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Monkees Mania Straddles The Generation Gap

August 21, 1988

CHICAGO (AP) _ Hey, hey it’s a whole new generation of Monkees fans, and they’re not too busy to attend the 1988 Official Monkees Convention.

The band, which had six top 10 hits and a popular television series from 1966 to 1968, has captured the adoration of 1980s teens through a revival of its show on cable television.

″I don’t think they’re too old,″ said 15-year-old Lisa Mason of Portsmouth, Va. ″I dream about meeting them, and I play around and think they’re still not married and they’re my age.″

Despite wrinkles and some gray hairs, band members still draw shrieks and tears from female fans, who gathered by the thousands Saturday.

″I’m closer in spirit to their ages now,″ said guitarist Peter Tork, 46. ″I thought I was older then.″

The convention drew fans, including a handful of men, from as far away as Australia and Japan to the Monkees’ only performance in the United States this year, said Michael Bush, convention organizer.

Three of the Monkees - Tork, drummer Micky Dolenz and singer Davy Jones - were scheduled to perform separately, one on each of the three days of the convention, which started Friday. The fourth Monkee, Michael Nesmith, declined to attend.

Beth Weltheral, 15, of Huntsville, Ala., said she persuaded her mother to take a vacation to Chicago, so she could see the group.

″My friends think I’ve gone out of my mind,″ said Beth, who said she owns 23 of their albums.

″But their music just seems to have more meaning than the music of today does,″ she said, as she clutched a photograph of Tork and wore a Monkees’ T- shirt and a Monkees’ jacket.

Beth’s mother, Shelba Weltheral, 48, a management analyst for the Army, said she never liked the Monkees until her daughter started buying the albums and watching the television show. ″Now, I’m a Monkees fan too.″

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