Willie Nelson on the Porter Wagoner Show

by: Courtney Campbell

If you ever wondered who we have to thank for the massive blessing that is having Dolly Parton in our lives, look no further than Porter Wayne Wagoner and his beloved TV show, The Porter Wagoner Show. The show was where Parton, along with a whole lot of other country music stars, got their big breaks.

Regularly featuring RCA country artists, The Porter Wagoner Show lasted from 1960 to 1981 and aired for nearly 700 episodes. It was not only a Nashville institution but a beloved American television show. Hosted by the rhinestone suit wearing thin man himself, Porter Wagoner, the show almost always opened with performances by Wagoner and Norma Jean or Dolly Parton. The formula was simple but effective. The show featured a musical guest, interludes from comedian Speck Rhodes, performances by Wagoner, Parton, Jean and others, a whole lot of jokes and sketches, and some gospel music toward the end of the show, usually performed by Wagoner and Dolly Parton but sometimes sung by the musical guest or the whole cast. Sometimes Wagoner’s alter-ego, Skid Row Joe, would make an appearance as well.

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