I’m Leaving It All Up To You, Donny

If you are a Donny or Marie Osmond fan, you will immediately recognize the reference in the above blog post title to a famous song they sang, I’m Leaving It All Up To You. This weekend, I’m placing my fate, the chance to meet Donny, in his hands. And maybe with a little help from Above, it will happen. And here’s why…

Bucket List Weekend in Vegas

This weekend I am traveling to Las Vegas with my friend Cheryl to celebrate my 60th birthday. This is sort of a bucket list event for me. We’ve been planning this for several months with one purpose in mind—to see the Donny and Marie show. Next month, Donny and Marie will be ending their 11-year run at the Flamingo Hotel.

Donny’s announcement of their star from his Facebook page.

While it was my heart’s desire to attend one of the nightly Meet and Greet events they hold after the show, we were not able to get those coveted tickets. Shortly after we booked our flights and bought tickets for the show, we heard that Donny and Marie were being inducted into the Las Vegas Walk of Stars on October 4 (the day we arrive).

Maybe my chances are increasing to meet him. At the very least, this weekend will definitely have an Osmond theme to it. My friend Cheryl and I will be in teeny-bopper heaven—like A Teenager in Love! (That’s a Donny song from 1972.)

Yes, I’m just like millions of other crazed women of my generation who dreamed of meeting Donny.  Humor me as I share some of the background for why this trip is so significant to me. I’ve got A Million to One shot of meeting him. (Yes, that’s another Donny song.)

My Osmond History

I’ll start by sharing something I wrote in my scrapbook when I last met Donny 20 years ago. Yes it was a dream come true—almost perfect—as you’ll see—almost.

Wednesday, June 30, 1999 is what I affectionately call ‘Donny Day.’ It was a day in my life when many of my teenage dreams came true.

Back in junior high school when I was about 12-13 years old, I was a huge fan of the Osmond Brothers music group and especially the lead singer Donny. I had my room plastered with posters. I had all of their albums (and probably 45’s too). I read all the teen magazines. I dreamt so much about them that I even wrote a story about them. Much to my disappointment, I never got to see them in concert.

As an adult I continued to carry a fascination with the Osmonds and followed their lives through the media. In 1989, Donny was doing a national tour including a stop in Seattle. Much to my amazement, my husband agreed to take me to the concert. Donny was promoting his Soldier of Love album/CD. My husband and I loved the concert. I had turned my husband into a Donny Osmond fan!

Autographed Soldier of Love CD

After the show, we waited outside the theater by Donny’s bus. I was hoping to meet him, but I was not alone. The bus was surrounded by fans. Donny came out to the bus and pushed his way through the crowd shaking hands along the way. As luck would have it, I got to shake his hand. What a thrill for me. It had finally happened!

Almost ten years later in the fall of 1998, Donny and Marie got their own talk show. Now I could get my fill of Donny on a daily basis. In spring of 1999, I saw Donny being interviewed on the Today show. He was promoting his new autobiography, Life Is Just What You Make It: My life So Far. I knew I would have to get his book. (I’m reading it again now to get pumped for our trip.)

Not much later after seeing that interview, I woke up one morning to hear the DJ on my husband’s radio alarm talking about Donny coming to town. I excitedly started researching when and where he would be locally. I expected he would be promoting his book and doing book signings. I came up empty-handed though. I tried the radio station. They didn’t know where—just the date he would be in town—June 30—2 days away!!!

I called KOMO TV (a local television station in Seattle) to see if Donny would be on Northwest Afternoon. SUCCESS! Yes, he would and they still had seats available. I booked 2 seats—not knowing who I would get to go with me. (After all I was a closet Donny Osmond fan.)

On the set of NW Afternoon (one page from my scrapbook)

I had to simultaneously find a friend to attend with me and a babysitter for my kids. As a backup plan, I would take my oldest son, who was 6 years old at the time. I thought he would enjoy seeing the filming of a live TV show from behind the scenes. I was thrilled to find a friend, Kris, who was also a big Donny fan, but she couldn’t make the babysitter connections for her kids. So I took my son. Kris watched from home.

Once I knew I was going, I bought Donny’s new book—maybe I could get it autographed! The day of the show I was a nervous wreck. It was going to be a busy day trying to juggle my kid’s commitments and still make it to downtown Seattle in time for the show. Before I left the house, I made sure to set the VCR to record the show.

That’s as far as I wrote back then. I’m sure life got in the way and I never came back to finish that scrapbooking page. But the photos are on the pages, and I will never forget what happened. So I’ll pick up the story after we arrived at the studio.

