Home      About 'CAPTAIN CATHOLIC'


‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ is a comedy/drama film series released on YouTube and Google Videos between November 2006 and April 2009. The ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ series was created by Tony DeGennaro, who also portrays Captain Catholic throughout the series. DeGennaro, a Roman Catholic himself, created the series primarily as a humorous means to spread moral messages involving significant modern-day issues such as sweatshop labor, the death penalty, abortion, sexual ethics, immigration, corporate greed and other social justice issues. The series revolves around the Catholic ideal of loving every member of society equally, and it promotes activism and encourages viewers to work to change society for the good of all people.
The ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ series holds the teachings of the Catholic Church to be universal truth, but the series promotes great respect for the beliefs of all people of good will while seeking to foster a better understanding among people of all backgrounds and religious beliefs, an idea which has been strongly promoted by the Catholic Church since Vatican II in the 1960s.
The ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ series consists of 10 Productions, including 7 Episodes (averaging about 25 minutes each) and 3 full-length movie productions (averaging about one hour each). Each Episode focuses on a specific issue, such as sweatshop labor and immigration, while the Movies tend to have a more broad moral focus.
In addition, the ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ series has an official facebook group, called ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC wants YOU!’ The purpose of the facebook group is to discuss the moral issues found in the ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ series, and it is the primary way in which the series hopes to promote a better understanding among people of different beliefs and backgrounds. All opinions are kindly welcome in the ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ message board, and respect for the beliefs of all people is required. As of 2010, the facebook group has over 1,300 members from every continent in the world (aside from Antarctica), each with varying religious beliefs and backgrounds. To visit the 'CAPTAIN CATHOLIC wants YOU!' facebook group, please click 'HERE.' 
How did the ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ series come into existence?
The story of how the ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ series came into existence spans several years, going back to DeGennaro’s senior year of high school. Attending a public high school, DeGennaro stuck out due to the Catholic Activist shirts he often wore. One day while sitting in a Theatre class, a fellow student saw that he was wearing some kind of tiny wool object underneath his shirt next to his Crucifix. Puzzled by this, the student asked DeGennaro what it was. After explaining to the student that it was a Scapular, or simply an article of clothing representing devotion to the Virgin Mary, the student exclaimed, “What are you, like, Captain Catholic?!” Since then, ‘Captain Catholic’ became a nickname for DeGennaro throughout the rest of his high school years and followed him into college.
In April 2005, during the last half of DeGennaro’s senior year of high school, Pope John Paul II died after being quite ill for some time. Inspired by Pope John Paul II’s devotion to his faith and his promotion of love and justice for all people, DeGennaro decided that he wanted to spread these same messages to his local community. Using iron-on-printing technology, he began to make his own T-Shirts bearing the late Pope’s image, along with various quotes of the Pope. But the quote that appeared most on these T-Shirts was DeGennaro’s favorite quote by Pope John Paul II, that being: “Love is Never Defeated.” The T-shirts became well-liked by DeGennaro’s peers, eventually becoming known as ‘Pope Shirts.’ These T-Shirts would be the same T-Shirts worn by Captain Catholic as a part of his uniform in the series to come.
Finally, as a student at the University of Scranton majoring in Theology/Religious Studies, DeGennaro began to perform comedy acts in front of peers while wearing his ‘Pope shirts.’ He also became well-known for repeatedly using the word  ‘FANTASTIC,’ which became his catch-phrase. He eventually performed at an open mike night in 2005, grabbing the attention of both the student director of the University Television Studio, Bill Snyder, as well as fellow classmate and communications major, Garrett Geary. Snyder and Geary began to joke with DeGennaro that he should host his own talk show. A year later, this talk show idea became a reality.
DeGennaro went on to co-host the “Talkin’ with Tricia and Tony” show in Fall 2006, a late night comedy show in the style of Conan O’Brien which aired on the University of Scranton Television Network. The show was produced by Bill Snyder and directed by Garrett Geary. To view the pilot Episode, please click 'HERE.' 
Eventually, Snyder and Geary wanted the show to host a couple of weekly comedy segments, causing the writers to brainstorm several ideas. Finally, DeGennaro suggested ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC,’ which was originally to be a weekly 2 minute segment on the “Talkin’ with Tricia and Tony’ show. The segment would involve DeGennaro in a Pope shirt battling villains that went against the main Catholic principle of Love. Captain Catholic was to have a nerdy alter-ego known as ‘Phoney’ DeGennaro (rather than ‘Tony’ DeGennaro). The main villain was to be ‘Harry the Hater,’ an evil twin brother of Captain Catholic. The original episode, written by DeGennaro, was to have Harry the Hater selfishly extort kind-hearted local bar-owner Big Tim for more money than he had (the setting of a bar was chosen to peak the interest of fellow college students). The episode lasted for a brief two minutes, and was to be continued during the next “Talkin’ with Tricia and Tony” show. Each episode of ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ was planned to be divided into two 2-minute parts, with one part airing each week.
