Dallas is a long-running American prime-time televisionsoap opera that originally ran from 1978 to 1991. It revolved around the Ewings, a wealthy Texas family in the oil and cattle-ranching industries. The show debuted in April 1978 as a five-part miniseries on the CBS network, then was broadcast on that network for 13 seasons, from Saturday, September 23, 1978, to Friday, May 3, 1991.
Dallas was one of the most successful drama series ever made, and also one of the longest-running shows in American prime-time television history.
The show's central character is John Ross "J.R." Ewing Jr., a greedy, scheming oil baron played by Fort Worth native Larry Hagman. Initially, J.R. was only meant to be a supporting character when the show premiered; it was originally based around J.R.'s brother Bobby and his new bride, Pam). However, J.R.'s machinations became popular with viewers and he quickly became the focus of the series.
Creator David Jacobs originally came up with an idea for a drama series about four married couples (which would later become the series Knots Landing), but CBS wanted a glitzy "saga-like" show. Jacobs therefore created Dallas, a series about a wealthy family in the oil business. When Dallas proved to be a hit, CBS reconsidered Jacobs' original idea and turned Knots Landing into a spin-off of Dallas in late 1979.
It was later revealed that Jock had illegitimately fathered a fourth son, the Ewing's ranch foreman Ray Krebbs (Steve Kanaly). Ray had previously engaged in a short fling with Pamela Barnes (Victoria Principal), who was Digger Barnes' daughter and Cliff's (Ken Kercheval) sister. However, Pam loved Bobby Ewing and the two married in the pilot episode. J.R., who loathed the Barnes family, was not happy with Pam living at Southfork and tried to constantly undermine her marriage to his brother Bobby.
The series capitalized on ending each season with ratings-grabbing cliffhangers. Some notable cliffhangers included the landmark "Who shot J.R.?" episode in 1980, an unidentified floating female corpse in the Southfork swimming pool, a blazing house fire, Bobby being shot, and Bobby even being killed by Pam's crazed half-sister Katherine Wentworth. Patrick Duffy had decided to leave the series in 1985 which facilitated Bobby's death, but Duffy was offered a higher salary the following year and elected to return to the series (which had by then begun to suffer from a ratings drop). The intervening season where Bobby was dead was subsequently explained away as a dream in 1986. In 1987, Victoria Principal decided to leave the series and her character was written out in another end-of-season cliffhanger where her car crashed into an oil tanker and exploded. The show continued (with steadily declining ratings) until 1991, when the series finale saw J.R. seemingly defeated by his enemies and apparently take his own life.
Ray's rebellious cousin who becomes involved with Lucy.
Danone Simpson as Kendall Chapman (1982-1991)
Ewing Oil receptionist.
John Beck as Mark Graison (Spring 1983-1984, 1985-1986)
Pamela's beau after her first divorce from Bobby whom Pam vows to marry in Spring 1984 due to his contraction of a fatal disease. Mark is tragically killed in a plane crash and leaves Pamela a letter expressing his love for her and his knowledge that she still loved Bobby deeply. Graison reappears during the 1985-1986 "dream season" and marries Pamela...until she wakes up, of course.
By the time the series ended, most of the family had either died or departed:
John Ross "Jock" Ewing Sr. (Jim Davis) was the first to go, with the actor's passing in 1981
Bobby was twice heartbroken, having lost both Pam and April.
Pam Ewing was severely injured in a car accident in the 1986-1987 season finale and left Bobby and Christopher due to her apparent inability to let them see her in such a physically disfigured fashion. Nevertheless, while Victoria Principal never returned again to the series as Pam during its final four years before cancellation, Margaret Michaels, a Principal look-alike, played the character in the season premiere of 1988-1989.
Donna and Ray divorced in 1987, the former moving to Washington, D.C. Ray then subsequently left Dallas with his new wife, Jenna, bound for Europe by the fall of 1988.
Lucy Ewing returned to Southfork in spring 1988, but then left again two years later for Europe as well.
Sue Ellen Ewing left Dallas in 1989 to move to London with her new film-director boyfriend and then-husband.
Dallas was notable for its cliffhangers. Throughout the series' run, every season ended with some sort of cliffhanging ending designed to drive ratings up for the season premiere the following year.
Season One cliffhanger: Although this really wasn't a cliffhanger, the end of the fifth episode of this pilot First Series saw J.R. go up to the loft of the barn to talk to Pam, who had gone up there to escape the wild time at the barbecue that was going on during the episode. J.R., intoxicated, tries to convince her to tell Bobby not to leave the ranch. However, she doesn't want to be bothered, and, in trying to escape J.R., she falls from the loft, landing square on her stomach.
Resolution: Pam, who was pregnant with Bobby's child at the time, lost the baby and was told that she would never be able to carry a baby to full term.
Season Two cliffhanger: Sue Ellen's drinking problem has landed her in a sanitarium, where she is pregnant with a child she believes is Cliff Barnes' (although this would later be proven false). She escapes from the sanitarium, gets drunk, and then gets into a severe car accident, putting her life and the baby's life in danger. The doctors deliver the baby, named John Ross Ewing III (after his father and grandfather), but he is very small on delivery and isn't out of the woods yet. Neither is his mother, who, as the episode ends, is clinging to life. A very distraught J.R. is watching his wife at the end of the episode in tears, saying that she's "just gotta live."
Resolution: After a two-part season premiere in which the child was kidnapped, John Ross is returned to the hospital and Sue Ellen recovers, although the doubt surrounding her newborn son's paternity lingers for a while afterward (Lab tests finally put the paternity question to rest).
Season Three cliffhanger: To cap off a season where J.R. has angered nearly everyone in the state of Texas, someone comes into his office late at night and shoots him twice.
