You think that 80’s kids are old? Well, I also have memories of the 1970’s; after all, they fully occupied the first seven years of my life.
And I remember “Donny and Marie” (1976-1979), which ran on ABC. It was a sanity-challenging, Kafkaesque combination of disco, country music, family entertainment, themed-comedy skits, sequined outfits and … ice-skating. Which made it either the height of 70’s cheese or the very nadir of Western civilization — you decide.
I’m embarrassed to admit here that I loved it, even if I was a tot at the time. (Hey, if you’re five or six years old, then the sight of Donny being a non-threatening goofball on stage was the very height of hilarity.) You can see what I mean in the second clip below, if you can stomach all four minutes of it.
What’s interesting about this show is that it was kind of a dinosaur in its time … variety shows had been on the decline for a while in the late 1970’s, and were already being supplanted by the situation comedies that would become the trademark of the 1980’s. Bizarrely, NBC tried to launch Marie in her own solo variety show during the 1980-81 television season, but it just didn’t catch on. It was cancelled after seven episodes.
What’s truly crazy is that Donny and Marie are still performing in Las Vegas. I kid you not. Google it. You can even see them tonight at The Flamingo. There’s at least a chance that they’re immortal vampires.
Postscript: I at first typed “Donny and Maurie” in that blog post headline, and I feel certain there’s a terrible joke hiding there somewhere about Donny hearing the results of paternity test on “Maury Povich.” That would make a great “Saturday Night Live” sketch.