Geary and DeGennaro decided to film a brief trailer to promote the new weekly segment. The trailer was filmed in mid-September 2006, consisting of footage of DeGennaro running around in a suit and a Pope shirt with narration by Geary. Much of the footage from this trailer would later be factored into the official intro for the first four Episodes of the ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ series. The trailer also featured the ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC MAIN THEME,’ performed by DeGennaro on his keyboard, which would later become the theme song for Captain Catholic throughout his adventures (the theme is heavily based around John Williams’ ‘Superman’ Theme). The trailer aired during the pilot episode of “Talkin’ with Tricia and Tony.” Anticipation for the new weekly segment began to grow around the University of Scranton campus.
Over the course of the next week, DeGennaro began to brainstorm more ideas for the series. After coming up with many different ideas, various villains and endless moral themes to explore, DeGennaro realized that a brief two minute segment each week would not be enough for the ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ series. In addition, he wanted to promote the series to more than just the local University of Scranton campus, but wasn’t sure of how to go about such a task. Finally, a clash between the students and the faculty in the communications department resulted in the temporary suspension of all University television shows, leaving DeGennaro with ample time to think about his plans for ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC.’
DeGennaro began to explore the possibilities of uploading videos to the Internet, something which he had never done before. After uploading a few test videos to YouTube and Google Videos, he decided that these two video-hosting websites would be perfect for broadcasting ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ to the world. DeGennaro then decided to leave the “Talkin’ with Tricia and Tony” show in order to pursue ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC.’
DeGennaro’s new idea for ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ was to establish the series as an online comedy/drama film series available on both YouTube and Google Videos, with installments to the series being produced every couple of months. Rather than being available exclusively to the University of Scranton community, ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ would now be available to the world. Instead of restricting the series to two minute segments, the series would now be free to take on much more complex moral issues and storylines. In order to fulfill the series’ goal of promoting a better understanding among people of different beliefs, DeGennaro decided to create a facebook group in order to initiate discussion regarding the issues found in the ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ series. Furthermore, this facebook group would serve as an excellent means to promote the ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ series to college student and high school audiences. Everything was set to go.
Eventually, DeGennaro decided that Captain Catholic needed more than just a ‘Pope shirt.’ He needed a uniform. DeGennaro modeled the basic outline after Superman’s uniform, consisting of a cape, tights, and boots. The color ‘white’ was picked, as white tends to represent purity in Catholic Theology. DeGennaro went online and ordered Under Armour products for the tights and undershirt, and he found a pair of white boots on eBay for about $10. They were the only pair of white boots he could find, and so he choose them, despite the fact that they were a size 15 (DeGennaro’s shoe size is an 11; the ridiculously enormous size of Captain Catholic’s boots tends to add to the humor and over-the-top personality of the character). Furthermore, Captain Catholic would wear DeGennaro’s ‘Pope shirts' over top of the Under Armour long-sleeve-shirt, an element that the local Scranton audience would especially appreciate. Last but not least, DeGennaro bought a large piece of white cloth, cut it into the shape of a cape, and ironed a Vatican Flag on to the back of it.
Finally, DeGennaro decided to come up with some basic catch-phrases and mottos for Captain Catholic. He wanted Captain Catholic to stand for the basic values of the Catholic Church, and so DeGennaro decided he would always fight to spread the values of ‘LOVE, HOPE, and The CATHOLIC WAY.’ In addition, Captain Catholic would need to have a motto that was authentically Catholic while also being a motto that everyone could agree with, regardless of what one’s personal religious beliefs might be. Therefore, Captain Catholic’s motto would be that of Pope John Paul II's quote: “LOVE IS NEVER DEFEATED.” The series would come to base itself around this basic philosophy that so concisely sums up the rich history of Catholic teaching. And last but not least, Captain Catholic would inherit DeGennaro’s personal and simple catch-phrase of ‘FANTASTIC.’ Thus, the Captain Catholic character that we now know today was born.
