Saturday, April 2, 2016

Forgotten TV: Dolly! (1976)

Country singer Dolly Parton, who'd gotten her big break singing with Porter Wagoner on his TV show in the 60's, landed her own syndicated series in 1976, from the producers of Pop! Goes The Country, whose host, Ralph Emery, was Dolly's announcer.

The format was basic. Musical numbers mixed with comedy sketches. Unfortunately, Dolly! lasted just 1 season, 26 episodes in all, and was gone. Parton then moved forward, crossing over to the pop charts in 1980 with the title song from her movie, "9 to 5", which hit #1 on both the pop & country charts, leading to a spin-off series that lasted much longer than this show did.

20 years after Dolly! was cancelled, Parton was lured back to television, this time with a network deal from ABC. Dolly, however, lasted one season as well, despite a more diverse lineup of guests, ranging from Hulk Hogan to the Muppets.

It wasn't so long ago that Parton covered Collective Soul's "Shine", with altered lyrics to reflect her faith. In this clip, Dolly queues up a gender-flipped cover of Glen Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy", which, in Parton's hands, becomes "Rhinestone Cowgirl":

Two episodes of Dolly! aired recently on Get TV, so they have the rights to the series, which is now on DVD under the title, Dolly & Friends. One of these fine days, we'll take a look at the later Dolly.

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