Monday, November 09, 2009

Don't mess with Texas

I was out raking leaves the other day, and God help me if this song wasn't going through my head. It's not often that one can legitimately claim to having a Dom DeLuise song stuck in their head, but it's true. (and now our own Melvin P. Thorpe singers!)

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas was probably one of the first R-rated movies that I was allowed to watch as a kid, and it was almost certainly the first that I was allowed to watch that had nudity in it. Oh, I had seen breasts before both on TV (we did have HBO after all) and in print as my dad had a stash of Playboy magazines in the basement that he had confiscated from high school students over the years. (They brought PLAYBOY to school?) But Whorehouse was the first movie with nudity that had the parental seal of approval. Looking back, I probably begged because of the Dolly factor, and my folks more than likely just threw up their hands and caved rather than listen to me go on about how I had to watch a Dolly Parton movie. After all, it's not like it's a hardcore porn or anything!

Dolly has spoken in the past about how hard the filming of Whorehouse was for her. A lot of bickering, constant script rewrites and a revolving door of directors only compounded the physical and emotional problems she was having at the time. However, you'd never know that by watching the movie, which is either a testament to her ability as an actress or her dedication to getting the job done and done right, regardless of what's going on with her personally.

The movie is certainly not great - it's passable musical-comedy - although we watched it like crazy as kids, and not just the "boobs flashing" parts (as Dolly referred to them). Perhaps my favorite part of the whole movie comes after the eventual closure of the Chicken Ranch - the name of the whorehouse of which Dolly's Miss Mona Stangley was madam. The ladies are all packing up and getting ready to move on with their lives when (because this is a musical) they feel the need to spontaneously break out into song. What results is the song "Hard Candy Christmas". The version of the song on the soundtrack was a Dolly solo, omitting the rest of the female voices, and it just doesn't work as well. The death of the Chicken Ranch affected them all, not just Miss Mona who you knew was going to get married to Burt Reynolds anyway.

I'm pretty sure I recorded that song onto a cassette by holding the cassette recorder up to the TV. THAT version of the song probably had my mom talking in the background.

RuPaul actually did a version of "Hard Candy Christmas" for his Ho Ho Ho! album about 10 years ago, but it was eclipsed by the excellence that was his cover of a Dolly Parton holiday original, "With Bells On." (horrible quality recording, but you get what you pay for.)


mary35 said...

I am so glad that someone else fesses up to holding a tape recorder up to the TV. I recorded many songs from Solid Gold that way, and typically there was either the sound of running water and dishes being dropped in the sink in the background, or my mother calling, "Mary, time to do the dishes!"

Dan said...

Oh, I totally held the tape recorder up to the TV. How else do you think I got the audio for the Dolly Live In London concert? We would also tape TV themes and one time I remember taping the theme from "The Love Boat" (what possessed me?) but my parents were getting ready to leave for the evening and insisted on telling us what we needed to do re: bedtimes, etc. while I was taping!

mary35 said...

Too funny! I believe I taped the theme song to Joannie Loves Chachi. I think I could still sing that song to this day!