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11/11/2014 08:51 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Heart-Pounding Moment Micky Dolenz Realized The Success Of The Monkees (VIDEO)

When Micky Dolenz was cast as the drummer and a lead singer in the television show "The Monkees," he had no idea how successful -- or unsuccessful -- the show would be. "The Monkees" may have only aired for two seasons, but its fictional band quickly burst out from the small screen and became a real-world phenomenon that sold more than 50 million records. Yet, even with those incredible musical accomplishments, Dolenz tells "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" that he still doesn't view The Monkees as a band.

"It wasn't a rock 'n' roll band. It was a television show about a rock 'n' roll band," he clarifies. "That was a character that I was playing, and I still look at it like that. Now, the other guys may not agree or not look at it the same way, but that's always the way that I've looked at it."

During the time that "The Monkees" was on the air, Dolenz and his bandmates were so busy with work that they didn't realize how quickly the nation was falling in love. What if the show didn't work out? Watch Dolenz open up about his original career plans.

"You're in a bubble," Dolenz says. "You have no clue what's going on outside your bubble. You're in the eye of the hurricane."

But that changed in December of 1966. It was the first break that the group had since "The Monkees" premiered, and Dolenz planned to do some Christmas shopping as he'd done in the years prior.

"I ran down to the local mall here in the Valley, where I'd been shopping every year since I was a child," he says. "All of a sudden, I hear people screaming and running at me, and I thought it was a fire!"

Dolenz tried to keep his cool and help usher the mall-goers outside to safety.

"I turned around and I hold the door open and I'm going, 'Don't panic! This way! This way! Don't panic!'" Dolenz says. "They come running at me, all these kids, and I realized, 'Oh my God, they're running at me.' That was the first time I realized that something was going on."

It's a realization that has stuck with Dolenz nearly 50 years later. "No matter what I do in my career, in life, nothing will get close to that recognition factor or the power of that inertia that was created by that television show and that music," he says.

The Monkees were so popular as a band that they've embarked on several reunion tours over the years, continuing to perform even after the sudden passing of lead singer Davy Jones in 2012.

"When Davy passed, it was traumatic. I'm not sure I'm still over it. It's like [losing] a family member... like a brother," Dolenz says. "But, you know, the music is so powerful that the music does sort of see you through."

In the video below, Dolenz joins HuffPost Live and describes how The Monkees changed after Jones' death.

"Oprah: Where Are They Now?" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on OWN. Find OWN on your TV.

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Micky Dolenz
CONVERSATIONS