(Dolly, escorted by a scarecrow, walks onto a stage in front of the theater to the crowd’s cheers as “Orange Blossom Special” from her live CD plays over the speakers. She enters and begins saying hello to the crowd at the same time as on the CD she comes on stage, so her first few words were hard to hear. Chef Fritz Schultz of Mrs. Smith’s stands to the left in a white uniform wearing a chef’s hat, and a chef in a white uniform on the left and Jacqui Barnett of the Columbus Washboard Co. stands in a white outfit to the right with a tub of washboards. Dolly walks to the center of the stage.)
Dolly: Anyway, how you folks doin’? (Cheers.) Ain’t this a beautiful day for a fall festival? (Cheers.) I think so, too. Well, we’re gonna have some fun today. We’ve got all kinds of special things goin’ on all over the park all weekend. You know, we’ve got all sorts of music and everybody’s visitin’ from Ricky Skaggs to, to Del Coury and we got a, a, Ralph Stanley, I think, and Dottie Rambo. Tons of people’s gonna be all over the park all weekend. And they got me, of course, doin’ all kinds of stuff. I get to do the fun things, and today we got this famous chef here that’s gonna show us how to make, what do you call it? (Walks over to the chef and holds the microphone to him.)
Chef: The, the park special is strawberry shortcake over cornbread, and it is fantastic. (Cheers.)
Dolly: It don’t sound good, does it? (Laughs.) Strawberries over cornbread? I never heard of it. But they say he’s the best there is, so he’s gonna show us how to do somethin’. So, you wanna show us?
Chef: Ready, Dolly?
Dolly: Yeah, get after it there. They’re here to, to watch and to eat! And to make fun of us.
Chef: It’s a very simple recipe. And if you go around the park, you’ll see these gigantic skillets that people are working in. And the first thing we’re going to start with is, buttah!
Dolly: Yea! Butter!
Chef: I didn’t say, “Parkay.” I did say, (with audience) “Butter!” Good. Alright. (Puts butter in skillet.)
Dolly: We don’t want no light lard, and we don’t want no margarine. We want the real thing, so.
Chef: And, and the good thing about getting the butter in there is, what it does is it helps it accept the, uh, brown sugar. Alright? If not, then you’ll come up with a hard crack. So feel free to be generous. This is supposed to be sweet.
Dolly: Did you say a “hard crack” or a “heart attack”?
Chef: Dolly, if you would. (Laughs). I’m not going there with her. (Laughs.) If you would, stir that around there a little bit.
Dolly: Aw! I have to work. I’m not supposed to work.
Chef: And then.
Dolly: I’m supposed to be off today!
Chef: Then a little bit of cane sugar. (He adds the brown sugar to the skillet.)
Dolly: Yum! This’ll kill us! Ooo. That smells so good, don’t it! Each time you cook with butter and sugar it’s like fryin’ stuff with onions. You can’t beat it.
Chef: A very special part of the recipe, a very special part of the recipe is orange juice. Alright. (He pours in some orange juice.)
Dolly: He said it was orange juice.
Chef: And now.
Dolly: Looks like a specimen to me. (Laughs.)
Chef: We’re gonna add, we’re gonna add strawberries, but you gotta cut ‘em up first. (He cuts.) And we want you to be able to look at what you’re doin’. OK? Only miss this once. (He holds up hand with a finger folded back to look like it’s missing.) But anyway.
Dolly: Do I have to keep stirrin’?
Chef: Yeah. Then after the straw, add to that, add the strawberries.
Dolly: Add the strawberries, after you do all that. OK. I guess I could just repeat you, couldn’t I.
Chef: Then comes the fun stuff. You ready?
Dolly: Yeah, I guess. What?
Chef: You, you gotta lift your chin a little bit.
Dolly: Lift my chin?
Chef: Ah-ha. This is gonna really get going. This is dark rum. If you would, throw your spoon down.
Dolly: Throw it down in it? Or down here? (Laughs.)
Chef: Throw it down. Throw it down. (Laughs.) Now, help me put it on the fire.
Dolly: Help you put it on the f’re.
Chef: And it’s gonna go. Here it goes. (He puts it in the fire, which catches the pan on fire, but it is so light outside that it can’t be seen by the audience.)
Dolly: Where’s it gonna go?
Chef: Can we have a golf clap for that, please? (Applause.)
