Dolly Parton said she was told many years ago that one of her signature songs, "Coat of Many Colors" would make a great movie. The time is apparently now for that movie to hit the TV airwaves, and actor Ricky Schroder says he is "flattered" to have the opportunity to play the role of Dolly's father in the budding series of TV movies.
Schroder's career has been an unusual path of success that began to show when he was just 9-years-old in the 1979 film "The Champ." His success spilled over into his teen years with "Silver Spoons," and as an adult with "NYPD Blue."
Schroder believes in God but seems to be on a path of searching and working toward a deeper relationship with the Lord. He does attend church on a fairly regular basis and says, "I am reading the New Testament right now. I'm starting [with] the book of Luke. I don't consider myself an extremely religious person, but at the same time, I do believe there is a higher power."
He says his family, and especially his wife, have helped him to avoid many of the pitfalls that come with working toward a successful career in film.
The name of Schroder's character in "Coat of Many Colors" is Lee Parton. Schroder says that Parton and her sister, Stella, "were very involved with the movie all the way through, developing the script and casting the movie."
Schroder said that Parton has told him that he was her first choice for the role because he has qualities that reminded her of her dad. She shared many stories and anecdotes with him about her dad, her family, and the coat.
Schroder said that "It's shocking how poor they were," and that when Dolly wore the coat her mom made for her to school that the kids at school, "made fun of her and ripped it from her body. She didn't have a shirt underneath because she only owned one shirt, and on that day, the shirt was being washed."
The "Coat of Many Colors" that Parton's mom stitched for her was a coat that was stitched together from a bunch of rags because there was no money to buy her one. Her mother told her about the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors in the Bible's Old Testament book of Genesis (chapter 37) as she stitched. Dolly thought she had something special and proudly wore the coat to school, but the kids made fun of her, which inspired the hit song later in her life.
Parton said of the song "Coat of Many Colors" that, "I've had so many people tell me through the years that this song itself has had a healing effect on them, whether it's about their race, their nationality, whether they were overweight or whether they were crippled, people just identify with it. When people make you feel less about yourself, it's a hard thing to deal with."
She is especially excited about the story because of how personal it is to her. It's based on a portion of her life when she was a young girl of about 8 or 9 and was written with a family-friendly, faith-based audience in mind.
NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt admits that everyone at NBC is excited to be working with Parton and to, "create some uplifting movies that the entire family can enjoy together, a genre of programming that still seems largely untapped on television."
Parton adds, "This little story just encompasses so many things. It's an attitude. It's more than a song. It's about so much that we've forgotten so much of these days, just to bring families together."
The TV series begins airing on December 10 at 9 PM ET on NBC. To watch the trailer, click here.