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Dallas
DallasLogo.jpg
Dallas title card from 1989–1991
Format Soap Opera
Created by David Jacobs
Starring Larry Hagman
Barbara Bel Geddes
Jim Davis
Patrick Duffy
Linda Gray
Susan Howard
Steve Kanaly
Howard Keel
George Kennedy
Ken Kercheval
Cathy Podewell
Priscilla Beaulieu Presley
Victoria Principal
Dack Rambo
Donna Reed
Charlene Tilton
Sheree J. Wilson
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 14 (including mini-series)
No. of episodes 357 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time 45 Minutes (excluding commercials)
Broadcast
Original channel CBS
Original run April 2, 1978 – May 3, 1991
Chronology
Followed by Dallas: The Early Years
Dallas: J.R. Returns
Dallas: War of the Ewings
Related shows Knots Landing
The Southfork Ranch, home of the Ewing family
The original cast of Dallas. Clockwise from top right are: Larry Hagman (in cowboy hat), Linda Gray, Jim Davis, Charlene Tilton, Victoria Principal, Patrick Duffy, and Barbara Bel Geddes

Dallas is an American prime-time television soap opera that originally ran from 1978 to 1991. It revolved around the Ewings, a wealthy Texas family in the oil and cattle-ranching industries. The show debuted in April 1978 as a five-part miniseries on the CBS network, and then was broadcast for thirteen seasons from 1978 through 1991. In 2007, Dallas was listed as one of Time magazine's "100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME."[1]

Contents

History

The show's central character is John Ross "J.R." Ewing Jr., a greedy, scheming oil baron played by Fort Worth native Larry Hagman. J.R. was only intended to be a supporting character when the show premiered, as the series was originally based around J.R.'s brother Bobby and his new bride, Pam. However, J.R.'s machinations became popular with viewers and he quickly became the focus of the series.

Creator David Jacobs originated the idea for a drama series about four married couples (which would later become the spinoff series Knots Landing), but CBS wanted a glitzy "saga-like" show. Jacobs therefore created Dallas, a series about a wealthy family in the oil business. When Dallas proved to be a hit, CBS reconsidered Jacobs' original idea and turned Knots Landing into a spin-off of Dallas in late 1979.

The Dallas miniseries that started in April 1978 was shot entirely on location in Dallas, Texas. Later, most interiors for the show were shot at the MGM studios in Hollywood, with exteriors being shot at the Southfork Ranch in Parker, Texas, and other sections of Dallas, until 1989, when rising production costs led to all filming being relocated to California.

Premise

The show was known for its wealth, sex, intrigue, and power struggles. When the series began, the founder of Ewing Oil and patriarch of the Ewing family was Jock (veteran movie actor Jim Davis), an oil tycoon who had allegedly cheated his one-time partner, Digger Barnes (David Wayne, later replaced by Keenan Wynn) out of his share of the company as well as Digger's only love, Eleanor "Ellie" Southworth (veteran stage/movie actress Barbara Bel Geddes).

Jock and Miss Ellie raised three sons, J.R., Gary (David Ackroyd and later Ted Shackelford) and Bobby (Patrick Duffy). J.R., the eldest Ewing son, unscrupulous and unhappily married to a former Miss Texas, Sue Ellen Shepard Ewing (Linda Gray), was frequently at odds with his youngest brother, Bobby, who displayed the morals and integrity that his eldest brother lacked.

It was later revealed that Jock had illegitimately fathered a fourth son, the Ewings' ranch foreman Ray Krebbs (Steve Kanaly). Ray had previously engaged in a short fling with Pamela Barnes (Victoria Principal), who was Digger Barnes' daughter and Cliff's (Ken Kercheval) sister. However, Pam loved Bobby Ewing and the two married in the pilot episode. J.R., who loathed the Barnes family, was not happy with Pam living at Southfork and tried to constantly undermine her marriage to Bobby.

The series ended each season with ratings-grabbing cliffhangers. Some notable cliffhangers included the landmark "Who shot J.R.?" episode in 1980 (which TV Guide ranked #69 on its list of "TV's Top 100 Episodes of All Time"[2]), an unidentified floating female corpse in the Southfork swimming pool, a blazing house fire, Bobby being shot, and Bobby even being killed by Pam's crazed half-sister Katherine Wentworth. Patrick Duffy had decided to leave the series in 1985, which facilitated Bobby's death, but Duffy was offered a higher salary the following year and elected to return to the series (which had by then begun to suffer from a ratings drop). The intervening season where Bobby was dead was subsequently explained away as a dream of Pam's in 1986.[3] In 1987, Victoria Principal decided to leave the series and her character was written out in another end-of-season cliffhanger where her car crashed into an 18-wheeler and exploded. The show continued (with steadily declining ratings) until 1991, when the series finale saw J.R. seemingly defeated by his enemies and apparently taking his own life.

Cast of characters

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Original main cast

Larry Hagman as J.R. Ewing (1978–1991 – entire run)
Eldest son of Jock and Miss Ellie.
Patrick Duffy as Bobby Ewing (1978–1985, 1986–1991)
Youngest son of Jock and Miss Ellie.
Barbara Bel Geddes as "Miss Ellie" Southworth Ewing (1978–1984, 1985–1990)
Jock's wife, whose family owned Southfork Ranch originally.
Jim Davis as Jock Ewing (1978–1981)
Founder of Ewing Oil and head of the Ewing family.
Linda Gray as Sue Ellen Ewing (1978–1989)
J.R.'s long-suffering alcoholic wife.
Victoria Principal as Pamela Barnes Ewing (1978–1987)
Bobby's wife, who is forced to act as a buffer between the two feuding families.
Charlene Tilton as Lucy Ewing Cooper (1978–1985, 1988–1990)
Gary and Val's daughter. Saucy granddaughter of Jock and Miss Ellie.
Ken Kercheval as Cliff Barnes (1978–1991 – entire run)
Pam's brother, whose schemes are aimed directly against the Ewings, specifically J.R.
Steve Kanaly as Ray Krebbs (1978–1988)
Ranch foreman; Jock's illegitimate son.

