Those Impossible Monkees





I got the idea for this after viewing The Monkees Film and TV Vault's Monkees go Ape for Batman page. "The Monkees" is one of my favorite TV shows, and "The Impossibles" is one of my favorite cartoons. I noticed a couple of similarities to the two while watching one of my tapes.

Duration on TV


"The Monkees" premiered on Monday, September 12, 1966, and was cancelled September 9, 1968, on NBC. "The Impossibles" (along with "Frankenstein Jr") premiered Saturday September 10, 1966, and was cancelled September 7, 1968, on CBS. Although they were on different networks during their original runs, "The Monkees" did appear in 1969-1971 in repeats on Saturday afternoons on CBS. "Frankenstein Jr and the Impossibles" were rerun in the early 80's, but I'm not exactly sure what channel they were on then. In the 1970's, "Frankenstein Jr" was reran on NBC as part of a show called "The Space Ghost/Frankenstein Jr Show."

Inspiration


I'm not one hundred percent positive on this, so someone feel free to prove me wrong

"The Monkees" TV show was basically based on the Beatles "Hard Days Night. As for the Impossibles, well, they're a mop top rock group, so what do you think? The Beatles were big in 1966. Although, considering how long it takes to make an animated cartoon show, "Frankenstein Jr and The Impossibles" could have been in production in between 1965 and 1966, but I'm not sure. Either way, I think both shows were pretty much inspired by The Beatles.

It should also be noted that in the Beatles' cartoon show, Paul "Fluid Man" Frees provided the voices of John Lennon and George Harrison. I've heard clips of the Beatles cartoon, and if you've seen both this, and "The Impossibles" (or at least heard the voices), you will note that his "Fluid Man" voice is similar to his Beatles voice without the British accent.

Here's a small sampling of Paul Frees's voices. A clip from "The Beatles" cartoon as well as an Impossibles cartoon are included



The Name Game


Both groups weren't originally known by the names we're familiar with today. The Monkees had a lot of names tossed around when they were trying to figure a good name out. Included were The Creeps, the Turtles, and The Inevitibles.

The Impossibles had working names such as "The Incredibles" and then "The Amazing Impossibles." If you ask me, "The Inevitibles" and "The Incredibles" sound a bit similiar, don't you think? Coincidence? We'll never know.

Costumes



On the left, The Impossibles in their rock and roll persona. On the right, a picture of the Monkees. Notice the outfits. Both were Mod groups

TV Tunes




Stating the obvious, both the Monkees and The Impossibles were the first of their kind: "The Monkees" was the first prime time show to star a rock and roll group; "The Impossibles" was the first Hanna-Barbera cartoon to feature a rock group (though not the first cartoon in the world to feature a rock band. Just Hanna-Barbera's first)

I also hate to say this, but it has to be done. On the first two Monkees albums, studio musicians provided the backing tracks and vocals, while the Monkees just sang. With the Impossibles, well, this only relates because they didn't do their own music, either (well duh! They're cartoon characters!) Also, Hal Smith (voice of Coil Man), Don Messick (voice of Multi Man), and Paul Frees (voice of Fluid Man) didn't do the singing either. Nobody knows who did the singing! If anyone knows, Email me and let me know, it's been driving me nuts.

UPDATE! Thanks to "Children's Records and More", a blog I ran across one day while surfing the 'net, I think I may have solved one of the Cartoon World's greatest mysteries. The site in question has several Hanna-Barbera records available for download. A lot of the vocals are done by a group known as "The Hanna-Barbera Singers." I downloaded the albums "Squiddly Diddly's Surfin' Safari," "Precious Pupp in Hot Rod Granny," "The Jetsons: First Family in Space," (or was it called "First Family on the Moon"? I forget which) and "Winsome Witch: It's Magic." The vocals on these albums sounded EXACTLY like the vocalists in the Impossibles cartoons. And just in case you're curious, Hanna-Barbera never released an Impossibles record. Why? To borrow a quote from Fred Jones on an episode of Scooby Doo Where Are You: "I guess that's another mystery."