Dolly (she laughs): What? I thought it was supposed to go on fire.
Chef: It did. You just couldn’t see it.
Dolly: Oh. Well, is it supposed to do that?
Chef: It did it. It‘s flaming. You just can’t see it here outside.
Dolly: He, what’d you call it, strawberry flambé?
Chef: Strawberry flambé (in Southern accent:) over cornbread.
Dolly: Well, we call that strawberries on f’re. (Laughs.)
Chef: We can do that, strawberries on f’re.
Dolly: OK! I know, so it’s not really like that where, where it all flares up.
Chef: Well, if you, if you feel it here, you can feel it’s still burning.
Dolly: Oh! It is burning. You can’t see it though, can ya? You did? Oh, well, I was expecting a lot of fire. This is all smoke, ain’t it.
Chef: Well, we’ll have to do this at night. (Laughs.)
Dolly: Well, I tell you, it smells good. Does anybody get to sample it?
Chef: Uh, we’re gonna put it right over there and we’re gonna let some of the media come up here and see it.
Dolly: Oh, the media! That’s right, oh that’s who they are ain’t it! (She points at the group of photographers and reporters at the foot of the stage.) OK. I, I can tell some of them want some already.
Chef: I think somebody wants to help you make a washboard.
Dolly: Oh, OK, great. Well, the other thing that we have. So I’ll leave you to stir that and you save that for the press ‘cause they gotta be nice to me, you know, ‘cause they could ruin me. ‘Specially if that ain’t no good. (Crosses to the lady with the washboards.) Anyway, so how are you? We, and you’ve got a whole bunch of rubboards here. You wanna tell us something about that?
Jacqui: I am one of the owners at the last washboard company in the United States.
Dolly: The last washboard company in the United States?
Jacqui: We were established in 1895. And we still make the washboards the same way now.
Dolly: Do you sell as many of ‘em as you used to?
Jacqui: Not really. During World War II, they sold a million boards a year. We’re lucky if we sell 35,000.
Dolly: Well, I think what most people use ‘em for now. I have a lot of friends that play ‘em in bands, as music bands, yeah. So, and my mother used to, oh yeah! (She shows Dolly one done up like an instrument.) You’ve already got one made up. Yeah. They do ‘em a lot in Louisiana. But my mother, well, we used to all wash clothes on this. We’d go down to the creek and, and we’d beat ‘em out on a rock and rub ‘em. And that was when your hands just looked awful. I don‘t, I don’t do it anymore, but I always have a rubboard. I have rubboards hanging around my house, is like as decoration now. But they’re good to wash your bloomers if you want to. (Laughs.) Or your bras, if you’re in a hurry. (Laughs.)
Jacqui: I’ve sent over 3,000 of these to the troops so far.
Dolly: Great! So the troops can, they can wash out their undies, too.
Jacqui: And we send instructions for them as well.
Dolly: Yeah. That’s great. ‘Cause it’s amazin’ to me ‘cause I grew up, up here in these mountains where everybody had a rubboard. You had to ‘cause we didn’t have electricity so we didn’t have a washing machine. And, uh, so we used it. But it’s funny to me to think nobody would know what a rubboard is to have to send instructions. But, anyway, can you.
Jacqui: You want to play it? (She hands her the board.)
Dolly: Why, I don’t see why not. I got the nails. You hold that. (She hands her the microphone.) This has a little strap. I guess. Yeah, you play it, strum it. (She begins to strum the board.) Oh, he’s done got hambone.
Chef: Y’all clap!
Audience member: Dolly. Dolly.
Dolly: Hey. (Singing.) Well, I tumble out of bed and tumble to the kitchen. (She laughs.) Actually, this is actually how I wrote “9 To 5,” playin' my fingernails. (Singing again.) I tumble out of bed and stumble to the kitchen. Pour myself a cup of ambition and yawn and stretch and try to come to life. (She laughs. Tells the audience, which is not singing along:) Well, you folks ain’t no good! (Singing again, with the audience this time.) Working 9 to 5. What a way to make a living. Barely gettin’ by. (Speaking.) That’s too high , I’m about to strain my milk. (Laughs.) Anyway, this was fun. And we’re, we’re glad you came. (She hands the board back.)
Jacqui: Thank you.
Dolly: ‘Cause, actually, we have all kinds of great arts and crafts, as you know, on the park all weekend. We have some of the great artists, greatest artists in the world that bring their stuff from all over. And these are just two of the samples of things. So is it time.