DeGennaro went back to his original script for Episode I of ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC.’ Now free to make the episode as long as he wanted, he decided to change the basic plot. The setting of Big Tim’s bar would be retained, but the main villain would be changed. Since Captain Catholic was to represent all that the Catholic Church stood for, primarily the selfless values of LOVE, HOPE, and the CATHOLIC WAY, the main villain had to directly oppose these values. The first modern-day opposition to these sacrificial values that DeGennaro could think of was the worst of the worst in the business world. Thus, an over-the-top greedy businessman that would take advantage of the poor and the oppressed for his own needs became Captain Catholic’s arch-nemesis. Dick DeGreedio represented everything the Catholic Church stood against, and he came to represent an extreme selfishness that would directly oppose Captain Catholic’s selfless values of love and charity. DeGreedio would not make his last appearance in Episode I, and he would remain the primary villain throughout the three-year-run of the series.
‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC: EPISODE I: The CAPITALISM of DICK DeGREEDIO’ became the pilot Episode of the series (Episode 0 would not be released until early 2007 as a prequel episode). It was filmed in early November 2006, and it was released to YouTube and Google Videos on Thursday, November 16, 2006. The facebook group ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC wants YOU!’ was created on the same day in order to promote the series and initiate discussion of the main moral topic of Episode I, that being the role of greed and selfishness in modern day capitalist societies. The series was an immediate success. In only a matter of days, the facebook group gained 600 members, and Episode I received several thousand views. On December 6, 2006, ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC: EPISODE I’ became #5 on Google Videos’ Top 100 Movers and Shakers List in the entire nation. Most importantly, discussion on the ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC wants YOU!’ message board exploded, and over 40 long-winded posts were made by people of varying backgrounds in response to the Episode’s treatment of greed in the role of business ethics and capitalist societies. People were coming together to peacefully discuss such issues, and many people began to understand the opposing philosophies of their fellow peers in a way that they had not previously understood. To be taken to the 'CAPTAIN CATHOLIC wants YOU!' facebook group, click here: 
The series would go on to produce 10 productions, consisting of 7 Episodes and 3 full-length Movies. All of the productions would be written by Tony DeGennaro, except for ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC: THE MOVIE,’ which would be co-written both by DeGennaro and by former “Talkin’ with Tricia and Tony” director Garrett Geary. Geary, who specialized in film writing, remained a loyal supporter of 'CAPTAIN CATHOLIC' and offered DeGennaro assistance in plot development throughout the major movie productions of the series. Each production of ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ would serve as a means to promote various causes of social justice. The message board continued to be flooded with responses, and people of polar-opposite beliefs were frequently seen to come to a more peaceful understanding of one another with the release of each production.
In addition, after ending the series with ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC: THE MOVIE 2’ and ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC: THE MOVIE 3,’ the dramatic final productions of the series which were released back-to-back in April 2009 (and argued to be the best productions of the entire series), DeGennaro began to look for other ways for the ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ series to serve the worldwide community at large. Now a religion teacher at a Catholic High School, DeGennaro’s students began to ask if him he sold the ‘Pope Shirt’ T-Shirts worn by Captain Catholic in the series. One thing led to another, and eventually, DeGennaro created ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC Merchandise for Charity,’ a website created to sell ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ T-Shirts, Posters, Coffee Mugs, Bumper Stickers and more. Some products would simply contain humorous quotes and sayings from the series, while a separate clothing line called ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC wants YOU! - Activist T-Shirts’ would promote the teachings of Catholic social justice found within the series. Most importantly, the ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC Merchandise for Charity’ website would not produce any personal profit, but instead, all profits would go straight to charity (specifically to Catholic Relief Services, an organization that helps the poor in over 300 third-world countries). Thus, the ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ series would now be able to promote the selfless values of ‘LOVE, HOPE, and The CATHOLIC WAY’ while also being able to directly help the poor and the oppressed of the world in their financial and emotional needs. To visit the ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC Merchandise for Charity’ website, please click  'HERE.'
The ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ series had accomplished what it had set out to do. To this day, it serves as living proof of the fact that communication, patience, charity, and understanding are all that is needed for a peaceful world. Although our society may be composed of varying philosophies and beliefs, we must push ourselves to understand the perspectives of others. We must engage in dialogue with those who hold opinions that are the complete opposite of ours. Until we do so, our world will continue to be unsettled, and civilizations will go on fighting against one another. It only takes a little bit of communication for peace to reign in our hearts, and when one’s supposed ‘enemy’ sees that you simply want to understand them, they will be transformed. The ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ series is proof of the fact that if everyone were to treat their enemies with love, our world would be a much more forgiving and understanding place. Essentially, the ‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ series is a testament to the fact that love is truly never defeated.
‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ ©2006-2011, Tony DeGennaro. All Rights Reserved.