And now we get to the teen idol portion of our program. I’ve got two words for you: Tiger Beat. And also its somewhat less interesting cousin, Teen Beat. Those magazines were catnip to this young girl and I read every single word of them, just sure that I was going to gain the little tidbit of knowledge that would drive my latest celebrity crush straight into my arms.
But Donny was my first crush. He held my tender 7-year-old heart in the palms of his hands and thankfully he was gentle with it. He didn’t get his feelings hurt when I moved on from him to the next big thing, but there’s always going to be a teeny little part of my heart that belongs to Donny Osmond.
For many years I had a big poster of Donny with his brothers on the wall at the foot of my bed so I could see it when I first woke up. You can see his brothers being his Pips on the video. Donny’s favorite color was purple – did you know that? You might also know that Puppy Love was a remake of a song originally recorded and written by Paul Anka, who wrote it for his very own puppy love, Annette Funicello.
Puppy Love was a record that I shared with my younger sister and we played it over and over and over again. We’d sing along in full sob until the “help me, help me, please” part, when we’d throw ourselves dramatically on the bed giggling our heads off. Then we’d get up and start the record all over again.
The flip side was a song called Let My People Go, about Moses and the Israelites, which was a strange choice for a pop act but kind of prophetic considering Donny starred in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat a couple of decades later. Different characters, I know, but both Biblical.
And can we just talk about how long Donny has been in show business? (For the record, it’s over five decades) He appeared on The Andy Williams Show (remember him? I do.) when he was around 5 and he’s still at it today. In between he’s recorded music, had his own TV show with sister Marie, worked on the Disney movie Mulan, acted on Broadway, won Dancing With the Stars, worked as a TV correspondent and host, and performed live. In fact, he’s still performing in Vegas now, along with sister Marie. He’s been married to the same woman for 36 years and has somehow avoided scandal, or if there’s been any involving him I don’t know about them.
And then can we talk about his teeth? How in the world does a person have teeth that perfect? And what kind of deal did he make with the devil to stay looking that young? If you haven’t noticed he still looks quite handsome, then you just haven’t been paying attention.
The rest of this week I’ll be taking a look at some of the Tiger Beat stars from the 1970s who made their way into my collection of 45s. Alert your inner fangirl because this is going to be good!