Dallas (TV series)

From Academic Kids

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Dallas title card.
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Dallas title card used during the show's first season.
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Dallas title card from season 2
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The Southfork Ranch, home of the Ewing family

Dallas was a long-running primetime television soap opera about the Ewings, a wealthy Texas oil family. It aired on the CBS network from April 2, 1978, to May 3, 1991. It was broadcast around the world, and is probably the most famous and successful American soap opera outside of the U.S.

The series is probably best-known for the central character of J.R. Ewing, the vain, greedy, scheming, crass oil baron played by Fort Worth native Larry Hagman for the show's entire run.


Famous episodes

Dallas is also known for three famous episodes that made TV history:

  • "A House Divided" and "Who Done It?" - The 1979-1980 season ended with the show's anti-hero, J.R. Ewing, being shot (in the episode "A House Divided"). Viewers had to wait all summer (and most of the fall due to a Hollywood actors' strike) to learn whether J.R. would survive, and which of his many enemies was responsible. "Who Done It?" aired on November 21, 1980, with the revelation that Sue Ellen's sister Kristin, J.R.'s ex-wife, shot him in a fit of anger. It was one of the highest-rated episodes of a TV show ever aired. A session of the Turkish parliament was even suspended to allow legislators a chance to get home in time to view the episode. The great success of this stunt helped usher in the practice of ending a television season with a big cliffhanger. This entered into United States popular culture, with t-shirts printed with such references as "Who Shot J.R.?" and "I Shot J.R.!" being common over the summer.
  • "Blast From The Past" - One of the show's stars, Patrick Duffy, left the program in the spring of 1985. His character, Bobby, was plowed down by a car and died, on camera, on May 17, 1985. When Duffy agreed to return to the show in 1986, producers ended the 1985-1986 season, on May 16, 1986 with a shot of Duffy emerging from a shower. Fans had to wait until September 26 to learn how the writers would explain Duffy's return. Most were disappointed with the solution: Bobby's ex-wife, Pam, had dreamt the entire previous season, including Bobby's death; an example of retroactive continuity. This caused a conflict elsewhere, as references to Bobby's death were made in the spin-off TV show Knots Landing. After this, Dallas and Knots Landing effectively cut ties as they then took place in different universes!

Exterior locations were shot at the Southfork Ranch, which is now a tourist attraction and a convention center. It is located in Plano, a suburb north of Dallas. Many of the show's exteriors, including shots of each protagonist's respective skyscraper offices, were also shot in the Dallas area. The majority of the series' dramatic action was filmed in California at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios. The series was produced by Lorimar.

Production details

A spin-off series, Knots Landing, ran from 1979 to 1993.

Produced by Leonard Katzman, the television series was one of the first to be distributed globally. Dallas was eventually translated and dubbed into 90 languages.

Seasons 1 and 2, collectively consisting of the first 29 episodes (out of a gargantuan total by U.S. standards of 357) were released on region one DVD on August 24, 2004.

Cast of Characters

Larry Hagman as John Ross "J.R." Ewing, Jr.
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 Eleanor "Ellie" Southworth Ewing Farlow (1978-1984, 1985-1990)
Jock's wife, whose family owned Southfork Ranch originally
Jim Davis as John Ross "Jock" Ewing (1978-1981)
founder of Ewing Oil, head of the Ewing family
Linda Gray as Sue Ellen Shepherd Ewing Lockwood (1978-1989)
J.R.'s long-suffering wife
Charlene Tilton as Lucy Ewing Cooper (1978-1985, 1988-1990),
flirtatious granddaughter
Victoria Principal as Pamela Barnes Ewing (1978-1987)
Bobby's wife who is forced to act as a buffer between the two feuding families
Ken Kercheval as Cliff Barnes
Pam's brother, whose schemes are aimed directly against the Ewings
Steve Kanaly as Ray Krebbs (1978-1988)
ranch foreman, Jock's illegitimate son
Susan Howard as Donna Culver Krebbs Dowling (1979-1987)
politico who marries Ray
Howard Keel as Clayton Farlow (1981-1991)
Miss Ellie's second husband
Priscilla Presley as Jenna Wade Marchetta Krebbs (1983-1988)
Bobby's first love and one-time fiancée
Dack Rambo as Jack Ewing (1985-1987)
wandering cousin
Sheree J. Wilson as April Stevens Ewing (1986-1991)
Jack's ex-wife who eventually marries Bobby
George Kennedy as Carter McKay (1988-1991)
who becomes head of WestStar and adversary of J.R.
Cathy Podewell as Cally Harper Ewing (1988-1991)
J.R.'s second wife
Sasha Mitchell as James Beaumont (1989-1991)
J.R.'s illegitimate son
Kimberly Foster as Michelle Stevens Beaumont Barnes (1989-1991)
April's sister
Barbara Stock as Liz Adams (1990-1991)
Cliff's girlfriend