Resolution: As a result of the shooting, J.R. is temporarily paralyzed from the waist down and faces a long recovery. An investigation into the crime is conducted, and eventually Sue Ellen (who was the prime suspect) confronts Kristin, her sister, about the shooting...and the mystery is solved. Sue Ellen realized that that night she stormed into Kristin's apartment with gun in hand and very drunk. Kristin calmly gives her another drink knowing full well that she could barely stand. After putting her unconscious in her car she takes the gun and shoots J.R. with it, later planting it in the house to frame Sue Ellen. However, Kristin is pregnant with J.R.'s baby, so he refuses to have her prosecuted, fearing another scandal. It is later revealed that after leaving Dallas, Kristin almost immediately miscarries J.R.'s child. Wishing to be able to blackmail J.R. at a later date, Kristin quickly becomes pregnant again with boyfriend Jeff Farraday (Art Hindle), and later gives birth to a boy, Christopher, who she claims is J.R.'s child.
Season Four cliffhanger: On his way to a late night business meeting with Bobby, Cliff notices a female body in the pool. He goes into the pool to see who it is (we are never told in this part who it is, although the viewer is led to believe it's Pam), then looks up to find J.R. standing on the balcony over the pool, right near a broken area where the person fell. Cliff, thinking J.R. did it, said, "She's dead. You bastard."
Resolution: The body was revealed to be that of Kristin Shepard, who earlier that year was revealed to have shot J.R. Her cause of death was ruled to be a combination of drowning and a PCP overdose. In the months that follow, Kristin's boyfriend Jeff Farraday, desperate for money to repay various drug dealers and other lowlifes, "sells" the infant Christopher Shepard to Bobby and Pam, and he is raised as Christopher Ewing.
Season Five cliffhanger: Cliff Barnes had been having a rotten year. His relationship with Sue Ellen (which had been rekindled that year) came to an end when Sue Ellen and J.R. decided to remarry after divorcing the previous season. To top it off, thanks to J.R., Cliff nearly drove his mother's tool company into bankruptcy, causing him to lose his job. He ends up attempting suicide, and while he lays in a hospital bed, comatose, Sue Ellen tells J.R. that if Cliff dies they will not remarry.
Resolution: Cliff emerges from his coma in the second episode of the season, and Sue Ellen and J.R. remarry later on, with Cliff humiliating himself during the ceremony.
Season Six cliffhanger: A drunk Sue Ellen and Ray Krebbs' cousin Mickey Trotter are involved in a car accident just outside Southfork. Sue Ellen emerges unhurt, but Mickey is paralyzed and in a coma. After finding out that the driver of the other car was J.R.'s rival Walt Driscoll, out to kill J.R., Ray comes over to Southfork to confront J.R., blaming him for what happened. J.R. asks, "Are you drunk?" Ray replies, "No, I'm stone cold sober, and now I'm going to kill you." J.R., trying to stop Ray, throws a candle holder at him but misses him completely. In the process, another candle holder with lit candles falls and ignites a fire while Ray and J.R. brawl. J.R. knocks Ray out and tries to get upstairs to Sue Ellen and John Ross, who are asleep-or, in Sue Ellen's case, passed out drunk- and unaware of the fire creeping up to the second floor. Unfortunately, a falling beam knocks him down as Southfork burns around him.
Resolution: J.R. was able to get to John Ross and they jumped out of his bedroom window together into the pool. Bobby saved Sue Ellen. Mickey Trotter awoke, but was despondent over his paralysis and relapsed into another coma, during which Ray pulled the plug on him. Ray was found guilty of manslaughter, but was given a suspended sentence by a compassionate judge.
Season Seven cliffhanger: Just like in season three, J.R. was crossing people left and right. And just like in season three, a mysterious figure broke into his office at Ewing Oil at night and shot the man in J.R.'s office (who was sitting with his back to the assassin) three times. However, it was revealed that the man sitting in the chair was Bobby who falls to the floor.
Resolution: After rumours that the target was J.R., it was revealed that Bobby was in fact the intended target after all. The culprit was Pam's half-sister Katherine, who was obsessively in love with Bobby and decided that if she couldn't have him then nobody else will. Bobby survives, and Katherine is exposed for his attempted murder, but she escaped and flees the country.
Season Eight cliffhanger: Bobby reveals that he wants to remarry Pam (by this time the couple had been divorced for some time) and they agree to do so. After spending the night at Pam's house, Bobby is about to leave for Southfork to relay the news to his fiancee Jenna Wade, but is hit by a car when trying to save Pam from being struck. The driver of the car turns out to be Katherine, who is killed herself when the car crashes. Bobby is rushed to the hospital where he later dies.
Resolution: The family hold Bobby's funeral and try to go on with their lives in the wake of his death. However...
Season Nine cliffhanger: Evil businesswoman Angelica Nero intends to kill J.R. and his cousin Jack for double crossing her, however J.R. has her apprehended by the police. Unfortunately, Angelica has already put her plans into motion. She has her henchman attached a car bomb to Jack's car, which explodes with Jamie inside. After hearing this on the phone, J.R. runs out of his office to go to Jack's apartment. As he leaves the office, Sue Ellen arrives in the other elevator looking for J.R. As soon as she enters J.R.'s office, a time bomb left by Angelica goes off and the entire floor that houses Ewing Oil explodes, showering debris onto the street below. We then see Pam in bed, the day after her marriage to Mark Graison. Pam wakes up to hear the shower running. Assuming it's Mark, she opens the shower door, only to find Bobby Ewing, alive and well.
Resolution: The events of the entire past year beginning with Bobby's death at the hands of Katherine Wentworth were revealed to have all been a dream that Pam had. Therefore, she had never married Mark Graison and Angelica Nero had (assumingly) never existed.
Season Ten cliffhanger: Pam, on her way home from the doctor's office after finding out she can finally conceive a baby, crashes into the fuel tank of a semi-truck, engulfing her car in a fiery explosion.
Resolution: Pam is rushed to hospital but is badly burned in the crash. Whilst there, another attempt is made on her life by her unstable half-sister Katherine Wentworth who has returned to Dallas. Although Katherine is apprehended by Bobby, Pam later engineers her own disappearance and leaves Dallas (and Bobby) forever.