Chef: You wanta finish this up?
Dolly: (She crosses back to the chef.) Is it time to eat? What do I do now?
Chef: All I want you to do is take this spoon and get as much on there as you can and then I’m gonna hold the whipped cream for you and you start putting on whipped cream.
Chef: Whenever you’re ready. (She puts the spoon in the strawberries.)
Dolly: So I just pile this on.
Chef: Pile it on. I’m gonna help you a little bit there.
Dolly: On, on, this big stack. (She spoons strawberries onto a plate of cornbread squares.) I never heard of strawberries and cornbread. It don’t sound good, but I bet it is. I mean, I’ve heard of cornbread and I’ve heard of strawberries. (Laughs.) It really don’t sound like it’d be good!
Chef: It is.
Dolly: But I bet it is.
Chef (holding up for her a bowl of whipped cream): Put as much as you want to do there.
Dolly: Now, that I can do! (Laughs.) This is always good part. You could, you could put this over a, a brick and it’d be good. (Laughs.) That about right, you think?
Chef: Look a‘there, Dolly. You’re a gourmet chef.
Dolly: Yeah, I am.
Chef: You want my hat?
Dolly: I do! I do! Put it on! (He takes off his chef’s hat and places it on Dolly’s head. The crowd cheers.) How do I look? How ‘bout a nice hand for the chef. (Applause.)
Chef: You look, you look better than I do.
Dolly: No, I don’t. Take it back. I got enough on my head, and on my shoulders. Anyway, so this is, this is for the press? It’s a shame these other folks don’t want none.
Chef: I’m gon, I’m gonna put, I’m gonna leave it over here for the press. They, they can get this anywhere in the park.
Dolly: Alright, great. Well, I understand we got press here. This, we’re gonna do some Q&As, or whatever, if you want to ask some things. Anyway.
Pete Owens, Dollywood Publicity Manager: I’m down here.
Dolly: The press is here, and they have some stuff to ask.
Pete: I’m down here if I can get the mike on.
Dolly: I’ll try my best to tell it.
Pete: Anybody first?
Q (without a microphone): Dolly, how you staying so thin now?
Dolly: Well, it ain’t eatin‘ this stuff. (Laughs.)
Q: I know.
Dolly: He just asked me how I stay so thin now. Well, it ain’t easy. I just don’t eat like a hog like I’d love to, and like I used to. I’m just a little, short person, and now that I’m gettin’ older it stacks up on me quicker than it used to there. So I just try to watch what I eat and eat small amounts and I actually love to eat what I love to eat. I hate diet foods and diet drinks but it’s little, little amounts. Hey.
Q: Hey, Dolly. Glad to see ya.
Dolly: Me, too.
Q: Are you glad to be back in Tennessee?
Dolly: Well, yes, I love, I live in Tennessee. I live in Nashville. But it’s always great to be back up in East Tennessee, where I was born and raised.
Q: We’re glad to have you back.
Dolly: Thank you. Good to see you. Anybody have any special questions back there?
Pete: Let me get to you, or you can yell it.
Q: Um, I’m from The Loafer in, uh, Johnson City, Tenn., Dolly, um.
Q: We’re just wondering, Dolly, are we going to see a whole line or fleet of airliners with your picture on the side of ‘em now?
Dolly: I don’t know! But wadn’t that great! For those of you that don’t know what he’s talkin’ about, this mornin’ out at the Air National Guard, they had what they call, uh, nose art. And they had painted my picture in my little red, white, and blue outfit that I wore on the cover of For God And Country. So now I get to fly all over the world. I hate to fly, really. So this is a great way for me to fly without fear. Anyhow, we’re very proud of that. And I don’t, they didn’t mention any more than the one. But maybe if I, if I do good, I’ll take off. (Laughs.) And they’ll put it on one or two more. Yeah, that was a great honor. Thank you.
Q: You still have your two secret weapons, don’t you, Dolly?
Dolly: Yes, I do. I told ‘em this morning that, that these were, I said there’s two things people mostly want to know about me, the left one and the right one. (Laughs.) I said and I’ve even named ‘em. I call ‘em “shock and awe, my weapons of mass distraction.” (Laughs.) Anyway, they got a kick out of it down there. You know, they’re soldiers. (Laughs.) Anybody else.