Additional cast members

Donna Reed as Miss Ellie (1984–1985)
Susan Howard as Donna Culver Krebbs (1979–1987)
Political woman who marries Ray.
Howard Keel as Clayton Farlow (Spring 1981–1991)
Dignified, and sometimes hot-tempered, oil baron. Miss Ellie's second husband, after the death of Jock.
Priscilla Beaulieu Presley (1983–1988), Morgan Fairchild (briefly in 1978), and Francine Tacker (briefly in 1980) as Jenna Wade
Bobby's first true love, before Pam.
Dack Rambo as Jack Ewing (Spring 1985–1987)
A wandering cousin, son of Jock's brother Jason.
Sheree J. Wilson as April Stevens Ewing (1986–1991)
Jack's ex-wife, who eventually marries Bobby.
George Kennedy as Carter McKay (1988–1991)
Becomes the head of WestStar oil and the adversary of J.R.
Cathy Podewell as Cally Harper Ewing (1988–1991)
J.R.'s young second wife.
Lesley-Anne Down as Stephanie Rogers (Spring 1990)
PR woman who plots to make Cliff a powerful political figure.
Sasha Mitchell as James Richard Beaumont (1989–1991)
J.R.'s illegitimate son with old flame Vanessa Beaumont.
Kimberly Foster as Michelle Stevens (1989–1991)
April's sister, who marries James Beaumont and then Cliff Barnes.
Barbara Stock as Liz Adams (Spring 1990–1991)
Cliff's girlfriend during the final season.