Season Eleven cliffhanger: J.R. and Sue Ellen's new beau Nicholas Pearce fight in J.R.'s penthouse hotel suite, and during the course of the fight Pearce goes over the balcony and falls to his death. Shocked by what she has just seen, Sue Ellen then picks up a gun from the floor and shoots J.R. three times for murdering her lover. She then picks up the phone and tells the police she would like to report a double murder.
Resolution: J.R. recovers, but he and Sue Ellen mutually agree not to press charges against each other for their son's sake.
Season Twelve cliffhanger: Sue Ellen prepares to leave Dallas for good, but before she does she has one last surprise for her ex-husband J.R. Sue Ellen has made a biographical motion picture about her marriage to him (with actors portraying them and the other Ewings) and previews the film to J.R. who is shocked by what he has just seen. Sue Ellen tells J.R. that she is leaving Dallas, but if he ever crosses her again in the future - or even if she wakes up on the wrong side of bed one morning - she will release the film and J.R. will be made "the laughing stock of Texas" and ruined forever. She then leaves Dallas, triumphant at last.
Resolution: After Sue Ellen leaves Dallas, J.R. tries (and fails) to find the movie that she made. However, their paths cross again seven years later.
Season Thirteen cliffhanger: After deliberately committing himself into a sanitarium in order to persuade a patient (Clayton's sister Jessica) to sign over her voting majority in Weststar Oil, J.R.'s plan backfires when Cally Harper, his latest scorned woman, and his illegitimate son James Beaumont coerce him into signing a property waiver before they will allow him to be released. Once he does, James tears up J.R.'s release papers anyway leaving him trapped in the sanitarium with no means of escape.
Resolution: After being placed in solitary confinement in the sanitarium and being diagnosed with paranoia, J.R. ends up leaving the sanitarium after bargaining with Cally.
Season Fourteen cliffhanger: After finally losing Ewing Oil to Cliff Barnes, and being abandoned by his wife and children, J.R. begins to drink heavily and apparently commits suicide by shooting himself.
Resolution: As this was the series finale, there was no immediate resolution, though it was later revealed in the first reunion movie that J.R. shot the mirror in his bedroom rather than himself. He then left Southfork that night for a rest in Europe and returned to Dallas five years later in 1996.
Dallas is also known for a number of famous episodes:
"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 or not 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 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.
"The Fourth Son" — Steve Kanaly, who played the role of ranch foreman Ray Krebbs, was growing frustrated with the direction of his character and was heavily considering leaving Dallas altogether. In 1980, while playing racquetball with Larry Hagman, Kanaly was convinced in a conversation that if any of the actors on the set resembled a son of Jock Ewing it would be him. Hagman dreamt up a storyline that Ray Krebbs would be the illegitimate son of Jock. With some convincing, Hagman then persuaded Leonard Katzman that the idea would work. However, previous episodes portrayed Kanaly having an affair with Jock's granddaughter, Lucy Ewing, so Katzman let the on-screen affair die-off and be forgotten before they utilized the storyline. It was originally slated to develop in the episode, "Dove Hunt", with Jock revealing the surprise in confidence to J.R., but this idea was nixed. Instead, the storyline unfolded on December 12, 1980. Ray's supposed father, Amos Krebbs (William Windom), who left him as a small boy, would show up on Ray's doorstep (with Ray wanting nothing to do with him). Amos Krebbs would later meet Jock and produce a diary belonging to his wife, Margaret Krebbs, Ray's mother, in which she admitted having an affair with Jock during the end of World War II. Margaret writes of Ray's first birthday and wishing his father (Jock) could be there. This was a landmark episode because it elevated Ray's status with the entire Ewing clan and also served as a basis for future storylines where Ray, J.R., and Bobby would unite as brothers and fight as Ewings.
"Swan Song" — In the 1984-85 season ending cliffhanger, Jenna Wade, Bobby Ewing's fiancee is released from prison. (She was in it earlier in the season for a false accusation of murder against her ex-husband.) J.R.'s wife Sue Ellen has started drinking again, and thinks that she has seen her ex-lover Dusty Farlow. Bobby Ewing is unsure if he wants to marry Jenna, because he has started to have feelings for his ex-wife Pam. Lucy Ewing decides to marry her ex-husband Mitch Cooper, and the wedding is held at Southfork. Jenna can see at the wedding that Bobby is acting different, and she figures out that he is in love with Pam. After the wedding Bobby goes and proposes to Pam. She accepts. The next day, when Bobby is leaving to go tell Jenna that it's over, he gets hit by a car driven by his ex-sister-in-law Katherine Wentworth. He is then taken to the hospital and dies.
"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. With ratings falling, and Duffy's career at a standstill, he agreed to return to the show for the 86-87 season. With Duffy in tow, the producers ended the 1985-1986 season (on May 16, 1986) with an episode in which a series of spectacular events take place (including an explosion in J.R.'s office), culminating in a scene where Pam wakes up in bed, to be greeted by Duffy emerging from a shower. In the closing credits for that episode, there was the bizarre credit of "Starring Patrick Duffy as ? ", leaving doubt as to exactly whom Duffy was portraying. Fans had to wait until September 26 to learn how the writers would explain his return. Most were disappointed with the solution, a pure deus ex machina: Pam had dreamt the entire previous season (1985-1986), including Bobby's death (an example of retroactive continuity, or a retcon). This caused previous plot lines to be severed: Ray and Donna had adopted a deaf boy in Spring 1986, but had become estranged when the Fall season opened. In Spring 1985, Pam's half sister Katherine had died while knocking-off Bobby with her car. In the Fall, she was presumably still alive but forgotten. Bobby's replacement, cousin Jack Ewing, was now redundant and had to be discarded. Pam's new beau, Mark Graison, vanished. Continuity conflicts arose 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.
