Dolly Parton
Country Weekly
May 21, 1996
Fans see double as she reopens Dollywood theme park
By Gerry Wood


A proud Dolly Parton literally beat her renowned chest as she celebrated the reopening of her Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

      Stars — both real and look-alike — helped Dolly start her 11th season at the park and show off its newest attraction, the $8 million Dollywood Boulevard that salutes Hollywood movies.
      In keeping with the Tinseltown theme, a 3-D trio of real friends — Sandra Dee, Dom DeLuise and Phyllis Diller — were joined by celebrity look-alikes of Marilyn Monroe, the Blues Brothers, Tom Jones, Elvis Presley, Liberace, Roy Orbison . . . and Dolly Parton!
      The real Dolly performed a duet with her look-and-sound-alike.  "I've been going so fast that I've met myself coming back," the star marveled.
      Her reopening weekend also included serving as grand marshal for a parade through Pigeon Forge, a three-song mini-concert and some spicy bantering with fans.
      "Do the Tarzan yell," one fan shouted.
      "I can't do the yell because I'm going to sing today and I have to save my throat," Dolly replied.  "But I can beat my chest," she said, and did so to the audience's laughter and whoops.  Standing next to her, Dom DeLuise, wide-eyed but ever the gentlemen, asked politely, "Can I be of any service?"
      Dolly told COUNTRY WEEKLY that her dream of a Dollywood began when she first visited California 30 years ago.
      "I was looking up at the big sign that says Hollywood, and I thought, 'Wouldn't it be great if someday I could jerk that big ol' H down and put a D there to make it Dollywood?'  Eleven years ago I got to see that dream come true in the mountains."
      Dollywood's 1996 season opening came 37 years to the day after Dolly's first record, "Puppy Love," was released.
      Before the weekend ended, Dolly had planted a rose bush in memory of the late Minnie Pearl, awarded a classic 1957 Ford Fairlane to contest winner Charles Webb of Knoxville, Tenn., and answered endless questions from fans.

      Weekend rains didn't stop any of the entertainers:  The rotund DeLuise, who describes himself as "vertically challenged, horizontally gifted," brought an umbrella onstage; Phyllis Diller's self-deprecating humor kept audiences in stitches; and the impersonators, on loan from Las Vegas' Legends In Concert, each did a song in character.
      Proceeds from the concerts help support the Imagination Library, a preschool reading program in Sevier County.