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Toy Tuesday: Donny Osmond introduces Dance Star Mickey

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Toy Tuesday: Donny Osmond introduces Dance Star Mickey

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So how long has Donny Osmond been closely associated with The Walt Disney Company? "About 200 or 300 years," this pop icon joked as he made an appearance yesterday in the Mattel showroom at the American International Toy Fair.

Which isn't entirely true. I mean, Donny's brothers did get their big break while performing at Disneyland. But that was back in 1961. Not 1761. Tommy Walker -- that theme park's original director of entertainment -- happened upon the Osmonds as they were doing their barbershop quartet bit for a bunch of Guests at Carnation Gardens. recognizing talent when he saw it, Walker immediately hired the boys to perform at the Park that summer. Which eventually lead the Osmond Brothers being showcased in an April 1962 episode of "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color" which was entitled "Disneyland After Dark."

Donny Osmond
 Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

It was during their days at Disneyland that Andy Williams' dad, Jay heard the Osmond Brothers sing and then he suggested to his son that Andy invite Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay to come perform on his variety show. And the boys got such a strong reaction that Williams quickly made them regulars on this NBC series. Which is how -- back in December of 1963 -- Donny Osmond was able to make his network television debut at the tender age of 6.

And once Donny got in front on that microphone, there was just no stopping this kid and his talented brothers. Which is why -- back in 1970 -- when Walt Disney Productions was looking for a little extra star power to help promote Disneyland's then-newest attraction, The Haunted Mansion, they asked the Osmonds to return to The Happiest Place on Earth and then appear in an new episode of "The Wonderful World of Disney" entitled "Showtime Disneyland."

Donny Osmond in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland
 Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

As he stood on stage at the Javits Center yesterday, Donny spoke with obvious affection about his connection to Disney. How his work for the Mouse House has actually prolonged his career, allowed him to connect with multiple generations of fans.

"Take -- for example -- last week. I'm in Las Vegas, walking into the Flamingo to go perform with Marie. And on my way into the casino, this guy stops me and then asks me to pose for a picture with his daughters," Osmond remembers. "And it was obvious that these two little girls had no idea who I was. So I leaned down and said: 'Do you know the movie, "Mulan"? ' And they quickly said 'Yes.' So I told them that I did the voice of Shang in that movie. And then suddenly these girls were very happy to have their picture taken with me."

Donny Osmond wins Dancing With the Stars
 Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

By Donny's reckoning, he's had "five or six careers" at this point. With The Walt Disney Company periodically stepping in and allowing this pop icon to reinvent himself yet again. Like Osmond's 2006 Broadway stint, where he joined Disney Theatrical's long-running production of "Beauty & the Beast" as that boorish, brainless bully, Gaston.

Donny Osmond and the Dancing with the Stars trophy
Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

Mind you, it was Mr. Osmond's most recent gig for the Mouse that brought him to the American International Toy Fair yesterday. Given that he's the reigning champion from ABC's hit reality series, "Dancing with the Stars" ...

Donny Osmond
Donny celebrates his victory back in November of last
year with his dance partner, Kym Johnson (L)  and
his wife,  Debbie (R, in pink). Copyright 2009
American Broadcasting Company.
Disney. All Rights Reserved

... the folks at Fisher-Price felt that Donny would be the perfect guy to introduce what they hope will be the hot new toy for the 2010 holiday season, Dance Star Mickey.

And being the good sport that he is, Osmond strolled into the Mattel showroom clutching his mirror ball trophy ...

Donny Osmond
Photo by Nancy Stadler

... saying that -- as one dance champion -- he was pleased to able to introduce another dance champion to the world.

Yesterday morning's presentation officially kicked off with Donny showing a brief film clip that then showcased Mickey's on-screen dancing performances over the past 8 decades. Then Osmond challenged a walk-around version of the Mouse to a quick dance-off. Which -- given the moves that Mickey busted on that itty-bitty stage -- may have been a mistake.

And then it was time to introduce Dance Star Mickey, the latest innovative plaything from the people who brought us Tickle Me Elmo and Get Up and Bounce Tigger.

Donny Osmond with Mickey Mouse
 Photo by Nancy Stadler

Based on what I saw yesterday morning, this new Mickey plush really is impressive. It dances to five different songs in styles that range from latin, soul, techno and disco. And wait 'til you see this mechanical mouse moonwalk.

Mind you, I wasn't the only one who was impressed with this animated Mickey Mouse toy. Donny talked about how -- during the previous day's rehearsal -- his 12-year-old son Josh just sat there, mesmerized by this thing. "I gotta warn you," Osmond said to Neil Friedman, President of Mattel Brands, as Donny referenced his rather large family,"Once Josh gets word back to all his brothers and cousins about how cool Dance Star Mickey is, there aren't going to be any of these toys left on store shelves."

Donny Osmond and Dance Star Mickey
Donny Osmond's wife, Debbie and their son, Josh.
Photo by Nancy Stadler

And even though Dance Star Mickey won't actually be showing up in stores 'til October of this year, Donny declared this new Fisher-Price product to be the hit toy of the 2010 holiday season. Which is why Osmond then presented this piece of plush with its very own version of "Dancing with the Stars" glitter ball trophy.

Donny Osmond
Donny presented the mirrored mouse ball trophy to Dance Star Mickey.
Photo by Nancy Stadler

Only this time around, the trophy was made up of three glitter balls. Which then made it look an awful lot like ... Well, you-know-who.

Donny Osmond and Mattel's Dance Star Mickey
 Photo by Nancy Stadler

We've got lots more stories coming out of Toy Fair 2010. But just a word of warning regarding tomorrow's article (which will showcase many of the "Rapunzel" products that Mattel will be bringing to the market later this year). Given that Nancy and I will be driving back up into New Hampshire just as this region's latest snowstorm starts winding down ... Well, that could delay our trip home. Which may result in JHM's story for Wednesday being posted later than usual.

UPDATE: Yep, a trip that normally takes us 4 1/2 - 5 hours wound up taking 8. And what with having to dig the house out after that storm, that "Rapunzel"-related piece didn't get published 'til just now (i.e. 4:30 pm. ET). Again, I apologize for the delay. Go check that story out.

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  • I think Dancin Mickey is kinda of cool. There have been dancing toys previously but this one deffinately goes all the way back to Walt's "Dancing Man" project.

  • Cute moves, but that's is one uuugggllly Mickey Mouse.

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