California Dreamin': The Songs of the Mamas and the Papas (2005)
Commentary by Joe Mangano, March 2005

Recently I was viewing Channel 13 (PBS). A special titled, 'California Dreamin': The Songs of the Mamas and Papas' about the vocal group of the mid-late 1960's aired. It featured, among others, Pete Fornatel, the broadcaster and Michelle Phillips one of the members of the group. Fornatel and Phillips were shown together in the PBS broadcast studio commenting on images and footage from the heyday of the group.

Being a fan not only of the Mamas & Papas vocal group but also having a great interest in the events of the 1960's, as well as folk music and Rock & Roll, intensified my interest. I didn't realize the show was going to be aired until I switched channels so I hurriedly began taping it. Early on in the broadcast, Michelle Phillips began to describe the early days of her career when she traveled to San Francisco, California. Let's pick it up from the broadcast:

". . . and then in the summer of 1961, I went to San Francisco. I became very interested in Folk Music, but mainly the folk musicians [ laughter in the background ]. San Francisco was really hopping. The Kingston Trio were out of San Francisco and The Smothers Brothers who were out of San Francisco . . . I started to size-up this folk group on stage [ The Journeymen ] and the tenor [ Scott MacKenzie who appeared to be about 5' 9" or so from the film clip ] was just unbelievably talented AND he was very cute, but I knew from the moment that I was sitting there watching them, that it was not going to be the tenor, it was going to be the TALL guitar player. I could tell he was kinda the leader of the pack. I was like a little groupie, I fell in love with the TALL guitar player on stage. John and I were married . . ."

She was referring of course to John Phillips, her late former husband, and later singer and guitar player of the Mamas & Papas. Well Michelle, your frankness is greatly appreciated. Your words speak volumes. Thank you. A guy can be "unbelievably talented AND very cute" but heaven forbid he be anything but tall. Obviously Ms. Phillips has high standards (pun intended) for her men. Not to take anything away from John Phillips (a man of great talent himself) but I think Ms. Phillips' candor is very illuminating from the perspective of the short-statured man. She obviously at the time was willing to sacrifice unbelievable talent and good looks-- for height-- in a man. Does that tell us something?

You incredibly talented good-looking short or averaged sized men - just move aside - here comes a man.