Pete: Right over here.
Q: Hi. I’m with The Mountain Press, um.
Q: Are there any plans to make, expand the park, make it bigger, 'cause it since it seems that the Harvest Celebration gets bigger and bigger every year?
Dolly: Yeah, we get more people, don’t we? Every year we try to expand it. We do own a lot of property still yet to be developed. So, uh, we will expand the park, hopefully for years and years to come. We don’t know what all we’re doin’ yet, but we’re gonna have our big meeting about what all we’re gonna do next year, and we’ll be announcing all those plans, too. But, yeah, we do have room to grow, and hope to. Thank you.
Pete: Right over here.
Q: Hi, Dolly. Mike Stout with Country Notes. How are you?
Q: Everybody and their grandma’s doing a reality show. Are we ever gonna see a Dolly reality show?
Dolly: Lord, no! (Laughs.) No! I’d would be so embarrassed for somebody to see how I really look and how I really live. I get so embarrassed watchin’ those shows. I know they’re big hits, the reality shows, but, ew, I couldn’t stand somebody follerin’ me around like that all the time! (Laughs.) Aw, I’d just have a heart attack.
Q (a child): I’m the junior editor of The Globe Herald. And what was the best Thanksgiving you had when you were a child?
Dolly: Oh! That’s a good question. And, and I’m glad you’re going into journalism. Well, actually, we always just had a, a big time. I don’t remember any particular Thanksgiving when I was a child, but one of the best Thanksgiving, -givings that I ever had was here on the park many years ago when I was doing my “Dolly” show out of, of California. And, ah, we had a big show, and it was a Thanksgiving, we filmed it at Thanksgiving where all the, the leaves and everything are so beautiful. And all of my family, my daddy’s people, it was like a big family reunion, all my, all of my family, brothers and sisters, mom and dad, but then all of their relatives. So we just had a big ole sing-along, a big ole show like that. But every Thanksgiving we always had turkey, or chicken, the dressing, and all the good fattening foods that I can’t wait to have this year. And I bet you can’t either. That good enough? OK. Thank you, good luck with your, your writin’.
Pete: Right over here.
Q: Hi, Dolly. Duane from Dollymania.net.
Dolly: Hi, Duane! Yeah!
Q: And the park celebrates its 20th season next year. When it started did you think it would last this long and get this big and do you have any big celebrations planned?
Dolly: Well, we do have big celebrations planned. And I cannot believe that we’ve been open 20 years in the spring. It just seems like, just, actually, maybe not more than seven, eight years ago is what it seems like. But 20 years, and ah. Well, I had hoped that it would do good. It’s like anything else. It’s like when you got a record, you do an album, you hope it’ll be a hit, but you don’t know if it will be. But it was a dream of mine to have a place like this, and it was a dream and a hope for it to do good. But uh, anyhow, we’re, we’re, we’re still at it, and hopefully we’ll continue to grow thanks to all you folks out there that come to the park and take part in everything we do. God bless you for that, really.
Pete: We got time for about two more. There’s one right over here.
Q: Dolly, which is your favorite of your movie roles in life?
Dolly: Well, I enjoyed all of ‘em for different reasons. But I think the, the favorite one, it’s always like a first love, is 9 To 5. I'd never even seen a movie made when I did that one. And, of course, I enjoyed them all for different reasons, but that one, everything was just perfect about that. And,uh, that it was a big hit, too, that always helps. You know, you never know what they’re gonna do. And I didn’t know if I could act or not, and I don’t think I really did, but I was just, tried to just be myself. I try to take stuff where I don’t have to tax myself and get scared and afraid that I won’t do good. So that happened to be a personality pretty close to my own. But then I enjoyed doing the, The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas for fun reasons, ‘cause I enjoyed all those dancers, and, and Burt Reynolds. And so they all have their own things that I love about it. And, and Steel Magnolias was great workin’ with all those gals. But still, all-in-all, 9 To 5’s my favorite. Anybody else?
Pete: Right over here, Dolly.
Q: Hi, Dolly, my name’s Barry Burkey.
Dolly: Hi, Barry.
Q: I’m from WHCD in Bristol. We do a kids’ show.
Q: First I want to thank you. My son gets his first book this month.
Dolly: Oh! You, is this your first child?
Q: Yes, it is.
Dolly: Oh, great!
