Dolly Parton talks about her humble upbringing in this unearthed interview, brought to life with animation.
In 1978, Dolly Parton sat down to talk to Playboy interviewer Larry Grobel just before her photo shoot with the publication. You might have read snippets of the interview in the October 1978 issue of Playboy, with Parton on the cover. However, the audio was never available until now.
The PBS Digital Studios animated series, Blank on Blank, has unearthed the old interview and brought it to life with animation. In the video above, the country legend talks about growing up poor in Tennessee.
“I’m just pretty open and honest,” says Parton. “There’s not just a whole lot I won’t tell you.”
SEE ALSO: Dolly Parton’s 10 Best Outfits
In the interview, she candidly discusses her childhood and what it was like to grow up with 11 siblings.
“We bathed once a week once a week whether we needed it or not, as the saying goes. When I was in high school, it was a big deal, I had to take a bath every night because I wanted to be clean,” said Parton. “The kids peed on me every night. We slept three and four in the bed. I would wash every night. And as soon as I go to bed, the kids would wet on me and I’d have to get up in the morning and do the same thing.”
Grobel then asked if she would get up and wash all over again or just stay in bed.
“No, that was the only warm thing we knew in the winter time,” she responded. “That was almost a pleasure to get peed on because it was so cold. Lord. It was as cold in the room as it was outside. We’d bundle up to go to bed.”
Her father banned Parton and her sisters from wearing lipstick, so they decided to raid the medicine cabinet to find a substitute. They found mercurochrome, which is an antiseptic liquid known to dye its use’s skin red.
“So, we wanted to wear lipstick and stuff and daddy didn’t want us to wear lipstick so I … We didn’t have money to buy make up anyway but we used to have this medicine and mercurochrome, and that’s what I’d take as my lipstick when I was a little kid,” she said. “I always wanted to wear make-up. I’d paint my lips and see there wasn’t nothing daddy could do, he couldn’t rub that off. It stained your lips and those little bitty bottles just perfect to go around your lip line.”
When Playboy approached Parton about posing for the magazine in 1978, she had her reservations.
“I got kind of scared when I thought they wanted me to do something…I didn’t want to be naked on the front of a magazine unless everybody would know it was a joke,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to be naked even then.”
She recalled something her mother told her and agreed to do the shoot. “Mama just always said, ‘You be what you are and you don’t have to worry about nothing.”
Her Playboy issue became one of the publication’s most popular issues of all time.
As the interview wraps up, Grobel asks Parton if she enjoys being in Los Angeles. Her response is honest, heartfelt and nostalgic.
“That ‘old country’ in me says, ‘What in the world are you doing walking on this concrete when you can be rolling in the grass?'”