Saturday Guest: Chuy Casias Texas USA

Tell me about the day when you became a fan of Dolly…

I alwayed been a Dolly Fan since she sang I Will ALways Love You then Whitney Houston sang it but Dolly has more feeling in to the song.

Why is Dolly special for you?

Dolly make feel alive and worth living in this cruel world and Dolly keep me going when I wana give up sometime in my LIFE and Relationship.

Do you have any dreams of meeting Dolly?
I wanna someday Open A Salon and maybe someday Dolly will walk and ask for ME to do her hair for her concert and invited ME to go and have backstage with her.

If you had the possibility to go out with Dolly, what would you do?
I would Love to go out with Dolly act like she was my God-mother and watch movies and have dinner and walk the beach and maybe she can sing my Wedding song To The Moon and Back from Joyful Noise..

I Love Dolly Parton

By: Diana Falheim

Saturday Guest: Charlene Rose, Dolly impersonator

Tell me about the day you became a Dolly fan… 

In 1980 when I joined the Academy of Country Music and first saw Dolly’s cover of her album “New Harverst…First Gathering”

Why did you begin to work as a Dolly Parton impersonator? 

I entered a Dolly Parton Lookalike contest and out of 100 women won 1St place and was hired by Brides of California to do my first job at their event, where I met other impersonators who insisted I join their agency

In your shows, you use some of her original outfits, like a Tony Chase costume from Dolly’s music videoWhy’d You Come In Here Lookin’ Like That”. Where do you find her original outfits? 

I purchased them directly from Tony Chase before he died. Dolly had spoke of him on a tv show, so I called information, got his phone #, told him what I did and he gave me an appointment to come in.

How come you’ll been at Jay Leno with Dolly? Tell me about that day and how it began…

I had met Dolly at het book autographing 5 days prior taping Jay Leno and her publicist ask me for my name and # after I ask Dolly to autograph  an 8X10 photo of me dressed as Dolly in her original costume from video “Why’d You Come In Here Lookin’ Like That”, five days later I was called to be on the show with Dolly (as well as two other Dolly’s, one. A drag queen)

You’ve met Dolly a lot of times during the years, tell me about these days and how they’ve affect you….

It is always an honor to meet her because she is so down to earth and humble, not to mention flawless in person…She looks like a porcelain doll! The only way I’m affected is that I realize how much we are alike, in that both talk a lot, are both very friendly, people person, and what you see is what you get!

In one of Dolly’s music video’s you’re Dolly and lip-sync to the song, how come you’ve been a stand in for Dolly?

In this particular video, she was singing on the track with Yusef Islam, aka Cat Stevens whom she has recorded many of his songs over the years, and he has sang on some of her tracks. This was his first song back in the USA after 20 years, and in it he mentions Steve Buckingham, who produced many of Dolly’s albums over the years.

You’ve been all around the world for 21 years with your show, how are the audience to you as an impersonator? 

The audienciences have always received me very well, warm and welcome. Everyone loves Dolly, young and old and they treat me as if I were the real deal. Many times they’ve really believed I was her, even thought I tell them I’m not. Even when they ask me for an autograph, I sign “Breast WishesLOL!

Who makes your wigs? 

I buy them in Hollywood and then have them cut and styled in her latest look.

Isn’t difficult to keep changing wigs and style over the years like Dolly do? 

OH YES! And I’m going broke trying to keep up with her! LOL! Actually, it is a lot of fun! I love the creative Challenge and shopping for fabrics and sequins, jewelry, high heels…Like the song says…! I enjoy being a girl”! I DO!

Do you have contact with her hairstylist so you know what kind of style her hair will be this or that month? 

I had met one of her hair stylist’s bit I don’t contact him, I just google her and pick one that is most popular and recognized by her fans.

Do you have any more goals to make? 

YES! Long before “Doing Dolly” I used to write songs and my dream would to have at least one published some day. I know I have at least 3 # 1hits out of over 150 I’ve written.

Thank You Diana! Hope to see you back in Sweden next time I’m performing on Silja Symphony! I really enjoyed being there for three months…Nice People!