Also, about the Monkee Romps, a lot of times, the show featured stock footage of the Monkees from other episodes, and concert scenes. In every "Impossibles" cartoon, Hanna-Barbera would use the same footage of the characters playing, but with different backgrounds and music. It's amazing how they managed to keep the lip movement in synch with the dialogue!

"Science Must Be Served!"




In the episode, "I Was A Teenage Monster," the Monkees are hired to teach a Frankenstein monster-esque android to sing. The Impossibles were shown with "Frankenstein Jr," a cartoon about a 30 foot superhero robot

Wheels



Check out the Monkee Mobile! Next to the Bat Mobile, this car was the coolest in Prime Time TV



This is The Impossi-Mobile, the coolest car in the cartoon world. This baby can be converted into a jet, a submarine, and can go up to 200 mph!

Notice both cars are pretty much convertibles, and have a similar design to them: The Monkee Mobile has the band's logo on the side; The Impossi-Mobile has that green wave on the side

Groovy Hairdo's


The three Impossibles have similiar hairstyles to three of the Monkees. I'm not saying they're an exact match, I'm just saying they're similiar


Mike Nesmith and Fluid Man


Micky Dolenz and Coil Man


Peter Tork and Multi Man


"Rally Ho Monkee Men!"



Check the numbers. There are three Impossibles, and four Monkees, however . . . . .



You never see more than three Monkee Men at once. The episodes with the Monkee Men are "I've Got a Little Song Here" (Davy, Micky, and Peter), "Monkee Chow Mein" (Mike and Davy), and "I Was a 99 Lbs. Weakling" (Peter, Davy, and Micky; Mike wasn't in this episode)

Impossibles and Pop Culture




"The Impossibles" cartoon made a lot of jabs at pop culture of 1966. First of all, they were a rock band, and there were a lot of groups out there in 1966. Second of all, there was a big superhero craze in 1966 (which I think started with "Batman" on prime time), and The Impossibles were superheroes. Next, Fluid Man used a lot of teenage slang in the cartoon (and he was the only character to do so). Also, "instant" items were big back then, and the Impossibles had a villain called "The Infamous Mr. Instant."

Similarities in the Episodes


The plotlines in the Monkees episode delt a lot with pop culture, and so did episodes of "The Impossibles." Here are some of the similiarities:

"Monkees in a Ghost Town"/"Billy the Kidder"-Kind of a ghost town theme here, Wild West type (also goes with "Monkees in Texas")

"Monkees at the Circus"/"The Rascally Ringmaster"-Circus theme

"Monkees on the Line"/"The Terrifying Tapper"-Telephone theme

"Art for Monkees Sake"/"The Diabolical Dauber"-Art theme

"Monkees Watch Their Feet"/"Fero, the Fiendish Fiddler"-Somewhat of an Alien Theme

"Monkees Race Again"/"The Devilish Dragster"-Race car theme (drag racing optional)

"Monkees Mind Their Manor"/"The Terrible Twister"-both were set in England

"Fairy Tale"/"Mother Gruesome"-The Monkees spoof fairy tales; the villian in this "Impossibles" cartoon is a witch who gets a giant out of a fairy tale book to do her bidding

"One Man Shy"/"The Terrible Twister"- both groups played for a debutante party

"Spy Who Came in From the Cool"/"The Fiendish Dr. Futuro": Don "Maxwell Smart" Adams impressions. In "Monkees," it was Micky ("Hello, chief? Send in Schwartz. Harold B!") and in "Impossibles," it was Fluid Man ("Sorry about that")

"Spy Who Came in From the Cool"/"The Dastardly Diamond Dazzler": in "SWCIFTC," there was a part when Davy rubbed the lamp and a genie came out ("Do not worry, Master. Your genie will help you!") a la Barbara Eden. In this "Impossibles" cartoon, the villian summons a genie for a brief moment towards the middle, and it appears again near the end of the cartoon.