Important secondary characters

Tina Louise as Julie Gray (1978–1979)
J.R.'s first secretary, whom he is personally involved with until her accidental death in 1979.
Gene Evans as Garrison Southworth (January 1979)
Ellie's long lost brother who is afflicted with a terminal illness and returns to Southfork to live out the rest of his life. Gary Ewing is named after him.
Mary Crosby (1979–1981, 1991) and Colleen Camp (briefly in 1979) as Kristin Shepard
Sue Ellen's scheming sister, who has an affair with J.R. and then shoots him in the famous cliffhanger.
Ted Shackelford (1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1985, 1991 guest appearances) and David Ackroyd (briefly in 1978) as Garrison Arthur "Gary" Ewing
Alcoholic black sheep of the Ewing family and Lucy's father, who moves away to California to star in the spinoff series Knots Landing.
Joan Van Ark as Valene "Val" Clements Ewing (later Gibson Waleska Ewing) (1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1991 guest appearances)
Gary's wife and Lucy's mother, a central character on Dallas spinoff Knots Landing.
David Wayne (1978) and Keenan Wynn (1979–1980) as Willard "Digger" Barnes
Cliff and Pam's father, former partner and sworn enemy of Jock Ewing. A legendary prospector but erratic personality, it was implied in Dallas: The Early Years that Digger could smell oil underground.
Sandy Ward as Jeb Ames (1978–1979)
One of J.R.'s business associates, involved in a deal based on the infamous Red Files.
John Ashton (1978–1979) and Ed Nelson (briefly in 1978) as Willie Joe Garr
One of J.R.'s business associates, involved in a deal based on the infamous Red Files.
Lisa LeMole as Susan (1978)
J.R.'s second secretary.
Meg Gallagher as Louella Caraway Lee (1978–1981)
J.R.'s third secretary.
Jeanna Michaels (1979–1981) and Donna Bullock (briefly in 1978) as Connie Brasher
Bobby's first secretary.
Don Starr as Jordan Lee (1979–1990)
A member of the cartel.
Fern Fitzgerald as Marilee Stone (1979–1990)
Promiscuous female member of the cartel, whose husband committed suicide after losing money in a deal with J.R.
Dennis Patrick as Vaughn Leland (1979–1984)
Cattleman's Bank executive.
Barbara Babcock as Liz Craig (1978–1982)
Pam's boss at The Store.
John Zaremba (1978–1986) and Dan Ammerman (briefly in 1978) as Dr. Harlen Danvers
The Ewing family physician.
George O. Petrie as Harv Smithfield (1979–1991)
The Ewing family's attorney.
Tom Fuccello as Senator Dave Culver (1979–1984, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991)
Donna's stepson.
Jeff Cooper as Dr. Simon Ellby (1979–1981)
Sue Ellen's psychiatrist.
Jared Martin as Steven "Dusty" Farlow (1979–1982, 1985, 1991)
Clayton's son and Sue Ellen's sometimes lover.
E.J. André as Mr. Eugene Bullock (1979–1983)
Elderly international oilman.
Randolph Powell as Alan Beam (1979–1980)
Smooth-talking, ambitious lawyer who works for J.R. and was briefly engaged to Lucy.
Martha Scott as Patricia Shepard (1979 and 1985)
Sue Ellen and Kristin's controlling mother.
Karlene Crockett as Muriel Gillis (1979–1983)
Lucy's nerdy best friend.
Leigh McCloskey as Mitch Cooper (1980–1982, 1985, 1988)
Lucy's husband and Afton's brother.
Morgan Woodward as Punk Anderson (1980–1987)
Oil executive and good friend to Jock and Miss Ellie.
Stephen Elliott as Scotty Demarest (1980, 1985, 1987)
The Ewing family's criminal attorney.
Joanna Cassidy (1980–1981) and Andra Akers (briefly in 1979) as Sally Bullock
Shipping magnate who sleeps with J.R., wife of Eugene Bullock.
Morgan Brittany as Katherine Wentworth (1981–1985, 1987)
Wicked half-sister of Pam and Cliff, who falls in love with Bobby and kills him with her car. thus beginning the "dream" season.
Priscilla Pointer as Rebecca Blake Barnes Wentworth (1981–1983)
Mother of Pam, Cliff and Katherine who was killed of in a plane crash in the 1982–1983 season.
William Smithers as Jeremy Wendell (1981, 1984–1989)
Head of the powerful WestStar Oil and proverbial thorn in J.R.'s side.
Audrey Landers as Afton Cooper (1981–1984, 1989)
Mitch's sister and aspiring singer who becomes Cliff's girlfriend and later mother of his daughter Pamela Rebecca Cooper.
Anne Francis as Arliss Cooper (1981)
Mitch and Afton's mother, Lucy's mother-in-law
Susan Flannery as Leslie Stewart (1981)
A public relations agent who works with Ewing Oil and secretly tapes her conversations with J.R.
Debbie Rennard as Sylvia "Sly" Lovegren (1981–1991)
J.R.'s fourth secretary.
Deborah Tranelli as Phyllis Wapner (1981–1991)
Bobby's second secretary.
Sherill Lynn Rettino as Jackie Dugan (1979–1991)
Pam's co-worker at The Store, later Cliff's secretary at Barnes-Wentworth Oil, eventually James's secretary at Ewing Oil.
Roseanna Christiansen as Teresa (1982–1991)
The Ewing's maid.
Alice Hirson as Mavis Anderson (1982–1988)
Punk's wife and Miss Ellie's closest friend.
Lois Chiles as Holly Harwood (1982–1983)
Oil heiress who becomes involved in a complex scheme with J.R. and causes Sue Ellen to drink again.
Timothy Patrick Murphy as Mickey Trotter (1982–1983)
Ray's rebellious cousin who becomes involved with Lucy.
Danone Simpson as Kendall Chapman (1982–1991)
Ewing Oil receptionist.
John Beck as Mark Graison (Spring 1983–1984, 1985–1986)
Pamela's beau after her first divorce from Bobby whom Pam vows to marry in Spring 1984 due to his contraction of a fatal disease. Mark is tragically killed in a plane crash and leaves Pamela a letter expressing his love for her and his knowledge that she still loved Bobby deeply. Graison reappears during the 1985–1986 "dream season" and marries Pamela...until she wakes up, of course.
Christopher Atkins as Peter Richards (1983–1984)
Twenty-year old lover of Sue Ellen and mentor to little John Ross.
Omri Katz (1983–1991) and Tyler Banks (1980–1983) as John Ross Ewing III
J.R. and Sue Ellen's son.
Martin E. Brooks as Edgar Randolph (1983–1984)
Government worker in charge of Offshore Oil Field auctions that JR drives to sanitarium from blackmail about his troubled past.
Shalane McCall as Charlie Wade (1983–1988)
Jenna's daughter.
Alexis Smith as Lady Jessica Farlow Montford (1984, 1990)
Clayton's criminally insane sister and biological mother of Dusty Farlow.
Daniel Pilon as Renaldo Marchetta (1984–1985)
Jenna's ex-husband and Charlie's father.
Jenilee Harrison as Jamie Ewing Barnes (1984–1986)
Daughter of Jock's brother Jason who Cliff marries to gain control of her share of Ewing Oil. She later divorces Cliff, moves to California, and then dies in a hiking accident in Season 10.
Deborah Shelton as Mandy Winger (1984–1987)
A model who becomes one of J.R.'s many mistresses. She was previously involved romantically with Cliff Barnes.
Joshua Harris (1985–1991) and Eric Farlow (1983–1985) as Christopher Ewing
Bobby and Pam's adopted son, biological son of Kristin Shepard and Jeff Farraday.
Barbara Carrera as Angelica Nero (1985–1986)
Exotic businesswoman who dangerously tangles with J.R.
Steve Forrest as Ben Stivers/Wes Parmalee (1986)
Ranch hand who claims to be Jock.
Jack Scalia as Nicholas Pearce (1987–1988, 1991)
Stockbroker who becomes infatuated with Sue Ellen.
Andrew Stevens as Casey Denault (1987–1989)
Young hustler who works for J.R., romances Lucy in order to use her money.
Leigh Taylor-Young as Kimberly Cryder (1987–1988)
Daughter of the largest owner of WestStar stock, whom J.R. tries to marry in order to gain control of the company.
Beth Toussaint as Tracy McKay Lawton (1988–1989)
Carter McKay's daughter who becomes involved with Bobby.
J. Eddie Peck as Tommy McKay (1989)
Son of Carter McKay, a drug dealer.
Jeri Gaile as Rose Daniels McKay (1989–1991)
Carter's young wife.
Ian McShane as Don Lockwood (1989)
English film director who helps produce Sue Ellen's idea for an unflattering film about J.R., eventually Sue Ellen moves to London and marries him.
Gayle Hunnicutt as Vanessa Beaumont (1989–1991)
Mother of James, an old flame of J.R., briefly attempts to rekindle their romance after J.R. has married Cally.
Susan Lucci as Hilary Taylor/faux Sheila Foley (1990–1991)
Psychotic kidnapper who causes April's death as April and Bobby honeymoon in Europe.
Barbara Eden as Lee Ann De La Vega (1990–1991)
An old girlfriend of J.R. who plots revenge against him.

Family tree

 
 
John Ross "Jock" Ewing, Sr.
 
 
 
Eleanor "Miss Ellie" Southworth Ewing Farlow
 
 
 
Clayton Farlow
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John Ross "J.R." Ewing, Jr.
 
 
 
Sue Ellen Shepard Ewing
 
Garrison Arthur "Gary" Ewing
 
 
 
Valene Clements Ewing
 
Robert James "Bobby" Ewing
 
 
 
Pamela Jean Barnes Ewing
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John Ross Ewing III
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lucy Ewing Cooper
 
 
 
Mitch Cooper
 
Christopher Ewing (adopted)
 
 
 

Deaths and departures

By the time the series ended, most of the family had departed:

  • Jock Ewing (Jim Davis) was the first to depart, with the actor's death in 1981.
  • Bobby Ewing was twice heartbroken, having lost both Pamela Ewing and April Stevens Ewing.
  • Pamela Ewing was severely injured in a car accident in the 1986–1987 season finale, and left Bobby and Christopher due to her apparent inability to let them see her in such a physically disfigured fashion. Nevertheless, while Victoria Principal never returned again to the series as Pam during its final four years before cancellation, Margaret Michaels, a Principal look-alike, played the character in the season premiere of 1988–1989.
  • Donna and Ray divorced in 1987, the former moving to Washington, D.C. Ray then subsequently left Dallas with his new wife, Jenna, bound for Europe by the fall of 1988.
  • Lucy Ewing returned to Southfork in spring 1988, but then left again two years later for Europe as well.
  • Sue Ellen Ewing left Dallas in 1989 to move to London with her new film-director boyfriend and then-husband.

