In 1956, 10-year-old Dolly Parton made her TV debut on Cas Walker’s Farm and Home Hour. A decade later she was the featured singer on Grand Ole Opry star Porter Wagoner’s nationally syndicated series. Fast-forward another decade and Parton, by then a fixture at country radio, was hosting her own series. Dolly!, taped in Nashville and produced by the same company that had helmed Wagoner’s series, debuted in February 1976 and featured guest stars from country music as well as films and television.
On Monday, March 21st, cable channel getTV will air two classic Dolly! episodes, one of which would prove to be a harbinger of one of Parton’s most successful ventures. The first of Monday night’s episodes features guest stars Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris, who became fast friends when they first met, adding Dolly to the mix when Harris took her to Ronstadt’s Los Angeles home. Not long after they met, they also realized that the angelic three-part harmony they achieved was something special, although it would take another decade before they would capture it on a full-length album.
During the episode featuring Rondtadt and Harris, the trio sings the classic “Silver Threads and Golden Needles,” and a gorgeous version of “The Sweetest Gift,” along with Parton’s backwoods hit “Applejack.” The second episode spotlights the Parton family, including her mother, father, and seven of her siblings (including Stella Parton, who recently released Mountain Songbird: A Sister’s Tribute, covering some of Dolly’s best-known tunes). The close-knit family performs “In the Pines” (watch above) and “In the Sweet By And By,” and offers a rare glimpse of the real-life parents and siblings portrayed in the 2015 NBC film, Coat of Many Colors, based on Dolly’s iconic song.