Ok, I am sick of all the bad economic news, the political fighting, the nothing getting done so its time for me to write about something else! The groundbreaking TV show Dallas is coming back to TV tomorrow night, picking up where they left off 20 years ago. Now if you didn’t live through this time period you might not understand what this post is about, but I do and it brings back good memories for me. When I was in high school and college Dallas and Dynasty ruled the airwaves. The shows were over the top and really fun. Picture an age where there were no DVRs or even VCRs, you had to watch it live, commercials and all. I remember my college would practically shutdown Wednesday nights at 10:00 when Dynasty was on. Dallas was the first, I was only 13 when it started so I didn’t catch up with it for a few years. I got in introduced to these types of shows one night when I happened to turn on Knots Landing; I will never forget the scene. One of the 2 main lead characters had been in a car accident and was having surgery in the hospital; they showed the scene from a distance with the Dr. talking to the other lead character (the mans wife) and the children, from a distance. They didn’t let you hear what was being said but you could tell be their actions that the main character, Sid Faregate, was dead. I was blown away. Until then main characters of TV shows never died, they always lived. The scene of seeing their despair but not hearing about it was outstanding. I forget when, a few months later I got into Dallas and Dynasty; but the true story of Dallas for me was when I saw the repeats of the original show that started in 1978. Interestingly enough the show was supposed to focus on Bobby and Pam, poor girl from wrong side of the tracks marries rich boy whose families are arch enemies. Sue Ellen had one line in the first show, something like, can you pass the salt. She and JR (Larry Hagman) were supposed to be secondary characters. It was realized very quickly that the chemistry between Linda Gray and Larry Hagman was fantastic, and Larry’s portrayal of JR was nothing short of fantastic. But what made the show was the depth of the characters, JR was ruthless in business but he so wanted approval from his parents that he would change his tactics if they asked. Jock, the patriarch, played by Jim Davis, was also fantastic. The mother, Barbara Bel Gedes was also so good. Jim Davis died in real life which caused a problem on the show. But what it really did was show Miss Ellie’s (Bel Geddes) talents. She was awe inspiring. JR would change his devious plans so as not to offend his mother. Miss Ellie was the strong southern woman who defended her family no matter what. The scenes with her in them defending the Ewing family and JR were what I longed for in a family. The thought of hearing, no matter what we do we are Ewings and we all stick together. It made me want to be part of their family. A mother that stands behind you no matter what, was even more important to me at the time than the endless amounts of money they had. Dallas went on many years, and the plots got worse every year. Their heyday was probably up until 1984 or so. They had complex characters that were so interesting to watch. I can still think back on all of the over the top lines JR and Sue Ellen had with each other and they make me smile, the show was so much fun.
Meanwhile ABC tried to copy Dallas with their show, Dynasty. It def was a show that was great for a few seasons. Pamela Sue Martin was perfect as Fallon, the daughter of the billionaire Blake Carrington. Joan Collins was so good, fighting her way to the top. Linda Evans, Blake’s wife who was a secretary was such a bore; interestingly enough Dallas had been created as a project for Linda Evans but she turned it down. Dynasty def had a few good years; their best scene ever was when Fallon’s baby was kidnapped and they were all on a roof top; another character, Claudia, was holding the baby and they were trying to convince her to give the baby back. Meantime Claudia trips and the baby falls over the ledge of the top of the building…. it was over the top drama! When the ‘baby’ hits the ground they realize Claudia was holding a doll. That was a great scene. Turns out Knots Landing was created before Dallas but TV execs wanted a rich family saga first. Knots def had fun moments. Abby, who was the JR of the show, had the best lines. When another character asked Abby if she was having an affair with her husband, Abby’s response was priceless: ‘Maybe I am and maybe I am not but I can have him any time I want him’ That was so over the top and fun. Also, before Abby left the show she was talking to a young Nicolette Sheridan, and told her ‘on the Abby scale, Abby being a 10 of course, you are doing ok’
So anyway these are all fond memories of when broadcast TV used to be fun… You wanted Miss Ellie as your mother, they directed characters going to bars in the afternoon. Those shows bring back very fond memories. I hope the new Dallas is good; but it doesn’t really matter since the original was great, as were a few seasons of Dynasty. We need more fun in our lives now, at least I do!