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The Monkees: The Royal Flush

The Monkees foil a plot to assassinate Princess Bettina, the Dutchess of Harmonica.

Episode Info  

Episode number: 1x1
Production Number: 4701
Airdate: Monday September 12th, 1966

Guest Stars
Vincent BeckVincent Beck
As Sigmund
Ceil CabotCeil Cabot
As Chambermaid
Katherine WalshKatherine Walsh
As Bettina
Main Cast
Davy JonesDavy Jones
As Himself
Micky DolenzMicky Dolenz
As Himself
Michael NesmithMichael Nesmith
As Himself
Peter TorkPeter Tork
As Himself


Davy saves a young girl from drowning. She is the Princess of Harmonica. Her Uncle, the Archduke Otto, is plotting to kill her and take over the kingdom. The Monkees go to her hotel room to inform her of the plot. While the other Monkees distract Otto, Davy plays a tape of the plot for the Princess. The Monkees try to hide the Princess until midnight when she reaches her eighteenth birthday. They are chased around the beach by Otto's henchman, Sigmund...

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Episode Notes
The signs used by Peter for his digging project: "Danger Hole Started," "Watch Out Half A Hole," and "Caution Whole Hole."

This episode is one of David Jones' favorites, along with No. 44, "Hitting The High Seas", and No. 58, "Mijacogeo" (a.k.a. "The Frodis Caper").

The Monkees started sessions for their first album after finishing production on “The Royal Flush.”

The harpsichord rendition of The Monkees' theme (arranged by underscore composer Stu Phillips) first appears here.

A table-read and rehearsal of “The Royal Flush” ocurred at SG Studios Stage 7, on Monday, June 6, 1966, the day prior to the beginning of shooting.

Prior to the airing of this debut episode, David Bordon of United Artists and David Yarnell of RKO sued Screen Gems to the tune of $6,850,000, claiming they unwittingly duplicated the idea of The Monkees from them (Liverpool U.S.A.). They tried unsuccessfully to stop the series from being telecast until the suit was settled, and the case was resolved, out of court, for an undisclosed amount.

Further royalty-themed Monkees episodes are No. 21, “The Prince And The Paupers”, No. 35, "Everywhere A Sheik Sheik", and No. 48, "Fairytale".

In the scene where The Monkees rig the front door for the villains, Micky boasts, "They have about as much chance of finding us here as I do becoming Miss America!" Sure enough, three loud knocks ring out, and Michael uses this opportunity to sing "There she is, Miss America!," the first line of that popular Bernie Wayne-composed tune which has become an American institution, heard each and every year of the annual Miss America Pageant.

An alternate print of “The Royal Flush” features a clip of The Monkees performing “Last Train To Clarksville” replacing the tag interview segment.

David renews his fencing prowess (first displayed here in the swordsman climax with Otto set to the tune of “Take A Giant Step”) in Episode No. 21, “The Prince And The Paupers” (in a fencing lesson with Max [Joe Higgins]), No. 44, "Hitting The High Seas" (engaging Micky, Peter and the crew in mad swordplay in the romp set to “Daydream Believer”), and in No. 55, "The Monkees Mind Their Manor" (in a duel with Sir Twiggly Toppin-Middlebottom [Bernard Fox], which he loses!).

In the interview, when told by Micky to stand up and show the audience how tall he is, David retorts, jokingly, "I am standing up!" This gag would be repeated in Episode No. 16, “The Son Of A Gypsy”, 23, “Captain Crocodile”, 38, "I Was A 99-lb. Weakling", and 46, "The Monkees On The Wheel".

The end credits for “The Royal Flush” and all further Kellogg's-sponsored NBC-TV telecasts of The Monkees sported package faces of Kellogg's popular cereals: Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Sugar Frosted Flakes, Apple Jacks, Special K, Variety-Pak, and Pop Tarts.

