Dolly Parton Had To Change the Title of Her 1991 Film Because People Thought It Was a Vulgar Joke
In addition to being a singing, songwriting superstar, Dolly Parton has quite the film resume. She’s perhaps best known for starring in 9 to 5 as Doralee. But in 1991, the Queen of Country was in a TV movie she wrote, along with Mark Kiracofe, called Wild Texas Wind. However, that wasn’t the film’s original name. Initially, it was called Big T (as in Texas). But when Parton revealed the name of the film on The Tonight Show, the audience thought the title was a joke about her breasts.
‘That goes to show you how everybody’s mind goes to that place’ — Dolly Parton
“‘Big T’ stood for ‘Big Texas,'” Parton wrote in her 2020 book, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics. “So that’s what I wanted to call the movie. Someone said, ‘You can’t call it that.’ I said,’ Why not?’ They said, ‘Because everybody’s going to think it stands for your big T’s’ I said, ‘That goes to show you how everybody’s mind goes to that place.’ Any titty joke, they’ll go for.”
So Parton and her team went back to the drawing board and renamed the film Wild Texas Wind.
Dolly Parton’s ‘Wild Texas Wind’
Wild Texas Wind was unlike anything Parton had starred in up until that point.
“Dolly Parton stars in a dramatic role as a Texas Swing band singer caught in a violent, destructive relationship that leads to suspense and murder,” reads the IMDb description of the film. “[Theola] Rayfield (Parton), known to her fans as ‘T’, sings for a hard-working, close-knit band that makes its living on the road playing one bar after another. Then she meets and is swept off her feet by charming club owner Justice (Gary Busey). However, ‘T’ soon discovers that Justice has a dark side. He flies into violent rages, and soon members of the band cannot ignore the obvious signs that Justice has been abusing ‘T’. They try to persuade ‘T’ to leave Justice and go back on the road with the band. Justice won’t let her go, setting off a series of plot twists that ultimately lead to murder and a shocking conclusion.”
Many of Parton’s fans didn’t respond well to the film. The Queen of Country thinks they didn’t like seeing her character in a violent relationship.
“In the film, Gary Busey was being abusive,” she wrote. “‘Gary Abusey’ is what I said as a joke. I thought he did a really good job, but people didn’t like to see me getting beat up. I think my fans don’t want to see me playing that kind of role.”
‘Big T’ the song
“Big T” was supposed to be the signature song of the film.
“An anthem for and about Texas, this song title also references the name of her TV-movie character ‘Theola Rayfield,'” reads Parton’s 2020 book. “It was originally intended to be the title tune of the film, but the audience tittered when she announced this on The Tonight Show.”
Cut my teeth on a cactus stalk.
In cowboy boots, I learned to walk.
Said my first words with a Texas drawl,
In Texas, the big ‘T.’Big T, by Dolly Parton
To this day, the song has never appeared on an album.