Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Dallas (television series)
The series is probably best-known for the central character of J.R. Ewing, the vain, greedy, scheming, crass oil baron played by Larry Hagman for the show's entire run.
It 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-lover, shot him in a fit of anger. It was one of the highest-rated episodes of a TV show ever aired. 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 now 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.
A spin-off series, Knots Landing, ran from 1979 to 1993.
The television series was one of the first to be distributed globally. Dallas was eventually translated and dubbed into 90 languages.
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.
Cast of Characters
- Larry Hagman as John Ross "J.R." Ewing, Jr.
—eldest son of Jock and Miss Ellie
—youngest son of Jock and Miss Ellie
—Jock's wife, whose family owned Southfork Ranch originally
—founder of Ewing Oil, head of the Ewing family
—‚J.R.'s long-suffering wife
—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
—ranch foreman, Jock's illegitimate son
—politico who marries Ray
—Miss Ellie's second husband
—Bobby's first love and one-time fiancée
—Jack's ex-wife who eventually marries Bobby
—who becomes head of WestStar and adversary of J.R.
—J.R.'s second wife
—J.R.'s illegitimate son
Important secondary characters
—Cliff and Pam's father, former partner and sworn enemy of Jock Ewing
—a member of the cartel
—promiscuous female member of the cartel
—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
—Clayton's son and Sue Ellen's one-time lover
—head of WestStar and proverbial thorn in J.R.'s side
— Lucy's husband
—aspiring singer who becomes Cliff's girlfriend
—a PR agent who works with Ewing Oil
—Pam's one-time fiancée
—oil heiress becomes involved in a complex scheme with J.R.
—Ray's rebellious cousin
—J.R. and Sue Ellen's son
—Clayton's criminally insane sister
—cousin to the Southfork Ewings who marries Cliff
—one of J.R.'s many mistresses
—Bobby and Pam's adopted son
—ranch hand who claims to be Jock
—a stock broker who becomes infatuated with Sue Ellen
—a young hustler who works with J.R.
—daughter of the largest owner of WestStar stock, whom J.R. tries to marry to gain control of that company
—Carter McKay's daughter who becomes involved with Bobby
—son of Carter McKay, a drug dealer
—a film director who directs Sue Ellen's idea for an unflattering film about J.R.
-PR woman who plots to make Cliff a large political figure
—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?"
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