A technique dubbed the "double-guitar iris" transition was first used here. It featured an outer guitar (shown in red, orange, light green, light blue, or black) slanted @ an approximate 180-degree angle, zooming into the screen (taking us out of the previous scene), followed by an inner guitar, which introduces the next scene. Other Monkees episodes to employ this technique were the next one, “Monkee See, Monkee Die”, No. 4, “Your Friendly Neighborhood Kidnappers”, No. 5, “The Spy Who Came In From The Cool”, No. 8, “Don't Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth”, No. 9, “The Chaperone”, No. 11, “Monkees A La Carte”, and No. 13, “One Man Shy”.

An alternate ending to “The Royal Flush” has The Chambermaid (Ceil Cabot) forcing Michael and Micky to clean up the battle-scarred ballroom!

The 309 Usurper throne, which "throne merchant" Micky pitches to Otto, was reused thrice: in Episode No. 21, "The Prince And The Paupers", No. 43, "A Coffin Too Frequent", and No. 52, "The Devil And Peter Tork". The Usurper throne can also be briefly seen in The Monkees 1968 movie HEAD, immediately following the "Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again?" birthday party boogie sequence.

The concept of the little tag sequence where David, Micky, Peter and Michael sat and chatted (at the end of this and 11 more episodes of The Monkees) came about when director Jim Frawley found that “The Royal Flush” was very long in its original director's cut. He trimmed it very tight to accommodate tight airtime space for NBC, resulting in it being 2 minutes short. Instead of putting back those 2 minutes (6 frames @ a time), Frawley opted to put The Monkees in front of the camera and improvise a little tag. (The particular interview seen here was most likely shot during production on the musical numbers of "Last Train To Clarksville," "I'm Not Your] Steppin' Stone," and "Sweet Young Thing" which surface in future episodes, and that of the "[Theme From] The Monkees", which appears in the first-season opening titles.)

The third Monkees episode to be filmed, “The Royal Flush” was the first to be helmed by James Frawley, an initial member of innovative NYC comedy troupe The Premise, who would go on to direct the bulk of The Monkees' 58 half-hour segments (32 to be exact). Frawley would soon be greatly rewarded for his efforts on “The Royal Flush”; it won the Emmy for Outstanding Directorial Achievement In A Comedy Series for 1966-67.

“This Just Doesn’t Seem To Be My Day” appears here and in Episode No. 9, “The Chaperone,” in a alternate take, with an extra minute of music during the instrumental bridge not heard in the take on The Monkees’ first album.

This was the only episode in the entire series not to have a reasonably full listing of songs in the end titles, which, in this case, were Boyce & Hart's “This Just Doesn’t Seem To Be My Day” and Goffin & King's “Take A Giant Step.” It showed the names of the composers (under an intricate "Songs by" credit), but not the titles of the songs they wrote.

A close-up shot from this epsiode of Davy Jones clad in his swordman refinery a la Erroll Flynn with a sword (dueling Otto next to the buffet table in ballroom during the "Take A Giant Step" romp) is edited into the first season main title sequence for The Monkees.

A distinct musical sting compossed by Stu Phillips can be heard in the scene where Davy and Bettina converse with each other on the beach, just prior to the start of the "This Just Doesn't Seem To Be My Day," chase sequence. In the May 8, 1967 repeat of this episode on NBC (in which the song "You Told Me" replaces "This Just Doesn't Seem To Be My Day"), the cue is no longer heard.

ArtistSong TitlePlayed When
The MonkeesTake A Giant Step 
The MonkeesThis Just Doesn't Seem To Be My Day 
The MonkeesYou Told Me 
The MonkeesThe Girl I Knew Somewhere 
The MonkeesApples, Peaches, Bananas and Pears(in syndication) 
The MonkeesGood Clean Fun(in syndication) 

Episode Quotes
Bob: Peter what'd you think about it, hey?
Peter: Well I thought it was alright except for the dueling scene.
Davy: What ya talkin' about? That fencing scene was great. None o' ya coulda done it.
Peter: Fencing scene? Great? Davy's, you know, short, and I coulda done it better.
Davy: (mouth full of food) He's always pickin' on me cos I'm small!
Micky: He's not short. Stand up Davy and show him how tall you are.
Davy: I am standing up.

