Just playing those opening credits brings a smile to my face and happy memories. The original two seasons were 1966 to 1968, when I would have been all of two and three years old and I doubt my parents were watching it, so I must have picked it up during after school reruns in the early 70's. I tend to think of it around the same time I was watching Batman, which makes sense in terms of style and chronology.
In fact, I think I actually might have heard the Monkees (at least in terms of knowing who they were) BEFORE I really heard the Beatles. For some reason, among the albums I vividly remember listening to over and over at home were the first two Monkees albums, whereas I didn't get any Beatles albums until my grandpa gave me all of his.
I loved those albums. I loved those songs. Especially the goofy ones like Auntie Grizelda, although it was only later, much later, that I really got to listen and pick out which ones were pastiches of which styles. And isn't (I'm Not Your)Steppin' Stone really the greatest song the Stones never sang? And only much, much later, the last few years or so that I got into the post-show songs, the really weird stuff and even the Head soundtrack.
As for the show itself, obviously in the mid-70's I wasn't focused on the ethics of whether they were playing their own instruments or how much the show was influenced by both A Hard Days Night and Help, but it was just so damn much goofy fun.
The thing I loved the most were the spontaneous fantasy sequences, and especially the idea that the boys all went to the same fantasy space at the same time. It was a lot like how I played with my few friends at that time, so I really liked the idea. Regardless of how much was "acting" they seemed like four guys who genuinely liked being together and sharing a fantasy world together..
Being in fandom is my way of being in The Monkees, I guess.
Yes, at the time, I'm sure my favorite was Davy. (Hey, I started out as a Paul girl too.) But now it's totally Mike and I am SO GLAD I got a chance to see him. When he opened with Papa Gene's Blues you could just feel a happy sigh break out in the whole theater.