Dolly (1976)

(ended 1977)


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Dolly (1976)

Show Summary

In the mid-1970s, Parton was approached by Bill Graham, president of Show Biz, Inc., the same company that produced The Porter Wagoner Show (on which Parton had costarred for seven years), and soon afterward the syndicated variety show Dolly was born. The show boasted an $85,000 per episode budget. A variety of country and Hollywood stars were scheduled to appear, including Karen Black, Tom T. Hall, Emmylou Harris, Captain Kangaroo, Ronnie Milsap, Anne Murray, Linda Ronstadt, KC & The Sunshine Band, and Anson Williams. According to her 1978 biography, Dolly by Alanna Nash, Parton spoke to Bob Dylan and he initially agreed to do the show, but eventually bowed out due to his discomfort with the television medium at the time. Despite the work that went into the show and the diverse collection of guests, Parton was said to be less than pleased with the end product, as she found herself sining standards like "My Funny Valentine" which she felt didn't suit her voice or musical style, and interacting with guests with whom she had little in common. She told Nash during a 1977 interview for the biography Dolly: "I liked all of the people that were on... but I would have had a totally different lineup of guests myself. It was really bad for me, that TV show. It was worse for me than good, because the people who didn't know me who liked the show thought that's how I was.. .I mean, I still come through as myself, even with all the other stuff, but not really like I should. Not my real, natural way. And the people who did know me thought I was crazy. They knew that wasn't me. Including me. I didn't know that woman on TV!" The show lasted only one season, falling apart when Parton asked out of her contract for a variety of reasons, including the toll that eighteen-hour days were taking on her vocal cords. Among the more well received installments, was one featuring the first televised performance of the "Trio" team: Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt, a full decade before they released the first of their two critically-acclaimed albums. The show also featured the first time Parton and Kenny Rogers had worked together; the two would top the country and pop charts in 1983 with their mega hit "Islands in the Stream".moreless