"Fall of The House of Ewing" — This cliffhanger marked the end of a contract player, as Victoria Principal had decided to leave the show after 10 seasons, and after having to be seen in almost every episode of the series, from her first in 1978 until 1987. The storyline had Pam returning to Southfork after phoning Bobby telling him after all their struggles to conceive a baby, she could finally be pregnant. Suddenly, an oil truck comes out of nowhere and a distracted Pam crashes into it, igniting a huge fireball. Pam survives the accident but is left with third degree burns. While in the hospital, she is suddenly whisked away, leaving no trace. Later in the season, she divorces (by mail) Bobby, giving him custody of their adopted son, Christopher. In subsequent seasons it is revealed that Pam was dying and chose to let her family believe that she had left, thus sparing them the trauma of watching her deteriorate.
While the actual cliffhanger in this season is the car accident involving Pamela Ewing (and Principal's subsequent departure from the show), there is a fantastic scene prior to the accident where J.R. and son John Ross are ousted from the former Ewing building by Jeremy Wendell, who was instrumental in the government crackdown on Ewing Oil, and now owns the building. When Jeremy reaches for the painting of Jock on the wall and says, "You'll leave now, and take this eyesore with you,", an incredibly aggressive J.R. shouts, "Wendell! You touch that painting and I'll kill you where you stand." J.R. takes the painting off the wall himself, holds it up in front of John Ross and says, "John Ross, THIS is Ewing Oil." This scene is often listed among the favorites by 'Dallas' fans.
In this episode, titled "Conundrum" (originally aired on CBS, May 3, 1991), J.R. is contemplating committing suicide. Southfork was taken out of his control and given to Bobby by Miss Ellie, while Cliff Barnes now had control of Ewing Oil. Clayton had given J.R. voting rights at Weststar, but J.R. was tricked into believing he would become Chairman of Weststar by Carter McKay. J.R. had sold his half of Ewing Oil to Cliff to take over Weststar, but old foe Dusty Farlow revealed that he had sold his Weststar shares to McKay, thus making McKay the majority stockholder. McKay fired J.R. from Weststar after revealing that he had set him up (McKay had sent two Weststar directors to J.R. and convinced him to sell Ewing Oil to pave the way for a Weststar takeover that would never happen).
John Ross, his own son, disowned him and moved to London to be with his mother. Now, drunk and despondent, J.R. walks around the pool with a bourbon bottle and a loaded gun, when suddenly another person comes into view...a spirit named Adam (portrayed by Joel Grey), whose "boss" has been watching J.R. and likes him. Adam proceeds to take him on a journey to show him what life would've been like for other people if he hadn't been born. Among what he shows him:
Without J.R., Gary became the oldest Ewing son, and the youngest was Jason (who would have been born had J.R. never been around; Jason never appeared in the TV series as he didn't really exist).
With Gary in charge of Ewing Oil upon Jock's retirement, the company went bankrupt. Stress from it killed Jock, and Miss Ellie died of a broken heart two years later, she never meets Clayton Farlow.
Jason, a shady real estate developer swindled Gary and Bobby out of their shares in the company and Southfork, and proceeded to tear the compound down and build tract houses on it called Southfork Estates.
Having never met Pam, Bobby continued his wild ways from before and ended up as a down-on-his-luck hustler who was behind on alimony payments to his wife Annie and kids J.R., Bobby, and Ellie. He also ends up behind on his gambling debts to Carter McKay, who owns casinos in Las Vegas. (McKay was fired by Jeremy Wendell at Westar.)
Gary became a successful divorce lawyer who never married, and thus never had Lucy Ewing, J.R.'s niece. (He does eventually meet Valene Ewing, his wife in the real world, but nothing ever comes of it other than a date whose outcome was never discussed).
Without having met J.R., Cally Harper never left her poor roots, and ends up as a battered wife who lives with her husband in a shack, where she kills him and (according to Adam) will be convicted and sentenced to life.
Without J.R. in the way and forcing him to be a part of the Ewing/Barnes rivalry, Cliff Barnes was able to earn a law degree and enter politics, becoming Vice President of the United States and later Acting President due to a stroke suffered by the President.
Since J.R. was never born (and thus, never shot), Kristin Shepard never met him (and, thus, never died), and became a successful con artist in Los Angeles. She poses as a hooker initially and then a police officer, which sees her accept a bribe from an embarrassed customer.
Having never met J.R., Sue Ellen has become a successful soap opera star, with Nicholas Pierce (who was never killed off) as her loving husband.
With J.R. out of the picture and Jock dying before he could find out, Ray Krebbs never knew of his Ewing blood ties. After an injury he suffered in a Ewing Oil-sponsored rodeo, Ray became a down on his luck ranchhand, forcing to work two or three jobs to support his family, who are loving and very supportive of him. He does have a son called Jock.
After one final scene where Bobby settles his gambling debts with McKay, Adam eggs J.R. on to kill himself. J.R. won't do it, as he doesn't want Adam to be sent back to heaven with his job incomplete. It's at this point where Adam reveals that he's not an angel, but a minion of Satan.
A startled J.R. wakes up, gun and bourbon still in hands, and the scene appears to be a dream...only Adam returns, appearing to J.R. in his mirror and continuing to egg him on. J.R. slowly raises the loaded gun to his head, unaware that Bobby has returned home. The gun goes off while Bobby is in the hallway, and he rushes to J.R.'s room. He looks at what has gone down, gasps, "Oh, my God," and the series ends on that note with the fate of J.R. never settled (although it eventually would be five years later, in the reunion movie, Dallas: J.R. Returns.).
It was believed J.R. killed himself, although in later years it was revealed he had shot the mirror (although no glass was heard).
The episode was watched by 33.3 million viewers (38% of all viewers in that time slot)
Produced by Leonard Katzman, the "Dallas" television series was one of the first to be distributed globally. "Dallas" was eventually translated and dubbed into 67 languages in over 90 countries, a record that to this day still stands for an American television series.
