The Aurora Encounter

Movie Poster

Dottie made her movie debut as the widow Irene Rutherford in the 1986 Sci-Fi motion picture Aurora Encounter, a tale of extraterrestrials in Texas. Her portrayal received rave reviews from the press and showcased what a competent actress she was. The film made by New World Pictures was based on a genuine newspaper article in the April 19, 1897 edition of “The Dallas Morning News.” It’s supposedly a true story about a spacecraft landing in the Texas town of Aurora in 1897.

Dottie plays Irene, a widow who first encounters the alien. Irene tells the sheriff and he, along with the local newspaper reporter/teacher, investigate her claim. The alien also visits Charlie (Jack Elam) and several local children. Newspaper reports cause quite a stir and the governor ends up sending a Ranger to “take care of it.” To prove the skeptics wrong, they use crystals to send light to the alien, inviting another visit. He does show up, causing Irene [Dottie] to faint. And it isn’t long until there’s trouble. Dottie briefly sings “In The Sweet By And By” at the beginning.

Making the film was pleasurable for Dottie. She especially took a shine to the child actor Mickey Hays, who played a lead role as the alien. Mickey, a personable, upbeat little boy, suffered from progeria, a genetic condition that virtually guaranteed that he would not live to see twenty.

Dottie got a kick out of Mickey’s unique personality. One day on the set, Dottie was lounging by the pool when Mickey asked, “How old are you?” Dottie replied, “Well, Mickey, I don’t usually tell people, but I am going to tell you.” When she did, Mickey then looked at her much-younger husband Al and asked him the same question. When Al told him, Mickey, without skipping a beat, broke into the song, “Older Women Make Better Lovers,” to the delight of Dottie and everyone present.

On another day, during the filming of the scene in which Dottie falls back on the bed and screams after seeing Mickey for the first time, Dottie couldn’t get the light and screen to work right together and so had to keep repeating take after take. Finally a charmingly exasperated Mickey, hands on hips, told her, “Dottie, you’re gonna have to get this right because I’m not going to stand out here all day.”

Enjoying Mickey’s company, Dottie invited him back home to Tennessee for a vacation. Excited by the prospect of bowling in her bowling alley, the child, with his mother’s permission, readily accepted and traveled back on the tour bus with Dottie and her crew. On the way home, during a break at a truck stop, Dottie ordered some milk. Mickey, ever-protective of his newfound friend, took one look at it and immediately summoned a waitress: “Excuse me, ma’am, can you come over here a minute? See this milk? That’s not fresh. Do you know who this is? This is Dottie West! You’ve got to get her some fresh milk!”


“Aurora” Credits

Executive Producers Fred Kuehnert & M. Sanousi
Producer by Jim McCullough S
Associate producer Phil Flora
Writer Jim McCullough Jr
Filming Location Aurora, Texas


Dottie West…. Irene Rutherford
Jack Elam ….Charlie
Peter Brown ….Sheriff
Carol Bagdasarian ….Alain
Will Mitchell….The Ranger
Mickey Hays….Aurora Spaceman
George ‘Spanky’ McFarland ….Governor
Mindy Smith ….Sue Beth
Carly McCullough ….Ginger
Tracy Kuehnert ….Becky
Big Boi Ridgeback….Moon Dog

Movie Advertisement

Photo Gallery


Even 24 years after the fatal demise of Dottie, she is still widely revered as one of the most sensational and iconic stars of the country music arena. Her everlasting fascination for music and unassailable determination to succeed decorated her career with the dazzling colors of triumph. But, gaining a strong foothold in the musical industry did not prevent her from enlarging the scope of her talent. She had been an impassioned follower of films from her childhood days, and that very same passion reached its full potential once she turned her attention to the film profession during the 1960s. The decade of the 60s saw Dottie starring in four low-budget movies [“Second Fiddle to a Steel Guitar,” “Road to Nashville,” and “Country Music.”] featuring country music themes and a basic storyline. Although Dottie did not act in those films, she was displayed singing her own songs. These films, which were made with the objective of enriching and promoting country music, were quite well-received by the rock’n roll community as well as the country music fraternity.

B Movie 1:  (Unknown Title)

Dottie’s first movie never made it to the silver screen. The movie was indeed a star-studded project, with friend Patsy Cline, her husband, Charlie, Webb Pierce and Sonny James constituting the chief cast. The producer of the film, who turned out to be quite an unscrupulous fellow, duped the actors and actresses and ran off with the money. As a consequence, the film did not get an opportunity of being showcased in the theaters.

B Movie 2: Second Fiddle To A Steel Guitar. (1965)

Dottie’s next project was originally titled, “Country Music Goes to the Opera,” but was later renamed “Second Fiddle To A Steel Guitar.” It was filmed in Spring in Nashville and produced by the local Marathon Pictures Corp. The film revolved around Pamela Hayes, who hires an Italian Opera company to perform at a benefit. The company’s last-minute decision to cancel compels her husband, Arnold Stang, to opt for Country & Western performers instead. This film, too, boasted the presence of hugely distinguished country artists, including Lefty Frizzell, Webb Pierce, Bill Monroe, Minnie Pearl and Kitty Wells. Dottie is portrayed singing “When Two Worlds Collide,” which she had recorded for her current album “Dottie West Sings.” Dottie’s enthralling singing is complemented exemplarily by Anita Kerr and Bill playing steel guitar. Dottie truly raises the bar with her unbelievably melodious voice, and her rendition of this song in this movie is superior to the version on her LP.

Photo Gallery

B MOVIE 3: Road To Nashville. (1967)

The third Road to Nashville, which was released in 1967, was billed as the biggest country music jamboree ever filmed. One of the film’s most interesting characteristics is that it’s powered by 38 magnificent country western song hits, which have been sung by as many as 60 country music stars, such as the Stonemans, Webb Pierce, The Carter Family, Johnny Cash, Bill Anderson and Waylon Jennings, etc. The picture, produced by Robert Packard Production and co-produced by Marty Robbins, is themed on Doodles Weaver, an inept and amateurish assistant looking out for talent for a country music showcase movie. Singers Marty Robbins and Connie Smith help him out by introducing him to some of the biggest and most influential names in Nashville. Dottie lends her exquisite voice to two of her grandest hits in the film, “Would You Hold It Against Me” and “Here Comes My Baby.”

Photo Gallery


Unlike other films of Dottie, not a great deal of information is available about this film of Dottie. This film, which was initially known and publicized as “”There’s a Still on the Hill,” was shot on location at Clayton, Georgia. Dottie was believed to have played the role of the leading actress in the film. It was later released under the banner of “Still on the Hill.” Dottie, George Ellis, Del Reeves and Tommy Cash were among the most recognizable actors and actresses in the film.

B Movie 5: Country Music (1970)

In the 70s decade, Dottie starred in her fifth and final B movie titled “Country Music” with Marty Robbins in the title role. The story is that of a free-lance reporter (Sammy Jackson), who has been handed the assignment to do a feature story on Country Music. The reporter closely follows Marty Robbins in order to obtain various facts required to write about his subject. He goes along with Marty to multiple locations and ultimately wraps up his travel in Nashville for a “Grand Old Opry” show to savor the thrilling and pulsating performances of Carl Smith, Barbara Mandrell and Marty Robbins, Jr., racecar drivers Bobby Allison and Richard Petty.