couldnt get a job. I had $8,000 worth of equipment and
no personality.The Captain on
why he originally hired Tennille...
Captain & Tennille: The Ultimate Collection
By Jonathan Boudreaux
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 didnt even care if their stars
were €ctional (the Bradys) or couldnt 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 shows theme
Captain & Tennille have become somewhat of a kitsch classic
over the years, mostly because of the Captains 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, Cant Stop Dancing), they
ably cover other hits of the day (Honky Cat, Daydream,
You Dont Mess Around with Jim, Boogie
Fever, Jive Talkin, Let Your Love
Flow, Welcome Back, Heaven Must be Missing
an Angel). Whether shes 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 Tennilles sunny
personality. He is charmingly doe-eyed but vacant, often staring
The worst parts of most variety shows are the lame jokes and
skits. Captain & Tennille, too, has its share of losers.
The Captains 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.
Many of the jokes and skits do work. The Bionic Watermelon is
so dumb that one cant 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.
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 Whats 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 Charlies 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 youre liable to miss Andy Grif€th completely.
About halfway through the season, the show begins to feature
more musical guests performing their own hits and other songs
with the shows hosts: The Sylvers (Hotline),
Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis (You Dont Have to
be a Star, Youre 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, Shes
Gone with Toni Tennille), Natalie Cole (Ive
Got Love on my Mind, Alexanders 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).
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
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
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 wont
give your TV a workout, but it also wont send you screaming
for the exit. The audio wont blow you away, but all things
considered, this set sounds great. -
A bonus CD includes Captain & Tennilles latest single,
Saving Up Christmas a maudlin track about going
off to war.
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 dancerseach sporting giant afros covered in red
The videos dont 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 Captains drag.
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.
Tennilles enthusiasm is absolutely infectious.
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.
The neat Dance Rehearsal (4:38) ventures behind-the-scenes
of the rehearsal and design process for one of the shows
In Daryls One Man Band (3:30), The Captain
plays an entire song by himself on a variety of instruments.
The duos bulldogs, Elizabeth and Broderick, receive their
own clip compilation set to
The Captains Broddy Bounce (1:15) in this
sets €nal extra.
Who would have thought that a 29 year old variety show starringof
all peoplethe 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.