By: Diana Falheim

Thank You Charlene! Go and visit her at www.DollyPartonImpersonator.com

Saturday Guest: William Blevins WV USA

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Tell me about the day when you became a fan of Dolly…

My earliest Dolly memory is this, my aunt Cherry Sue had an old canary yellow Camaro and she would drive my two cousins Genny and Jennifer and me around and she would play her Dolly tape and we would all sing along. This was probably in the early 1980’s. The songs that I remember most are Two Doors Down, Here You Come Again, and Me And Little Andy because we would all cry at the end of Me And Little Andy. My other early memory of Dolly is of watch Best Little “Chicken Ranch” in Texas on HBO for the first time and my mom tells us to “hide our eyes” on the parts she thought were too dirty for us kids. After that I was fasinated with Dolly. I guess I went from just fasinated to die hard fan when in 1987 my Mamaw took me to Dollywood for the first time and that was it I’ve been a major fan ever since. I just remember thinking how famous is Dolly that she has her own park.

Why is Dolly special for you?

Dolly is special for me because she embodies the kind of person who I strive to be like she is super famous but she had never lost sight of that humble little girl from the smoky mountains attitude. I think thats why I like her so much shes from the country and the mountains like me my mountains are just a little north of hers (West Virginia) but its the same culture. Her Songs also speak to my soul in so many ways.

Do you have any dreams of meeting Dolly?

I have not yet had the good fortune to meet Dolly but It is a major dream of mine to meet her. I hope to someday get that opportunity before I leave this earth. I’ve seen her up close at Dollywood once in the mid 1990’s and I saw her in concert in 2004 in Cleveland Ohio we had floor seats 13 rows from the stage but I never got to actually meet her and talk to her or get a picture with her.

Do you have any more goals to make about your dreams?

I guess to try and make to one of the Dolly Parades and try catch her in Dollywood is the best chance I’ll have to ever meet her.

If you had the possibility to go out with Dolly, what would you do?

I would just love to hang out on the front porch of some old cabin back in the mountians just Dolly her guitar and me. She could sing and I could try to sing LOL and get her to tell me the stories behind some of my favorite songs and what inpiried her to write them. Then when we were all sung out we would go inside and cook a big old country meal together and just sit and eat and talk and share our life stories that would be the perfect day with Dolly for me.

By: Diana Falheim

Saturday Guest: Harrel Gabehart TN USA

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Why is Dolly special for you? 

Dolly is special for me because she advocates being the person that you are regardless of who it is.  She is one of the reasons that gave me the courage to come out and deal with all the negativity of being gay…

Tell me about the day when you became a fan of Dolly…

I wasn’t a Dolly fan until I met Patric back in 1988.  I thought country music was depressing and sad…..He is the reason that I started listening to Dolly.

Tell me about the days you met Dolly…

I’ve met her any number of times and each time she was personable and made you feel like you were the only one in the room, but the most memorable time was when Ms Dolly showed up at our house.  It was a total surprise and once in a lifetime opportunity.  She was here also for the filming of the TLC documentary called My Obsession Collection.  She was so energetic, upbeat and most of all, she was speechless.  She heard of our collection but she could not even imagine all of the things that we had.  She gave us some history of some of the things that we have, she found things that she didn’t even knew that existed and just walked around in amazement over all the things she saw.  I truly think that she was humbled by all the items that she saw.  She stayed for about 3 hours or so and made us feel really special and to make things even better, she brought us a house warming gift.  She brought us a pair of the Backwoods Barbie shoes that were displayed in her museum and even autographed them and even had a picture made in them.  Nothing could ever top this day…

If you had the possibility to go out with Dolly, what would you do? 

This might sound strange but I would like her to come back to the house and I would cook her dinner and just talk, nothing more, nothing less…

Do you have any more goals to make about your dreams?

One goal is to get my dolls started again.

By: Diana Falheim

Saturday Guest: Chris Goff USA

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Tell me about the day when you became a fan of Dolly…And why is Dolly special for you?

