Thursday, January 19
Dolly Rebecca Parton: born January 19, 1946
All right, there was an internal debate at BLTR over that picture, but I'm using it for a point of sorts, which is as good an excuse as any. We try to keep the Lileksian hilarity to a minimum here.
That's Dolly from the old Porter Wagoner Show, where she got her Big Break. We used to watch the thing for its mockery quotient: the faux Down Home set, Porter in his sequined Nudie suits and white Duck's Ass hair, and...Dolly, five feet of the what-the-hell is that? They did a can't-miss commercial for Breeze laundry detergent. Breeze came with a towel in every box. A washcloth in the smallest, up to a beach towel in the Jumbo Economy Size. People told me there wasn't much soap left in the box after you tugged the premium out.
Dolly was priceless. After Porter displayed the towel, Dolly elaborated: "A candy-striped towel!" Only with her accent it was more like "caindee stropped talle." "But you can't buy 'em," says Porter. "Ah cain't bahum?" she replied, momentarily nonplussed.
We never paid attention to the music. But then one day Dolly got a spotlight. She sang "Jolene." What a freakin' voice! How'd I miss that? And she wrote the damn thing, too, a remarkably good storyteller number in complete contrast to the dreck Wagoner usually did.
I never underestimated Dolly after that. I rooted for her. Still do. I was even glad when her pop dreck went platinum. Even Kenny Rogers couldn't change that. (Although Kenny's rehabilitated himself on Reno 911 lately.) Not to say I bought any, but still.
And Dolly had the smarts, and the gall, to tell Colonel Tom where he could insert his demand for 50% of the publishing rights to "I Will Always Love You" in exchange for Elvis recording it. (That was Elvis' standard deal, apparently. Great racket. The Colonel screwed him, and he and the Colonel screwed Arthur "Big Boy" Cruddup.) So she, not Lisa Marie, got the dough when Whitney hit with it.
Dolly, dammit, if all Christians were like you the world would be a much better place.