Dallas originally aired on Saturday nights when it debuted as a regular series. Within a month, the show was moved to Sunday nights, where it would stay until halfway through the season, when it took a Friday-night slot. Dallas remained on Fridays until the show ended in 1991, alternating between 10 p.m. and 9 p.m. airings.
The "Who Done It?" episode of "Dallas" that revealed "Who shot J.R.?", the famous 1980 cliffhanger, received the highest domestic ratings at that point with over 90 million American viewers tuning in for the answer. The last episode of M*A*S*H in 1983 finally beat the ratings; however, internationally "Dallas" still holds the record for the highest rated episode with nearly 360 million viewers tuning in to see who shot J.R.
Season 1 on DVD is the original mini-series. When the show went to formal production as regular weekly series, what is on DVD referred to as Season 2 was Season 1 of the weekly series.
As of the end of 2009, it is expected that Warner Home Video will have release all 14 Seasons of Dallas on DVD with the reunion movies due for release in 2010.
Common Season Count
Seasons 1 & 2
Mini Series & Season 1
August 8, 2004
November 1, 2004
The first-and-second-seasons DVD box set has five double-sided DVDs, which contain the 5 episodes from the miniseries and the 24 episodes from the first regular season. The Region 1 release includes a "Soap Talk" "Dallas" reunion special as well as three commentaries by actors Larry Hagman and Charlene Tilton, and series creator David Jacobs.
August 9, 2005
September 26, 2005
The third-season DVD box set has five double-sided DVDs, which contain the 25 episodes from that season. It includes commentaries by Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray on two major episodes and the special documentary Who Shot J.R.?: The Dallas Phenomenon.
January 24, 2006
May 22, 2006
The fourth-season DVD box set has four double-sided DVDs, which contain the 23 episodes from that season. It includes a cast reunion special from 2004: Dallas Reunion: The Return To Southfork, which aired on CBS on November 7, 2004.
August 1, 2006
November 17, 2006
The fifth-season DVD box set has five double-sided DVDs, which contain the 26 episodes from that season. It includes a documentary called: A Living Landmark: A Tour of the Real Southfork Ranch.
January 30, 2007
February 19, 2007
The sixth-season DVD box set has five double-sided DVDs, which contain the 28 episodes from that season. It includes a documentary that delves into the legacy of "Dallas" then and now.
July 31, 2007
September 17, 2007
The seventh-season DVD box set has five double-sided DVDs, which contain the 30 episodes from that season. It includes the story behind the iconic Dallas theme song and is titled The Music of Dallas.
February 12, 2008
February 18, 2008
The eighth-season DVD box set has five double-sided DVDs, which contain the 30 episodes from that season. The special feature is called Dallas Makeover - Travila Style and deals with the Emmy award winning costumes of the show.
July 15, 2008
September 22, 2008
The ninth-season DVD box set has four double-sided DVDs, which contain the 31 episodes from that season. The special features include the documentary Seasons of Change, an in depth look at the most famous dream sequence of all time, the entire ninth season, and its impact on the storylines, the fans, and stars. There is also a look back at Season 8 to examine the effect of Barbara Bel Geddes' departure for a year, and her eventual return.
January 13, 2009
January 19, 2009
Warner has announced that the Dallas The Complete Tenth Season will be released on DVD in the USA/Canada, January 13th, 2009. The opening episode, 'Return To Camelot' will be the special two part syndicated version. The set will containing all 29 episodes of Season 10 on 3 double sided discs but no confirmed special features.
April 21, 2009
Warner has announced that the Dallas The Complete Eleventh Season will be released on DVD in the USA/Canada, April 21st, 2009. The set will contain all 30 episodes on double sided discs but no confirmed special features.
The Ultimatedallas.com website has announced that Season 12 is due to be released in Mid 2009.
The Ultimatedallas.com website has announced that Season 13 is due to be released late 2009.
The Ultimatedallas.com website has announced that Season 14 is due to be released at the end of 2009
The Ultimatedallas.com website has announced that J.R. Returns is due in 2010.
The War Of The Ewings
The Ultimatedallas.com website has announced that The War Of The Ewings is due in 2010.
In 2007, British comedian Justin Lee Collins went about searching for all the stars of Dallas to bring them back together for a special reunion party. The show was broadcast at 9 p.m. Sunday, May 27, 2007, on UK television network Channel 4 as part of the Bring Back... series. After hunting down most of the main cast by any means necessary (e.g., climbing over security fences and ambushing hotels), Collins managed to interview them and gain more knowledge about some of the decisions made throughout the show's seasons. The participants amongst the cast were Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy, Ken Kercheval, Charlene Tilton, Susan Howard and Mary Crosby. He held his own Oil Baron's Ball, where unfortunately none of the cast turned up. However, in a surprise move, the actor who played baby Christopher (Eric Farlow) turned up.
A feature-length motion picture based on the Dallas story has been in development for a number of years, with Legally Blonde director Robert Luketic manning the attempt to get it made. Although stars as varied as John Travolta, Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Simpson have been mentioned as possible stars (in the roles of J.R. Ewing, Pamela Ewing and Lucy Ewing respectively), the film has never been greenlighted and is considered by many in the Hollywood establishment as a potential disaster, and it is currently viewed as unlikely that the film will be made, particularly given the current gas crisis (one that does not bode well for a "comedy" about the oil industry).
The front and back lawn of the fictional Ewing family home played host to a massive barbecue filled with people from the Dallas area, across the U.S. and around the world (who paid as much as $1,000) to reminisce and celebrate the series, as well as meeting with cast members.
During the festivites, Kercheval said he was shocked to see the continued support for the show 17 years after it last aired. "I don't understand it," he said. "The staying power. Who knew?" Linda Gray also fondly remembered her time on the show: "I think it was a special time. It was a time when there weren't a hundred million channels and the internet and all of the other things that came to existence."
