Dolly Remarks

Media Event, DP's Celebrity Theatre, Dollywood, Sept. 23, 2005

The Fairfield Four entertains the crowd with a song. Rhonda Vincent and The Rage come on stage along with Dolly, who sings an abbreviated version of “Those Were The Days.” Dolly then asks Rhonda to sing her classic “Jolene,” adding that she’ll throw in a line or two of harmony. After the song, Dolly addresses the crowd:

DOLLY: Thank you. Thank you so much. And, you know what, we’re so proud of all the people that come here to Dollywood because we have, you know, all these concerts that we do. There are more than 100 concerts through the month. And they’re all free! Ain’t that good! (Applause from the audience.) You can’t hardly beat free! And, you know, a lot of great artists, some of you may or may not know, started right here at Dollywood. Folks like Julie Roberts and Jessi Alexander and Mandy Barnett, and they’re gonna all be coming back this month for concerts. So those of you that just gonna be hanging around just come out to see them!

You know, music’s always been a really big part of Dollywood. And we’ve had some great shows here in the last 20 years. Can you believe we’ve been here 20 years! (Cheers and applause from the audience.) This is our 20th anniversary. With my partners, the Herschend Family, and everybody else is gonna have a big celebration tonight, a little private cake cutting and all that, so that’s gonna be fun.

And of course, next year, we always try to do something better every year and we’re gonna have even something bigger and better. We’re going to add two new shows next year, one in the summer. We’re gonna have, well, actually in the summer we’re gonna have the ‘50s and ‘60s show. It’s called “Dreamland Drive-In.” And at Christmas we’re gonna debut our biggest Christmas show ever. It’s called “Babes In Toyland.” Now, guys, it’s not that. It’s real children and real toys! (Dolly laughs and audience laughs.) It does sound quite darling! Oh! And we’re adding a new area for family and kids. It’s called Timber Tower. And, of course, there’s only one like it in the world, they told me. And we try to make Dollywood, and I said, bigger and better every year, and so far we’ve done pretty good and we appreciate your support over the last 20 years. (Audience cheers and applause.) We really do.

And, of course, we’re proud of our wooden roller coaster, Thunderhead. It was just given a Golden Ticket as the No. 1 wooden roller coaster in the whole wide world! (Applause from the audience.) That’s a great big honor! And, of course, we’ve received a whole lot of Golden Ticket Awards over the years, so we do have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to be proud of.

I’m happy to read some little stuff ‘cause we have the press here, ‘cause this is really all about the press, and what they write up, and talk about us. So we hope we do good!

Also, we’re also very proud that at Dollywood we’re not just out to get your money. Although, as I’ve always said, I need the money; costs a lot to look this cheap. (Audience and Dolly laugh.) But it’s true. But we always try to give back because we really are a very loving company. In fact, at Dollywood and Dixie Stampede we stepped up to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. And today. (Audience cheers and applause.) Oh, we do our own things in our own way. Everybody tries to help. And I’m very proud of everybody here. And today we’re pleased to tell you that through the Dollywood Foundation partnering with the Red Cross, we’re providing 100,000 books for all the little kids out there. (Applause and cheers from the audience.) We hope it’ll give them something to do to pass the time to get their mind off of what happened. Of course, we’re hoping for the best with Rita. She’s out there raging on. But, ‘course, if the worst should happen we’ll be there to try to help out where we can. So we are a good company. I have a lot of wonderful partners and folks that work here with a good heart. So we’re just happy to do our part. I’m just trying to figure out a way that we can do something for all the animals with the Humane Society. We’ve got a little call, we call Doggywood over here, and I’m trying to figure out some way we can do a show or something so we can help out all the little animals, too. So, you know, everybody’s suffering in all of this, so we just want to pray for all the families and ask God to bless them. And, anyway, and again to thank you for comin’, ‘cause we have a whole lot of stuff goin’ on. And I understand that we’ve got quite a few press here that might wanta ask a few questions. So this would be a good time to do that. If there’s anybody out there. OK.

PETE: Right down here.

DOLLY: Hi there.

Q. Hi. How you doing?

DOLLY: Good.