Mike: Well, the cupboard is bare, and it's not gonna get any fuller unless we play a gig.
Davy: (talking on a phone) No, I don't wanna buy a princess phone, I'm trying to locate a princess. Princess Bettina.
Mike: You know we haven't worked in a month.
Peter: Gee, it only seems like four weeks.
Davy: (still talking on phone) Look, I don't care what color they come in, and I don't care what they do when you pick the phone up. Will you please look under Harmonica, H-A-R-M...look its a country...(angrily) there is so.
Micky: Hey Davy, you talkin' about a chick named Bettina? She's a Princess?
Davy: That's right.
Micky: And she's here with her uncle the Archduke?
Davy: Otto!
Micky: Yeah Otto. And a bodyguard?
Davy: Sigmund!
Micky: Nah, this one's Igor. Must be a different Princess.

Episode Goofs
Note a certain incision on David Jones' lower left abdomen, which is due to an appendetomy he had years back. He refers to it in Episode No. 10, “Here Come The Monkees”.

In Rhino's restoration of the original first-run edition of this episode for it's release as part of the '95 Deluxe Limited Edition Box Set and the '96 individual select release, its end credits has a beat missing where researcher Andrew Sandoval had to edit together two seperate sets of end credits to get the proper song listing. That "beat" was in fact, the portion of the crredits which features the caption "Music Supervision Don Kirshner," this is a native of the NBC repeat of the episode from May 8, 1967 (Kirshner was long gone by that point).

The 1968 Colex syndication edition of this episode featured the soundtrack from it's May 8, 1967 repeat on NBC (featuring the songs "You Told Me" and "The Girl I Knew Somewhere") and the end credits augmented from its February 13, 1971 (Peter Tork's birthday) repeat on CBS Saturday Afternoon (which lists the songs "Apples, Peaches, Bananas and Pears" and "Good Clean Fun"). Rhino set the record straight on both counts for its 1995 inclusion in The Monkees Video Box Set, and the syndication package now uses the upgraded print of the episode with the original songs (though the CBS end credits remain intact).

Twice in this episode Davy was referred to by his name, by Otto (calling him Mr. Jones) and Bettina (calling him Davy) even though his name had not been heard by them yet.

In Rhino's restoration of the original first-run edition of this episode for it's release as part of the '95 Deluxe Limited Edition Box Set and the '96 individual select release, its end credits has a beat missing where researcher Andrew Sandoval had to edit together two seperate sets of end credits to get the proper song listing. That "beat" was in fact, the portion of the crredits which features the caption "Music Supervision Don Kirshner," this is a native of the NBC repeat of the episode from May 8, 1967 (Kirshner was long gone by that point).

Davy goes into the water at Malibu, comes out of the water on the Burbank back lot set.

Davy repeats back the old Harmonica saying incorrectly.

Other Episode Crew

DeveloperPaul Mazursky  |  Larry Tucker
ProducerBert Schneider (1)  |  Bob Rafelson
Associate ProducerWard Sylvester
MusicStu Phillips
Music SupervisorDon Kirshner
Set DecoratorFred R. Price
Post Production SupervisorLawrence Werner
GafferPat Blymyer
Director of PhotographyIrving Lippman
Story EditorGerald Gardner  |  Dee Caruso
Art DirectorMalcolm C. Bert  |  Ross Bellah
Script EditorDee Caruso  |  Gerald Gardner
Main Title Theme Written ByBobby Hart  |  Tommy Boyce
Film EditorGerald Shepard
StylingDean Jeffries
Assistant DirectorRichard Landry
Music CoordinatorIgo Kantor
Make-up SupervisorBen Lane
Main Title Theme Performed ByThe Monkees
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