KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Any day is a good one to celebrate Dolly Parton but today we are going all out to wish Dolly a happy 75th birthday.
We’re bringing you special stories and personal memories in every one of our shows throughout the day. Our own Don Dare sat down to share a story from when he met Dolly back in 1974.
My first encounter with Dolly Parton was in 1974. It was brief but very memorable.
I met her when I worked in Nashville as a news reporter at then WLAC-TV. The hair was a little darker years ago and a lot longer.
Channel 5’s building at the time had two TV studios, one for news and the other for production. In that second studio the syndicated comedy variety show “Hee Haw” was taped. The show featured skits with the regular cast and country music acts.
I was told if you politely asked the producer for permission, you could watch some of the segments being recorded. When I heard Dolly was going to be on the show, I wanted to see her.
In 1974, just like today, Dolly was a pretty big hit, not a “legend” yet but well on her way.
Everyone liked Dolly.
My father-in-law and I would watch the “Porter Wagoner Show” on Saturday nights to see Dolly when I visited him at his home in eastern North Carolina. Parton was introduced to a national audience through the program featuring duets with Porter and her own solos.
Before the taping of “Hee Haw” I went to Dolly’s makeup room hoping I could get an autograph. There were no selfies 47 years ago.
Sitting in a makeup chair was “Miss Dolly” as I remember calling her. She was beautiful and very friendly.
I had her sign a Grand Ole Opry picture book that I had bought when my wife, her parents, and I had made a visit to the there.
She wrote in blue, “Love, Dolly Parton.”
In the picture book was a short biography of the now legendary country music icon.
“In spite of her newly acquired fame, Dolly has never forgotten her rural heritage, establishing the Dolly Parton Scholarship Foundation for deserving students in her hometown area,” the last paragraph states.
She’s still doing that today; always giving back, offering encouragement, and reminding everyone where she came from.
My first encounter with Dolly is one I’ll always remember.