The popular series Dallas was aired by CBS network. It debuted as a five-part miniseries in 1978, but the show’s unexpected success subsequently turned it into a regular series for the next 13 seasons. Know more about one of the most beloved primetime soap operas in US television history.
Dallas’ central character, the oil tycoon J.R. Ewing (played by Larry Hagman) was originally intended to be only a supporting character. But his unscrupulous schemes became more popular with the viewers, so Ewing was later made as a lead character.
Hagman’s J.R. Ewing is the only character to appear in all of the show’s 14 seasons and 357 episodes from 1978 to 1991. The character also appeared in Dallas’ reincarnation series in 2012. However, Hagman died in November that year so the producers decided that J.R. Ewing would be killed off in the second season.
Dallas’ creator David Jacobs was having talks about a new TV series with Lorimar Television, and wrote a story about Ewing Oil. It was Lorimar’s executive Michael Filerman who thought up of “Dallas” as the name for the new series, after reading the story. He thought it sounded better than “Houston.” At the time, Houston was better known for oil, while Dallas was known for banking and finance.
Not only Dallas was popular in the US, it also made a global television waves as it was broadcast in over 90 countries. The show has also been dubbed into 67 languages.
In Dallas’ fourth season episode “Who Done It?”, it finally reveals the perpetrator who shot J.R. Ewing. That particular episode was watched by over 90 million viewers, making it one of the highest-rating episodes not only in Dallas, but in the whole US prime-time television.
For certain, the late Larry Hagman turned J.R. Ewing as one of the most memorable characters in US television. But did you know that Hagman was not the first choice to play the amoral and manipulative oil baron? The role was originally offered to Robert Foxworth, who turned it down because he felt that the character had to be “softened.”
J.R. Ewing’s signature cowboy hat is currently held in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History’s collections
Knots Landing, a spin-off to Dallas, also gained widespread popularity as it ran for 14 seasons. Actually, Knots Landing was created before Dallas but the producers were unable to sell it. So they made Dallas instead. When it became a hit and the network needed a spin-off show, the producers were able to offer Knots Landing this time.
Due to the immense popularity of Dallas, a computer game based on the series was released. It was called “Dallas Quest.”
The revival of the Dallas series was developed by screenwriter/producer Cynthia Cidre. The show brought some of the stars of the original series, including Larry Hagman as J.R. Ewing, Patrick Duffy as Bobby Ewing, Linda Gray as Sue Ellen Ewing, and Ken Kercheval as Cliff Barnes, who joined the current generation of characters. The series was produced by Warner Horizon Television and was broadcast by Warner’s own cable/satellite channel TNT.
After three seasons, the series was ultimately cancelled on October 3, 2014.
Early in the series, Dallas was filmed on location in Dallas and Frisco, Texas. However, the later scenes were shot inside MGM Studios in Hollywood in Los Angeles, California.