The scene was the Riviera Room - of the Maridor Restaurant where Columbia Records, for whom Williams records, was hosting a lavish after the theatre buffet supper last evening.
Each of the five boys was introduced at individual tables and when Merrill joined ours we learned some interesting facts about the sons of Mr. and Mrs. George Osmond of Huntsville, Utah.
Unspoiled, well-mannered, and completely poised both on and off stage, the Osmond Brothers are part of a family of eight boys and one girl, Marie 8. The two eldest, Virl 21 and Tommy 19, have been in Edmonton, Canada for the past two years, are due to return home after completing their work as missionaries for the Mormon Church – the church in which the entire Osmond family holds membership.
“Our father used to be in the real estate and insurance business but gave it up to travel with us” continued the dark-haired, smiling youth. “The whole family travels together. In fact, my parents are back at the motel getting the younger ones off to bed.
“This is our first week on tour and then we go to Los Angeles where we are scheduled to tape the new Jerry Lewis Show. After that we move on to New Jersey.”
Getting back to the individual who brought the talented youngsters to national prominence, Merrill reported they are now entering their seventh season with Williams, with whom they plan to continue doing most of their work. Among their three managers is Williams’ brother, Don Williams.
How do the boys keep up the pace and still find time for their education? “We have a tutor who travels with us and we also take correspondence courses.” As for practicing, when the boys are home, they spend three hours a day doing just this.
While under contract to MGM, the Osmond Brothers recorded four albums. More recently they have been signed by Williams’ company, Barnaby, which takes its name from the singer’s dog. They have a new single on this label.
“We sound entirely different now” said Merrill, but I guess you might say that the song which the public knew us by when were little was called Be My Little Baby Bumblebee. Speaking of little, we were surprised to learn that 13 year old Jay, who plays drums, was the youngest to join the group professionally, starting at age two and one half.
The other Osmonds include Alan, who plays lead guitar, Wayne, rhythm guitar, and Donny on the electric organ. Merrill plays the bass guitar.
When the Osmond Brothers visited the Williams’ home for the first time, they were greatly impressed. “It is beautiful” said Merrill – “especially the playroom downstairs which has a zebra-skin rug and a Cinemascope screen for movies. It’s just great.”
Today if Williams, who was fighting a cold at the opening, is feeling better, he may be playing a few rounds of golf. As for the Osmond brothers, they’ve worked out a deal with John Sculos and it’s more than likely they’ll be spending most of their time in the Fonda Del Corro pool.