Episodes

Cliffhangers

Dallas was notable for its cliffhangers. Throughout the series' run, every season ended with some sort of cliffhanging ending designed to drive ratings up for the season premiere the following year.

Miniseries cliffhanger: Although this really wasn't a cliffhanger, the end of the fifth episode of the original Dallas miniseries saw J.R. go up to the loft of the barn to talk to Pam, who had gone up there to escape the wild time at the barbecue going on at Southfork (which includes embarrassing actions from both the Ewing and Barnes family, most notably Digger's drunk rendition of "The Yellow Rose of Texas"). J.R., intoxicated, tries to convince her to tell Bobby not to leave the ranch. However, she doesn't want to be bothered, and, in trying to escape J.R., she falls from the loft, landing square on her stomach.

Resolution: Pam, who was pregnant with Bobby's child at the time, lost the baby and was told that she would never be able to carry a baby to full term. Jock talks to the couple while Pam is recuperating and convinces her and Bobby to remain on the ranch.

Season One cliffhanger: Sue Ellen's drinking problem has landed her in a sanitarium, where she is pregnant with a child she believes is Cliff Barnes'. She escapes from the sanitarium, gets drunk, and then gets into a severe car accident, putting her life and the baby's life in danger. The doctors deliver the baby, named John Ross Ewing III (after J.R (John Ross, Jr.). and Jock (John Ross, Sr.)), but he is very small on delivery and isn't out of the woods yet. Neither is his mother, who, as the episode ends, is clinging to life. A very distraught J.R. is watching his wife at the end of the episode in tears, saying that she's "just gotta live."

Resolution: After a two-part season premiere in which the child was kidnapped, John Ross is returned to the hospital and Sue Ellen recovers, although the doubt surrounding her newborn son's paternity lingers for a while afterward. It is eventually confirmed that J.R. is the father and not Cliff.

Season Two cliffhanger: To cap off a season where J.R. has angered nearly everyone in the state of Texas, someone comes into his office late at night and shoots him twice.

Resolution: As a result of the shooting, J.R. is temporarily paralyzed from the waist down and faces a long recovery. An investigation into the crime is conducted over the next several episodes, and Sue Ellen is the prime suspect. The climax of the story comes when Sue Ellen confronts both J.R. and her sister Kristin on Southfork. Despite her being severely intoxicated, Sue Ellen recalls everything that happened: that she had been in Kristin's apartment that night with the gun used to shoot her husband, that she had been given another drink which caused her to pass out, and that Kristin had put her in the trunk of her car and drove to J.R.'s office, where she shot him. Kristin then hid the gun on the ranch to frame Sue Ellen for the crime. However, Kristin is never prosecuted for the crime as she is pregnant with J.R.'s child and he wants to avoid another scandal. After leaving Dallas and miscarrying his baby shortly thereafter, and wishing to be able to blackmail J.R. at a later date, Kristin quickly becomes pregnant again with boyfriend Jeff Farraday (Art Hindle), and later gives birth to a boy, Christopher, who she claims is J.R.'s child.

Season Three cliffhanger: Cliff finds a body in the Southfork pool while heading to a late-night business meeting with Bobby. He goes to see who it is (factors point to Pam although there is no definitive evidence to that effect), and when he looks back up J.R. is standing on the balcony over the pool, near the area where the person fell. Believing J.R. is responsible Cliff says to his rival, "She's dead. You bastard."

Resolution: The body was revealed to be that of Kristin Shepard, who earlier that year was revealed to have shot J.R. Her cause of death was ruled to be a combination of drowning and a PCP overdose. In the months that follow, Kristin's boyfriend Jeff Farraday, desperate for money to repay various drug dealers and other lowlifes, "sells" the infant Christopher Shepard to Bobby and Pam, and he is raised as Christopher Ewing.

Season Four cliffhanger: Cliff Barnes' year had not been a good one. Sue Ellen, with whom he'd had an off and on relationship, decided to return to J.R. and marry him again. In addition, J.R. helped to nearly drive Cliff's mothers tool and die company into bankruptcy, which cost Cliff his job. He attempts suicide with an overdose of pills and a guilt-ridden Sue Ellen rushes to his bedside as Cliff lays in a coma. J.R. tries to convince Sue Ellen that it wasn't anybody's fault but Cliff's for what happened, but Sue Ellen disagrees and says she doesn't know if she can remarry J.R. if Cliff dies.

Resolution: Cliff emerges from his coma in the second episode of the season, and Sue Ellen and J.R. remarry later on, with Cliff humiliating himself during the ceremony.

Season Five cliffhanger: A drunk Sue Ellen and Ray Krebbs' cousin Mickey Trotter are involved in an accident, in a car belonging to J.R., just outside Southfork. Sue Ellen emerges unhurt, but Mickey is paralyzed and in a coma. Ray finds out that the driver of the other car was Walt Driscoll, J.R.'s rival. He also learns that Driscoll deliberately caused the accident, thinking that J.R. was driving, as a means of revenge for being put in jail by J.R. earlier in the year. An angered Ray comes to Southfork late at night demanding answers from J.R., who was not expecting to see him. J.R. asks him what is going on and Ray says he's going to kill J.R. for what happened. J.R. throws a candle holder at Ray, which misses him and knocks over another candle holder with lit candles in it. As the two brawl, the candles ignite a fire and the smoke starts to creep into both John Ross and Sue Ellen's bedrooms. J.R. notices the fire and tries to break free of Ray, finally knocking him out with a telephone, and runs upstairs to try and save his wife and son. Ray recovers and runs after J.R. but is consumed by smoke and falls. J.R. is hit with a falling beam as he gets upstairs and both men are unconscious as Southfork burns.