"Monkees on Tour"/"The Sinister Speck": a long line of teenage girls are waiting for both bands: Monkees are at the airport; The Impossibles are at a theater with a huge line of girls at the door.

"Monkees at the Movies"/"The Satanic Surfer": The Monkees are cast as extras in a beach movie; the villian in this "Impossibles" cartoon is a surfer. It's sort of a beach/surf thing

"Monkees in Paris"/"The Dastardly Diamond Dazzler": both groups are being chased by girls. Except in the Monkees, it was throughout the whole thing, and with the Impossibles, it was only at the very beginning, and very end of the cartoon

Other Notes


In "Monkees Race Again," there's a part where TN Crumpet's butler is spraying London mist around the room, but Baron Von Klutz is spraying out knockout gas at the same time. Mike comments that it smells like "LA smog," taking a slam at Los Angeles. The Impossibles did the same with a cartoon of theirs. The villian was named "Smogula."

In "I Was a Teenage Monster," when the android is singing "Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day," all he's playing is a guitar, but you hear drums, and percussion, and other instruments. In every single Impossibles cartoon, all they play are guitars, yet you hear drums, percussion, and what have you. Now how do you get that effect from just a guitar?!

In "Head," close to the end, when Victor Mature is channel surfing, he comes across a Hanna-Barbera cartoon, "Loopy de Loop."

In the Impossibles cartoon, "The Artful Archer," the villian steals a valuable violin. In "Head," Davy is seen playing a violin (and doing a terrible job at faking it!)

The Monkees first ever concert was on December 3, 1966 in Hawaii. At the end of the Impossibles cartoon, "The Satanic Surfer," the Impossibles are headed for Hawaii themselves (maybe to catch the Monkees in concert! j/k!)

The Monkees episode "I've Got a Little Song Here" is the first appearance of The Monkee Men. The Monkees are a rock band who sometimes superheroes. The Impossibles were a superhero trio who's cover was a rock band.

On the Monkees album, "Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, and Jones LTD" there is a song Davy sings called "Hard to Believe." In four Impossibles cartoons ("The Spinner," "The Diabolical Dauber," "The Scurrilous Sculptor," and "Professor Stretch Bounces Back") the Impossibles sing one of their songs, and there's a lyric in it that goes "Hard to Believe."

Don Kirschner was the music supervisor for "The Monkees," and in 1972, he was music supervisor for a Hanna-Barbera cartoon called "The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan" (which featured a cartoon rock band)

In "The Devil and Peter Tork," one of Mr. Zero's "clients" was Billy the Kid. One of the Impossibles foes was Billy the Kidder.

"The Spy Who Came in From the Cool" and "Monkee Chow Mein" had the Monkees working with the government to stop spies. In "The Card Carrying Red Shoes," secret microfilm was hidden in the ballet slipper of Natasha Pavlova, and the Monkees found themselves in another spy story. These three episodes sort of go with the entire Impossibles series on the whole.

In "I Was a Teenage Monster," the Monkees faced a mad scientist named Dr. Mendoza. Paul "Fluid Man" Frees appeared on a radio show long before his career as a voice actor, but I can't recall the name of the show (I'll go back and check my source later), where he voiced a character named (I think) General Mendosa (again, I have to check my source, but I do know it was Mendosa)

"The Hanna-Barbera Treasury" by Jerry Beck mentions The Impossibles are "best described as a cross between The Monkees and the Three Stooges." I wouldn't necessarily agree with the Three Stooges part, though . . . .

Though the Impossibles never had their own soundtrack record, Hanna-Barbera HAS released various children's records on the Colpix label. In their Pre-Monkee Days, Davy and Mike recorded for Colpix. And later, Colpix became Colgems, which released the Monkees albums in between 1966 and 1970.