Q. Um, what kind of, um, childhood memories do you have as a kid growing up here during the fall season?

DOLLY: Well, this is always. In the fall of the year because we have the biggest assortment of trees in all of North America here in the Great Smoky Mountains, so I’ve always loved, first of all, seeing all of the beautiful leaves here. It’s like the, the most beautiful place in the fall. And we’ve always had, like, great fall festivals here, too. But just growing up in the Smoky Mountains in general was a wonderful place. In the spring, or in the summer. The humidity always killed us, but, you know, we’re got the air working now. But it’s just a wonderful place here in the Smokies, and I’m just so happy to have a place like Dollywood and feel like I can come and go and enjoy all this wonderful stuff like everybody else, all these great artists and all. Thank you for the question.

PETE: I’m in the middle.

DOLLY: I’m always in the middle. (Dolly and audience laugh.)

Q. Dolly, I‘m from WBNN in central Virginia, and this is my first time here at Dollywood. My question is, I play you every week. You’re featured with many, many artists. Who did you most enjoy working with as a duet partner, and from a technical standpoint, which partners were the hardest voices to mix with yours?

DOLLY: Well, that’s a very good and involved question. (Dolly and audience laugh.) But I’m sorta like a Will Rogers: I never met a man I didn’t like, so I’ve enjoyed all of my duet singing partners. And they’re all different. They really are. And, ah, it’s just depends more. I, I didn’t have trouble singing with any of the people that I’ve been with, but sometimes the songs that’s picked, the melodies are a little harder to get the harmonies on than, than others. But, of course, Porter Wagoner was my first duet singing partner. (Applause from the audience.) Yeah, we had a lot of success thanks to a lot of you. And, of course, Kenny is a dear buddy and a dear friend. (Cheers and applause from the crowd.) Yeah, I was real happy that we won the No. 1 duet. I don’t know if any of you watched that on TV. (More cheers and applause.) But that was a great honor. I actually got to sing in my new CD, the Those Were The Days album, I did a duet with Keith Urban. (Cheers from audience.) Woo-hoo! And Joe Nichols. We did “If I Were A Carpenter.” (Applause.) Actually, the song I did with Keith Urban, it’s called “The Twelfth Of Never,” the old Jon, Johnny Mathis song, which I love. But I’ve loved singing with all of ‘em. Vince Gill was great. And, well, Stallone was the worst singer. (Laughs from crowd.) But he had the prettiest body! (Dolly and crowd laugh.) So there’s something good and bad about all of ‘em over the years!

PETE: Down here up front.

Q. Dolly. Ken Pittman with the Knoxville Journal.


Q. I was wondering if you have any movie roles coming up or any movies about to be released.

DOLLY: No, I don‘t have any movies coming up ‘cause I’m not getting offered any good things I want to do. We get a lot of junk stuff, but I would love to do something. But one thing I am proud of that I’m workin’ on, they’re doing a Broadway musical of 9 To 5 and, and kind of centering it in the ‘70s and ‘80s like it was. And I’m writing all the music for that. I’m a little too old to play the part. They’ll get younger people, but I wrote the theme song, of course, for that. And they asked if I’d do the whole thing. So I, I’ve written about 20 songs. They’ve already picked about 12 of them to keep, and I’m writing some other things, so that’s hopefully gonna be on Broadway in 2007, and we’re starting some workshops in the summer of this coming year. Thank you for asking. (Applause.)

PETE: Right down here.

DOLLY: And if I get a good movie part, I’d love to have one!

Q. Hi, Dolly. Jason Worley from The Loafer in Johnson City, Tenn.


Q. Um, we know coming pretty soon in November you’re, um, going to go and help your brother open a new business adventure that he’s starting. How do you feel about that?

DOLLY: Well, I feel great. My brother, Randy, is what he’s talking about. My brother, Randy, that’s worked at Dollywood since we opened, he’s done his own show here. And he’s, he’s had a good, lucky break and he’s gonna start his own Randy Parton Theatre over in North Carolina, the Outer Banks. So he’s working on that now. They’re going to actually build a whole area over there. And I’ll, I’ll be going over to help him anytime I can. They’re building a place where people can entertain, where the artists can come do concerts. But it won’t be in conflict with Dollywood. It’s way over the hills. And I’ll be happy (laughs), I’ll be happy to go, uh he’ll be happy to see me, I hope. Just hope he don’t get over there and get blowed away somewhere with these hurricanes we’re having. That’s the only thing that worries me. It’s like, “Don’t go over there. Please!”

