An alternate non-broadcast version of this pilot featured unique opening/closing credit sequences, extra red title cards that precluded certain scenes, and an alternate soundtrack featuring Boyce & Hart singing the vocals to their songs ("I Wanna Be Free," "Let's Dance On" and "(Theme From)The Monkees"). (In fact, you can even hear the very end of the original Boyce & Hart sung demo of "I Wanna Be Free" in this aired version, as Davy imagines he's handcuffed to Vanessa Russell). Different sound effects are heard during the Kiddieland romp sequence over Boyce & Hart's demo version of ''I Wanna Be Free," which is considerably faster than the actual track. The tempo in the demo of 'Let's Dance On" is much slower, which in turn extends the ballroom dance climax accommodating some extra scenes of the dancers (but without Paul Mazursky's "man in the ballroom" interview segments). And finally, Micky Dolenz is credited under his Circus Boy moniker, Micky Braddock.
Here, Davy Jones utters his trademark line, "You must be joking!" for the first time on The Monkees (3 times yet!). He can be heard repeating the phrase in Episode 14, "Dance, Monkee, Dance," No. 24, "Monkees A La Mode," No. 31, "The Monkees At The Movies," and No. 46, "The Monkees On The Wheel" (which is the only time a Monkee other than Davy [Peter] speaks the line).
This is the only episode of the entire run of The Monkees series to feature a Monkees song (Boyce and Hart's "I Wanna Be Free") in two different versions.
Paul Mazursky and Larry Tucker later collaberate on the films I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, and Alex Wonderland. Larry Tucker's story concludes on a tragic note: complications of multiple sclerosis and cancer took him on April 1, 2001.
As they drive up to the Riverdale Country Club, the boys are seen emerging from a woody station wagon--the original "Monkeymobile."
Composer Allyn Ferguson scored this episode's incidental soundtrack.
Actress Robyn Millan would later play a couple of regular roles in daytime drama series. She was the first Vicky Lucas Hathaway on Where The Heart Is (CBS, 1969-73) from 1969-71 (she was superceeded by Lisa Blake Richards), and briefly played the role of Delia Reid Ryan Coleridge in 1979 on Ryan's Hope (ABC, 1975-89).
Joe Higgins turns up in 2 other episodes in The Monkees' first season: as chubby Masseur in Episode 19, "Find The Monkees," and as Max, the evil Count Myron (Oscar Beregi)'s ewually nasty toady in Episode 21, "The Prince And The Paupers."
In this pilot, Mike was given an appropriate yet rather strange moniker: "Wool Hat" (Rudy the manager addresses Nesmith by that name at the beginning of this show). Nesmith balked against producers' strategy, despite his comfort with the novelty, and added "I'd rather do it my way and less," thus prompting the producers to use his given name. (Many early TV Guide listings for The Monkees list Nesmith with this original sobriquet).
A disastrous January 1966 test screening of the pilot for the Audience Studies Incorporated (ASI), a research subsidiary of Screen Gems which measured samples of a viewing audience and tallied their findings via computer, sent Robert Rafelson into the cutting room for 2 days, which he spent inserting the "spontaneous, unrehearsed" screen tests of the boys at the very beginning of the pilot. Only then did Raybert Productions get a firm commitment for 32 episodes from NBC.
These following scenes from this episode were incorporated into the first season main title sequence for The Monkees: Davy rising up and hitting his head on the test-your-strength device's bell; the boys racing uphill to escape the wrath of Mr. Russell; Peter by the beach quickly unzips his wet suit, revealing himself to be fully dressed, wearing a seersucker jacket, shirt, tie, and slacks (from the non-broadcast version of the pilot); and Mike traveling down the street on a motorized skateboard.
There are several differences in the interior of the Monkees' pad: there is a regular staircase instead of a tornado staircase; the exit is on the right; and the living room layout is much different. The reason is all of these shots were done in an actual house.
Several clips from the unaired version of this pilot (including the opening, the ballroom dance, the Kiddieland romp, and the boys' disguisd as escaped covicts) were used in the NBC-TV "Two In A Taxi" 1966-67 Fall Preview Show hosted by Jack Burns and the late Avery Schreiber.
For reasons unknown, this episode was passed on completely for repeats on CBS and ABC Saturday Afternoon.
This episode was filmed on the set of The Farmer's Daughter, another Screen Gems production on which Davy Jones had earlier appeared performing Boyce & Hart's "Gonna Buy Me A Dog."