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Dallas: Discussion Thread


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20 hours ago, SoapDope said:

Kind of like Victor on Y&R......LOL

Well JR did pave the way for Victor. Bill Bell introduced Victor as a billionaire businessman that owned and lived on a horse ranch and had a long-suffering younger wife.

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20 hours ago, SoapDope said:

Victoria Principal said after the first 5 years she felt the writing declined and she made plans to leave the series. She gave them advanced notice.

Victoria has not been terribly consistent in her quotes over the years. When the producers of TNT Dallas were hinting at Pam’s return, she said she considered Pam dead as soon as she left the show, and that she couldn’t help what the writers did after. But in contrast, when the show ended in 1991, she said she was willing to come back to put “a coda” on her time on the show, but didn’t want to be part of a fantasy/cliffhanger.

 

By multiple accounts, she was in negotiations to return for another season after 1986-87. But she wanted salary parity with Patrick Duffy, and a one-year deal. The producers wanted her for two, and didn’t want to pay her what she wanted. So she left, and that’s why Pam’s exit from the show is so abrupt. I just don’t buy the “advanced notice” explanation she’s been giving in recent years.

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1 hour ago, Chris 2 said:

I just don’t buy the “advanced notice” explanation she’s been giving in recent years.

Me neither.
Although, to be fair, I don't entirely buy the official version from Dallas folks either, which tracks a little too neatly with the good ol' diva-actress trope.
As often in life, truth is grey and probably a mix of everyone being a bit right and a bit wrong and a comedy of errors.

I imagine the dynamic as having gone something like this: VP demanded pay parity with PD, an eminently reasonable ask. However, she *expected* them to grant it to her - I mean, after the money they poured on Duffy to lure him back, she was surely as important to the show as he was AND she had been loyal. That was her mistake: a legitimately held view she did matter to the show mixed with what seems to be, from her multiple interviews, a very healthy ego. Let's not fool ourselves: she probably made it harder for them to yield to her by being a bit insufferable about her own importance.
However, she faced producers who, as we said, saw the show as Ewing-men-centered, didn't really get her value, didn't get her character and probably didn't like her.
No way were they going to grant her parity at all, because they didn't think she was worth it and, even if she was, no way were they going to be extorted by an actRESS like that (read between the lines: little lady needs to stay in her place)
To hold their misguided position they resorted to a reasonable classic: they played chicken.
And so did she but she probably grew pissed over time because not only were they not yielding to her reasonable demands but she probably saw their tactics and offers as belittling (which they surely were). So ego started to play into it.
And she decided she was going to walk from that game of chicken. She was newly married, probably held the same delusions as so many before and after her about how her popularity would translate career-wise, reasoned to herself that Pamela had been poorly written anyway. But key was not just that they weren't given her pay parity but that the fact they were not considering it and playing chicken betrayed that they didn't think she mattered as much as Duffy had. Which was reasonably galling.
Her quotes in the years thereafter - not least of which that "as far as I am concerned she is dead" do NOT read as she made a calm reasoned decision it was better to leave ahead of time and gave them time to prepare. It reads as: she is still pissed (understandably so) all these years later and a pissed exit is a last-minute exit.

Edited by FrenchBug82
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Again, I agree 100% with you. I think her attitude was “I’m OK to leave, so if they want me to stay, it will be on my terms.” And she said the producers got petty when she wouldn’t back down, taking away her parking space on the lot, and planning to announce that they had let her go. I’m sure it left a sour taste in her mouth. A few years later, when they showed clips from previous episodes as part of Sue Ellen’s movie storyline, there were no clips of Pamela. And when Bobby ran into the lookalike Jeanne and showed her a picture of Pam, it was at an odd angle and obviously not Victoria. She didn’t give them permission to use her image. You don’t do that unless you’re pissed.

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After Victoria was left then one by one Susan Howard, Steve Kanaly, Linda Gray, Charlene Tilton, and finally Barbara Bel Geddes were gone. Those final years sucked in my opinion. They had people in the opening credits that viewers could care less about.

 

In the final season they could have had Bobby find Pamela stashed away somewhere abroad by Katherine and rescue her. In the final episode during a Ewing Barbecue with the entire family coming home to attend, Bobby arrives at Southfork with " That Barnes Girl" as in episode 1 circa 1978. 

 

 

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23 minutes ago, SoapDope said:

After Victoria was left then one by one Susan Howard, Steve Kanaly, Linda Gray, Charlene Tilton, and finally Barbara Bel Geddes were gone. Those final years sucked in my opinion. They had people in the opening credits that viewers could care less about.

 

In the final season they could have had Bobby find Pamela stashed away somewhere abroad by Katherine and rescue her. In the final episode during a Ewing Barbecue with the entire family coming home to attend, Bobby arrives at Southfork with " That Barnes Girl" as in episode 1 circa 1978. 

 

 

Susan Howard left the same year as Victoria. That was a huge blow to the show. Once Steve and Priscilla left the show was done even though they brought back Lucy. Then Linda left and the last two seasons were horrible.

 

Your season finale would've been great. I always thought that Katherine should've taken Pam in 88. 

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To say Its a struggle to get through Pam’s last season is an understatement. I been struggling to watch this season for three years! I’m just too bored with it.

Edited by DemetriKane
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The money they were paying Larry and then Patrick, along with escalating salary increases and production costs coupled with falling ratings meant they had to cut people to keep the show financially viable.

There was not a lot to be earned in reruns (a gold mine for other shows) and international sales had tapered off.

So I guess once contracts came  up...

