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Tony Orlando and Dawn

By David

In 1974 Sonny and Cher cancelled their own show with CBS while they where going through a divorce. Programming chief Fred Silverman saw Tony Orlando and Dawn perform on the Grammys and thought they would be a good replacement for Sonny and Cher. Turned out he was right.

Starting July 3, 1974, Tony, Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent would start taking bows every Wednesday night at 8 pm. The four summer shows did well in the ratings and it was placed on the fall schedule where it ran through December 1976.

Tony and Dawn continued to place hits on the charts during the series run with songs but by the third season the show was moved to Tuesdays at 8 to compete with Happy Days and, although the show still had some strong numbers, the show's new Saturday Night Live-like format did not really set well with the host and his two partners. The show was cancelled mid season. Shortly thereafter, tragedy struck when Tony's sister died and his best friend, Freddie Prinze of Chico and the Man, committed suicide.

To make matters worse, the affair between Tony and his Dawn partner Telma Hopkins ended. For a while even though they would perform together, they where not on speaking terms. Tony's continued drug use caused Telma and Joyce to call management for help. They where told it would be okay. However several months into a disastrous tour with bad reviews Tony collapsed on stage and was taken home for treatment. One year later Tony called a meeting with Dawn and told them he was going solo.

They didn't speak to each other for almost two years. Tony finally called them and they have remained friends since. In 1988 Tony and dawn performed a reunion tour to great reviews. The tour was so successful that the tour was originally booked for five weeks and was extended for one year.

In the end Telma left the tour to be in the ABC sitcom Family Matters. Today she stars in Half and Half. Telma was replaced on the tour by Joyce's sister Pam, who had always recorded with the group but never performed with them. The tour lasted four more years.

Joyce Vincent lost her daughter to illness at the age of 21 and is now divorced. The TV show was on in reruns but now is off but is being considered for a DVD release in the summer of 2004. In addition Tony and Dawn reunited for a PBS special to be aired in the Spring and are considering a reunion tour for summer 2004.


Share Your Memories In Our Forums!

Check out our Tony Orlando and Dawn forum! Do you have a favorite episode of the show? What do you remember about the series? Do you have any questions about it or its stars? Now you can post comments and questions directly to our TV forums! Click here to see what other Tony Orlando and Dawn viewers have said or to post your own comments about the show!

Your Memories Shared!

This past Wednesday (May 14,2003) I saw them perform in a show that was being taped for PBS. It was the first time in 14 years that they had performed together and it was great. They are wonderful entertainers and I hope many people get to see the show when it airs so that they can enjoy it as much as I did.


Note: This is just a random sample of the Tony Orlando and Dawn messages in our TV forums! Click here to see what others have said or to post your own comments!



Aired: 1974-1976

Cast: Tony Orlando, Joyce Vincent Wilson, Telma Hopkins

Network: CBS

Genre: Variety

Theme song

Image courtesy of CBS

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