Resolution: Bobby eventually arrives on the scene and is able to revive Ray and save Sue Ellen, while J.R. reaches John Ross and they jump out a window into the pool to escape the blaze. Mickey Trotter eventually awoke from his coma in the season's third episode, but became despondent over his paralysis. After an argument with Lucy Mickey relapsed and fell into another coma and was placed on life support. Unwilling to see his cousin suffering Ray pulled the plug on him and was arrested shortly thereafter. Ray was brought to trial on charges of manslaughter and convicted, but was given a suspended sentence by a compassionate judge.

Season Six cliffhanger: Just like in season two, J.R. was crossing people left and right. And just like in season two, a mysterious figure broke into his office at Ewing Oil at night. Someone is sitting in his office chair with their back to the potential assassin, who fires three shots at this person. The person slumps out of the chair and falls on the floor, and the audience sees that Bobby Ewing has been shot.

Resolution: After rumors begin to spread that the target had been J.R., it was revealed that Bobby was in fact the intended target and the shooter was Pam's half-sister Katherine Wentworth, who was obsessively in love with Bobby and decided that if she couldn't have him, then nobody else would. Bobby survives, despite another attempt on his life while he was recovering, and Katherine is exposed for his attempted murder, but she escapes and flees the country.

Season Seven cliffhanger: Bobby, who has been divorced from Pam for two years and is engaged to Jenna Wade, decides that he wants to remarry his ex-wife instead and Pam agrees. The next morning, as the two are getting set to leave, someone drives a car at a high rate of speed toward Pam. Bobby shoves her out of the way just before she is hit, but can't get out of the way of the car in time to save himself and is hit and severely injured. The driver of the car turns out to be Katherine, who is killed herself when the car crashes. Bobby is rushed to the hospital where he later dies.

Resolution: The family holds Bobby's funeral and try to go on with their lives in the wake of his death. However...

Season Eight cliffhanger: Evil businesswoman Angelica Nero intends to kill J.R. and his cousin Jack for double crossing her, but J.R. has her apprehended by the police. Unfortunately, Angelica has already put her plans into motion. She has her henchman attach a car bomb to Jack's car, which explodes with Jamie inside. After hearing this on the phone, J.R. runs out of his office to go to Jack's apartment. As he leaves the office, Sue Ellen arrives in the other elevator looking for him. As soon as she enters J.R.'s office, a time bomb left by Angelica goes off, and the entire floor that houses Ewing Oil explodes, showering debris onto the street below. The scene then shifts to Pam in bed, the day after her marriage to Mark Graison. Pam wakes up to hear the shower running. Assuming it's Mark, she opens the shower door, only to find Bobby Ewing, alive and well.

Resolution: The events of the entire past year, beginning with Bobby's death at the hands of Katherine Wentworth, were revealed to have all been a dream that Pam had. Therefore, none of the events of the previous season (including Pam's remarriage and Angelica Nero) existed.

Season Nine cliffhanger: Pam, on her way home from the doctor's office after finding out she can finally conceive a baby, crashes into the fuel tank of a semi-truck, engulfing her car in a fiery explosion.

Resolution: Pam is rushed to the hospital, but is badly burned in the crash and the doctors tell the gathered families that her survival is in doubt. Whilst there, another attempt is made on her life by her unstable half-sister Katherine Wentworth who has returned to Dallas. Although Katherine is apprehended by Bobby, Pam later engineers her own disappearance and leaves Dallas (and Bobby) forever.

Season Ten cliffhanger: J.R. and Sue Ellen's new beau Nicholas Pearce fight in J.R.'s penthouse hotel suite, and during the course of the fight Pearce goes over the balcony and falls to his death. Shocked by what she has just seen and believing that J.R. has killed her lover, Sue Ellen then picks up a gun from the floor and shoots J.R. three times. She then picks up the phone and tells the police she would like to report a double murder.

Resolution: J.R. recovers, but he and Sue Ellen mutually agree not to press charges against each other for their son's sake.

Season Eleven cliffhanger: Sue Ellen prepares to leave Dallas for good, but before she does she has one last surprise for her ex-husband J.R. Sue Ellen has made a biographical motion picture about her marriage to him (with actors portraying them and the other Ewings) and previews the film to J.R. who is shocked by what he has just seen. Sue Ellen tells J.R. that she is leaving Dallas, but if he ever crosses her again in the future- or even if she wakes up on the wrong side of bed one morning-she will release the film and J.R. will be made "the laughing stock of Texas" and ruined forever. She then leaves Dallas, triumphant at last.

Resolution: After Sue Ellen leaves Dallas, J.R. tries (and fails) to find the movie that she made. No further mention is made of the film.

Season Twelve cliffhanger: After deliberately committing himself into a sanitarium in order to persuade a patient (Clayton's sister Jessica) to sign over her voting majority in Weststar Oil, J.R.'s plan backfires when Cally Harper, his latest scorned woman, and his illegitimate son James Beaumont coerce him into signing a property waiver before they will allow him to be released. Once he does, James tears up J.R.'s release papers anyway leaving him trapped in the sanitarium with no means of escape.

Resolution: After being placed in solitary confinement in the sanitarium and being diagnosed with paranoia, J.R. ends up leaving the sanitarium after bargaining with Cally.

Season Thirteen cliffhanger: After finally losing Ewing Oil to Cliff Barnes, control of Southfork to Bobby, and being abandoned by his wife and children, a drunk and despondent J.R. begins walking around the ranch alone with a loaded gun wishing he had never been born. A gunshot is later fired in J.R.'s bedroom as Bobby returns to Southfork, and he rushes up to J.R.'s room and gasps, saying "Oh, my God!" as the series ends. (See below for more information.)

Resolution: In late 1991, not knowing whether or not Dallas would be renewed for a fourteenth season, Leonard Katzman chose to write a cliffhanger that could not only wrap up the show for good, but one that could also resolved in a next season. After the famous finale, the show was not chosen to be renewed for a fourteenth season. Five years later, in 1996, a TV movie, Dallas: J.R. Returns, was written by Leonard Katzman and Arthur Bernard Lewis to resolve the series finale. It was revealed that instead of shooting himself in the head, as was implied in the finale, he shot the "devil" that was appearing to him in the mirror. After this incident, J.R. left Dallas the next morning, and spent five years abroad in Europe before returning to Dallas.

