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Dolly Parton was an uncredited producer on Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The cultural crossover we didn’t know we needed

Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer are justifiably surprised, after Dolly Parton’s long-forgotten role in launching the iconic series was brought to light this week. 

Though the country music legend goes uncredited, it’s possible that Joss Whedon’s series wouldn’t even have aired without the production company, Sandollar Productions, she co-created with friend Sandy Gallin. Sandollar itself is listed in the end credits of every Buffy episode, as well a various other films and shows as recent as 2019.

But how did Parton’s company come to be involved in the cult classic? Well, it began all the way back in 1992, with the Buffy film the series was based on. 

Produced by Sandollar, the film received lukewarm reviews on release, but an executive at the company – Gail Berman, who appears along with Gallin in the series credits – believed it still had potential on TV. 

Needless to say, it did, and would go on to run for seven seasons (plus a reboot, which began production in 2018, with Berman reportedly involved).

Both producers are also credited in the Buffy spinoff Angel, though once again Dolly Parton’s involvement is kept quiet. (Some have suggested that Buffy Summers’ shared birthday with the star, January 19, is a more subtle tribute, which in light of her production role seems increasingly likely.)

So there you have it: besides crossing over with some of our biggest cultural icons, such as RuPaul, and inspiring viral meme formats, Dolly Parton requires our thanks for at least partly getting Buffy off the ground. Who knew?