In an Impossibles episode called "The Rascally Ringmaster," the title villian runs into a "Mysterious Maze Tunnel," to which Coil Man says a Batman-esque phrase, "Holy Monte Cristo!" It should be noted that in 1956, George Dolenz (father of our favorite Monkee Drummer Micky Dolenz) starred in a television series known as "The Count of Monte Cristo."

Notable Appearances


Some of the voice artists on "The Impossibles" appeared in the same things as the Monkees did. But not in the same episode of TV shows, or a different format of something entirely.

"The Brady Bunch": Davy Jones appeared as himself in the episode "Getting Davy Jones," and Hal "Coil Man" Smith appeared in two episodes of "The Brady Bunch." Those episodes were "The Voice of Christmas" where he played Santa Claus, and "The Winner" where he played Kartoon King

"The Point": Davy and Micky appeared in the stage version of Nilsson's story. Paul "Fluid Man" Frees did voices in the cartoon movie version: Oblio's father, Pointed Man's right head, The King, and the Leafman (which was one of the roles Micky played on stage)

During auditions for "The Monkees," I have read that one person who auditioned was Tim Rooney, son of actor Mickey Rooney. Mickey Rooney did a voice for the 1970 Rankin-Bass TV special, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" which also featured the voice talent of Paul "Fluid Man" Frees

We all know that Don "Multi Man" Messick did several Hanna-Barbera voices, which included Scooby Doo. We also know Davy was on an episode of "The New Scooby Doo Movies" and Micky was on an episode of "Scooby Doo" although I'm not sure of the exact title. All I know was that it was in 1976 or something like that

Holy Bat Wings!


If that's any indication, these are "Batman" references. Both shows had them. Here are some from "The Monkees":

The episode "Captain Crocodile." There was a segment called "Frogman." There were fight words popping up, as on "Batman." The Monkees had Rumble! Plink! Plank! Plunk! Miss! Foo! Kretch! ("Kretch?") amoung them. Also, Davy said "Holy frog's legs!" a la Robin

While the Impossibles never had the fight words pop up on the screen during their segments (Pow! Biff! Bang!), they did use a lot of Robin-esque phrases, in every cartoon. Amoung them were Holy isolation, sizzling stereos, suffering RPM's, glittering guitars, and one of my personal favorites, Holy Mesopotamia

Micky Dolenz and Hanna-Barbera


People can use this in the "6 Degrees of Separation" game concerning the Monkees, if you *really* want to connect them to The Impossibles. After the Monkees broke up, our man, Micky went on to provide voices in many a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. His two big ones were Skip from "Funky Phantom" (1971-1972) and Wally on "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids" (1973-1974). Just to clear things up, I saw the cartoon on Boomerang last weekend, and the character's name is Wally, and NOT Harvey. Wherever you got your source saying the character's name is Harvey, it was wrong.

Other Monkee guest stars have also lent their voices to Hanna-Barbera cartoons:

Sherry Alberoni (Leslie in "The Chaperone") was the voice of Alexandra Cabot on "Josie and the Pussycats"

Heather North (Wendy in "Prince and the Paupers") was the voice of Daphne Blake on "Scooby Doo Where Are You!" and various other "Scooby Doo" spinoffs. Davy appeared as himself in the episode "The Haunted Horseman of Hagglethorn Hall" in the "New Scooby Doo Movies" and Micky has done a voice in a "Scooby Doo" cartoon, but he NEVER did Shaggy (where do you guys dig up your sources, anyway?!)

Henry Corden (Mr. Babbitt, the Monkees landlord) was the second voice of Fred Flintstone, Paw Rugg in "The Hillbilly Bears" cartoons, and various other Hanna-Barbera cartoons

Michael Bell (Artist in "Art for Monkees Sake") did many a voice for Hanna-Barbera shows, including "Speed Buggy," "Smurfs," and "Devlin." The funny thing about "Devlin" is that Micky also did a voice in this cartoon

Hamilton Camp (Philo in "Monkees at the Movies") provided a lot of cartoon voices for various HB shows, including "The Smurfs" (you just can't miss that voice of his!)