A Dallas comic strip ran in newspapers during the 1980s, illustrated by cartoonist Dick Kulpa and distributed by the L.A. Times Syndicate.
The series' first season was conceived as a proof-of-concept five-episode miniseries, and it was filmed entirely on location in Dallas and its surrounding areas during one of the city's coldest winters on record. Although the Dallas area rarely receives any significant accumulation of snow, a blizzard during the February shoot forced a number of script revisions to incorporate the snowy weather, as well as subsequent continuity issues once the snow melted. Possibly due to the inclement weather, Charlene Tilton was stricken with such a bad case of the flu that the producers were nearly forced to recast the role of Lucy Ewing.
The original Southfork Ranch location (the "Cloyce Box Ranch"), where the initial five episodes were filmed, no longer exists, having been destroyed by fire. The series left that location at the end of the first season due to a request by the property owner, who felt both the filming requirements and local media attention to the series were disruptive to his ranch operations, and moved to the ranch ("Duncan Acres") where the series was filmed for the rest of its run. The area surrounding Cloyce Box, located in what in 1978 was still the rural farming community of Frisco, has since become one of Dallas's fastest-growing suburbs.
Major changes to the series' point-of-view came about as a result of viewer response to the first mini-season. Surprising to many in hindsight, the show's original focus was designed to be on Pamela Ewing and her travails as an outsider entering the Ewing clan through a whirlwind marriage to "family playboy" and former star quarterback Bobby Ewing. Once J.R. proved to be a far more intriguing character, the show's focus shifted to center around him. Also, both Sue Ellen Ewing and Cliff Barnes, characters who would later become pivotal to the show (and whose affair led to the show's first cliffhanger season finale), were conceived as minor figures who did not even merit full standing in the opening credits of season one. The producers realized Sue Ellen's potential as a character, and Linda Gray's acting abilities, following an early episode in which the Ewings are held captive at Southfork and Sue Ellen is forced to parade, crying and hysterical, in the swimsuit she wore when she won the Miss Texas competition years earlier.
The Barnes family was greatly reduced after the first season of Dallas, coming from the show's focus shift resulting in Pam and Cliff's Aunt Maggie and cousin Jimmy being written off with the explanation that Maggie went to Kansas to care for her and Digger's cousin Rose (mentioned briefly in the Ed Haynes episode), and Jimmy having moved with her. Digger, who turned out not to be Pam's biological father, would die in 1980, with Maggie making a brief appearance. Digger and Maggie's cousin, Rose, having since died and it was assumed Jimmy was still living in Kansas. In 1984, Maggie would again make a brief appearance during the time Cliff went looking for information resulting in him owning part of Ewing Oil. Jimmy who was never mentioned after the first season was presumed to have died by 1984 with Aunt Maggie having passed away by 1988.
Exterior locations following season one were shot at a ranch called Duncan Acres, later formally rechristened Southfork Ranch; it is now a major tourist attraction and convention center. It is located in Parker, a small suburb north of Dallas and east of Plano. Although Southfork was depicted in one episode as spanning over 100,000 acres, Duncan Acres is barely 100 acres, and today it is surrounded on all sides by housing subdivisions, several of which were built during the course of the show's later seasons (and part of the reason why only the back yard area was used for location filming - scenes filmed in front of the house would have shown the suburban tract houses in the background). Many of the show's exteriors, including shots of each protagonist's respective skyscraper offices, were also shot in the Dallas area.
Although Duncan Acres was used throughout the show's run, minus the final two seasons, for exterior filming, and a full-size reproduction of the main house's back yard was eventually constructed on a Los Angeles soundstage, the house's modest interiors were deemed too lacking in luxury for a family as supposedly wealthy as the Ewings. Instead, a mansion located in Dallas's Turtle Creek neighborhood -- one much larger than the Duncan Acres home, but with a downstairs layout deemed to match the front exteriors of the Duncan house closely enough -- was used for interior shots. The real Duncan Acres interior, however, was later used for filming of several scenes in the two "Dallas" reunion movies, since it had been substantially renovated since the series' end once the ranch was developed into a tourist attraction and conference center.
The first half of the second season was shot entirely on location in Dallas. After the ratings improved and the series was picked up for a full season, primary production was moved to Los Angeles, and exact replicas of both the Turtle Creek mansion interiors and Duncan Acres back yard were recreated on a studio soundstage, which was used throughout the remainder of the series' run.
To lend authenticity to the show, production returned to Dallas nearly every summer for approximately eight weeks of location filming at the beginning of season shooting (usually in July, one of Dallas's hottest months), enough to include location-shot scenes in the show through the annual November Nielsen sweeps periods. The owner of the Duncan Acres Ranch would only allow filming at the location during the summer months, so as not to interfere with his children's education by causing an unnecessary distraction. The remainder of the seasons' shows were filmed on soundstages and at locations in the Los Angeles area that did not even vaguely resemble Dallas. The Los Angeles-area ranch used for some exteriors set at Southfork is noticeably more lush than the North-Central Texas prairie land seen in the location-shot footage, and unlike the virtually-flat Dallas area, the Santa Monica Mountains as well as palm trees could be seen in the background of many shots. Both Duncan Acres and other nearby ranches were employed extensively for filming, and shooting locations included everywhere from downtown Dallas to the North Dallas Galleria mall to the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. For budgetary reasons, the final two seasons did not include any on-location scenes in Dallas, although the major subplot resulting in April Stevens Ewing's departure from the show was filmed largely on location in Paris, France.
The 1980 Writers Guild of America strike caused a number of problems for the show, particularly given that it transpired during the "Who Shot J.R.?" mania. Given its timing, the producers had to write all of the scenes planned to be filmed during the annual Dallas location shoot long in advance before the strike, and production was forced to halt for nearly two months after location-filming ended. Although the scene in which J.R.'s killer is revealed was set in the Southfork back yard, and the setup shots for it (Sue Ellen arriving at the ranch to confront her sister) were shot on location in July, the scene itself noticeably shifts to the Southfork soundstage for the actual reveal of Kristen as the killer; it was filmed several months after the location setup shots, and only a few weeks before the episode aired in November, 1980. As noted throughout the media, the producers shot numerous "dummy" endings (to throw off the media) in which a variety of characters were revealed as J.R.'s attempted assassin, even including his own mother Miss Ellie.
