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REVIEW....
C&T DVD of ABC-TV Variety-Shows Compilation:
Captain & Tennille

Courtesy of: www.tvdvdreviews.com / Jonathan Boudreaux

Captain & Tennille:

12/7/05
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“I couldn’t get a job. I had $8,000 worth of equipment and no personality.”–The Captain on why he originally hired Tennille...
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Captain & Tennille: The Ultimate Collection DVD Review
By Jonathan Boudreaux

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In the 1970s, everyone seemed to have their own network variety show: Sonny & Cher, The Brady Bunch, Pink Lady, Tony Orlando and Dawn. Network of€cials didn’t even care if their stars were €ctional (the Bradys) or couldn’t speak a lick of English (Pink Lady). In 1976, ABC gave a show to Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille. Otherwise known as Captain and Tennille, this happily married couple had a huge hit with “Love Will Keep Us Together,” which became their show’s theme song.
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Captain & Tennille have become somewhat of a kitsch classic over the years, mostly because of the Captain’s nautical getup and gimmicky songs like “Muskrat Love.” Watching these episodes, however, it soon becomes clear that their music has held up well over the years. In addition to singing their own hits (“Lonely Nights/Angel Face,” “Shop Around,” “I Write the Songs,” “Come in from the Rain,” “Circle,” “Can’t Stop Dancing”), they ably cover other hits of the day (“Honky Cat,” “Daydream,” “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim,” “Boogie Fever,” “Jive Talkin’,” “Let Your Love Flow,” “Welcome Back,” “Heaven Must be Missing an Angel”). Whether she’s singing one of her own songs or one made famous by someone else Tennille has a great voice, singing with an almost religious fervor. The Captain can seemingly play any instrument, although he lacks Tennille’s sunny personality. He is charmingly doe-eyed but vacant, often staring into space.
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The worst parts of most variety shows are the lame jokes and skits. Captain & Tennille, too, has its share of losers. The Captain’s hat jokes, for example (“What goes on your head and goes slam slam slam slam? A four door hat”). Masterjoke Theatre is interesting only in that it allows us to see celebs like Joe Namath and Tony Randall whack themselves in the faces with pies.
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Many of the jokes and skits do work. The Bionic Watermelon is so dumb that one can’t help but laugh. The pantomimes in which Captain and Tennille head out of the studio and cavort to various pieces of music are also fun. To compare funny variety show sketches and unfunny variety show sketches, be sure to check out Tony Orlando & Dawn.
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Guest stars include Penny Marshall (Laverne & Shirley), cast members from Welcome Back Kotter (Gabe Kaplan, Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs, Ron Palillo), Bob Hope, Redd Fox, cast members of Happy Days (Ron Howard, Roz Kelly, Erin Moran, Donny Most), Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek), Andy Grif€th (The Andy Grif€th Show), the cast of What’s Happenning!! (Ernest Thomas, Fred Berry, Haywood Nelson), Jackie Gleason (The Honeymooners), Rita Moreno (The Electric Company), Loretta Swit (M*A*S*H), the original cast of Charlie’s Angels (Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith, Kate Jackson), Raymond Burr (Perry Mason), Dick Clark, Jim Stafford, Tony Randall (The Odd Couple), Ed McMahon, Pat Morita (Mr. T & Tina), John Byner Muhammad Ali, Joe Namath, Don Knotts (The Andy Grif€th Show), Vincent Price George Burns, Roy Clark (Hee Haw), Rich Little, and Henny Youngman. Some of these are no better than glori€ed cameos. Blink during the opening credits, for example, and you’re liable to miss Andy Grif€th completely.
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About halfway through the season, the show begins to feature more musical guests performing their own hits and other songs with the show’s hosts: The Sylvers (“Hotline”), Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis (“You Don’t Have to be a Star,” “You’re All I Need to Get By” with Toni Tennille), Rufus and Chaka Kahn (“Sweet Thing”) England Dan & John Ford Coley (“Nights Are Forever Without You”), Heart (“Dreamboat Annie”), Dionne Warwick (“What the World Needs Now,” “She’s Gone” with Toni Tennille), Natalie Cole (“I’ve Got Love on my Mind,” “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” with Toni Tennille), Bread (“Lost without Your Love”), Leo Sayer (“You Make Me Feel Like Dancing,” “When I Need You”), Englebert Humperdink (“I Believe in Miracles”), and Paul Williams (“Evergreen”).