I’ve always been a Dolly fan. Being that Dollywood is just a four hour drive from my home, I spent many family vacations there as a kid. I took my first trip to the park when I was just 2 years old. So I can’t remember a time when Dolly wasn’t in my life. June of 2003 was the first time I got to see her in person at the park. Up until that time, I knew a few of her songs and movies but I didn’t make an effort to grab every piece of Dolly merchandise as possible. I didn’t know she was going to be at the park during the June 2003 visit until a few days beforehand. My usual family vacation was scheduled to begin the day after she was to appear there. After getting the news she was coming, we decided to leave a day early to see her. My parents visited the park long before it became Dollywood. It was called Silver Dollar City before Dolly bought into it. They had never seen her there either so we made certain to leave a day early to see the woman that had help bring so much fun into our lives each summer. After my first time seeing her at Dollywood on that June 2003 day, I was hooked. I was an instant mega fan. I got to see her make a special appearance at the Purina Dog Chow show the park was having for their Kidsfest festival at that time. She was so energetic and larger than life for the two or three minutes I got to see her. From that point forward, I’ve made every effort to be at the park when she’s there too. In 2005, I was in the audience when she gave away a 20 year pass to the park to everyone inside Celebrity Theatre that showed up to help her celebrate the park’s 20th anniversary.

 

Dolly is special to me because she help to bring a lot of fun and laughter in my family’s life through Dollywood over the years. I think she has a song for every situation. I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs in my life. When I’m down, I can always play a few of her songs and I suddenly feel a lot better. When I’m up, I can play a few of her songs and feel even better! She has given so much to her community, numerous charity efforts, etcetera.. I think the world could learn a lot from this special lady.

Tell me about the day you met Dolly…

I’ve had the honor of meeting Dolly one time at Dollywood in April of 2007. I still dream of meeting her again and again! At that time, the park was set to open a brand new rollercoaster called Mystery Mine. They decided to auction off the first official rides on eBay and it also included a meet and greet with Dolly just before riding it. I was about to graduate high school so my graduation present from my parents was one of the first official rides and the meet and greet. I was so nervous in the days leading up to the big moment. I had been driving myself to school each morning but I started making my Dad drive me because I feared wrecking and getting hurt before my meet and greet! HA! I thought about everything I wanted to tell her. It did no good because once we were face to face, I forgot everything! I remember checking in at Dollywood and being led up to the new ride. They lined us all up down the exit stairs and suddenly I could hear Dolly’s voice at the load platform of the new ride. After she addressed the media a few minutes, I heard her say “well it’s time for our first rides. Let’s bring up our eBay winners!” My heart nearly stopped. It was time to meet my hero. I was #12 in line so it didn’t take long for me to make it up to the platform. I approached her as she turned around to greet me. “Well hello Ms. Dolly!” I said. She gave a big smile and said “Well hey there!” as we shook hands. I remember saying “oh I just love you” and she said “awwww.” The photographer took our picture and then I stepped over to get on the new rollercoaster. After the ride, we arrived back in the station where she was still meeting with all the eBay winners. She finished up and then we were back at the front where they could release the rollercoaster restraints so we could exit the ride. Just as we were exiting, she began walking down the stairs to leave. Those of us that just got off the rollercoaster ran over to see her one more time before she left. All I could do was reach my hand out for a hand shake. I was so star struck. She reached for me and shook my hand. She looked me right in the eye and said “Oh you’re precious.” Gave a smile and a wink, then proceeded to walk down the stairs to exit. About six weeks later, the picture we took together arrived in the mail and she autographed it. I took the picture to school to share with all my classmates just a few days before graduating.

If you had the possibility to go out with Dolly, what would you do?

I would want to go somewhere for a nice dinner and talk awhile. I don’t know why because I wouldn’t be able to eat! HA! I’d want to tell her how much of an impact she’s had on my life. I’d like to walk around Dollywood with her one time as well. 

Do you have any more goals to make about your dreams?

I feel like I’ve achieved my ultimate goal already by getting my opportunity to meet her. I guess my new goal is to meet her again! HA! I would like at least one more opportunity to meet her. I want to be able to tell her how much we love her, thank her for the 20 year pass to Dollywood, and let her know that I’m the guy that always gives her a teddy bear every time she has a parade through the park! HA! 

