Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Who shot J.R.? Dream Season, Priscilla Presley, and more Dallas folklore

Season 3 of Dallas included cast: Gary Ewing (Ted Shackleford), Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy), Pamela Barnes Ewing (Victoria Principal), patriarch Jock Ewing (Jim Davis), J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman), Sue Ellen Ewing (Linda Gray), matriarch Miss Ellie Ewing (Barbara Bel Geddes), and first grandchild, Lucy Ewing (Charlene Tilton).

Do you know who shot JR? Did you remember that Season 8 of Dallas was mostly just a bad dream? Did you wonder if Priscilla Presley could actually act when you found out she had been cast? And did you remember that Lucy had an affair with Ray Krebbs, who was later discovered to be her half uncle?

These are just a few of the scandals revealed on the hit television series Dallas, which ran from 1978 to 1991. I was too young to understand it when it first aired, but caught it in reruns. Unlike daytime soap operas, the plot on Dallas moved quite fast, airing once a week, keeping viewers spellbound by shocking them with the cruel and conniving behavior of the Ewings, a mega rich Texas oil family.

The show is re-airing tonight on TNT in a newly produced series, picking up where it left off, and reviving the old fabulous characters of J.R., original heir to the South Fork family ranch and the Ewing oil well fortune, his ex-wife Sue Ellen, and his brother Bobby.

The same hallmark Dallas soundtrack is also being used, much to my delight.  Hear the Dallas theme soundtrack here. It's catchy!

New characters in the form of offspring who have grown up, new wives and husbands, and others have been added to inject new life into the series. I hope they walk with a swagger, emitting the same air of nasty confidence which only extreme wealth can foster. I hope that the bad guys are just as ruthless, selfish, and lawbreaking so that I can cheer when their innocent victims, the good guys, muster the strength to fight back and win in the end.

The show will air from 9 p.m. to 11:13 p.m tonight with two back-to-back episodes on TNT, channel 11 or 1237 HD on Brighthouse cable here in Orlando. The show will re-air tonight at 11:14 p.m., Friday night at 10:30 p.m., and Saturday morning at 11 a.m.

If you didn't watch Dallas the first time around, here is the plot in a nutshell: 

Jock Ewing (Jim Davis) marries Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes), who chooses him over her other beau, Digger Barnes (David Wayne and later Keenan Wynn). Jock Ewing and Digger Barnes become business partners, then have a disagreement over oil rights where Jock ultimately cheats Digger out of the oil, setting the field for a huge Ewing-Barnes rivalry.

The Ewings have three children: J.R. (Larry Hagman), Gary (David Ackroyd and later Ted Shackelford), and Bobby (Patrick Duffy). As the eldest son, J.R. runs the farm and oil company like a ruthless bastard, steam-rolling over anyone who gets in his way. Youngest son Bobby is more interested in loving life, doing good, and caring for others.

Digger Barnes marries Rebecca Blake and has two children: Pam (Victoria Principal) and Cliff (Ken Kercheval).

In the first episode, Pamela Barnes and Bobby Ewing, children of the two rival families, elope in Romeo and Juliet fashion. Bobby brings Pam home to the Southfork ranch where he resides with his father Jock, mother Miss Ellie, siblings Gary and J.R. and his wife Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), and niece Lucy (Charlene Tilton), who is the daughter of his brother Gary. Lucy is so boy crazy that she sleeps with farmhand, Ray Krebbs (Steve Kanaly).

The show stews in scandal. There are murders, shootings, affairs, lawsuits, and conniving criminal business deals. It's over-the-top fantasy, filled with the glitz and glam of designer fashions and fancy sports cars owned by people residing in sprawling mega mansions and downtown Dallas condos. I owe the success of the show to the fact that in the real world, the economy in 1978 had tanked, and everyone needed an escape, a mythical place to live in their minds as far detached from reality as possible, while still representing the very real American dream of becoming absurdly rich and successful.

Priscilla Presley was added during Season 7 as Bobby's first love, Jenna Wade.

And, to answer those questions:
Do you know who shot JR at the end of Season 3? 
We find out at the beginning of Season 4 that Kristin (Mary Crosby), J.R.'s mistress who is also Sue Ellen's sister pulled the trigger.

What about Season 8, otherwise known as the "Dream Season?"
Bobby and Pamela, divorced for two years, decide to remarry, only to have their dreams tragically end after he is killed in a car accident saving Pam's life. At the beginning of Season 9, we find that Bobby's death was all just a bad bad dream which Pam had been having, earning that year the nickname, the "Dream Season."

Could Priscilla Presley act?
Yes, Elvis Presley's widow Priscilla could act, and quite well in fact. She played Jenna Wade, the mother of Bobby's son Lucas Wade, and was introduced in episode 138, then appeared on the show from 1983 until 1988. After her time on Dallas, she continued acting in various roles on TV shows and movies until the year 2000.

Lucy slept with her uncle?
At the beginning of the series, Lucy and ranch hand Ray Krebbs (Steve Kanaly) have a steamy sordid affair. It was later revealed that Krebbs was actually her father's half-brother, Jock's illegitimate son, making him her half-uncle.

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