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The eleven episodes that make up The Ultimate Collection are divided onto three discs. The discs are housed in a nifty foldout case decorated with publicity photos and a written history of the show. The case slides into a cardboard sleeve. A brief full motion introduction involving musical staffs and piano keyboards leads to static DVD menus. Viewers can play all episodes or choose them individually. There are also scene selection menus (or, as the menus mysteriously say, the “scene selects” menu).
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Overall, this is a well-designed package that should please fans. It should be noted that the episodes might be edited. The running time of each episode varies ever so slightly.
Video and Audio
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Shot on videotape in the 1970s, Captain and Tennille looks extremely inconsistent. Some shots are clear and easy to see while others are fuzzy and out of focus. A vertical line can often be seen running along the left side of the screen. The video won’t give your TV a workout, but it also won’t send you screaming for the exit. The audio won’t blow you away, but all things considered, this set sounds great. -
Extras
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A bonus CD includes Captain & Tennille’s latest single, “Saving Up Christmas” a maudlin track about going off to war.
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All of the remaining extras are found on disc three. “C&T Video Jukebox” features ten video clips of performances from the show: “The Way That I Want to Touch You,” “Song of Joy,” “Muskrat Love,” “Muskrat Love (Take 2),” “More Than You Know,” “I Concentrate on You,” “Spring is Here,” “Love in the Shadows,” “Superstition,” and “Rubberband Man.” The songs can be chosen individually, but there is also a “play all” feature. Fans of the duo will not want to miss the gorgeous version of “Songs of Joy.” Even those who think “Muskrat Love” is the dumbest song ever written will enjoy the truly strange clips included here. “Love in the Shadows” exudes an effortless cool. “Superstitious” is so weird that you cannot look away. Tennille is done up like a giant black widow spider while her backup dancers–each sporting giant afros covered in red glitter–writhe hypnotically.
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The videos don’t end there. Also included is “Do That To Me One More Time” (3:46), an actual video that would have run on MTV had MTV ever agreed to run a music video by Captain & Tennille. Tennille is quite stunning here, and check out The Captain outside of his Captain’s drag.
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Next up is “C&T on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” (7:29), their very €rst national TV appearance (which occurred immediately before their concert at Knotts Berry Farm and their stint opening for Mac Davis). The duo performs “Love will Keep Us Together” and “Honey Come Love Me” before Carson declares that they are destined for really great things. Tennille’s enthusiasm is absolutely infectious.
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Also included are several of the outdoor €lmed silent comedy bits set to music: “Tee- Time for Toni” (4:04) (set to “The Right Place at the Wrong Time”), “Landscaping with Love” (3:23) (“Love will Keep Us Together), and “Ride, Captain, Ride!” (4:32) (“Happy Organ”). These are cornball, but also funny.
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The neat “Dance Rehearsal” (4:38) ventures behind-the-scenes of the rehearsal and design process for one of the show’s sketches.
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In “Daryl’s One Man Band” (3:30), The Captain plays an entire song by himself on a variety of instruments. -
The duo’s bulldogs, Elizabeth and Broderick, receive their own clip compilation set to
The Captain’s “Broddy Bounce” (1:15) in this set’s €nal extra.
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Summary
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Who would have thought that a 29 year old variety show starring–of all people–the Captain and Tennille would hold up so well? The music is always good, the sketches hit more often than they miss, and the show is consistently entertaining.