It’s hard to believe that Dolly Parton’s first major motion picture release 9 to 5 celebrates its 40th Anniversary of premiering in movie theaters today (12/18).
Dolly was chosen for the role by her co-star Jane Fonda, who told the American Film Institute, “On the way home (from production meeting) I turned on the radio and Dolly Parton was singing ‘Two Doors Down’ and my hair stood on end. She’d never made a movie I thought, ‘Oh My lord, Dolly, Lily and Jane okay but it’s gonna have to be a comedy.'”
Dolly herself has many memories from the movie, including an idea she brought to producers of one of her first experiences she had in New York City with her best friend Judy. Parton told us how the “I have a gun in my purse” scene found it’s way to the big screen, “I was inspired by when I went to New York years and years and years ago Judy and I wanted to see New York I had never been and I didn’t know anything about it. And so we as girl friends, you know, we didn’t have any money so we always stayed together just like sisters do. So we got a room at the Americana hotel and we were tacky looking of course my over made clothes and my big hair… cheap looking.”
She continues, “But we were wandering around and we ended up on the street that’s got all the prostitutes, we didn’t know where we were and I had never seen an x-rated movie and I thought, ‘Well, no one knows us here.’ So we darted into the thing and we left immediately because it was so creepy and the show was just yuck. So we were just back out on the street trying to find our way to the hotel.”
Dolly explains how things got a bit hairy, “So we were standing out there waiting and we were down there by the prostitutes and they run in pairs and we found this all out later. But this guy was really coming on to me and it was scary as it could be and he just kept on and I just really…being country girls and at that time I had a gun so I pulled it out and I said ‘Look…’ it was basically what they based that on when I said, ‘Ill change you from a roster to a hen with one shot’ because I told them that story. So that’s where that came from.”
Parton knows the film is now a classic and it happens to be quite close to her heart. She told us, “I have starred in a lot of movies that people called classics and I loved every one of them. 9 to 5 I will always love because it’s like a first love. It’s the first movie that I ever did. I hadn’t even seen a movie being made at that time and then every thing about it just fell so perfectly in place and it was a hit so why would that be like a first love.”