While many of the exterior shots were actually filmed in and around Dallas, the city of Braddock, the small surrounding city (and a presumed Dallas suburb) where characters would often go to for various reasons, was fictional. During the first season, Lucy Ewing was a student at Braddock High School (when she attended).
When the "Who shot J.R.?" media frenzy began, Larry Hagman tried to renegotiate his contract. Producers Philip Capice and Leonard Katzman thought of firing him and replacing him with Robert Culp. However, Hagman announced that he may be leaving the series in an appearance on British chat show Wogan during a promotional tour in the United Kingdom. The ensuing outcry led to the producers agreeing to Hagman's terms, increasing his salary and offering him a degree of creative input in the storylines.
Although the Duncan Acres house used for Southfork exterior shots was relatively modest in size, the Ewing mansion as depicted on the show grew substantially larger over the years. The producers used the excuse of the Southfork fire depicted in the season five cliffhanger to rebuild a much larger version of the original set, which was still nearly identical to the Turtle Creek mansion copied years earlier. The new set's living room and stairwell grew noticeably in size following the post-fire reconstruction, as did the upstairs hallway. New parts of the Southfork house set, including a large kitchen and a workout room, as well as additional bedrooms for the ever-growing Ewing clan, were added throughout the series.
The communist government of Nicolae Ceauşescu's Romania ran episodes of Dallas in the 1980s hoping that it would convince people that capitalism was corrupt and decadent. Instead, it sowed discontent within 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.
There was also a 1980s computer game based on this TV series called Dallas Quest.
Most of the buildings seen throughout the series in the show really exist in the Dallas skyline. For example, the original Ewing Oil headquarters was situated in a downtown Dallas building called the Renaissance Tower. Later on, through plot developments, JRE Enterprises operated out of a building called Fountain Place (to which Ewing Oil itself later moved to, and remained through the end of the series). In the TV movies, Ewing Oil operated out of the Bank of America Plaza. Likewise, Cliff Barnes' Barnes/Wentworth Oil operated out of a pair of buildings called "Campbell Centre I & II", which for a time in the 1990s were where the Belgian oil company Petrofina operated from in the Dallas area. Several episodes include shots of an abstract piece of sculpture on the grounds of the complex that features the Fina shield-shaped logo.
In spring 2004, a prime-time special was taped in which actors reminisced about their work on the series. It aired on November 7, 2004, on CBS, though it was delayed due to football. Sadly, actor Howard Keel (Clayton Farlow) had died earlier that same day.
During the final season, Larry Hagman was reunited with former I Dream of Jeannie co-star Barbara Eden to play J.R.'s conniving ex-girlfriend, Leeane de la Vega. Subtly referencing the duo's former history on I Dream of Jeannie, Lee Ann revealed that her maiden name was Nelson, which was Hagman's last name on the sitcom.
Larry Hagman is the only actor to appear in all 357 episodes of the series, and is the only regular cast member to be a native of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Patrick Duffy appeared in the second highest episodes, appearing in 327 of the 357 episodes (missing 29 episodes, during the 1985-86 season, and 1 episode at the end of the 1990-91 season).
In order to keep Bobby’s "out of the shower" return storyline a secret, Patrick Duffy had to film a full notional advertisement for Irish Spring soap in an alternative studio. The opening line of the fictional ad "Good Morning" was then edited into the Dallas episode.
A continuity error of sorts occurred during the first episode of the 1980-81 season (the conclusion of the "Who Shot J.R." cliffhanger), in that, though it's supposed to be the morning following J.R.'s shooting, Sue Ellen had a noticeably different hairstyle (since Linda Grey had cut her hair during the hiatus), though it would seem implausible that a character either would have found time to get her hair done under the circumstances or during the night-time.
Automobiles played a major role on the show, in particular German luxury vehicles. Curiously, nearly every major character drove a convertible at some point in the series, including matriarch Miss Ellie, who drove a Volkswagen Rabbit. Bobby's red Mercedes SL convertible was a mainstay on the show throughout its first nine seasons, although new models of the car were used in most seasons. In one of the series' most famous episodes, Pam -- who had borrowed Bobby's car for the day -- was driving the SL when she collided with the gas rig in the season nine finale; the car was "killed off" as well, and Bobby was later seen driving everything from a Jaguar to a BMW. Although Bobby gifted Pam with a ChevroletCorvette in season two, it was later replaced (without explanation on the show) with a Porsche 911 Cabriolet, the vehicle Pam drove for nearly her entire stint on the show. The car was last seen when Bobby drove it to the hospital at the beginning of season ten, after hearing the news of Pam's accident. J.R. drove a Mercedes S-class sedan for most of the series, but switched to driving a Cadillac Allante convertible after deciding he should "drive American." (His S-class made a brief reappearance in the second "Dallas" reunion movie, when it was blown up during an attempt on his life, but he replaced it with a newer version of the SL-class Mercedes Bobby once drove.) During the show's earlier days, both Miss Ellie and Sue Ellen shared the "ranch car," a Ford station wagon. J.R. later gave Sue Ellen a Mercedes station wagon as a gift, and following her eventual split from J.R. she upgraded to an S-class coupe, which she drove for the remainder of the series. Sue Ellen, too, ended up driving a convertible; she had a Jaguar droptop with the license plate "EWING OIL" in one of the two reunion movies. Lucy Ewing drove a Saab 900 convertible during the two seasons Charlene Tilton returned to the show late in its run. Also in the show's later seasons, Cally Ewing was seen driving a convertible Chevrolet Corvette, and James Beaumont drove a Ford Mustang convertible.
