Get Granny on Fallon

April 30, 2015

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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Movement starts to get Newcastle resident on ‘The Tonight Show’

By Christina Corrales-Toy Italene Gaddis, a 90-year-old poet, songwriter and musician, plays her autoharp in her Newcastle home in 2013.

By Christina Corrales-Toy
Italene Gaddis, a 90-year-old poet, songwriter and musician, plays her autoharp in her Newcastle home in 2013.

Newcastle resident Italene Gaddis had a dream.

The 90-year-old musician, author extraordinaire wanted to join Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show” and sing her mother a song.

Almost 30 years after that dream was born, it’s still that, a dream. But if Gaddis and her supporters at KING-5 TV have their way, that fantasy will become reality sooner than later.

“You know, some things you try to do, they don’t happen right away,” Gaddis said from her Newcastle home April 23. “It don’t mean it’s not going to be, it just means it’s not time.”

KING 5 and reporter Lori Matsukawa started a campaign April 22 to try and get Gaddis an appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

The local NBC affiliate, the same network that carries Fallon’s show, is asking everyone to use the hashtag #GetGrannyonFallon on social media to show their support for the singing granny.

Enhanced by her charming Southern drawl, the poet, musician and songwriter captivates with her quick wit and sunny disposition. She’s an endless source of encouraging words, uplifting songs and positive affirmations.

She currently shares her inspirational songs and poems at senior centers and retirement homes around the area. Still performing nearly every day, with autoharp in tow, the 90-year-old is hoping only to spread a message of peace, love and happiness.

“I try to encourage people. That’s really why I do what I do,” she said. “To encourage someone, well, that’s the greatest gift you can give next to love.”

Gaddis’ songs span a variety of topics, including more reflective pieces that delve into personal life experiences, as well as lighter pieces, such as one that tackles Puget Sound-area car traffic.

While Gaddis effortlessly inspires those around her, a symbol of the woman that motivates her — the one she wanted to sing to — sits delicately in her hair for all to see.

Join the movement

Help Newcastle resident Italene Gaddis get on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

Use the hashtag #GetGrannyonFallon in your social media posts to show your support.

She credits much of her work to her mother, Sarah Elizabeth, who “raised her the right way.” Gaddis always dons a single flower in her hair as a tribute.

If all goes as planned, Gaddis said she would love the opportunity to share her music with Jimmy Fallon and his audience.

“My songs have something to say,” she told Newcastle News in 2013. “If I could teach the world to see with their heart and not their eyes through my music, what a better world we would have.”

Since KING 5 aired Gaddis’ interview, she’s received media requests from all over the region, she said. She recently joined an Oregon radio station to talk about the campaign and perform a song.

Gaddis said she’s optimistic that she will get her shot in front of a national audience, but until then, she is more than content with the local support she has already received through the #GetGrannyonFallon campaign.

“It’s like I’m living in heaven while I’m still on earth,” she said.

Learn more about Gaddis, and see video of her performances, at

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One Response to “Get Granny on Fallon”

  1. Mary T on May 12th, 2015 8:15 pm

    I had the opportunity to meet Italene today and she was incredibly charming!
    I can see why she is incredibly inspirational. Lovely woman! She has my vote for the Fallon show.

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