50 years ago today, the first television episode of The Monkees was broadcast in the US. The NBC series, featuring Americans Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, and British actor-singer Davy Jones ran for a total of 58 episodes. Initially envisioned as a TV show about an imaginary band, the actor-musicians, however, soon became a real band that wrote and toured with five #1 hit songs. WATCH a Running Gags Supercut (1966)
Originally instructed to stay out of the recording studio, they eventually fought for and earned the right to collectively supervise all musical output under the band’s name. The sitcom was canceled in 1968, but The Monkees continued to record music through 1971. The band sold more than 75 million records worldwide and had international hits, including “Last Train to Clarksville”, “Pleasant Valley Sunday”, “Daydream Believer”, “Valleri”, and “I’m a Believer”. At their peak in 1967, the band outsold The Beatles and The Rolling Stones combined.
MORE Good News on this Day:
- Elizabeth Barrett eloped with Robert Browning (1846)
- Jacqueline Lee Bouvier married Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy married in Newport, Rhode Island (1953)
- President John F. Kennedy in a speech at Rice University declared the US will get a man on the moon, and safely bring him back, by the end of the decade:”We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” (1962)
- Cave paintings were discovered in Lascaux, France (1940)
- The 50th Space Shuttle mission was launched with the first black woman aboard, Mae Carol Jemison, on Endeavour on STS-47 (1992)
- Dutch lawmakers gave same-sex couples the right to marry and adopt children (2000)
And, on this day in 1940, the extraordinary Paleolithic cave paintings in Lascaux, France were discovered by an 18-year-old boy. The complex of caves contained paintings of mostly large animals estimated to be 17,300 years old. The location was opened to the public eight years later, but the visits eventually became a threat.
The stunning murals were being damaged by exhalations, heat, and other contaminants produced by 1200 visitors a day. With lichen on the walls and paintings, the caves were closed in 1963 to preserve the art. Two hundred meters away, Lascaux II, a replica of the Great Hall of the Bulls and the Painted Gallery, was opened in 1983 so visitors may view the painted scenes without harming the originals.