Today, Wide Open Country helps announce the Rolls Royce of country music DVD collections with this clip in which the Wagonmaster introduces young Dolly and her song "Dumb Blonde" for the first time. The footage is from episode 140 of The Porter Wagoner Show, which aired on Sept. 5, 1967 and featured guest star Bobby Bare.
The Porter Wagoner Show ran from 1961 to 1980 and regularly spotlighted its namesake's fellow RCA recording artists.
As Wagoner references in the clip above, Parton became the weekly "girl singer" after country music star Norma Jean left the program. Parton remained part of the show for eight years. In that span, she became Wagoner's duet partner, not just on television but on 21 charted singles, including a cover of Tom Paxton's "The Last Thing on My Mind" and the No. 1 hit "Please Don't Stop Loving Me."
After leaving the show to pursue greater success as a solo singer and songwriter, Parton thanked Wagoner by writing one of her most beloved songs, "I Will Always Love You."
Per the Tennessee Encyclopedia, Wagoner's influential series moved to Nashville in 1972, where it became the first television show filmed at Opryland. At its peak, the show was aired in nearly one hundred markets and was viewed by over three million people. Artists receiving their first big break on Wagoner's TV show included comedian Speck Rhodes and future Hee Haw star Buck Trent.
Wagoner, a native of West Plains, Missouri, passed away in 2007 following a bout with lung cancer. The Country Music Hall of Fame member placed 81 singles on the country charts between 1954 and 1983
If you're tempted to laugh a little over Wagoner's Nudie suits and pompadour or Parton's tall hairdo and flowing gowns, rest assured that Parton's already beat you to the punchline.
"It's been an amazing journey and you'll find some of my most precious highlights included here in this collection." she said in a press release. "Thank you to the wonderful folks at Time Life for putting this together. What a delightful trip down memory lane....just the hair styles and outfits alone are worth a look and I'm surprised there are still any rhinestones left in this world! I hope you enjoy these moments as much as I did."
Additional footage featured on the 19-disc deluxe edition set includes variety show and late night TV episodes teaming Parton with everyone from Emmylou Harris to the Muppets, the entire Live and Well (2002) and Live From London (2009) concerts and classic performances at the CMA Awards and from the Grand Ole Opry stage.
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