‘The Monkees’ Featured a Fountain that Became Iconic on Another Sitcom

by Allison Hambrick

Before another series made the fountain instantly recognizable, The Monkees made it their own personal waterpark. While many recognize the iconic plumbing from Friends, it actually featured in the musical-comedy first. Several episodes show The Monkees frolicking in the fountain.

Now, the obvious question is, why would one show set in Los Angeles and another in New York use the same location? Is the fountain really in New York or Los Angeles? In actuality, it is in neither city.

Located in the Warner Bros. Ranch studio lot in Burbank, the fountain is, however, closer to Los Angeles. While audiences believed that the Friends fountain was in Central Park, their Instagram captions were sadly false. The studio lot featuring the fountain was the site of numerous classic productions. I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, Dennis the Menace, and The Partridge Family, amongst others, all filmed there.

In The Monkees, the fountain features most prominently in “Gonna Buy Me a Dog.” The music video shows the Beatles-wannabes biking around the fountain and playing on the nearby lawn.

Sadly, The Monkees lost a member earlier this month. Michael Nesmith passed away of natural causes at the age of 78. Previously, two members had passed away. Davy Jones died in 2012, while Peter Tork died in 2019.

Remembering ‘The Monkees’ Michael Nesmith

“With Infinite Love we announce that Michael Nesmith has passed away this morning in his home, surrounded by family, peacefully and of natural causes,” said Nesmith’s family. “We ask that you respect our privacy at this time and we thank you for the love and light that all of you have shown him and us.”

The musician was fresh off of touring. This fall, Michael Nesmith and surviving member Mickey Dolenz performed several dates to celebrate the band’s 55th anniversary. Their sets included a number of favorites, including “For Pete’s Sake,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “I’m a Believer” and more. They previously released a new album called The Monkees – The Mike & Mickey Show Live in 2020.

Interestingly, Nesmith leaves behind a substantial musical legacy beyond The Monkees. Made famous by Linda Ronstadt’s band The Stone Poneys, “Different Drum” made the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967. However, Ronstadt did not write the song. It was, you guessed it, Michael Nesmith who penned the hit.

“It’s so funny,” Dolenz said in an interview with UCR. “He went to the [Monkees] producers in the early days and brought ’em ‘Different Drum.’ He played it for them, and they said, ‘Well, that’s nice, but it’s not a Monkees tune.’ He said, ‘Wait a minute. I am one of the Monkees.’ They said, ‘Yeah, yeah, we know. But no thanks. It’s really not a Monkees tune.’ So he said, ‘Okay,’ and gave it to Linda Ronstadt, and look what happened.”

Nesmith’s true passion in life was his songwriting. As a result, he often clashed with the writers of the show.

“Remember that he was cast in The Monkees, but he was not an actor. He was a singer-songwriter,” Dolenz continued. “They said, ‘Yeah, you’ll be able to write and sing songs,’ and the powers that be and the record company and the Donnie Kirshners and everyone were all involved and didn’t let that happen. He must’ve been incredibly frustrated, hoping he’d be able to use [the Monkees] as a sounding board for his material.”

Eventually, Nesmith recorded his own version of “Different Drum.”