Forty years ago, we first saw a TV show that is now considered a touchstone of American culture: Dallas. The long-running saga of the Ewing family — the show lasted 14 seasons, then was brought back for three more seasons in 2012 — popularized the concept of the season-ending cliffhanger. When one of the show’s main characters, J.R. Ewing, was shot in the final episode of the 1979-80 season, Who Shot J.R.? became a cultural phenomenon, and the show resolved the mystery eight months later, it was — at the time — the most-watched episode in television history, drawing an audience of nearly 90 million viewers!
J.R. Ewing was played by the late, great Larry Hagman (who, of course, rocketed to fame in the 1960s as astronaut Tony Nelson on I Dream of Jeannie), and when we spoke to him before his death in 2013, he speculated on why he thought the show became such a huge success. (Click on the media bar below to hear Larry Hagman)
Returning tonight to TNT, DALLAS is ready to complete the season it left hanging back in April. In the episode titled DENIAL, ANGER, ACCEPTANCE, fans will finally find out who set and who survived the big fire at Southfork and whether Pamela survived her suicide attempt. Needless to say, relationships among the Ewings are becoming pretty strained. Directed by STEVE ROBIN from a script by BRUCE RASMUSSEN, the DALLAS cast includes JESSE METCALF, JOSH HENDERSON, JULIE GONZALO, JORDANA BREWSTER, PATRICK DUFFY and LINDA GREY.
It should be noted that, in this reboot of the 1970’s original series, GREY absolutely kills in the role of the aggressive Sue Ellen Ewing. When we spoke with her a couple of years ago, she talked about her concerns regarding returning to the role and admitted she took a proactive role in making sure Sue Ellen got a chance to shine in this reboot.
It is going to be a very sad evening on television tonight. The funeral of J.R. Ewing, played by none other than our favorite TV villain, Larry Hagman, will take place tonight on Dallas, which airs on TNT.
Hagman passed away in November of last year. Hagman played the iconic character starting when the original series launched in 1978 and was on for 14 seasons on CBS. He reprised the character a few times on reunion television movies, and of course for the re-launch of the series last year. Hagman made J.R. Ewing one of the best characters that the small screen has ever seen. We have spoken to him many times over the years and want to share some great memories with you.
The original series not only had great actors in the cast, but those actors, including Hagman, Patrick Duffy, Jim Davis, Victoria Principal, Barbara Bel Geddes and Linda Gray also had incredible chemistry. Hagman credits the casting director and the scripts which brought these characters alive. (Click on the media bar below to hear Larry Hagman)
Dallas was a hit not only in the United States, but all over the world. Hagman told us that Dallas aired at a time when the economy was not in very good shape, and that he always got a good laugh about these millionaire men still living at home with their parents and sharing a bathroom. (Click on the media bar below to hear Larry Hagman)
With the new series having success again, many new generations are now going back to watch the original series. Hagman told us that he believed that after all these years, J.R. Ewing is still a relevant figure, especially if one were to closely examine today’s political environment. (Click on the media bar below to hear Larry Hagman)
J.R. Ewing was so popular that Hagman recalled that bumper stickers were made during the 1980 presidential election to vote for his fictional character, and that J.R. actually received 30,000 votes! (Click on the media bar below to hear Larry Hagman )
Hagman reminisced with us about the early days of filming the show in Dallas, before the show became popular. He would take the cast out to restaurants, and to get a good table, he would remind them that he was previously on the iconic series, I Dream of Jeannie (with Barbara Eden from 1965-1970) (Click on the media bar below to hear Larry Hagman)
Larry Hagman will be sorely missed, but his presence on television will live on forever. Check out J.R. Ewing’s funeral tonight on Dallas.
Word has just hit that iconic star of stage, screen and television, LARRY HAGMAN has died at the age of 81 of complications that arose from his recent bout with cancer. Probably best known for his portrayal of the villainous J.R. Ewing on the hit television series DALLAS, HAGMAN will also be remembered for his role as Maj. Tony Nelson on the beloved sitcom I DREAM OF JEANNIE. The son of Broadway legend MARY MARTIN and attorney BENJAMIN HAGMAN, the actor got his start in such Broadway productions as THE NERVOUS SET and went on to such films as THE GROUP and ENSIGN PULVER before becoming a TV mainstay. Most recently seen in the TNT revival of DALLAS, he will be greatly missed.
During a recent phone interview, HAGMAN talked to us about how he came up with his take on the character of J.R.. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)
Returning to prime-time television after an absence of twenty years, TNT’s DALLAS has proven to be a welcome addition to the world of nighttime soaps with both critical and audience response. Every bit as much fun as the iconic original series, this continuation of the Ewing Family saga reunites original cast members LARRY HAGMAN, PATRICK DUFFY and LINDA GRAY (and others as the series progresses) with such newcomers as BRENDA STRONG, JESSE METCALFE, JORDANA BREWSTER, JOSH HENDERSON and JULIE GONZALO.
As Christopher (Bobby Ewing’s good-intentioned son), JESSE METCALFE turns in a terrific performance. We caught up with him recently at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and he talked about his familiarity with the original series.