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The Starland Vocal Band Show 

Summer replacement comedy/variety show, hosted by the eponymous Washington D.C.-based folk-rock group (Bill and Taffy Danoff, Jon Carroll, and Margot Chapman), one-hit wonders ("Afternoon ... See full summary »






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Series cast summary:
Peter Bergman Peter Bergman 6 episodes, 1977
Jon Carroll Jon Carroll 6 episodes, 1977
Margot Chapman Margot Chapman 6 episodes, 1977
Bill Danoff Bill Danoff 6 episodes, 1977
Taffy Nivert Taffy Nivert 6 episodes, 1977


Summer replacement comedy/variety show, hosted by the eponymous Washington D.C.-based folk-rock group (Bill and Taffy Danoff, Jon Carroll, and Margot Chapman), one-hit wonders ("Afternoon Delight," a number-one hit the previous year) who'd started out as John Denver's backup group. The comedy was provided primarily by veteran D.C.-based satirist Mark Russell and David Letterman, who got his first national exposure with this program. Written by Bob Sorrentino

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I actually remember this.
28 October 2009 | by jhaysnySee all my reviews

Back in the 70s, there were lots of 'variety' shows featuring various pop acts and TV stars. Staland Vocal Band was a one-hit wonder band from 1976 who scored big that summer with "Afternoon Delight" but quickly faded. This show, which came on I believe in early '77, was the last most of us heard of them before they vanished into the obscurity of K-Tel late-night infomercials. It's actually a shame, because Bill Danoff, the group's lead singer, is actually a very fine songwriter who has written such gems as "Country Roads", "Boulder to Birmingham" and others.

The format of this and other such shows was very bland and predictable. The main star, or stars, would come out on the stage and perform a number, maybe even a bad comedy bit or two, before introducing that night's guest stars. Then a few sketches of comedy plus some more music, before a big musical finale and good night. Lots of canned laughter and applause on cue. All of it was done in the over the top, have a nice day, glittery, bell-bottom'd style of the early Jimmy Carter/disco era.

Shows like this were cheap to produce, could be canceled quickly and used a lot of unknown stars who worked for scale. They were very bland and contained nothing (sex, politics, religion etc) that would offend middle America or advertisers. They were the reality shows of the pre-cable era. This particular show was a summer replacement, which meant it was competing with reruns, old movies and stuff like that, so the quality standard was even lower.

Surely there are some ancient Betamax tapes of this floating around. I've looked on Youtube and amazon.com and could find nothing. It's funny, because there are plenty of clips of the "Brady Bunch Variety Hour", which was equally bad, had about the same number of episodes and came on about the same time (late '76/early '77).

Other variety shows of that era included "Tony Orlando and Dawn" and "Captain and Tenille". "Saturday Night Live" believe it or not started out with this kind of format, although being a late-night, New York-based program, it featured far more cutting edge acts and raunchier humor than "Starland Vocal Band" would dream of.

Believe it or not, I actually saw I believe one or two episodes of this back in the day, I think, at my grandfather's house one summer when I was about 8. I vaguely recall one episode where they were driving around in van or something. I don't recall David Letterman being on it, but then I was only a kid at the time, and no one know who he was anyway. But everyone has to start somewhere, right ?

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Release Date:

31 July 1977 (USA) See more »

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