When I was a young lad, one of the most successful types of TV shows were the variety shows. They would have singing, dancing, and humor from the hosts of the show and their guest stars, usually the popular performers of the time. My family loved these shows. I can remember sitting down with my mom and dad and watching each week, singing along with the songs. One of my favorites was Donny and Marie, featuring brother and sister duo, Donny and Marie Osmond.
Donny had previously gained fame as a member of the then- popular singing group, The Osmonds, and Marie was the first female member of the family to join the boys. Donny and Marie were 18 and 16, respectively, when they were offered their own show on ABC. The show, created by Sid and Marty Kroft, aired on Friday nights. It ran from January 1976 to January 1979. The popularity of the show declined when it as announced that Donnie was dating and teen-aged girls stopped watching. The guest star list reads like a Who’s who of 1970’s television, from such shows as the Brady Bunch, Happy Days and The Six Million Dollar Man, as well as popular singers like Debbie Boone and Andy Gibb. Even Evel Knievel and Chuck Norris made appearances!
One of the most popular sequencers on the show featured the siblings singing their song I’m a Little Bit Country, I’m a Little Bit Rock and Roll, and then performing a medley of contemporary hits. Here’s a video of the sequence.
They duo sported a variety of looks throughout the series:
Donny is famous for his love of purple socks!
Of course, as all TV stars of the day, Donny and Marie had their own dolls!
When the show ended, Marie briefly had her own show on NBC, but it only lasted one season. Donny had a late 80’s hit with Soldier of Love and went on to star in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The pair reunited on screen in 1998 for Donny and Marie, a syndicated talk show that lasted two years.
Each week, I was glued to the TV for this show. It was a show that we could all watch together, with something for everyone. Here is the entire first episode. Give it a watch!