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Donny and Marie (TV Series 1976–1978) Poster

(1976–1978)

Trivia

The person responsible for the choreography of the figure skating segments was Bob Paul, who won the pairs figure skating gold medal at the 1960 Winter Olympics with his partner Barbara Wagner.
The genesis of this show can be traced back to Donny and Marie's appearance on the The Mike Douglas Show (1961). When Fred Silverman saw the way the two interacted with each other he decided at that point to develop the variety show with the two siblings.
Based on the initial success of the series, the Osmond family constructed a multi-million dollar TV studio facility in their hometown of Provo, Utah, and moved production of the series there for its final season. The move (along with changes to the show's format) proved unsuccessful and the series was soon cancelled.
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It was due to a popular appearance by a pair of actresses from the former series The Brady Bunch (1969) that led to the creation of the sitcom-musical variety hybrid The Brady Bunch Variety Hour (1976).
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The initial 1976-77 success of the ABC Network's "Donny and Marie" variety show series, produced by the older brothers, George Osmond, patriarch of the Osmond family enterprises, constructed a multi-million dollar "Hollywood style" TV studio in Orem, adjacent to the foothills of Provo, Utah in 1977. The first 1976-77 ABC TV season, the show taped weekly at the Hollywood KTLA TV (formerly Warner Brothers 1920-1940) Studios, on Sunset Boulevard. With the show's popularity and successful ratings, the show's success came at a cost. George Osmond and the family built and operated, at great expense, a first class television studio in Orem, Utah, where the show was produced from the second 1977-1978 season. "The Donny and Marie Show" continued being produced at the Osmond's Orem studio through the fourth 1978-1979 season. Unbeknown, that the ABC network would cancel their show, marking its final season ending in the Spring of 1979. The move (along with changes to the show's format) proved unsuccessful and the series was canceled. "Cal" Calvin McWhorter, KTLA TV Studio's construction coordinator, accepted the Osmond Family's job offer as their Orem Studio's production facility manager. Cal's brother Ed McWhorter, working with his brother Cal in the KTLA Studio's construction shop, and as a KTLA #33 (IATSE) union stage technician, moved with the Osmond's series to Utah as a construction coordinator. The Osmond's Orem studio facility was unique as a first in the Salt Lake-Provo area providing a "Hollywood" production facility with rehearsal rooms, offices, two fully equipped television-tape studio/stages, a complete lighting package, also including construction, paint, scenic, graphics, drapery, costume and wardrobe departments, engineering with video show-tape editing personnel. The facility offered a major employment opportunity to the Salt Lake and Provo communities. Popular as a tourist sight, the family's open door policy allowed visitors entrance to the sight, where a "wall of fame" had been constructed in the administrative exterior studio forecourt. Each week, the show's celebrity guests implanted their hand print, foot print and signature on a rectangular concrete slab, with the concrete slab hung on the wall of fame. Osmond Productions endeavored to develop film projects for the entertainment industry utilizing their facility. Commercial accounts from Ohio video taped their TV promotions and ads at the studio. The Osmond's developed other special entertainment projects, which aired on various network outlets. The Osmond Family sold the studio when it was no longer feasible to continue operating it. Jimmy Osmond later purchased the sight back, refurbishing the buildings, turning the property into Osmond Real Estate company until 1993, when the real estate company moved.
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George Osmond (October 13, 1917-November 6, 2007) was the patriarch of the Osmond Family. Olive May Osmond (May 4, 1925-August 28, 2004) was the matriarch of the Osmond singing family. The Osmond siblings were born in Ogden, Utah, except Jimmy, who was born in Canoga Park, California. George "Virl" Osmond, Jr (October 19, 1945) was the first born; Thomas "Tom" Rulon (October 26, 1947) was second of nine; Alan (June 22, 1949) was third; Melvin "Wayne" (August 28, 1951) was fourth; Merrill Davis (April 30, 1953) was fifth; Jay (March 2, 1955) was sixth; Donny (December 9, 1957) was seventh; Marie (October 13, 1959) was eighth; and Jimmy (April 16, 1963) completed the ninth sibling. Their father George was in Ogden real estate and selling insurance. The Osmond Brothers began as a barbershop quartet group in their hometown of Ogden, Utah; consisted of brothers Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay. The Osmond Brothers quartet was later joined by younger siblings Donny (joining the group at age 6) and Jimmy (joining at age 6). Melvin "Wayne" Osmond (August 28, 1951) was second oldest, Alan (June 22, 1949) was the oldest, of the original singing brothers. During the 1969 Disneyland Park's Summer schedule, the Osmond Brothers appeared for a four week engagement during the month of June, at the Disneyland's Tomorrowland (outdoor) Summer nightly variety show, produced by Bob Jani and Chuck Corsen, Disneyland Entertainment Division. Disneyland Entertainment produced a three month long variety entertainment show, broken down with a month (4 week) engagement for each group booked as a live entertainment amusement park show. The variety show was staged three times, each night, during the four weeks, the first show starting at seven (7:00pm). The three (June, July and August) month summer variety show was an enticement to keep the park's visitors during the night's entertainment package. Arriving from Ogden, Utah, the first night of their Disneyland stage show appearance, father George Osmond, who managed the group, shepherded the six boys onto the outdoor stage at six (6:00 p.m). With the front curtain closed, until the first show-time of the Tomorrowland stage, the nervous and apprehensive group of Osmond brothers huddled in a circle center stage, while papa George conducted a prayer meeting soothing his nervous son's anxiety. The Osmond Brothers were one of three headliner acts-groups featured during the Tomorrowland variety show"s June four week engagement.
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In the summer of 1979, Ralph Nelson was the principle motivation in directing an Osmond (Family) Productions produced NBC TV Movie of the Week special "Christmas Lilies of the Field" featuring Billy Dee Williams (Homer Schmidt) and Maria Schell (Mother Maria). The NBC film special, aired on December 29, 1979, was planned as a pilot-pick-up order for a mid-season 1980 NBC series replacement. The replacement series was to be based at the hometown Osmond Family Television Studio Production facility, located at 1240 E. 800 N. in Orem, Utah. The film's exterior location Chapel (interiors) and exterior Mother Maria's quarters (interiors) were built on State of Utah owned land, 75 miles North-West, from the Orem-Provo Osmond's studio. The production planned to use this Chapel and Mother Maria's abode location exteriors/interiors for the proposed series. The MOW filmed additional locations in the Salt Lake area. The Osmond brothers and Ralph Nelson would produce the series, Ralph Nelson directing the NBC TV series "Lilies of the Field". The December 29th, 1979, MOW's poor and slim viewer ratings resulted in cancellation of any further series development.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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