Final episode

In this episode, titled "Conundrum" (originally aired on CBS, May 3, 1991), J.R. is contemplating committing suicide. Southfork was taken out of his control and given to Bobby by Miss Ellie, while Cliff Barnes now had control of Ewing Oil. Clayton had given J.R. voting rights at Weststar, but J.R. was tricked into believing he would become Chairman of Weststar by Carter McKay. J.R. had sold his half of Ewing Oil to Cliff to take over Weststar, but old foe Dusty Farlow revealed that he had sold his Weststar shares to McKay, thus making McKay the majority stockholder. McKay fired J.R. from Weststar after revealing that he had set him up (McKay had sent two Weststar directors to J.R. and convinced him to sell Ewing Oil to pave the way for a Weststar takeover that would never happen). John Ross, his own son, disowned him and moved to London to be with his mother. Now, drunk and despondent, J.R. walks around the pool with a bourbon bottle and a loaded gun, when suddenly another person comes into view...a spirit named Adam (portrayed by Joel Grey), whose "boss" has been watching J.R. and likes him. Adam proceeds to take him on a journey to show him what life would've been like for other people if he hadn't been born. Among what he shows him:

  • Without J.R., Gary became the oldest Ewing son, and the youngest was Jason (who would have been born had J.R. never been around; Jason never appeared in the TV series as he didn't really exist).
  • With Gary in charge of Ewing Oil upon Jock's retirement, the company went bankrupt. Stress from it killed Jock, and Miss Ellie died of a broken heart two years later, she never meets Clayton Farlow.
  • Jason, a shady real estate developer swindled Gary and Bobby out of their shares in the company and Southfork, and proceeded to tear the compound down and build tract houses on it called Southfork Estates.
  • Having never met Pam, Bobby continued his wild ways from before and ended up as a down-on-his-luck hustler who was behind on alimony payments to his wife Annie and kids J.R., Bobby, and Ellie. He also ends up behind on his gambling debts to Carter McKay, who owns casinos in Las Vegas. (McKay was fired by Jeremy Wendell at Westar.)
  • Gary became a successful divorce lawyer who never married, and thus never had Lucy Ewing, J.R.'s niece. (He does eventually meet Valene Ewing, his wife in the real world, but nothing ever comes of it other than a date whose outcome was never discussed).
  • Without having met J.R., Cally Harper never left her poor roots, and ends up as a battered wife who lives with her husband in a shack, where she kills him and (according to Adam) will be convicted and sentenced to life in prison as no one would believe she was beaten.
  • Without J.R. in the way and forcing him to be a part of the Ewing/Barnes rivalry, Cliff Barnes was able to earn a law degree and enter politics, becoming Vice President of the United States and later Acting President due to a stroke suffered by the President.
  • Since J.R. was never born (and thus, never shot), Kristin Shepard never met him (and, thus, never died), and became a successful con artist in Los Angeles. She poses as a hooker initially and then a police officer, which sees her accept a bribe from an embarrassed customer.
  • Having never met J.R., Sue Ellen has become a successful soap opera star, with Nicholas Pierce (who was never killed off) as her loving husband.
  • With J.R. out of the picture and Jock dying before he could find out, Ray Krebbs never knew of his Ewing blood ties. After an injury he suffered in a Ewing Oil-sponsored rodeo, Ray became a down on his luck ranchhand, forcing to work two or three jobs to support his family, who are loving and very supportive of him. He does have a son called Jock.

After one final scene where Bobby settles his gambling debts with McKay, Adam eggs J.R. on to kill himself. J.R. won't do it, as he doesn't want Adam to be sent back to heaven with his job incomplete. It's at this point where Adam reveals that he is not an angel, but a minion of Satan. A startled J.R. wakes up, gun and bourbon still in hands, and the scene appears to be a dream...only Adam returns, appearing to J.R. in his mirror and continuing to egg him on. J.R. slowly raises the loaded gun to his head, unaware that Bobby has returned home. The gun goes off while Bobby is in the hallway, and he rushes to J.R.'s room. He looks at what has gone down, gasps, "Oh, my God," and the series ends on that note with the fate of J.R. never settled (although it eventually would be five years later, in the reunion movie, Dallas: J.R. Returns). It was believed J.R. killed himself, although in later years it was revealed he had shot the mirror (although no glass was heard).

Production details

Dallas was eventually translated and dubbed into 67 languages in over 90 countries, a record that to this day still stands for an American television series.[citation needed]

Dallas originally aired on Saturday nights when it debuted as a regular series. Within a month, the show was moved to Sunday nights, where it would stay until halfway through the season, when it took a Friday-night slot. Dallas remained on Fridays until the show ended in 1991, alternating between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. airings.

The "Who Done It?" episode of Dallas that revealed "Who shot J.R.?", the famous 1980 cliffhanger, received the highest domestic ratings at that point with over 90 million American viewers tuning in for the answer. The last episode of M*A*S*H in 1983 finally had more viewers than Dallas. The final episode of The Fugitive, broadcast in August 1967, was watched by a higher percentage of television-owning Americans (72%), although it had lesser absolute numbers. Internationally Dallas still holds the record for the most watched episode with nearly 360 million viewers tuning in to see who shot J.R.

Ratings

The show's seasonal rankings were as follows.