Donny Osmond Day on Northwest Afternoon

It seemed like a small studio audience, less than 100 people, but it was totally filled with Osmond fans. Before the show, we told there would be a “Q & A” segment and to have questions ready to ask Donny. I was so nervous that I wrote down my question on a checking deposit slip, the only paper I could find in my purse. I wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget: “How does he juggle the new show, book tour and family?”

On the set of NW Afternoon

It was very surreal to be there—so close to someone I had idolized as a teen and admired as an adult. I was able to ask my question. I was so nervous!! Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was put on a split screen view with Donny while I asked the question on TV. (I was pleasantly surprised to see this later on the video tape.)

Sharing the screen with Donny while I ask my question.

The best part of the program was actually during the commercial breaks. Donny would rush out to the audience, shake hands, autograph items and have pictures taken with his fans. Of course, I raised my hand to have Donny come our way. He signed a CD and his autobiography for me: “To Ardis, Love Donny Osmond”.

In the audience signing autographs

My Donny Moment

I asked Donny for a photo and of course, he was happy to oblige. I came prepared with my SLR 35mm film camera. (That was back before cell phones.) The problem was that my 6-year-old son couldn’t use it to take my photo. I asked if someone would take our photo, but no one volunteered.

Then the co-host of the show, Kent Phillips, offered to do it for us. The commercial break was coming to an end and Donny grabbed my hand and whisked me away to the set. (He didn’t really whisk me away, but hey, it’s my dream.)

Having my photo taken by co-host Kent Phillips.

Kent had my camera in his hands and was taking my photo on the set with Donny when the show was on-air again. Kent made some comments about returning from the commercials and that he was taking our photo. It was truly a special moment.

On the set with Donny and back from the commercial break.

Kent then directed me back to my seat in the audience. As he handed me the camera, he whispered in my ear, “I didn’t hear anything. I don’t know if it took any photos.”

I was aghast. Was the camera off? That was my biggest fear. But I wouldn’t know for sure until I developed the film. I tried to take my mind off of that possibility.

After the show I hung out by the TV station entrance and took photos of Donny as he left. It was a dreamy fairy tale like day! As I mentioned Kris watched the show from home. It was fun to virtually share the experience with her. I also remember hearing from a family member who saw me on TV, but didn’t know I was at the show.

Donny leaving KOMO television station after the show.

Once I came back to reality and had my film developed, I was devastated to learn that my worst fear came true—there were no pictures of Donny and me on the film. Fortunately, all was not lost. I took the video tape to a recording company who created some photos from the video tape. The photos were pretty blurry, just like a paused show on the TV screen. And remember this was 20 years ago.

While digging through my scrapbook, I also found another piece of fun Donny memorabilia. It was an email from a friend sent a few years later.

Hi Ardis, Just had to let you know I was watching NW Afternoon today and they were showing that Donny Osmond was going to be tomorrow’s guest and they showed an excerpt from the show he was on last time he was here and it showed the clip of Kent taking your picture with Donny Osmond on the set. It was fun to see. Just had to let you know.

Anticipating Donny Day 2019

So that was my Donny moment. As I said it was “Donny Day” for me. Now I’m expanding it into “Donny Weekend”. Will I be able to get a real photo with Donny and meet him again? Would he even remember that show? It was so special to me and thankfully is immortalized in my scrapbook to cherish forever.

So Donny, I’m leaving it all up to you, and the Lord above. Maybe we’ll meet again in Las Vegas! What are the odds? A million to one?

Update 11/12/2019: I had a million to one moment with Donny and Marie on my Donny weekend in Vegas. You can read all about it in What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas…or does it?.

Leave a comment

3 Comments

  1. Hi Ardis, I LOVE your Blog about ‘Donny Day’ it’s brilliantly written, very passionate 😄👍🆒️ Have a BRILLIANT Weekend celebrating 🎉🎊 & make sure DONNY bumps into you ! X😂 I too Blog about my times with this adorable Family, be in Vegas in a weeks’ time, so excited X HAVE FUN 👍🕺💃tinamckenzie.blog

    Like

    Reply
  2. Wanda

     /  October 4, 2019

    Hi Ardis, first off love your name. I got butterflies for you, reading your Donny Moment.
    Hope you get to met him again. I’m going to Vegas to a M&G show on Oct. 30
    Have an amazing time in Vegas

    Like

    Reply
  1. What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas…or does it? | Making Me Bold

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    I'm an author, writer, speaker, mentor & mom. I've struggled to find my voice all my life as I lived in the shadows of a mother with mental illness. Thankfully that was not the legacy that she handed down to me. It took a lot of recovery and deep healing work to rise above it.

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