By: Diana Falheim

Saturday Guest: Dennis Shears Atlanta, Georgia

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Tell me about the day when you became a fan of Dolly…

I became a fan INSTANTLY, while at the age of 7, I saw Dolly’s first appearance on the Porter Wagoner Show, in 1967. I even remember the place where I saw the show, and even though at seven years old, I didn’t know anything about attractions, I KNEW that she had that ‘something’ … or as they say in the biz, that “IT” factor. I was mesmerized! So, from then on, I could hardly wait until Saturdays, when I knew the show would come on.

I couldn’t afford record albums, or actually didn’t even know what being a ‘fan’ meant. I just knew that I adored her. Maybe because of my earliest memories of growing up in a Pentecostal church (like her), or being attracted to fancy hair/jewelry/clothes, etc., like her (which was SO frowned upon in the church. Perhaps it was because of her genuineness, and beauty… both as a person, and as a performer/entertainer.

As the years passed, and I entered junior high school, others of my age were really into the rock/pop performers & bands of that era (the early ’70s). Me, well, I held fast to my fascination to all things Dolly, and even had small cut-out magazine pictures of her inside my locker, even though some thought I was crazy. So, I took a page from the Dolly Handbook, and used that type attention to amplify my own image as THE Dolly Parton fan. NO one else that I knew, in school, family, extended family, friends, etc., adored her like I did. In fact, most people thought she was more of a joke. That didn’t matter to me. I LOVED the attention, and used to for my own good.

High school came, and finally a group of really close friends collected their money together, and bought me my very own first Dolly album, which was the greatest hits, from the mid ‘70s. I placed the songs over & over & over, every night. After I turned 16 and got summer jobs, I spent some of my earnings on other Dolly albums, eventually posters, magazines, etc., anything I could find, that I could afford.

When I was a senior, the guidance counselor was so intrigued by my infatuation, she asked me a very silly question, in her attempt to make me laugh, and also make me think: she said, “If something were to happen to you, God forbid, and you pass away, do you love Dolly so much that it would have been your wishes for her to sing at your funeral? Well, I thought, then replied: I’d LOVE for Dolly to be there, but, I’d rather her be so overcome with emotion, that she couldn’t sing!” Haha.

Time passed, into college years, and young adulthood. All the while my fascination with Dolly continued to grow, and I harnessed that adoration, and made it a point to add her to every possible conversation, so that anyone, and everyone who ever knew me, would know of my passion.

Why is Dolly special for you?

As time continue to go on, and I began to have more resources to collect all the albums (past, present, and future), I thought I was the only one with such a strong, deep devotion to Dolly. Sometimes I’d meet others who would say that they like certain songs of hers, or maybe a movie or TV show appearance, but, for me, I found her to be magnificent, more & more so, as the years passed. I enjoyed her song-writing, her bigger-than-life personality, her humor, her business savvy-ness and ambitions to be a true legend & super-star.

Tell me about the days you met Dolly…

My first time to see her in person was the Saturday before Mother’s Day, in 1977. It was just between her New Harvest/First Gathering and Here You Come Again albums. She had already hired a glossy band, and Sandy Gallin (as her manager). I was SO excited! The tickets were $6.50/each, and that was a big price to pay, back then, for the nose-bleed section!

Later, in November of that same year, after “Here You Come Again” came had come out to huge pop/cross-over success, Dolly came to the university, [where I would eventually attend & graduate from years later]. I was still in high school, but old enough to drive. The show was markedly attempting to appeal to a younger audience, which it did!

Moving forward, in 1986, my first partner & I were living in Birmingham, AL, and Dolly & Kenny Rogers were touring together. Back then, (before the Internet) people would use scalpers to buy good tickets/seats, or would go to the venue of the place where the show was going to be, and when tickets went on sale, the hard core fans would get there early, sometimes many HOURS (during the night) before the actual sale date. In this case, I did get there about 12 hours before tickets went on sale. I was #11 in line, all ticket scalpers. The limit per customer was 10/each. For that tour, they performed in ‘the Round,’ meaning there were 100 front row seats. However, I was fortunate enough to convince one of the scalpers to trade two of his tickets with me. (Plus, I managed to meet another person whom I’d met four years earlier while standing in line, for a Dolly solo concert, however that particular show was cancelled, and he remembered meeting me the 2nd time around. We became life-long friends from that point on, and we now even call ourselves ‘Dolly Partners’.) So, we got FRONT ROW seats!! And, since the show was schedule to be on Oct. 31 (Halloween night), I thought that many people would go the concert dressed and Dolly & Kenny. Haha! Nope! We were the only two: Me as Dolly, and my partner as Kenny. Kenny autographed a tambourine and gave it to my partner. Dolly called me up to stand up, and asked shortly after the show started, “What do you look like with all that ‘stuff’ on”…and I replied, well, Dolly, what do YOU look like with all YOUR stuff on??? She quickly laughed and wittingly/politely invited me to sit back down … that we’d not talk about ‘that.’