 

 

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I wanted to add some thoughts on Larry Hagman's role in all of this - whether his financial demands should indeed have been dialed down over time to help the show be better which was, after all, in his interest. But I wanted to balance that out with what I knew of his efforts to stand for his fellow actors during disputes and while researching the latter to give an example, I stumbled upon this tidbit I had never read.
 

Quote

Originally, Barbara Carerra was supposed to be involved in a lesbian relationship with her female assistant (played by Merete Van Kamp), but Larry Hagman, Susan Howard (who's a born-again Christian), and Barbara Bel Geddes all threatened to walk if that storyline was actually played out. They were adamant about keeping Dallas a family-oriented show - and they ultimately got their way.

 

And now am so pissed. Not that the story was not told: it didn't sound like a good idea and the characters involved... who cares. But while I knew about Howard's right-wing Christian ideas, the entire business of BBG and Hagman nixing it to keep the show "family-oriented" just infuriates me.

JR was boinking a new woman every week, none of which were his wife, but a lesbian character is where he drew the moral line? I know it was the 80s but that's really gross.

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Well, as most of us know, the 1980s were a very different time in terms of attitudes towards gay people. Many people, not just conservatives, thought it was a “lifestyle choice” and sick and/or immoral. One of my friends told me that he’s ashamed now of how he used the word fag back then. But it was common during the time and acceptable in many circles. The important thing to me is that he knows now. My guess is that Barbara and Larry at least would have had a different point of view had they been born 30 years later.

 

Hagman made no secret about his desire to earn a lot of money from Dallas. His previous series, I Dream of Jeannie, played in syndication forever, but he was paid modestly for the job - as was the norm in the 60s - and his residuals ran out relatively early in the syndication run. So he was determined that would not happen again. But his big paycheck was a component in the decision to let his costars go.

 

What they did with Susan Howard was crazy. Donna was a strong character, and came across an an authentic Texan. They needed her with Pam leaving. And I think, had they truly known in advance that Victoria was leaving, they wouldn’t have eased her out of the show the way they did.

 

 

Edited by Chris 2
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13 hours ago, Soapsuds said:

Susan Howard left the same year as Victoria. That was a huge blow to the show. Once Steve and Priscilla left the show was done even though they brought back Lucy. Then Linda left and the last two seasons were horrible.

 

Your season finale would've been great. I always thought that Katherine should've taken Pam in 88. 

Katherine just disappeared. Morgan Brittany said she figured she would be called back to the show, but that was it for her.

 

In the late 80's they should have had a dummy corporation crop up and start purchasing shares of Ewing oil in a plot of a corporate take over. When it is finally revealed, little Lucy (who J.R. thought was a dumb and weak like her father) marches in with her entourage declaring her presidency of Ewing oil. Lucy then would tell J.R.

 

"All those years you thought I was just your silly little niece who was only interested in boys and clothes" I spent years plotting how I would make you pay for things you did"

 

" You took me away from my parents and hurt them time and time again"

 

" Now it's you who is going to hurt" "I'm taking away the only thing you ever loved, Ewing Oil"

 

" Now get the hell out of my office" 

 

 

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In reading this thread I was thinking about how Wentworth Tool & Die was truly the structural missed story opportunity. 

  1. The idea of giving Pam her own power base was very smart. 
    1. However, Wentworth going from a tool and die company to an oil company was not as smart.  It negated various stories for Wenworth to mess with Ewing oil based on controlling the means of production.
    2. Upthread someone mentioned that Pam was always supposed to be more ambitious and business savvy than Bobby (which seems clearer in the pilot and the seasons before Jock's death).  Imagine the conflict if Pam was able to use her own fortune to fight JR?
      1. Yet, putting Cliff in charge was dumb. Cliff should have maintained a moral opposition to both companies through his governmental positions.  Messing with unions, property rights, and environmental stuff made more sense than having him suddenly in charge of an oil company and then being an easy target of JR's manipulation.  Cliff became an idiot in business when he could have been an expert in legislation if he had stayed in his own lane.

While the aforementioned Susan Howard story sours me on the actress, Donna's federal government power base also seemed like a missed source of plotlines.  Ray was comparatively modern in his acceptance of Donna as both the more educated and powerful one in the marriage.  Her job could have posed several threats to Ewing Oil and affected the Bobby/JR rivalry.  However, by instantly saddling her with a dependent family and baby fever, most of her power got lost in the shuffle. 

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38 minutes ago, SoapDope said:

Katherine just disappeared. Morgan Brittany said she figured she would be called back to the show, but that was it for her.

 

In the late 80's they should have had a dummy corporation crop up and start purchasing shares of Ewing oil in a plot of a corporate take over. When it is finally revealed, little Lucy (who J.R. thought was a dumb and weak like her father) marches in with her entourage declaring her presidency of Ewing oil. Lucy then would tell J.R.

 

"All those years you thought I was just your silly little niece who was only interested in boys and clothes" I spent years plotting how I would make you pay for things you did"

 

" You took me away from my parents and hurt them time and time again"

 

" Now it's you who is going to hurt" "I'm taking away the only thing you ever loved, Ewing Oil"

 

" Now get the hell out of my office" 

 

 

I would've loved to seen that!!!

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I couldn’t have believed a “Lucy outsmarts JR” story, not the way the role was written and not with Charlene Tilton in the role. It would have been about as believable as Michelle Stevens running Ewing Oil.

 

Agreed on the missed opportunities with Donna. Why they needed to saddle her with a baby and have Ray suddenly want her to become a homemaker is beyond me. Ray and Donna should have been the most stable, normal people on the show. I don’t like what they turned Ray into, with his trophy wife and his unhealthy obsession with controlling his stepdaughter.

 

Katherine was another missed opportunity. They shouldn’t have turned her into an attempted murderer. You really couldn’t do much with the character after that.

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