Important secondary characters

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
Don Starr as Jordan Lee (1979-1990)
a member of the cartel
Fern Fitzgerald as Marilee Stone (1978-1990)
promiscuous female member of the cartel
George O. Petrie as Harve Smithfield (1979-1991)
family attorney
Mary Crosby as Kristin Shepard Farraday (1979-1981)
Sue Ellen's sister, who has an affair with J.R. and then shoots him in the famous cliffhanger, then gives birth to Bobby and Pam's son Christopher before her death
Tom Fuccello as Dave Culver (1979-1982, 1986-1987)
Donna's stepson
Jared Martin as Steven "Dusty" Farlow (1979-1982, 1985, 1991)
Clayton's son and Sue Ellen's one-time lover
William Smithers as Jeremy Wendell (1981, 1984-1989)
head of WestStar and proverbial thorn in J.R.'s side
Leigh McCloskey as Mitch Cooper (1979-1982, 1985, 1988)
Lucy's husband
Audrey Landers as Afton Cooper (1981-1984, 1989)
aspiring singer who becomes Cliff's girlfriend
Susan Flannery as Leslie Stewart (1981)
a PR agent who works with Ewing Oil
Deborah Rennard as Sylvia "Sly" Lovegren (1981-1991)
J.R.'s secretary
John Beck as Mark Graison (1983-1984, 1985-1986)
Pam's one-time fiancée
Lois Chiles as Holly Harwood (1982-1983)
oil heiress becomes involved in a complex scheme with J.R.
Timothy Patrick Murphy as Mickey Trotter (1982-1983)
Ray's rebellious cousin
Omri Katz as John Ross Ewing III (1983-1991)
J.R. and Sue Ellen's son
Shalane McCall as Charlie Wade (1983-1988)
Jenna's daughter
Alexis Smith as Lady Jessica Farlow Montfort (1984, 1990)
Clayton's criminally insane sister
Jenilee Harrison as Jamie Ewing Barnes (1984-1986)
cousin to the Southfork Ewings who marries Cliff
Deborah Shelton as Mandy Winger (1984-1987)
one of J.R.'s many mistresses
Joshua Harris as Christopher Ewing (1985-1991)
Bobby and Pam's adopted son
Steve Forrest as Wes Parmalee (1986)
ranch hand who claims to be Jock
Jack Scalia as Nicholas Pearce (1987-1988, 1991)
a stock broker who becomes infatuated with Sue Ellen
Andrew Stevens as Casey Denault (1987-1989)
a young hustler who works with J.R.
Leigh Taylor-Young as Kimberly Cryder (1987-1989)
daughter of the largest owner of WestStar stock, whom J.R. tries to marry to gain control of that 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
Ian McShane as Don Lockwood (1989)
a film director who directs Sue Ellen's idea for an unflattering film about J.R.
Lesley-Anne Down as Stephanie Rogers (1990)

-PR woman who plots to make Cliff a large political figure

Susan Lucci as Sheila Foley (1990-1991)
psychotic kidnapper
Barbara Eden as Lee Ann De La Vega (1990-1991)
Venezuelan businesswoman with whom J.R. tangles


  • In the Family Guy episode "DaBoom" (1999), the Y2K virus changes civilization for the worse. At the end of the episode, Pam wakes up and tells Bobby, who is in the shower, that she just dreamt about the strangest episode of Family Guy. They pause, then ask, "What's Family Guy?"
  • On the TV series Father Ted, a character named Tom wears a shirt that says "I shot JR".


Larry Hagman and Ken Kercheval were the only cast members to stay with the series throughout its entire run.

Larry Hagman is the only actor to appear in all 357 episodes of the series.

Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, Ken Kercheval, Linda Gray and Steve Kanaly are the only actors to appear in both the first and last episodes of the series.

The communist government of Romania ran episodes of Dallas in the 1980s hoping that it would convince people that capitalism was corrupt and decadent. Instead it sowed discontent with the communist system, as viewers looked past the characters to the portrayal of American lifestyles. Soon after the government fell, a Romanian businessman created a Dallas-themed attraction complete with a replica of the Southfork Ranch, to celebrate the show's role in bringing down communism.

External link

fr:Dallas (feuilleton télévisé) nl:Dallas (soap) fi:Dallas (televisio) sv:Dallas (TV-serie)


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