James Bond + Monkees = Toomorrow
NEW YORK - Amidst the greatest barrage of promotional bullshit in many years, Don Kirshner, creator of the Monkees and the Archies and Harry Saltzman, co-producer of the movie adventures of James Bond, presented their first collective brainchild - a four member ‘multi-media’ rock band called Toomorrow - at a recent press party in Rockefeller Centre’s plush Rainbow Grill.
The clichés were as plentiful and expensive as the hors d’oeuvres. Should Toomorrow ever come, the complete package would eventually include three ‘musical adventure’ films for United Artists, a series of records on the Calendar label to be distributed by RCA Victor, numerous TV appearances, and the usual Licensing Corporation of America plastic-product tie-ins.
Olivia Newton-John, Karl Chambers, Vic Cooper, and Ben Thomas are the computerised results of a ‘six-month world-wide talent hunt’. Kirshner, who is called ‘the man with the golden ear’ and actually seems to like the title, refers to Toomorrow as ‘a smorgasbord … the best looking, total group that ever existed. Naturally the four have yet to make so much as a single note of music together.
Press releases for Toomorrow reveal the kind of mentality behind the project, which was undertaken, according to Kirshner, only because ‘the Beatles had become big business, leaving behind their image as exciting, real people’, and because ‘the world of pop was facing a tedious and vacuous future’. The Golden Ear called Newton-John ‘the Julie Andrews of the future, the girl next door… only groovier’ while hoping that Thomas will generate the same kind of excitement as James Dean’. The Georgia-born singer-guitarist is also described as ‘what you might get if you crossed Paul McCartney with Gary Cooper’. Chambers, a former drummer for Gladys Knight & the Pips, frankly admits that ‘they pictured me a combination of Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier’. Cooper, who once played piano and organ for Tom Jones, was apparently chosen because he is English, handsome, funny, and can do imitations of the Jameses Cagney and Stewart.
Saltzman says that the group was created ‘to fill a void for 14 to 30 year olds’. Kirshner modestly claims that Toomorrow ‘can be the biggest thing in the history of the business’.