Q: He’s 16 months old. He gets his first book. Sullivan County just started it. And, how is it going?
Dolly: It’s goin’ good. We started the, as you know, the, uh, Imagination Library several years back. And, uh, it started here in Sevier County. And now it’s expanded out into all these other places all across the United States, and we’re just growin’ in leaps and bounds, and I think we’re sending out about a million books this year, somethin’ like that, to all those kids. And it’s just gonna grow and grow but it’s a wonderful program that helps little children. They get a book a month from the time they’re born ‘til they start kindergarten. They learn to read, learn to love books, and, and it just really helps ‘em get a, a good start in life, I think, and learn to, to learn to read, too. It’s a good thing for parents. They love the books, they love reading to the kids, so you will, too, won’t ya.
Pete: I fibbed. We have a couple more.
Q: I’m a kindergarten teacher. I took off today, and what’s your favorite child’s book?
Dolly: Well, it’s the one that we use. The first one we send out. And it’s, it sincerely is still my favorite, is The Little Engine That Could. Because it’s really an attitude. It’s sorta like my little song “Coat Of Many Colors.” It’s not just a song, or just a story, it's kind of an attitude that if you think you can, you can. It gives you, children, confidence and that‘s the emotion.
Pete: Yeah, you’re fine. You’re fine.
Dolly: What’d I do? I thought I was backed up in the f’re. (Laughs.) Anyway, so, uh, so The Little Engine That Could is still my favorite. Yeah. OK.
Q: Hi, Dolly, I’m Michelle with the Smoky Mountain Herald. What’s your favorite part about this celebration?
Dolly: Well, first of all, autumn is my favorite time of year. It’s the most beautiful part when all the humidity and stuff’s kinda gettin’ out of the air and the weather turns and the leaves turn, and although they’re not that color for now, but I love it ‘cause all the arts and crafts and all the food, and people come from everywhere. I love the music. But I think I like it mostly because of the weather, and the pumpkins, and all that stuff. Don’t you love autumn?
Q: I do.
Dolly: Don’t you love all that corn? Yeah, I just love the way it looks, love the way it feels. We’ve got, like I said, some great music and stuff, too, the gospel stuff that we celebrate in the fall. So it makes it, it takes you back home.
Q: Thank you, Dolly.
Q: Hi, Dolly, um. I’m from South Carolina.
Dolly: Well, hey!
Q: And you’re starting, uh, your tour in Greenville.
Dolly: Yes, I am.
Q: And I wanted to know, did you pick that for some special reason, or if it just so happened that way, and, ah, what are we gonna be hearing from you?
Dolly: Well, thank you for asking that question. Well, I didn’t pick that, uh, goin’ there for, uh, just any special reason, although Greenville is very special and I’ve been there many times through the years, and I can’t think of a better place to start my tour. But I do have a, a show that I’m workin’ up. It’s a different show than we’re doin’ in the park this weekend ‘cause we’re gonna be doin’ mostly bluegrass and southern gospel stuff for the shows this weekend. But the tour that I’ve put together is called “Hello, I’m Dolly.” And we kinda do a little spoof on the “Hello Dolly” sh-, show up front and then we, of course, go all the way down through it. It’s got a lot of big production numbers, some things that I’d not done before. And even though I’m doin’ a lot of songs you’ve heard me do, we do some of ‘em in a little different way, and so, ah, it’s, it’s more of a production than I’ve ever done in all the years. And it’s been 20 years since I’ve actually been on the road in an extensive tour. We worked three months last year promotin’ a record, and I realized how much I had missed it and how much the fans seemed to have missed me, and I thought, well why not just go do it! It’s what I love to do. I love to sing and write. And I’ll be lookin’ forward to seeing you in Greenville.
Q: Thank you, Dolly.
Dolly: Thank you.
Pete: Thank you, Dolly, very much.
Dolly: Well, is that it? (Applause.)
Pete: That’s it.
Dolly: Well, come and eat. Thanks to all of ya. And I’ll see ya on the park, ah, no, no tellin’ where you’ll see me this weekend, but I’ll certainly see you in concert tomorrow and Sunday. And, ah, Ricky Skaggs is over at the Celebrity Theatre tonight, and you know where all these other people are. You’ve got your material, ain’t ya! (Laughs.) Thank you very much. God bless you. (Cheers and screams as Dolly leaves and “Orange Blossom Special” begins to play again.)