SPANISH TANGO - THE JOHN DENVER SHOW
Original Broadcast Date: 6/5/1973
Troupe: Pans People
Dancers: Cherry, Dee Dee, Louise & Ruth
Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-OOD9YLOlM ____________________________________________________________________________________
Pans People appeared in all six episodes of the ‘John Denver Show’ in 1973. In fact they appeared several times on each show. Most of their appearances though were just backing and in some, they don’t do any dancing at all.
One of the big problems with these shows is that they only exist in very poor picture quality, so much so that it looks as though we are watching the LEGO version of Pans People. The other big problem is that there is more cheese in them than there is at the local delicatessen. I have to confess as well that I am not really a John Denver fan although I do quite like 'Annie’s Song'.
I was tempted to ignore these completely, however it is my intention to include something from as many different series as possible, so I present for you today – Spanish Tango.
I would have expected a programme like this to go out in the early evening so I was quite surprised to discover that it was actually broadcast at 10.40pm on a Sunday evening on BBC2. The early evening slot had been taken by an interesting documentary about the endangered Canadian Wolf. Hopefully P4PM is no longer killing them!
As for the routine, well the set is quite good and the costumes are fine and the dancing is appropriate for the song. However the poor visuals really spoil the enjoyment. We seem to be missing a dancer as well. I just don’t have much enthusiasm for this so my score is just 4.5 out of 10. Perhaps the schedulers got it right after all giving prominence to the Canadian Wolf! I just hope that we can get at least ten reviews as soon as possible so that we can move on to something better!
The John Denver show is not to everyone's taste and viewed today it probably does appear to have a little too much of a homely sweet feel to it. However, I am lead to believe that the persona that comes across on screen is indeed what the man was like off screen except for adding a dose of seriousness about certain world issues. So the fact that Mr Denver wasn't hiding behind a smoke screen of a public image during the making of this (peak of his career) series is a plus for me although it must be said I am not a country music fan.
He may have been a successful singer and songwriter but it was obvious that he couldn't dance a step, therefore any involvement with Pan's People in that way had to be turned into a spoof of sorts. At least he tried though and didn't mind making himself look foolish in the process with the group efforts contained in the series being light and deliberately comical. Whereas the solo spots awarded to all six members of Pans were rather different and allowed for a variety of performances in a similar way to the In Concert programme.
This Spanish Tango from the 2nd show of the series displays some nice moves from our dancers and they look the part with hair tied back but of course the star pretty much walks it through. Only 50% of the shawls are following the usual colour coding we expect so it's a little odd to see Cherry in green. We are a dancer down with Babs involvement in this show limited to a non-dancing appearance as an angel in the circle of the Television Theatre during the closing number, so that's always going to detract somewhat. It's a nice enough piece for a variety show of this era but it is lightweight. 5/10
Thanks for your review PansLegs and may I say that I am once again impressed with the quality of your screencaps. This is one where I really struggled to produce anything half decent. Having spent the weekend watching all of the John Denver performances available, what does come across is that they seemed to get on very well with him and by all accounts he was a very nice bloke.
Well I have to say thank you to our host for including a John Denver Show performance at last. I must admit my motives for pressing him were not all laudable but surprisingly to myself I quite like this one!! Admittedly the picture quality detracts a lot (and PansLegs' pics are superb in comparison as OGW says, so such a pity we can't bring the lad permanently into the moving picture era ) but the Pans lady's moves are very good and it has a huge score boost created by no inane Denver chatter and no insipid singing. The silly ending noises and canned laughter remind us of the fragile ground on which we walk but overall I think this one deserves 6.5/10
PS: OGW I have never shot at an apex carnivore and indeed my brother is a wolf nut. No word of a lie, here is my semi-permanent desktop pic:
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
Like most of the guys here, i reckon we've all watched the John Denver dance routines at least once and we could probably count on one hand the routines we'd play a second time. This for me isn't one of them. Obviously the poorish picture quality is a factor in this.
Though on watching it again, i can appreciate the choreography a little more, the rope thing with JD and DW i thought was pretty neat. Just on JD, he did appear to be a really nice guy who generally enjoyed the company of Pans People.
I cant really score this any higher than `5 out of 10`. Though a few of the other JD offerings id certainly score a lot better.
It must have been quite difficult for Flick to choreograph some of these dances for while doubtless a success in the singing line JD never seems to be properly in tune with the mood that FC is aiming for. Here we needed a certain languid arrogance from the male lead but it wasn't to be. As has been said already though, the ladies move well, the outfits sit well, and we are spared any unwanted vocals. So I'm at a 4.5 and would probably be at a 5 with a decent visual copy.