Continuing along the lines of automobile-centered focus, each member of the Ewing family drove a vehicle with a personalized Texas vanity license plate depicting their "position" in the family hierarchy. (Series creator David Jacobs said once in an interview that he got the idea from seeing the dealer license plates from Ewing Buick, a Dallas-area auto dealer.) Early in the series, Jock Ewing is seen driving a Lincoln with the plates "EWING 1"; Miss Ellie's station wagon has "EWING 2"; J.R.'s vehicles have "EWING 3"; Bobby's have "EWING 4"; Lucy's have "EWING 5"; and Pam's, during her marriage to Bobby, have "EWING 6." Later in the series, following Jock's death, the license plate "hierarchy" is shifted a notch, and Miss Ellie is seen with the "EWING 1" plates, even following her marriage to Clayton Farlow and her assumption of his last name as her own. The rest of the family members' numbers "move up a notch" as well. There were numerous exceptions to the "Ewing license plate rule," and a number of major characters who were technically Ewings -- including Ray Krebbs and James Beaumont -- but did not adopt the Ewing last name never had Ewing plates.
The Who Shot J.R.? episode 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. Charles Rocket, an actor on Saturday Night Live's controversial 1980 season, lost his job after he cursed on-air in reference to "who shot J.R.". The cliffhanger was also made reference to in the The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode "As the Will Turns"; when Will was trying to get fired from a television show via a ridiculous monologue that incorporated elements from numerous TV shows, he says that he's "the guy who shot J.R." (as well as the sheriff). "The Simpsons" paid homage to "Who Shot JR?" with their own "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" contest.
In a 2007 episode of America's Got Talent in which the show went to Dallas for auditions, the episode began with the original Dallas theme and presented the three judges as the "stars" in a similar format to the introduction of Dallas.
CBS Sports also used a Dallas musical theme for the opening of its 1991 NFL Wild Card playoff between the Cowboys and Bears. It featured the 3 way split screen common to Dallas openings and introduced "characters" Jimmy Johnson, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman, and Steve Beuerlein. Pat Summerall narrated.
In the Family Guy episode "Da Boom" (1999), the Y2K virus changes civilization for the worse. In a parody of "Blast from the Past" episode climax, Victoria Principal and Patrick Duffy reprise their roles in a live-action segment at the end of the episode, when Pam wakes up and tells Bobby, who is in the shower, that she just dreamt about the strangest episode of Family Guy. Bobby pauses, then asks, "What's Family Guy?"
Mentioned in The Message by hip hop DJ "Grandmaster Flash" as, "My brother's doing bad, stole my mother's TV / Says she watches too much / It's just not healthy / All My Children in the daytime, Dallas at night / Can’t even see the game or the Sugar Ray fight.
Swedish group ABBA's final single "The Day Before You Came" (1982) relates the story of a mundane day in the life of an ordinary woman in the suburbs. The song incorporates the lines "I must have had my dinner watching something on TV / There's not a single episode of Dallas that I didn't see."
Introducing Saturday Night Live's 1986-1987 season, Madonna, who hosted the first episode of the dismally rated 1985-1986 season, read a statement from NBC that claimed the previous season of SNL was "all a dream, a horrible, horrible dream." Coincidentally, on another ill-fated SNL season (1980-1981), Charlene Tilton hosted an episode (which Larry Hagman had turned down) centered around the "shooting" of Charles Rocket, a parody of the Who Shot J.R. story arc, in which Rocket says "I'd like to know who the f... did it." For his use of the profanity, he was fired.
The show Reno 911! sometimes references Dallas by having a character dream some event that happened on a previous episode, notably at the end of the season.
In The Young Ones episode Time, the opening sequence and credits parody Dallas. Neil (Nigel Planer) is E.T. , a hippy version of J.R. who donates all business assets to "the Brothers of the Soil Commune".
During the mania surrounding "Who Shot J.R.?", Happy Days aired an episode in which the Fonz (Henry Winkler) was shot in the behind. Three different versions of the incident come forward, with the one told by Roger (Ted McGinley) being the most accurate. Fonzie, Chachi (Scott Baio), Roger and Potsie (Anson Williams) have gone camping. Fonzie and Chachi are at odds with Roger and Potsie trying to restore order. When Potsie intervenes, Fonzie tells him to mind his own business and shoves him hard enough that he hits the mantelpiece above the fireplace. This dislodges a mounted rifle, which discharges upon hitting the floor. Thus, the shooting is determined to have been an accident.
The Jeffersons also had a Dallas parody through a script written Florence, the maid. The cast was George as G.R. Jenkins, Louise as Lou Weezy Jenkins, Helen as Ellen Wallis, Tom as Tim Wallis, Lionel as Leon Jenkins, and Jenny as Jannice Wallis Jenkins. There is even a scene in which G.R. is shot but fakes his coma to draw out the assailant -- Florence as Flossie.
In the Only Fools and Horses episode "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire", after Del Boy and Rodney have an argument about whether Del should go to Australia and become a millionaire or not, Albert believes that his two nephews are feuding just like the Ewing brothers. Del agrees by comparing himself to Bobby, but wouldn't compare Rodney to J.R.
Bill Haverchuck, a main character in the television series "Freaks and Geeks" mentions watching Dallas in multiple episodes. The show Dallas also plays a significant role, in episode number fourteen, Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers.
"The Simpsons" episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" parodies "Who shot J.R.?". A deleted scene in "Bart vs. Australia" also includes a reference when one of the courtmembers shouts, "Don't tell us who shot J.R.!" whilst covering his ears.
In the song Live Television the Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour describes how during a visit to a friend's house he was left alone in the living room waiting for dinner while his hosts all packed in a small room to watch the show on television.
An arrangement of the theme from Dallas was used as the score for a short film about vice-presidential nominee, Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin and played at the 2008 Republican National Convention on September 4, 2008.