The Monkees: Season 2, Episode 20

The Devil and Peter Tork (5 Feb. 1968)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Music
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 56 users  
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Peter browses through a pawn shop owned by a mysterious man known as S. Zero. He meets Zero and the two chat about the varied instruments he is selling, Zero talking cryptically about the ... See full summary »



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Title: The Devil and Peter Tork (05 Feb 1968)

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Episode cast overview:
Davy (as David Jones)
Peter Tork ...
Blackbeard (as Ted De Corsia)
Billy Beck ...
Peter Canon ...
Lee Kolima ...
Monte Landis ...
Zero (as Monty Landis)


Peter browses through a pawn shop owned by a mysterious man known as S. Zero. He meets Zero and the two chat about the varied instruments he is selling, Zero talking cryptically about the previous owners of the instruments. Peter then notices a harp and falls in love with the instrument even though he has never played the instrument before. When Peter says he would give anything for the harp, Zero makes a deal - Peter will sign a contract to own the harp and pay for it later. Peter happily signs and carries the harp home, and does not see when Zero makes a phone call to inform his home office that he - in reality The Prince Of Darkness - has purchased Peter's soul. Zero later appears at The Monkees' beach house and tells Peter he can play the harp; when the initially disbelieving Peter begins playing and finds he has great dexterity in doing so, Zero disappears and Micky, Mike, and Davy are left surprised at Peter's ability. The Monkees integrate the harp into their touring act and ... Written by Michael Daly

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Music




Release Date:

5 February 1968 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Filmed in late April 1967, the episode was the fifth episode of the second season produced, but was held back from broadcast. Two reasons were cited - the first revolved around the song "Salesman" used in the episode's first act to depict The Monkees being subjugated by The Devil. "Salesman" contained a drug reference in the third verse that NBC supposedly objected to. But according to Peter Tork, the real reason the episode was held back was because of the gag where Mike, Davy, and Micky say "hell" and the word is bleeped out; Peter has said that this gag was a direct attack on NBC's Standards & Practices division. See more »


Mike: Come on, Micky. I mean, everybody knows that nobody in the world was ever an overnight success.
[Mike answers the phone]
Mike: Hello?
Voice on telephone: Harris Booking Agency. I understand you guys have a harp act.
Mike: [as Micky and Davy look on puzzled] A harp act. Uh, right.
Voice on telephone: You're going to be an overnight success!
Mike: [puzzled but not suspecting Zero has tipped off anyone] Uh, okay, uh thank you very much.
Mike: [after hanging up the phone] Hmm, that's a flash.
Micky: What?
Mike: We're gonna be an overnight success.
See more »


References The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941) See more »


No Time
Written by Hank Cicalo
Performed by The Monkees
Produced by Chip Douglas (as Douglas Farthing Hatlelid)
See more »

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User Reviews

"Nobody can give it to you, nobody can take it away"
12 January 2014 | by (Youngstown,Ohio) – See all my reviews

Broadcast no. 52 (Feb 5 1968), "The Devil and Peter Tork" has been acclaimed as the series' finest episode, its only weakness some obvious padding in the courtroom, earning director James Frawley a second Emmy nomination, winning last year for "Royal Flush." In depicting the story of 'Faust,' about a man who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for fame and fortune, we have Peter, the trusting innocent, signing a contract with Mr. Zero (Monty Landis) for the ability to play the harp. The Monkees are a sensation afterwards, and when Mr. Zero returns to claim Peter's soul, it's up to Michael Nesmith to prove the contract is null and void. By calling the devil to the stand (presenting him with a bible!), Papa Nez explains how Mr. Zero didn't give Peter anything in exchange for his soul, as what he wanted was neither fortune nor fame but just to play; that power comes from within, from love, if you love something you can play it ("nobody can give it to you, nobody can take it away"). This episode treads a fine line trying to integrate humor into a serious story, but with Tork and Nesmith, the two musicians who took the criticisms most to heart, it's wholly successful (Nesmith's eyes convey the serious regard he had for his music). It was a hard-fought victory, but because of the numerous references to 'Hell,' network censors kept it on the shelf for nine months (37th in production, filmed May 2-4 1967). Monty Landis was making his fourth straight appearance, superbly catching the right tone, often amusing yet never hammy. This was the second appearance for "No Time" (from HEADQUARTERS), and the only one for "Salesman," the opening track from PISCES, recorded June 14 1967, and composed by Craig Vincent Smith from The Penny Arkade, all friends of Nesmith from Texas (Nes plays electric guitar and shaker, Tork on acoustic guitar). Next in production- "I Was a 99-Pound Weakling."

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