Of all the films, shows, concerts people want to see put on DVD, I somehow doubt "Captain and Tennille: The Christmas Show" ranks high on the wishlist. So why are several Captain and Tennille DVDs being released? Your guess is as good as mine.
The 1976 50 minute Christmas Show consists of performances by the Pointer Sisters, Tennille's 3 sisters, and Captain and Tennille (obviously), with a few sketches featuring Don Knotts (how could you Don?) and "Happy Days" star Tom Bosley. The songs featured in the program are: "Jingle Bells," "Little Saint Nick," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/White Christmas/March Of The Wooden Soldiers," "I'm Saved/Amen," "Wedding Song," "Count Basie Medley," "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "How Can I Be Sure?," "O Holy Night," and "We Never Really Say Goodbye."
The Captain and Tennille special is, to put it simply, a disaster. In the opening number, Toni Tennille comes out in a hideous dress and sings "Jingle Bells" with a Spanish accent. Keep in mind Toni Tennille is a white southern woman. Not only is using the accent pointless, but I'd wager it's a bit offensive too. From there on out the special only gets worse. The 4 Tennille sisters murder the classic Beach Boys version of "Little Saint Nick," Toni Tennille sings a jazzed up/operatic version of "O Holy Night," Don Knotts appears in several unfunny sketches and looks depressed, and Daryl Dragon (AKA The Captain) acts like a robot as he attempts to act and read cue cards. Throughout the whole special I kept wishing I'd hear a gong to stop the show followed by Chuck Barris walking out on stage escorting Captain and Tennille off stage. Speaking of which, "The Gong Show" is a TV classic that really needs to be put out on DVD, unlike this "special."
Overall, Captain and Tennille should refrain from playing Christmas songs. I implore everyone to continue listening to the pros instead (like Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, etc).
Video and Audio:
The special has been digitally mastered and generally it shows. The 4:3 fullscreen picture no doubt looks superior to the original broadcast. I only noticed some blurred colors and fuzzy picture quality here and there.
The disc offers three stereo tracks. The original mono track, a stereo track, and an English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround track. I chose the 5.1 track, which sounded well above average. The singing and dialogue came through the speakers clearly. For a 31 year old special, the special has been nicely restored (far better than it deserves).
The only extra is a commentary by Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille. The two offer some insight as to what happened behind the scenes and or on stage (ahem lip synch) and they also poke fun at themselves. The track is hard to listen to, however, as the dialogue from the special isn't muted. So the commentary and the special play at once. Headache inducing to say the least.
The legions of Captain and Tennille fans will no doubt find this disc to be an early Christmas gift. For everyone else, I offer you this advice-avoid.
Film and television enthusiast Nick Lyons recently had his first book published titled "Attack of the Sci-Fi Trivia." It is available on Amazon.com.