The Osmonds In Winnipeg

In November 2000, a crew from ABC television descended upon Winnipeg to film a biopic called Inside The Osmonds. Guy Maddin inveigled himself onto the set. A climactic scene was planned in which the actors playing the popsters would stand aside, to be replaced by the real – now aged – Osmonds themselves.

O-Day at the Walker Theatre. I’m not even the director and I’m dizzy with fear. Since late last night, real Osmonds have been flying in from all parts of Utah, one by one: Virl, Merrill, Wayne, Jay, et al. – the first Osmond reunion in seventeen years! The Winnipeg that awaits them this morning is locked in a cruel dome of permafrost – forty degrees below, and twice as cold with windchill! We Winnipeggers pride ourselves on  moments like this. Compulsively, we muse about the impact our perfrigid town will have on the unsuspecting who visit us. How will the newly arrived celebrities cope with being here? Will they be frightened when their nose hairs are twisted out by the invisible pincers that stab into one’s nostrils at temperatures this low? What will Donny make of that first biting mouthful of air outside the airport when the cold rips into his lungs like a swallowed scissor? Will he wonder why his eyelids have frozen shut as he gropes towards his limo? And what will happen to the real parents, George and Olive, now elderly? Will the cold simply kill them? Will they be borne home in coffins, in the chilled cargo hold of the same plane that brought them here as warm and loving parents?

From “Death In Winnipeg”, collected in From The Atelier Tovar : Selected Writings by Guy Maddin (2003)

4 thoughts on “The Osmonds In Winnipeg

  1. I think Norman Mailer described listening to Margaret Atwood as like being driven repeatedly through downtown Winnipeg on a Sunday evening. As a result, I’ve found myself quite intrigued by Winnipeg, a feeling that is now growing.

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