PETE: Right down here in front.

Q. Hi, Dolly. Duane from

DOLLY: What?

Q. Duane from

DOLLY: OK! (Dolly laughs.) I knew what you said. I just wanted you to repeat it. (Laughter from audience.) That’s my Web site. He talks all about me. He knows stuff about me before I know it. And that’s no joke. I’ve been meaning to ask you how in the world you know so much about me.

Q. Your friends tell me.

DOLLY: They do? Yeah, some friends!

Q. Yeah. (Laughs)

DOLLY: But anyway, what’s your question?

Q. You’re currently on tour to promote the new album, which comes out Oct. 11. What songs are the audiences responding the most to from the ones you’re performing from the album, and which ones on the CD are your personal favorites?

DOLLY: Well, that’s a good question. Actually, I love all the songs. As I mentioned early on, uh, I’ve done 12 songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s. But people really, really respond to the song “Imagine,” John Lennon’s song. (Cheers and applause.) And they respond to “Blowin’ In The Wind,” the Bob Dylan song I sang with Nickel Creek on the CD, and “Where Have All The Flowers Gone,” I did with Norah Jones and Lee Ann Womack, and I do it on stage with my two girl singers. But they, ah, they sing, they sing along. They love all the songs like “Turn, Turn, Turn,” and what else did I do, I do, ah. Oh, “Crimson And Clover.” I did it with Tommy James, who played the guitar and he sang harmony on that. That’s one of my favorites to do on stage, too, ‘cause I get to play the electric guitar and stuff. So I actually do about eight or 10 of the songs in the show. I’ll be doing ‘em here at Dollywood, too. So, anyway, they seem to like ‘em all, ‘cause they get to sing along. I always love it when people sing, don’t you.

PETE: We’ve got time for about one or two. Alright, back here.

Q. Hi. I’m Leslie with Country Music Television. First of all, congratulations on your No. 1 duet.

DOLLY: Thank you.

Q. We were very excited for your help with that. We were wondering with all the paparazzi business going on, people getting hit with cars, you always seem to, I should say seem not to, but, we don’t see you in the magazines as much as some of the other celebrities. So we wanted to know how you escape the paparazzi? How do you hide yourself? How do you disguise yourself? (Laughs from the audience.)

DOLLY: Well, she evidently don’t read the tabloids. (Laughs.) Did you see that one about me and Carl divorcing? (More laughs.) ‘Course, they run that same story ‘bout every other year. But I don’t, if I, if, if they see me that’s fine. You know, it’s like I don’t usually get out that much. I don’t go to all the restaurants and all the parties and stuff where a lot of artists go that get caught in all that. ‘Cause usually when I’m not working I’m at the house. And it is not true that me and Carl are divorcing. (Applause.) We’ve been together for 42 years, and, Lord, I’d hate to break in a new one! (Laughs.) We don’t even argue and fight. And divorce has never come up, but they keep saying that over, and over, and over. But that’s not true. But, hopefully, I’m not going to hit a paparazzi with my car. And, hopefully, they won’t hit me, either. But they, you know, they, they tell their stories, and some of it’s true and some of it’s not, but I never admit which part’s true, at least. (Laughs.) As long as they tell all these lies. If they tell the real truth on me, but that could kill me! (Laughs.) OK. Hello.

Q. Hi, Dolly. I’m Margaret with the Southern Standard Newspaper.


Q. And we promote the Imagination Library.

DOLLY: Thank you.

Q. You’re welcome. And I just wondered. We appreciate it so much, but I just wondered if everybody here knew what the Imagination Library was and how instrumental you are in putting that out.