  • #44 (Miniseries, 1978) audience 8,322,678
  • #12 (Season 1, 1978–1979) audience 18,178,000[citation needed]
  • #6 (Season 2, 1979–1980) audience 19,075,000
  • #1 (Season 3, 1980–1981) audience 30,502,600
  • #1 (Season 4, 1981–1982) audience 27,565,500
  • #2 (Season 5, 1982–1983) audience 20,491,800
  • #1 (Season 6, 1983–1984) audience 21,536,600
  • #2 (Season 7, 1984–1985) audience 20 970 300
  • #6 (Season 8, 1985–1986) audience 18,726,200
  • #11 (Season 9, 1986–1987) audience 18,616,200
  • #22 (Season 10, 1987–1988) audience 15,207,600
  • #29 (Season 11, 1988–1989) audience 13,921,600
  • #43 (Season 12, 1989–1990) audience 10,223,011
  • #61 (Season 13, 1990–1991) audience 3,122,021

Reunion movies

  • #10 in that week audience 16,743,300 (JR Returns, 1996)
  • #23 in that week audience 11,897,756 (War of the Ewings, 1998)

DVD releases

Season 1 on DVD is the original mini-series. When the show went to formal production as a regular weekly series, what is on DVD referred to as Season 2 was Season 1 of the weekly series.

DVD Season Common Season Count Ep # Region 1 Region 2 Comments
Seasons 1 & 2 Mini-Series & Season 1 29 August 8, 2004 November 1, 2004 The first-and-second-seasons DVD box set has five double-sided DVDs, which contain the 5 episodes from the miniseries and the 24 episodes from the first regular season. The Region 1 release includes a "Soap Talk" Dallas reunion special. Both Region 1 and Region 2 have three commentaries by actors Larry Hagman and Charlene Tilton, and series creator David Jacobs.
Season 3 Season 2 25 August 9, 2005 September 26, 2005 The third-season DVD box set has five double-sided DVDs, which contain the 25 episodes from that season. It includes commentaries by Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray on two major episodes and the special documentary Who Shot J.R.?: The Dallas Phenomenon.
Season 4 Season 3 23 January 24, 2006 May 22, 2006 The fourth-season DVD box set has four double-sided DVDs, which contain the 23 episodes from that season. It includes a cast reunion special from 2004: Dallas Reunion: The Return To Southfork, which aired on CBS on November 7, 2004.
Season 5 Season 4 26 August 1, 2006 November 17, 2006 The fifth-season DVD box set has five double-sided DVDs, which contain the 26 episodes from that season. It includes a documentary called: A Living Landmark: A Tour of the Real Southfork Ranch.
Season 6 Season 5 28 January 30, 2007 February 19, 2007 The sixth-season DVD box set has five double-sided DVDs, which contain the 28 episodes from that season. It includes a documentary that delves into the legacy of Dallas then and now.
Season 7 Season 6 30 July 31, 2007 September 17, 2007 The seventh-season DVD box set has five double-sided DVDs, which contain the 30 episodes from that season. It includes the story behind the iconic Dallas theme song and is titled The Music of Dallas.
Season 8 Season 7 30 February 12, 2008 February 18, 2008 The eighth-season DVD box set has five double-sided DVDs, which contain the 30 episodes from that season. The special feature is called Dallas Makeover – Travilla Style and deals with the Emmy award winning costumes of the show.
Season 9 Season 8 31 July 15, 2008 September 22, 2008 The ninth-season DVD box set has four double-sided DVDs, which contain the 31 episodes from that season. The special features include the documentary Seasons of Change, an in depth look at the most famous dream sequence of all time, the entire ninth season, and its impact on the storylines, the fans, and stars. There is also a look back at Season 8 to examine the effect of Barbara Bel Geddes' departure for a year, and her eventual return.
Season 10 Season 9 29 January 13, 2009 January 19, 2009 The tenth-season DVD box set has three double-sided DVDs, which contain the 29 episodes from that season. The opening episode, "Return to Camelot" is the two part syndicated version. This set contains no special features, unlike previous releases.
Season 11 Season 10 30 April 21, 2009 July 20, 2009 The eleventh-season DVD box set has three double-sided DVDs, which contain the 30 episodes from that season. The opening episode, "After the Fall" is the two part syndicated version. This set contains no special features, just as the previous release.
Season 12 Season 11 26 January 19, 2010[4] March 1, 2010[5] The Complete Twelfth Season DVD box set has three double-sided DVDs, which contain the 26 episodes from that season. Like Seasons 10 and 11, this set contains no special features.
Season 13 Season 12 27 April 13, 2010[6] TBC – 2010 The Complete Thirteenth Season DVD box set has three double-sided DVDs, which contain the 27 episodes from that season. Like Seasons 10, 11 & 12, this set contains no special features.
Season 14 Season 13 22 TBC – Expected 2011[7] TBC – Expected 2011 TBA
J.R. Returns TV Movie N/A TBC – Expected 2011[8] TBC – Expected 2011 TBA
The War of the Ewings TV Movie N/A TBC – Expected 2011[8] TBC – Expected 2011 TBA

Syndication

Dallas began airing on SoapNet in 2003, but has been off that network since August 2008 following SoapNet's decision not to renew their rights to it. Previously the show aired on TNN.

Dallas was syndicated to local stations beginning in the 1980s, but it is unclear as to what markets still air the series.

Bring Back Dallas – Special Reunion

In 2007, British comedian Justin Lee Collins went about searching for all the stars of Dallas to bring them back together for a special reunion party. The show was broadcast at 9 p.m. Sunday, May 27, 2007, on UK television network Channel 4 as part of the Bring Back... series. After hunting down most of the main cast by any means necessary (e.g., climbing over security fences and ambushing hotels), Collins managed to interview them and gain more knowledge about some of the decisions made throughout the show's seasons. The participants amongst the cast were Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy, Ken Kercheval, Charlene Tilton, Susan Howard and Mary Crosby. He held his own Oil Baron's Ball, where unfortunately none of the cast turned up. However, in a surprise move, the actor who played baby Christopher (Eric Farlow) turned up.

Revival

According to the New York Times, the television network TNT has ordered a Dallas pilot. The new show would follow the lives of J.R. and Bobby's sons, John Ross and Christopher Ewing. Original Dallas veteran actors Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, and Patrick Duffy have already been contacted for their appearance in the pilot.[9]

Tie-ins

  • A Dallas comic strip ran in newspapers during the 1980s, illustrated by cartoonist Dick Kulpa and distributed by the L.A. Times Syndicate.
  • There was a 1980s computer game based on the series called Dallas Quest.
  • In spring 2004, a prime-time special was taped in which actors reminisced about their work on the series. It aired on November 7, 2004, on CBS, though it was delayed due to football. Actor Howard Keel (Clayton Farlow) had died earlier that same day.

