played to the guys. He’s a rascal! He’s just as capable of stirring up trouble as he is picking up a cane and doing a tap dance. LeBeau’s rascally powers would have tempered Mickey’s propensity for going rascal. Think of how Hogan’s barracks full of rascals played off each other. Think of how such interplay on The Monkees TV show would have translated to their Brill Building/studio musician–concocted recordings. Think of “Daydream Believer” sung by Clary in more of a sophisticated, world-wear Jacques Brel vein. Nevertheless, the little girls would understand.


  9 Responses to “The Replacements (Not the Band…): Swapping Louis LeBeau for Davy Jones in The Monkees”

  1. misterioso

    Mod, an intriguing concept. How many hours of my youth were spent watching to Monkees on WLVI Channel 56 Boston and Hogan’s Heroes on WSBK TV38 Boston, is best not to ponder too much. But whereas I find that the Monkees are best now enjoyed in one’s mind’s eye through a nostalgic glow (as opposed to actually watching the show), I find that Hogan’s Heroes still makes me laugh.

    Mind you, as great as Clary was as Lebeau, I am not sure how many performances of “Aloutte” the Monkees could have accommodated. Perhaps Boyce and Hart could have reworked it. (“I Wonder Aloutte She’s Doing Tonight”?)

    But while your analysis of what Clary would have brought to the Monkees, with special attention paid to his hat, is formidable, you have paid no regard to the catastrophic affect Davy would have had on Hogan’s Heroes. I mean, a trade has to work for both sides. And there’s good reason to think that Newkirk would have stated that that barracks wasn’t big enough for him and Jones. He might have arranged for a nightttime beating such as William Holden unfairly received in Stalag 17, or quietly knifed him during roll call, or arranged for him to be turned over to Major Hochstetter (“What is this man doing here!”) for torture at the hands of the gestapo. Anyway, it would have been an unbalanced trade and probably would have been voided by the sitcom commissioner.

    By the way, did you know that Clary, a French Jew, survived Buchenwald during the war? I can’t help wondering if he ever thought about this when he and the gang were yucking it up on the set, behind make-believe barbed wire and guarded by make-believe Nazis. It’s an unsettling thought.

  2. I hadn’t considered what the swap would mean for Jones, although one might argue the nightmare scenarios you present would have been justified – that one, specifically, being me.

    I did know that fact about Clary – and not only Clary, but if memory serves a few of the actors who played Nazis were also concentration camp survivors: Schultz and Hochstetter (or Burkholder) among them. I wonder if they saw the role as a comedic form of revenge.

  3. ladymisskirroyale

    Interesting concept, Mod. Your suggestion of substituting a Frenchman for an Englishman is flawed on historic and attractiveness levels, but I’m going to run with it. However, I’m going to propose something even more radical. As misterioso justly points out, a main problem with substituting Clary for Jones in the Monkees is the counter substitution of Jones for Clary in Hogan’s Heroes. Instead, I would like to propose another Frenchman of the time…

    Jean-Pierre Leaud. Monsieur Leaud would add a much needed level of angst and gravitas that would flumux Nesmith, while at the same time fitting the “good looking guy who can sing” bill. From my brief review of Truffaut movies of the Monkees time period, you can see that Leaud has better hair (floppy over the forehead, swoon), dark Gallic looks, incessant chain smoking, and for real shits and giggles, an incessant need to chase after prostitutes. Deal with that, Teen America! He can even sing and wear a sweater well-draped over his shoulders. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-llUIBekq_8

  4. misterioso

    Good call! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_e2agcf7J7k

    Maybe Clary could replace Jones in the Monkees, Leaud could replace Clary in Hogan’s Heroes, and Jones is “designated for assignment,” namely, a future in which this is a highlight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRNFus7Pbp4

  5. ladymisskirroyale

    That French Dadaism will keep the girls screaming.

  6. cliff sovinsanity

    Better yet, have him replace Tork. The harmonies would have sounded better. Also, a flummoxed Nesmith could have inspired a Lennon/McCartney songwriting feud.

  7. mockcarr

    Do I have to be the one to say it? LeBeau is not BRITISH, dude. Those frenchies don’t need to sing to get girls, we anglos DO. It’s the price they pay for that Vichy business, no rock and roll for you except in very small doses. The fact that Davy is a lil’ showbiz-hacky failed jockey, despite his admittedly good hair, lessens his appeal just enough to make it possible for the other Monkees and by extension, us, to seem somewhat attractive, so while they pretty much always have some girl falling for him, it’s possible that even Peter could be endearing to someone. What chance would our adolescent selves have with LeBeau singing to them in French? By the way, have you noticed the edge of hackiness Micky straddles? It’s only his apparent self-awareness that saves his character, doubtless cadged from humiliating Circus Boy episodes.

  8. It’s a shame that Peter Noone was already established because he would have been great.

    The only other thing I have to add is that whenever I bring beer over to my brother’s house, and ask what I should do with them, he always says, “Put zem in ze cooler!”

  9. saturnismine

    Mod, I love the LeBeau comparison, as both were present for cutesiness.

    These are just random thoughts on Davy.

    Q: what if we switched out Davy with Richard Dawson?
    A: hardly anything at all. Davy would’ve done just fine frenching all those housewives on Family Feud.

    – While all of the Monkees were supposed to have their own brands of chick appeal, Davy was the one whose top priority was bringing *the sexy.* I always mused that the Davy character should have been more…masculine. He should’ve been the one who was making innuendos, like Fonzarelli, about being tired out by having spent the night with the Rebozo Twins.

    If they made the Monkees now, would the Davey character be so cutesy, or would they have Vanilla-Ice-ified him by about 20%? Would he play maraccas, or would he be a DJ, or play samples or something?

    CDM, one of my most enduring college friends used to say “put zem in ze cooler,” too!!!

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