Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Disney Cashes In On the Osmonds Family Act Formula!


Disney, the empire that Walt Disney built back in the early 1940's-50's has really hit its stride lately. With the success of their Disney cable channels and hit shows to boot (That's So Raven, Hannah Montana, The Wizards of Waverly Place, The Jonas Brothers) they've been knocking them out of the park for the past ten years or more now. but what's really surprising is the success of their radio stations Disney radio and recording artists to boot. With Hannah Montana, The Jonas Brothers, and Zack Ephron just to name a few Disney is raking in millions of dollars annually throug their record sales. A lot of the credit goes to their formula in packaging good clean family entertainment while keeping up with the current trends in fashion and music. They've done very well at it for a while now but I can't help drawing comparisons to an older act that Disney helped to laung onto the world-stage a while ago; and they were the Osmonds.

Back in the 70's the Osmonds featuring Donny Osmond were touted as the white version of the Jacksons but they had been in the business for a long time paying their own dues in Utah even as Michael Jackson and his brothers were paying theirs in Indiana. They worked as hard as the Jacksons to develop their own unique family act that finally hit pay-dirt in the early 70's. With a string of hits under their belt they were popular and known for their sunny disposition, wholesomeness, and family oriented entertainment (all the things

Disney demands of its music acts now). Oh and I forgot those Osmond smiles! yes, they should have done lots of toothpaste commercials for they were famous for their pearly whites! But also there was no dnying they had talent for they danced, sang, and played all their own instruments. Me and my friends always enjoyed watching them (though many of them would never admit it) for they always put on a really good show. Disney was responsible for giving them their first bit of national exposure in the 50's on the Mickey Mouse Club when they were just kids and from there they grew into a great self-styled family act. In them I see the prototype for the current milieu of pop and tv stars coming out of Disney lately a formula with which Disney has achieved great success.

Hannah Montana, Raven Symone, The Jonas Brothers, Corbin Bleu, Zack Efron, and Vanessa Gomez remind me so much of the original Osmond brothers act it ain't funny. For the Osmonds have always maintained a fairly positive public image staying away from the Hollywood scene opting instead to live in their homestate of Utah and all as far as I know are still practicing Mormons, something that keeps them grounded I believe. Their music reflects their sunny disposition even as they passed it on to I believe Alan Osmond's sons who formed a music group and had a lot of success overseas as the new Osmond Brothers in the 90's. I saw them a couple of times and they were really good too. Eitherway, all of those mentioned above Disney acts also seem to have for the most part avoided a lot of negative controversy (Disney demands it!) and most of them dance and sing songs you're not afraid to let your kids listen to. I believe the Osmonds had a big influence on that.

Now the Osmonds have been dismissed in so-called 'serious' music circles as a fluff act and purveyors of mediocre pop music in their heyday but that's truly an unfair assessment. Just because they didn't court scandal and sing the blues didn't mean that they weren't serious or talented musicians and performers. Everytime I saw them perform in the 70's I can honestly say I enjoyed the show and so did thousands of others who LOVED their music. They still draw crowds to Branson with their country act (now I don't like their country show) and Donny continually tours drawing fans from all over the world to see him. But the Osmonds legacy is set for they left their mark on just about every Disney act you can think of as well as performers like New Kids on the Block, N'Sync, the Backstreet Boys, Dream Street, and others who dared to be a boy-band. Like the Jacksons the Osmonds can look back with pride and know honestly that they were the first and that without them as the prototype for Disney's acts their house of music would have never gotten off the ground or would have fallen a long time ago.

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