*** The Monkees Complete Series VHS Box By Rhino Records***
“Hey, Hey We’re the … TV Box”.
The TV Box?
Yes, that’s right. A few years ago, oh say about thirty years give or take, a monumental Monkees box set was issued that featured all 58 episodes of The Monkees TV series released for the first time on the home video market.
VHS you say? Yep, 21 VHS tapes in fact.
This groovy box sets 21 VHS tapes contained not only the complete Monkees series but also the first time release of the unaired pilot episode of the series featuring songs with vocals performed by Boyce and Hart instead of The Monkees themselves plus the release of The Monkees bizarre yet entertaining 1969 TV special “33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee”.
This deluxe set also came with a lovely Monkees watch with a bright red watch band as well as a terrific booklet that gave detailed descriptions of each and every episode including listings of all the songs that were originally broadcast with each episode and a lot of really cool photos to boot.
(Note: Even though I rarely if ever look at the VHS tapes nowadays I do love this booklet and still use it as a reference guide when I watch the much superior blu-ray set)
Well let me say that I was drooling at the thought of owning all The Monkees TV episodes in good quality. I didn’t have much access to “The Monkees” series other than the reruns on MTV in 1986/87 and those were in hit or miss quality. And of course those rerun versions featured on MTV were a hodgepodge of original soundtracks mixed with songs from later airings on CBS and ABC from the Saturday morning reruns of the late ’60s and early ’70s.
I had rarely seen the original opening credits for the first season of The Monkees TV show so it was pure delight for me to see a decent copy of that plus the episodes with the original songs all for the princely sum of $399. Yes, you heard right, this limited edition set sold for $399 and even at that price it sold out fairly easily.
I have to admit looking back that I can hardly believe I paid the then (and now) steep asking price for this monster box set. Really I must have been a bit Monkees obsessed to plunk down that kind of change.
(Note 2: that last sentence was totally tongue and cheek as I still am a tad bit Monkees obsessed which you may well know if you’ve ever read this blog before)
At the time of course this set was the only game in town if one wanted to own the complete Monkees series on home video. So at that time I was VERY happy with this set and watched it a lot and enjoyed rediscovering the TV side of The Monkees project which for me had mainly been seen through the lenses of their recordings. Truth be told that’s still the main way I reach for any Monkees fix I need – music first, series second.
Having said that since the fantastic blu-ray set was released a few years ago I can honestly say I enjoy the series much more than I ever have. Yes it’s quirky and weird but even the episodes I enjoy the least are easier to get into with the stunning HD remastered look of the blu-ray set.
(Note 3: Not to mention all the great extras on the blu-ray set. If you’re curious I did an overview of the blu-ray box set and you can look for it with the search button at my home page.)
The blu-ray set was the first time that the complete Monkees series was overhauled from the absolute original negatives and scanned in exquisite quality. (The same VHS box set transfers were also used when the Monkees series came out on DVD which was issued a few years after the VHS set thus it was only marginally better quality than the VHS set).
It’s hard to imagine the appeal of the VHS set now that the new and sparkling HD transfers of The Monkees series exist but it’s still a fun time capsule to look back on and this monster VHS package sure does look purdy. As usual take a gander above and below and if you’ve never seen this set it’s still pretty cool and boy is it hefty – it weighs a ton.
Oh, one last thing. Having looked at some of the VHS tapes on my 48 inch 4K TV I must say the VHS tapes don’t look half bad actually (see screen photos below). Now of course they can’t compete with the newer HD transfers but they are very watchable and not that different from the DVDs except they have less detail overall obviously.
That’s all for now. Just another Monkees blast from the past for a cool spring evening.
Take care and be healthy and more coming soon …