Legacy

On November 8, 2008, a reunion to commemorate the show's 30th anniversary was held at Southfork Ranch in Parker, Texas, reuniting original cast members Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray, Ken Kercheval, Steve Kanaly and Charlene Tilton. Other cast members in attendance were: Susan Howard, Audrey Landers, Mary Crosby, and Sheree J. Wilson. The front and back lawn of the fictional Ewing family home played host to a massive barbecue filled with people from the Dallas area, across the U.S. and around the world (who paid as much as $1,000) to reminisce and celebrate the series, as well as meeting with cast members. During the festivities, Kercheval said he was shocked to see the continued support for the show 17 years after it last aired. "I don't understand it," he said. "The staying power. Who knew?" Linda Gray also fondly remembered her time on the show: "I think it was a special time. It was a time when there weren't a hundred million channels and the internet and all of the other things that came to existence."

After Dallas ended, co-stars Patrick Duffy and Sasha Mitchell starred in a successful ABC sitcom, Step By Step. Mitchell again played Duffy's nephew.

In popular culture

References in songs/music videos

  • In his 1987 song "Posse on Broadway", Sir Mix-a-Lot refers to himself with regards to the other local MCs as, "The man they love to hate, the "J. R. Ewing of Seattle".
  • Mentioned in The Message by hip hop DJ Grandmaster Flash as, "My brother's doing bad, stole my mother's TV / Says she watches too much / It's just not healthy / All My Children in the daytime, Dallas at night / Can’t even see the game or the Sugar Ray fight.
  • Swedish group ABBA's final recording "The Day Before You Came" (1982) relates the story of a mundane day in the life of an ordinary woman in the suburbs. The song incorporates the lines "I must have had my dinner watching something on TV / There's not I think a single episode of Dallas that I didn't see." This grammatically challenging lyric may have been partially biographical as it was reported in the UK press that ABBA member Agnetha Faltskog (who performed the song) was dating one of the Dallas producers and had been offered a part in the series. She never appeared in the show. When British group Blancmange released their version of the song on single in 1984, the picture sleeve included a picture of a shot JR on a TV screen.
  • Ozzy Osbourne, in 1986 made a music video for the song "The Ultimate Sin" loosely based on Dallas. Ozzy played J.R. Ewing and his company was called Ozzy Oil.
  • In the song "Live Television", the Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour describes how during a visit to a friend's house he was left alone in the living room waiting for dinner while his hosts all packed in a small room to watch the show on television.

Opening title sequence

"Who Shot J.R.?"

  • The "Who Shot J.R.?" episode entered into American popular culture, with t-shirts printed with such references as "Who shot J.R.?" and "I Shot J.R.!" becoming common throughout the summer of 1980. The cliffhanger was also referenced in the The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode "As the Will Turns"; when Will was trying to get fired from a television show via a ridiculous monologue that incorporated elements from numerous TV shows, he says that he's "the guy who shot J.R." (as well as the sheriff).
  • Charlene Tilton hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live (which Larry Hagman had turned down) centered around the "shooting" of Charles Rocket, in which Rocket says, "I'd like to know who the fuck did it." For his use of the profanity, he was fired.
  • During a scene in The Wedding Singer, Frank Sivero, who plays Andy, refuses to leave the living room and says, "Hang on! I'm watching Dallas! I think J.R. might be dead or something! They shot him!"
  • During the mania surrounding "Who Shot J.R.?", Happy Days aired an episode in which the Fonz (Henry Winkler) was shot in the behind. Three different versions of the incident come forward, with the one told by Roger (Ted McGinley) being the most accurate. Fonzie, Chachi (Scott Baio), Roger and Potsie (Anson Williams) have gone camping. Fonzie and Chachi are at odds with Roger and Potsie trying to restore order. When Potsie intervenes, Fonzie tells him to mind his own business and shoves him hard enough that he hits the mantelpiece above the fireplace. This dislodges a mounted rifle, which discharges upon hitting the floor. Thus, the shooting is determined to have been an accident.
  • The Jeffersons also had a Dallas parody through a script written by Florence, the maid. The cast was George as G.R. Jenkins, Louise as Lou Weezy Jenkins, Helen as Ellen Wallis, Tom as Tim Wallis, Lionel as Leon Jenkins, and Jenny as Jannice Wallis Jenkins. There is even a scene in which G.R. is shot but fakes his coma to draw out the assailant—Florence as Flossie.
  • In the Irish sitcom Father Ted, one of the locals on Craggy Island constantly wears a shirt that reads "I Shot J.R."
  • The Simpsons episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" parodies "Who shot J.R.?" A deleted scene in "Bart vs. Australia" also includes a reference when one of the courtmembers shouts, "Don't tell us who shot J.R.!" whilst covering his ears.

Season 8 (the "Dream Season")

  • In the Family Guy episode "Da Boom" (1999), the Y2K virus changes civilization for the worse. In a parody of "Blast from the Past" episode climax, Victoria Principal and Patrick Duffy reprise their roles in a live-action segment at the end of the episode, when Pam wakes up and tells Bobby, who is in the shower, that she just dreamt about the strangest episode of Family Guy. Bobby pauses, then asks, "What's Family Guy?"
  • Introducing Saturday Night Live's 1986–1987 season, Madonna, who hosted the first episode of the dismally rated 1985–1986 season, read a statement from NBC that claimed the previous season of SNL was "all a dream, a horrible, horrible dream."
  • The show Reno 911! sometimes references Dallas by having a character dream some event that happened on a previous episode, notably at the end of the season.
  • The final episode of Newhart revealed the entire series was Bob Hartley's (the character that Bob Newhart played on The Bob Newhart Show) dream.

See also

  • Knots Landing (1979–1993)
  • Dynasty (1981–1989)
  • Falcon Crest (1981–1990)
  • Dallas: J.R. Returns (1996)
  • Dallas: War of the Ewings (1998)
  • Dallas Reunion: The Return to Southfork (2004)

Notes

External links


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