Primetime soap Dallas is probably one of the biggest soaps ever with J.R. being one of the best known soap characters in TV history.
Dallas was set in the Texas town of the same name and concerned itself with the machinations of the Ewing family who were heavily involved in the oil business. The family were Jock (who later died), mother Miss Ellie. sons J.R. (John Ross) (married to the alcoholic Sue Ellen), Bobby (married to the beautiful Pam) and Gary (who played little part in this series but became a major player in spin off Knots Landing). Gary’s daughter Lucy also lived with the family at their palatial ranch South Fork.
The show became incredibly popular throughout the world with the (almost certainly) evil J.R. quickly becoming the star attraction. J.R. and Bobby came into regular conflict with rival oil man Cliff Barnes (who was Pam’s brother) who believed the Ewings had cheated his father Digger out of his millions. Massive storylines included the infamous ‘Who Shot J.R.’ campaign (for the record it was Kristin) when J.R.’s machinations and schemings almost led to his death.
The Who Shot JR storyline really took hold in the UK with bets being placed all over the country (especially by women). A William Hill spokesman told the Daily Mirror (Tues 27 May 1980) that over £50,000 worth of bets had already been placed. More than on most of the bank holiday races. “Lusty” Dusty (Sue Ellen’s lover) was bookies favourite with odds of 6-4, whilst Vaughan Leland and Kristen were 4-1. Pam Ewing was a long shot at 20-1.
There was also the infamous wiping out of what had gone in an entire season after the character of Bobby was brought back to life (Patrick Duffy left the show but then decided to come back – Several new characters/storylines had been introduced in this season which meant they had to be abandoned on his return). Interestingly in the spin off show Knots Landing Bobby stayed well and truly dead. Over the years Bobby and J.R. divorced their wives (although both later remarried), it was also revealed that Ray Krebbs (who ran the South Fork ranch) was in fact Jock’s illegitimate son).
Later melodramatic episodes saw J.R. placed in a mental institution (a plot on his part that backfired). The series finished on a fantasy note with a strange character showing J.R. (who was about to commit suicide) what life would have been like for his family and friends if he hadn’t been born (very It’s A Wonderful Life).
The Dallas Reboot cast
In a surprise move TNT revived the show for three seasons from 13 June 2012 – 22 September 2014. It ran for 40 episodes and whilst it focused on the next generation of Ewings, especially now adult John Ross and Christopher it did see the return of Patrick Duffy, Larry Hagman and Linda Gray as regulars and lots of other familiar faces in guest roles, not least Charlene Tilton, Ken Kercheval and even Ted Shackleford and Joan Van Ark!
USA / CBS / x60 minute episodes / Broadcast Sunday 2 April 1978 – Friday 3 May 1991
STEVE KENALY as Ray Krebbs
LINDA GRAY as Sue Ellen Ewing
KEN KERCHEVAL as Cliff Barnes
TINA LOUISE as Julie
DAVID WAYNE as Willard ‘Digger’ Barnes (1)
KEENAN WYNN as Willard ‘Digger’ Barnes (2)
TED SCHACKELFORD as Gary Ewing
JOAN VAN ARK as Valene Ewing
FERN FITZGERALD as Marilee
MARY CROSBY as Kristin Shepard
JARED MARTIN as Dusty Farlow
SUSAN HOWARD as Donna Culver Krebbs
TOM FUCELLO as Dave Culver
MEGAN GALLAGHER as Louella
TYLER BANKS as John Ross Ewing III (1)
OMRI KATZ as John Ross Ewing III (2)
JOEL FABIANI as Alex Ward
AUDREY LANDERS as Afton Cooper
ANNE FRANCIS as Arliss Cooper
MONTE MARKHAM as Clint Ogden
HOWARD KEEL as Clayton Farlow
MORGAN BRITTANY as Katherine Wentworth
LOIS CHILES as Holly Harwood
PRISCILLA PRESLEY as Jenna Wade
MARTIN E. BROOKS as Edgar Randolph
ALEXIS SMITH as Jessica Montfort
DEBORAH SHELTON as Mandy Winger
DACK RAMBO as Jack Ewing
BARBARA CARRERA as Angelica Nero
GEORGE CHAKARIS as Nicholas
SHEREE J. WILSON as April Stevens
STEVE FORREST as Ben Stivers/Wes Parmalee
JACK SCALIA as Nicholas Pearce
GEORGE KENNEDY as Carter McKay
IAN McSHANE as Don Lockwood
KIMBERLY FOSTER as Michelle Stevens
GAYLE HUNNNICUT as Vanessa Beaumont
LESLEY-ANNE DOWN as Stephanie Rogers
SHANNON WILCOX as Anita
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