|Opening theme||"Love Is Like a Butterfly" performed by Dolly Parton|
|Ending theme||"I Will Always Love You" performed by Dolly Parton|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||26|
|Executive producer(s)||Bill Graham|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Show Biz, Inc.|
|Original network||First-run syndication|
|First shown in||1976|
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 a budget of $85,000 per episode, an impressive sum at the time for a syndicated series. (It was, in fact the most expensive show to be produced out of Nashville to that point.) A variety of Nashville and Hollywood stars were scheduled to appear, including Karen Black, Tom T. Hall, Emmylou Harris, The Hues Corporation, Captain Kangaroo, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., Ronnie Milsap, Anne Murray, Kenny Rogers, 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 have been less than pleased with the end product, as she found herself singing 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 despite very high ratings, 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.
The show's opening theme was "Love Is Like A Butterfly" and the show's closing theme was "I Will Always Love You", both #1 hits for Parton in 1974, both sung by Parton on the show. During the opening credits, Parton emerges from a swing and then comes out to sing an opening song (either a cover of a then-current hit, or occasionally one of her own hits). At the closing of the show, Parton speaks the recitation from "I Will Always Love You": "And I hope life treats you kind, and I hope that you have all you ever dream of. I wish you joy and lots and lots of happiness, but above all this, I wish you love, I love you" and then Dolly says "Good Night" and as the closing credits roll, Parton sings the rest of the song.
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.
As Dolly's career became more popular than ever, during the late 1970s and into the early 1980s, Dolly! was seen widely in reruns.
On February 27, 2007, Dolly! has been released onto DVD under the title of Dolly Parton And Friends, and features six episodes of the show, among these being the Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt episode, and the Kenny Rogers episode.
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