DOLLY: Well, thank you. I assume that everybody knows what the Imagination Library is, ‘cause we’re up here this weekend doing concerts for that. But that’s the program we started several years back where we actually give every child. It started out here in Sevier County, where we give a child from the time it’s born once a month a book until it starts kindergarten, where it can learn to love to read. And then the idea caught on and it started growing and growing. And this was before Laura Bush and all them got involved in it, and we started it early on, which is wonderful, anybody willing to help the kids. And now I think we’re in like about 500 counties in about 42 states and we’ve given out about 2 million books so far this year, or we’re going to by the end of the year. And it’s just a wonderful way to, to teach kids, like I say, to learn to read and to love to read, and a lot of the parents love to get these books. And the kids love to have their name on the books and go to the mailbox themselves. And I’ve become known as The Book Lady. (Laughs.) Instead of the Painted Lady. But anyway, we’re real proud of that. And we do a lot of other work for the children as well. And I started a scholarship fund here back in the early ‘70s with the high schools and stuff. So, whatever we can do to help the young people. As I said before there’s a lot of good people around here, and I have a lot of help. Thank you. (Applause.) Hello there.

Q. Hi Dolly. My name’s Lisa Wilson. I’m with WMPT 1390 AM in Johnson County/Mountain City, Tenn., as far in Tennessee as you can get, way up there in the back hills. And we love you back there.

DOLLY: Well, we know about them back hills, don’t we! (Laughs.) How far back was you? We may have to compare notes.

Q. We’re as far as you can get in Tennessee.

DOLLY: ‘Course we used to say we lived so far back we didn’t get the Grand Ole Opry ‘til Monday. (Laughs.)

Q. We’re the 64th county, actually, that’s been with the Imagination Library, in Johnson County.

DOLLY: Oh, great!

Q. And we’ve just had our opening, we presented that to the county about six weeks ago. And Sen. Ramsey came, and all the, everybody came out, and we did the whole thing up there. And I just wanted to tell you that’s the greatest thing to help our kids up there.

DOLLY: Well, it’s always great to help the kids. Thank you for the nice compliment. And, also, people often think this is a program just for people who live back in the mountains, just for the poor kids, but this is for all children, no matter what your income is. The kids just love this, you know, they need to, to learn to read, so these books go out to, to all the kids of that age in these areas that have the program, so that’s a wonderful thing we think as well. Anyway, they get their hands on these books, and they love ‘em!

PETE: I think the last one’s right here.


Q. HI, Dolly, I’m Norman Hodge from On Stage magazine.


Q. I’m just curious, in a career that has had so many incredible artistic achievements is there one thing that you’re that more proud of than anything else?

DOLLY: Well, that’s kind of a tricky question. I’m really proud of everything that I’ve been able to accomplish because when I first started out singing as a little kid up here in the, in the Smoky Mountains and on WSEV radio and on the Cas Walker Show down in Knoxville, you never really know how you’re life is gonna go or how people are gonna take to you or if they’re gonna like you or if they’re gonna love you, or when you get older if they’re gonna, if you’ve left anything worth, worth having. But it’s really, I have loved being able to do so many things, to get to sing country music and songs that cross over and to be in the movies, so I, I feel very fortunate and I thank God every day for every bit of it, and I, I wouldn’t want to have to give anything, you know, away. You know, people say, “Well, if you could just pick one thing to do,” it would probably be my songwriting, but certainly I would hate to ever have to give up any part of it ‘cause I like doing it all. Thank you for the question. (Applause.)

Alright. Well, again, I want to thank all of you for coming today ‘cause we have a whole bunch of stuff that we’re doing, as you can imagine, me being up here for just two or three days they’ve got me hopping up and down. So I hate to do it, but I’m going to have to bring back all the guys, Fairfield Four and everybody ‘cause they’ve got to get out on the park and do these shows that we’ve talked about. So, guys, come on back out, Rhonda, you and rest of you come on out, and we’ll do a last song, and then of course we have all our concerts here over the weekend. And Rhonda and The Fairfield Four are going to be here all over the place. So thank you for coming, and we’ll see you later. OK, so let’s do “I’ll Fly Away.” That sound like a good one? OK. (Applause.) You can sing, too! Yeah, everybody can clap! (They perform the song, and Dolly leaves the stage at the end.)

See photos from the weekend here.