In 1994, when her autobiography came out, I was still living/working in B’ham, AL, at two jobs, one at a corporate job, and the other at a major bookstore. UNBELIEVABLY, Dolly’s extremely limited book signing tour brought her to the book store where I was working!!! My friend (the ‘Dolly Partner’) & I (at the reluctant yet interested allowance of the book store’s owner/mgt.) permitted us to design & build a replica of Dolly’s Tennessee Mountain Home front porch, for her to sit in front of, while she was signing the books from the fans who’d been there for hours, and hours! We’d spent several weeks planning it, and it was great. Dolly was quite impressed, and asked for pictures (for her then, now defunct, fan club). When she asked who was responsible for it all, the owners/managers pointed to me, and she asked if I could stand beside her for the entire time she was there, so that the patrons could give their books to me, and I would turn them to the correct page, place on the table, and then Dolly would sign. This all helped the line move much faster. I did have some moments when Dolly & I had a little time to chat. IT WAS A DREAM COME TRUE! I’ll never forget it! (ps… I reminded her that when she & Kenny came to Birmingham years before, that I was dressed like her in the front row! I told her that she wanted to know what I looked like without all that stuff on, well, …. There I was!)

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At that event, I had the great pleasure to meet many of the other long-time/die-hard fans, who’d traveled around often, do see her at Dollywood, and at her concerts. Many of them have remained good friends all these years later, and now when I travel to Dollywood (when Dolly is there), it is a great time for me… to catch up seeing many of those great fans, who, like myself, had devoted their lives to following Dolly’s life, career, and just about every move.

Do you have any more goals to make about your dreams?

The decades have passed. My collection has grown to masses that I can only keep in storage areas, since my home really isn’t big enough or appropriate to properly display all my Dolly memorabilia. I’m always quite impressed with the others people around the world, who have also done the same thing, i.e., created rooms, and entire homes decorated as a shrine to our hero, (or should I call her a ‘SHERO?’)

So, after following Dolly’s career for over four decades, and being the life-long, die-hard, fan that I am, I’d like to think that my life has been enriched by listening to her advice, as given in so many of her great songs… as well as watching her handle her career has compelled me to also take charge of my own life & career endeavors, as well as family matters and personal issues.

Additionally, I would like for Dolly to do some certain things career/music wise: I would LOVE for her to record two particular songs: 1) “If We Never Meet Again, (This Side of Heaven)” [which Dolly-herself told me is her favorite song that she didn’t write], and 2) cover Neil Sedaka’s “Laughter in the Rain” for/in another great full album/CD of light-pop oriented flavored songs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsYIiY2wnyU

Also, I would LOVE for Dolly to record a Duets album of ‘30s, & ‘40s standards / classics, with various other artists, like Lady Gaga, Michael Buble’, Tony Bennett, George Straight, Diana Ross, Jennifer Hudson, Adele, k.d. lang, Madonna, Cher, Bette Midler, Barry Manilow, Natalie Cole, Elton John, … to name a few. PLUS, I’ve heard Dolly mention that she would like to record a full album of Hank Williams, Sr., songs, which I think would be a magnificent idea! Can you image her take on those classic songs?

If you had the possibility to go out with Dolly, what would you do?

If I could spend an afternoon with Dolly, I would LOVE to sit with her either at her office in Nashville, or even better at her Tennessee Mountain Home, and for a while have Judy there, but also spend some private time with Dolly, just to absorb her attitude, her approach to life: paying respect to the past, honoring the present, and making great plans for the future. I have tons of questions I would love to ask, far too many to list here.

By : Diana Falheim

Dennis also have a question to Dolly. I’ll publish that question at the headline : Submit Your Questions to Dolly