When Dallas first came on our screens in 1978, it didn’t really take off. It seemed the world wasn’t ready for the soap opera surrounding the oil-rich Ewing family. But as the third season came about, popularity grew, and the series has since gone on to be one of the most popular TV shows in history. But if you want to know a bit more, check out these Dallas secrets…
Keeping up appearances
Dallas ran for a whopping 357 episodes and featured many main characters. However, only one of these characters appeared in every single episode of the show. That actor was Larry Hagman, who played everyone’s favorite, John Ross ‘J.R.’ Ewing, Jr. Well, done Hagman.
Famous actress, Linda Gray played Sue Ellen in Dallas. But when Gray came onto the show, she didn’t have an actual part. Instead, she just improvised parts in the background. Eventually, her hard work and perseverance paid off, and her character was eventually bulked out, and she became a regular and one of the main characters on the show.
Who plays J.R?
We all know Larry Hagman as J.R., But he nearly didn’t get the part. In fact, Hagman wasn’t the first choice for the role of J.R. The role was initially offered to another actor, Robert Foxworth, but he turned it down because he didn’t feel the character was really ‘him’ and felt the character needed softening before he could play him. But his rejection played in Larry Hagman’s favor…
Who shot J.R.?
Dallas was extremely popular in the states and built up a huge fanbase. The show became even more popular after J.R. was shot, and the “Who Shot J.R.” episode in 1980 was one of the highest rating shows of all time. The episode was viewed by 83 million people in the US and more than 300 million people across the world. Woah. It held the record for the highest rated episode until it was overtaken by the M*A*S*H finale in 1983.
During the middle part of the ‘80s, Linda Gray (who played Sue Ellen) was fired, very briefly from the show. It was reported that she asked for the chance to direct episodes of the show, like her co-workers, and also asked for a pay-rise. The network felt this was unacceptable and fired her. But Larry Hagman got her back on the show, after threatening to leave himself if she wasn’t given back her job. Go, Larry!
The house we see on Dallas was called the Southfork Ranch and is a real house. The home is called Duncan Acres in Texas and was even owned by a man called Joe R. Duncan (J.R). But as Dallas became more and more popular, many fans and tourists used to visit the ‘Southfork Ranch’ at all times of the day. This became a nuisance to the Duncan family, so they were forced to sell their home, and the house is now a Dallas museum.
Controversy over the show
Although millions of people enjoyed watching the show, there were some who found it to be controversial and inappropriate, especially in different countries. In Germany, one of their main broadcasting networks, ARD refused to translate or show seven episodes from seasons one to three because they believed their storylines were unnecessary and too controversial for their viewers.
It’s not uncommon to find that actors and actresses turn to drink or drugs to cope with their fame. But it is more uncommon to find they turn to alcohol to do their job. But this is what Hagman did. He found the monotony of his character so boring that he would drink around five bottles of champagne each day at work to get him through the day. Despite this, he said that he had such a high tolerance for alcohol that this never impacted on his work.
What a trooper
Jim Davis was one of the most-loved characters on the show, and you have to give him credit for his stamina and strength. During season four of the series, Davis was struggling with Cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy. He kept working until he became too weak, and the makeup and hairpieces did not cover how ill he looked.
A respectful goodbye
Unfortunately, Jim Davis’ illness consumed him, and he died at the age of 71. In homage to their Jock Ewing, Dallas ensured that the closing credits of season five, episode 13 – ‘The Search’ were rolled in silence as a dedication to the life and work of their co-star.
Barbara Bel Geddes starred as Miss Ellie on the show but decided after a while that she wanted some time off to focus on her health and relaxation. Her part was taken over by Donna Reed, but Bel Geddes became so jealous that she had replaced her, that she asked producers to return. They chose Bel Geddes over Reed. Heartbroken, Reed sued the show’s producers, won, but did not get over it until the day she died.
There is a Dallas song
Dallas was an incredibly inspiring TV show, and even inspired country singer, Hank Williams Jr. to write a song about the series. His lyrics to ‘This Ain’t Dallas’ include, ‘This ain’t Dallas and this ain’t Dynasty, this is a real-life two-job working family, and I ain’t J.R., you ain’t Sue Ellen.’ Fair enough.
There is a Dallas Video Game
A Dallas video game? Yes, it really exists. The video game was first brought out in 1984 and was called The Dallas Quest. Originally, it was invented for the Commodore 64 computer, but players have reported that the game doesn’t really have much to do with the series, but does include characters like Sue Ellen and J.R. – and it’s very similar to a treasure map game.
Howard Keel became a regular on the show with his role as Clayton Farlow. But he was never meant to be. Instead, he was only signed for two short cameos in two episodes of the show. However, the audience absolutely loved his character, so the producers decided to make him a regular on Dallas. We can see why.
Just like Howard Keel, Susan Howard was only supposed to make a cameo appearance on the show. She was originally only cast as a one-time actress, playing Donna Culver. But, like Keel, she impressed the audience and the producers of the show, so they kept her on. And we’re glad they did!
When Patrick Duffy first left the show, it was because his character was killed off. However, the reaction to his death was so big, that producers asked him to come back on the show. But they had one problem… he had been killed off. So Duffy’s wife told him that his character could return if his death had just been a dream. The producers were impressed and took on her idea.
Many of the actors and actresses wanted to direct episodes of the show, as well as act. But Susan Howard didn’t want to do that. Instead, she wanted to write some of the episodes. And she got her wish. Howard was the only cast member on Dallas to write episodes, and she was the brains behind the episodes, ‘Sitting Ducks’ and ‘The Ten Percent Solution.’
Singing his praises
If you were a big fan of Dallas, you might have noticed that throughout the series, many references were made about Clayton Farlow and singing. In real life, Howard Keel (who played Clayton) was famous for his singing voice – specifically his bass-baritone voice.
Dallas and Dynasty
Throughout the whole of its run, Dallas and Dynasty were constantly being compared to one another, and constantly battling it out to be the best TV show. But despite this, the two shows shared common ground and shared many of the same guest stars like Tracy Scoggins, Brian Dennehy, Joel Fabiani and Dale Robertson.