The iconic Friends fountain first made a big splash on The Monkees
Friends is a lie. We're not just talking about the unbelievability of those characters living in that massive Greenwich Village apartment. The opening credits pulled one over your eyes, too.
You know how it goes. The six pals frolic in and around a fountain. Chandler (Matthew Perry) spews water from his mouth next to a stone fish. Joey (Matt LeBlanc) floats on a raft with a frozen cocktail and sunglasses. Ross (David Schwimmer) tumbles backward into the pool.
All the while, the theme song, "I'll Be There for You," jangles in the background. "So no one told you life was gonna be this way…" CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP.
Come to think of it, the music sounds a good deal like the Monkees, no? But there is a much bigger and more concrete connection from Friends to that wild rock 'n' roll sitcom of the 1960s — the fountain turns up in many Monkees episodes.
Some tourists believe the fountain to be the Cherry Hill fountain in Central Park. Nope. That Friends fountain is not in New York City. It's not even in New York State. The fountain can be found in the middle of a green lawn on the Warner Bros. Ranch studio lot in Burbank, California. It's just down the street ("New York Street," coincidentally) from the Waltons house.
Loads of classic shows filmed on the Warner Bros. Ranch, including Father Knows Best, The Donna Reed Show, Dennis the Menace, Hazel, Bewitched, Gidget, I Dream of Jeannie, The Flying Nun and The Partridge Family. As you might have guessed by now, The Monkees also shot extensively on the lot.
Peter, Micky, Davy and Michael can be seen playing around the fountain like four, well, friends in many early episodes. You can spot that grassy lawn in the episodes "Your Friendly Neighborhood Kidnappers," "The Success Story," "The Chaperone," "Here Come The Monkees," "I've Got A Little Song Here," "One Man Shy," and "The Monkees Mind Their Manor." The fountain can be spotted — sometimes prominently, sometimes fleetingly — in most of those.
In particular, during the musical number "Gonna Buy Me A Dog" in "I've Got A Little Song Here," which you can watch in the video up top, the Monkees ride bikes around the Friends fountain. It's a nice aerial view.
At the end of "The Chaperone," Peter dresses and hollers like Tarzan, swinging from a vine and splashing into the Friends fountain. He comes up soaking wet and spits water from his mouth, three decades before Chandler did it.
Here is Peter dancing in a ring near the fountain in another episode.
The history of the fountain makes it even more inappropriate for the opening of Friends. The water feature, lawn, and townhouses seen behind the fountain are modeled after Beacon Hill and Boston Common in Boston, Massachusetts. The fountain itself is modeled to look like Brewer Fountain in Boston Common, which featured Greek mythological figures instead of fish. But close enough.
Due to its prominent location on the Warner Bros. Ranch, the Friends fountain can also be found in loads of other films and shows, including the beloved Halloween movie Hocus Pocus.
But the Monkees were the first to truly use the fountain as their own personal water park.