Friday, January 19, 2007

For the Love of Dolly

Today is a Worldwide Day of Celebration...

...in Sevierville, Tennessee.

Today is the birthday of the woman who said...

"It takes a lot of money to look this cheap."

The legendary star of Nashville who, as a little girl, saw the town whore in her little East Tennessee town and thought that that painted lady with her peroxide hair, flashy clothes and dangerously high heeled shoes was the most beautiful woman she had ever seen. And when her mama said, "Oh, that woman ain't nothin' but trash," said...

"Then Mama, I wanna be trash!"

The woman who inspires me with her words...

"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."

...and inspires me with her actions - - like her Imagination Library, which gives thousands of children in an ever-increasing number of states one book per month from birth to age five.

...or her Eagle Mountain Sanctuary located in her themepark...

DOLLYWOOD!

A theme park in which I have proudly performed.

And when I told my mother that I would be performing SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE! as a part of DOLLYWOOD's Kid's Fest a few summers ago, my mama's joy and excitement could be best expressed in a line that William Powell says to Myrna Loy in one of the THIN MAN movies when a vendor at a boxing match gives her a free hot dog...

"Baby, you've ARRIVED!"

Yeah, you knew who I was talking about... even before I mentioned DOLLYWOOD.

You know me. And you know my insane love for Dolly Parton... for all things Dolly!

Hell, I even did a cabaret show dedicated to her and her music...



So, instead of writing way too much about her...

...something I've probably already done in this posting...

...and something you KNOW I will do practically every day on this blog...

...I'll just present some video clips that show just why I love me some Dolly.

While my parents remember watching Dolly as a little girl standing on a box and singing on the Cas Walker tv show...

...Cas Walker had a huge chain of supermarkets in Knoxville years ago, so of course he had his own television show in East Tennessee. Sort of like if Sam Walton were still alive and hosted AMERICAN IDOL. Ummm... don't. Don't try to understand the Southern logic of that... just accept and go on...

...this clip shows Dolly's first appearance on THE PORTER WAGGONER SHOW. Porter had a huge television audience at the time and Dolly landing the gig to replace "Miss Norma Jean" as the show's new "girl singer" catapulted Dolly into Nashville stardom.




Notice how almost timid Dolly appears at the end when she's talking to Porter. Porter really helped Dolly shape her onstage persona.

And by the way, when people ask her about being called a "dumb blonde," Dolly always says...

"I don't mind being called a dumb blonde, 'cause I know I'm not dumb... and I know I'm not blonde."

This clip not only shows you how Dolly came into her own when it comes to charming an audience before and after her songs, it also is a live version of a song with a style somewhere between camp and melancholy... between comedy and bittersweet heartache... therefore, it could only be written and performed by Dolly Parton...




Yeah. That's why Dolly always says that if she hadn't been born a woman, she would definitely be a drag queen. ME AND LITTLE ANDY is so wrong, but ya'll, if that's wrong, I don't wanna be right!

And these outtakes from 9 TO 5 show just how funny Dolly is on camera and off...



But if you want to know why I love her, it's this song. Nothing takes me back to my mama, my daddy and the Smokey Mountains like this Dolly Parton song and her description of our shared Tennessee Mountain Home...



Happy Birthday, Dolly.

P.S. The title of this blog entry is the name of a new documentary being shown at select film festivals around the country focusing on 5 Dolly Parton fans and the love of Dolly...

...no, I'm not one of the five... damn it!...

...but check out more about the film here.

5 comments:

Lance Noe said...

You do know I did a show with Dolly and saw her without hair and makeup! TRUE STORIES!!! She has a huge potty mouth, I loved it!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Cousin! And yes I'm talking about Dolly not you. Happy Birthday to you too. Of course she is much further removed in the family on my mom's side. Like 6th or 7th cousin if memory is correct. My mom's mom is a Parton. Not sure if I ever told you that or not. But I thought I would make you green with envy. :)

Kristie

Stephen Rader said...

Lance - Ok, Kenny Rodgers has worked with her for longer than Tom Cruise has been denying his homosexuality and HE says he hasn't seen her out of her makeup. How did you get the chance to see her?

Why am I even asking that question. Lance is the man with a recommendation letter from Hal Prince that simply says, "Give this kid a job." If anyone can see Dolly without her face, hair and high heels on, it's Lance Noe!!

And Kristie - you are RELATED to her and haven't introduced the two of us. You really should try and find a way for me to meet her. It would be the Southern Fried equivalent of that episode of WILL & GRACE where Jack met Cher, thought she was a drag queen and then mocked her singing. The comic possibilities are endless!

Lance Noe said...

Long story short. I was in a show at Disney and she was doing some thing with it. I was called by the stage manager to meet her that "her people" had changes. So I go upstairs and knock on the door. I heard, "Come in, its a barn in here today." And there she sat. hair net on and not a stitch of makeup on. I was so shocked i turned my eyes! It was like seeing grandma naked or seeing believeing in the wizard with all your heart only to find out he is a man behind a curtain. She laughed and said, "Now, you know why I wear all this shit!" I asked if she need a few minutes and she said, "well, hell you done seen me." I sat on the coach and we talked about the jokes and changes as she put herself on. She said she was changing because they brought the wrong outfits. We talked about Tennessee, the "Fire blasing, marshmallow roasting homom dancers" - direct quote by the way! and the changes in the show. She was hilarious! I just stood there in an ugly polyester costume and set up her jokes. Afterwards she gave me a hug and told me, "If this gig don't work out you can always drive the train at Dollywood!"

Stephen Rader said...

Lance Noe - I never cease to be amazed by you and your celebrity run-in's. Come back to the states and I'm sure NBC will give you a 13 episode deal for a reality show where cameras just follow you from celebrity hi-jink to celebrity hi-jink. Trust me, if YOU'RE THE ONE THAT I WANT can get the green light, LIVE, LOVE AND LANCE will run for years!!!