Fifty years ago today, a casting call for “4 insane boys, age 17-21” was printed in The Hollywood Reporter‘s classified ads. That audition resulted in the hiring of Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork and the formation of the Monkees. The band will celebrate their 50th anniversary in January with the release of the entire Monkees series on Blu-ray for the first time, along with the band’s cult 1968 film Head (which boasts one of the 25 greatest soundtracks of all time).
The 10-disc set will feature all 58 episodes of The Monkees, which aired from September 1966 to March 1968. Each episode, as well as Head, will be digitally restored in high-definition from the original film negatives. The limited edition collection – only 10,000 individually numbered sets will be produced – will also feature the 1969 TV special 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee plus bonus features like commercials starring the members and never-before-seen outtakes from Head.
Dolenz, Nesmith, Tork and Jones, the latter of which passed away in February 2012, also provided commentaries for the Monkees episodes. The Blu-ray set will also house a seven-inch featuring two previously unreleased TV mixes of Monkees songs. The Monkees Blu-ray set is available to pre-order now at Monkees.com.
In August 2012, following the death of Jones, the three surviving Monkees reconnected, with Nesmith agreeing to tour with Dolenz and Tork for the first time since a brief European trek in 1997; before that, Nesmith hadn’t performed with the Monkees since 1971. “David’s presence and his past will be throughout the show,” Nesmith told Rolling Stone. “He will be missed in his absence, but very much on our minds and in our heart. We will include some of the songs he sang, and do our best.”