Cliff Norton (JL in "The Picture Frame") was on a HB cartoon show that I haven't seen (yet) called "Where's Huddles?" providing the voice of a character named Ed Huddles

Another connection to the Monkees and the Impossibles can be found in the episode "The Monkees Paw." Guest starring as Mendrek the Magician is Hans Conried. Conried was also the voice of Snidely Whiplash in the Jay Ward cartoon, "Dudley Do-Right," which also featured the voice of Paul Frees, as Inspector Fenwick and the narrator. What does this have to do with The Monkees and The Impossibles, you ask? Well, the multi-talented Paul Frees was the voice of Fluid Man, as well as a number of other Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters, and a bunch of other characters.

Another Monkee guest star you can connect with Paul Frees is Stan Freberg (Daggart in "Monkees vs Machine"). Freberg put out an album called "Stan Freberg Modestly Presents the United States of America" (I happen to own the disc) and Paul Frees narrated this.

Scripts? We Don't Need No Stinking Scripts!


My sources may be wrong about this, please correct me if I am. At any rate, I read that in the second season, The Monkees would barely use a script. I have also read in a book called "The Moose That Roared" by Keith Scott (it's about "Rocky and Bullwinkle" and other Jay Ward cartoons) that Paul Frees would ad-lib around a lot. I believe this, considering Fluid Man is the only Impossible that uses teen slang, and he is sarcastic as well. Multi Man and Coil Man aren't. Actually, it was my sister who brought this to my attention.

And Now a Word From Our Sponsors


Truth be known, this isn't that big a connection, only because I'm not entirely too sure what sponsored "Frankenstein Jr and The Impossibles," but it's a connection, more or less.

"The Monkees" were sponsored by Kellogg's. I have a book called "Cereal Boxes and Prizes of the 1960's" and it features a lot of cereal boxes with Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, and other Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters.

Also, one of the voices of Froot Loops Tucan Sam (a Kellogg's product) was Paul Frees

I have found a few old 1980's commercials on tape and online, and I found another Kellogg's connection. On the Monkees First Season DVD box set, one of the bonus features is the Monkees appearing in Rice Krispies commercials (Rice Krispies was a Kellogg's cereal). In the 1980's, the voice of Snap (part of the elf trio, you know, "Snap, Crackle, Pop") was Don "Multi Man" Messick. As a side note, I find it interesting that Multi Man had red hair, and so does Snap.

UPDATE! I recently found out what sponsored "Frankenstein Jr. & The Impossibles." Believe it or not, it was General Mills, Kellogg's main rivals! Kinda funny, huh?

Screen Gems


As we all know, The Monkees show was filmed at the Screen Gems studio. What you probably didn't know was that when Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera first started their cartoon shows in the 1950's, they were pitching their first cartoon, "Ruff and Reddy," to executives at Screen Gems, a subsidary of Columbia, and it was the first studio that was interested in TV animation.


Comic Book Capers


Both the Monkees and the Impossibles had comic books. Although as far as I know, the Impossibles had at least two comic books (one in the 1960's, and the other in 1996, both of which I own).

Even though they both had comic books, they had different publishers. Like most Hanna-Barbera cartoon comic books, the "Frankenstein Jr and The Impossibles" comic book was published by Gold Key, while the Monkees comic books were published by Dell. Thanks to Col for this information!

And For the Biggest Connection of Them All


According to The Monkee's Film and TV Vault's Here Come the Monkees (original 1965 unaired pilot) page, one of the proposed names of "The Monkees" was "The Impossibles."

I have cleared this with the webmaster of The Monkees Film and TV Vault. I am not kidding about this! This is like the biggest connection ever between the two! My sincerest thanks to Aaron Handy III for this piece of information.

That's about it for now. Keep checking back to see if there are any more connections. If you thought up one that I happened to miss, Email Me!