An interesting choice. I don't think I've ever watched this before (as I haven't watched all of the JD routines yet), but in actual fact I quite like it. It takes a bit of getting used to, that's why I watched it twice in a row. In spite of the abysmal picture quality, I believe to see some very fine dancing here, and there are even some comical elements. Thanks to PL I can now imagine how the ladies should look like, so I don't have to deduct more than 0.5 for the quality of the clip.
In good quality this would be a 7.5, the way it is it's still
7 / 10
It's a pity those JD shows are not for sale on regular DVDs like the Two Ronnies are.
I don't know what the quality is like though but it has the 'Super' indent in the corner so I assume it is similar quality to what already exists. I find their description of ' The Pan People' as 'five British ladies who did some dances' quite amusing!
This should be the same quality as the ones that are circulating. Besides the "Super" ident the other clue is that only 5 of the 6 shows are available. The sixth show does not circulate, presumably as it wasn't repeated on the now defunct "Super Channel".
A gentle reminder of why John Denver is primarily remembered as a singer/songwriter and not a comedian. All a bit basic and rather silly, but not in a good way. Legs used a chessboard much better. As others have said the quality of picture is a big minus. However, Cherry was rather sweet. Just a 4/10 for this one, I'm afraid.
Thanks for all the replies so far. Some very interesting views as always and I am pleased that the score ratings haven't been as low as I feared they might be.
By the way, I never really thought that P4PM was a wolf killer, but I am surprised that his desktop pic doesn't include a certain dancer. Perhaps this is the one that he uses when Mrs P4PM is in the vicinity!
I was offered some of the sixth show but fell out with the seller. and he still has £60 of mine. Comes of dealing with pirates. The available dances do demonstrate the dancers versatility but nothing to rave about, except Ruth with a goldfish bowl.
Your hospitality in offering such a varied miscellany selection from the cheeseboard does you proud, OGW. As originally intended, this section provides variety.
Perhaps surprisingly, I found this routine to be much more than tolerable - way above, in fact - my fears that John Denver would pinch the limelight with a burst of song or go into excessive 'comedy face' mode proved unfounded. Fortunately he only enters Eric Morecambe dance mode towards the conclusion. However, there's no fear of PP falling into hysterics and losing their absolute concentration. It is this concentration which is necessarily maintained for a tango dance routine which sees it through, gaining admiration along the way for the consistent, proud posture. Favourite moment - Senor Denver roping Dee Dee in for a cuddle...it is Dee Dee, isn't it...?
I feel that the tango is one of the more successful dances, I do like the elegance which Legs had too few opportunities to show. I love the clever way in which Flick hides the two left feet of the star, so I will go to 7 , though that may too kind.
Why does BBC endlessly repeat Bargain Hunt and never show these programmes ?
I'm not quite certain I haven't clicked a link to The Ghosts Of Motley Hall, but here goes...They say it takes two to tango but lucky ole Juan Denver has four senoritas to play with. Our decidedly sub-swashbuckling hero surveys the scene with a 'which lucky lady shall I choose?' nonchalance which is soon belied. But don't underestimate the wily fox. Harnessing his shortcomings into a kind of safety net he places himself in a win-win situation. If he excels himself, great; if he messes up, hey, more laughs. The girls play it melodramatically to emphasize he's out of his depth and further comedy is mined in that no matter how wanting we can see he is nothing can break his spell in their eyes. It all brings to mind a less showy version of Larry Grayson having a go himself in the Generation Game. Dee Dee reeling in and out will I think be the abiding memory of this, and it isn't lost that it's her and not him who's doing the reeling.
Entertaining but just too low-grade to be of more than passing interest. 5/10
Its a real shame that due to the lack of a decent version of these shows (evident in Panslegs pics), these performances often seem to be looked down on. I agree with Vin an official DVD would be nice, but i doubt that would ever happen, what do you say to that ladies?
Er quite. As a TOTPs excursion these could be comparable to the Jack Jones and Two Ronnies series, but having spent a bit more time watching them now i think they offer much more. There is a wide variety of ideas and styles at play here and unlike the other two shows John is fully immersed in the action in a large number of them, and personally i don't see this as a particular hindrance at it offers another aspect to the girls performances by joining in the fun.
The Spanish Tango then, whilst Pans do the lions share of the work John is clearly in his element with his choice of 4 dance partners (lucky him), i couldn't quite understand the laughter here and there, as this seems to be played fairly straight. The rope thing with Dee Dee was the highlight, very well delivered that bit. 6.5/10