Jan 12th 1980, the real start of my Dallas obsession........!

Barbara Fan

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41 years ago today, Jan 12th 1980, I was a schoolgirl, and series 2 (original ) had started in UK a few months earlier. I woke up that morning as a Dallas “fan” I went to bed that night as a Dallas addict and a BBG fan as Mastectomy Part 1 and 2 was shown as a double bill on BBC that evening. It was the episode that had a profound effect on me and possibly changed my life.

Having watched Dallas from day 1 and episode 1 I had got more into it as time went by and S2 started with the kidnapping of John Ross which was exciting but It led to even better episodes like The Silent Killer, Secrets, and the Kristin Affair and the Dove Hunt which was very different. Terry Wogan an Irish broadcaster had started to talk about Dallas on his radio show, making humorous remarks and comments about the cast and show and storylines

Then came along the next 3 episodes that were to change everything for me
The Lost child
Rodeo
And Mastectomy Parts 1 and 2,



it was THAT episode which was the game changer for me, I went from a casual Dallas fan to a serious Dallas addict and from that moment on I started to collect everything and anything to do with Dallas and the cast and if I knew that 41 years later that I would still be doing it I might not have started as its hard to stop.

More importantly I went from an admirer of Barbara Bel Geddes to a diehard fan and it has always been a regret that I never got to meet her, When I was lucky to get on the Dallas set in 1983 she was sick, but it was due to a get well card to her and I thought id write to other members at the same time to save on stamps that got me there. So she played her part!

I have quoted this from another post as it says it all to be honest (and im not a fast typist so excuse copy and paste)

QUOTE
I thought that her acting was outstanding in those episodes, it was so realistic and you could imagine what she must have been feeling as Miss Ellie.

I cried my eyes out, and was astonished to read in the press the following day that she had undergone a radical mastectomy 8 years before and agreed to relive her real life experience "to help woman realise that it isn't the end of the world and you learn to live with it and are able to laugh again".

She said that when the Producers asked if she would mind Miss Ellie finding a lump on her breast, she thought “No, THIS time I wont mind. It might be useful to somebody going through the pain and anguish. When I had mine it was still a very hush, hush thing. You felt mortified, humiliated about telling anyone. Recovery was not quick, at least for me, I still get funny on ladders and clothes problems are a pain in the neck. There is no sense in saying its a little itty bitty thing, it was a hell of a blow. But you learn to live with it all. Thats how I'd like to help if I can by talking about it - to say there is HOPE and not to give up. You DO get well".

She said that she didn't think about it too much until she got the script then thought "Oh boy, this is going to be tough. I guess I dreaded bringing up the past".

Barbara admits she didn't handle the situation as well as Miss Ellie. "Ellie handles it a lot more intelligently than I did. Self examination was a term I had never even heard of. Even after I realised I had the lump, I ignored it until it became just too painful, at which point I went to see my Doctor who put me in hospital right away. It just never occurred to me that I could have breast cancer. I thought it was old age and I was getting lumpy. Woman are a lot smarter about it today".

And at the time she underwent surgery she was nursing her husband who was dying of a brain tumour and had given up all stage work to care for him. He sadly died the following year.

I think it made me admire her, her courage, and strength to relive a very painful episode in her own life and in front of a world wide audience. She said that on Dallas Miss Ellie recovers "very quickly" but for her it was a slow process. "It was a devastating thing to go through and a shock to your soul. But what I want people to know is that while it takes a long time, you do get better eventually". It was one of the few times Barbara gave extensive interviews and she was honoured by various Cancer charities for her promotion of breast cancer awareness.

S2 turned me from a fan into a Dallas addict and I collected everything and anything on all the Dallas cast. BBG was the most elusive of cast members and kept a very low profile. Sadly a lot of press came about because of real life incidents such as Jim Davis dying of a brain tumour, same as her husband, and her heart attack and quadruple bypass op.

I often wished she was like the other cast members who appeared frequently in public but I respected the fact that she guarded her privacy.

It was strange to me at first that a middle aged American actress could have SUCH an impact on me, and the more I read about her away from Dallas and pre Dallas, the more I wanted to know about her. I’m the first to admit she wasn’t the most stylish on the show, but that wasn’t important.

She was one of the more genuine, realistic characters on the show (along with Susan Howard). She was warm, caring and friendly and made Miss Ellie a believable character.

She was the most beguiling of actresses, the fact that she didn't need a script to convey what she was feeling made her a class act and a cut above her co stars.
QUOTE

There were 2 articles in the paper that day on Dallas than I snipped out and kept and from there it grew and grew. It didn’t matter if I liked the cast member or not, I collected it if they were in Dallas and it has cost an awful lot of money since then to feed my habit!!

Now 41 years later, my collection stands at over 102 000 articles and photos, I have kept a monthly tab on my collection since 1980 and its a sign of the times, last year there were fewer articles all year than there was in 2 weeks of Dallas at its peak. C'est la vie, Dallas doesnt make the headlines any more :(

Dallas has dominated my life from that day forwards and I don’t know with hind sight if that’s a good thing or not and I have never let another TV prog do that to me. But it was the beginning of a wonderful Dallas journey and I have met so many wonderful cast and forum members over the years at a whole variety of events - many people have flitted in and out of the Forum here too

And Victoria Principal - if you are reading this – Please, please, please can I meet you!!! It would complete my Dallas dream!!

The first was an article – tongue in cheek by the late great Terry Wogan who promoted and plugged the show so much back in the day and I thought you might like to re read it again – if you know Terry and his wonderful Irish brogue, I can hear him reading it out to me. He was always very kind to have Larry on his Radio show in 1980 and was the first to interview him on TV prior to JR being shot - 1980 was a wonderful time for Dallas fans! When he got a chat show on BBC TV in ?1984 he had many of the Dallas cast as guests - his Xmas show with Victoria Principal holds the biggest ever ratings
He had huge stars on Dallas and many came back for more, but he also had people like Shalane McCall and he brigut the best out in everyone.

 

Ukdallasfan

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You and I must be the same generation! I reckon I was about 12 when I first started to watch. My mum got me into it, I think in the first full season when we watched Lucy who was kidnapped. My mum commented on how good that episode that had been. As I carried on watching my attraction was to JR and Sue Ellen as the quasi Lord and Lady Macbeth of the show. But, I loved all of it because it was like nothing I’d ever watched before. I adored the Terry Wogan shows when cast members were guests. Just the best, and there was a sense of excitement beforehand, reading the Radio Times and realising who would be on at 7pm. My family think it’s funny that I remain obsessed but I don’t care. It would take something really unique for me to say that Dallas wasn’t my all time number one tv show any longer :)
 

DallasFanForever

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I didn’t start watching til season 6 so I was too young to remember so many of those great early episodes. When I saw them later on they made me love the show even more. But a big part me of still wishes I could’ve experienced them live as they were happening at the time.
 

Barbara Fan

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You and I must be the same generation! I reckon I was about 12 when I first started to watch. My mum got me into it, I think in the first full season when we watched Lucy who was kidnapped. My mum commented on how good that episode that had been. As I carried on watching my attraction was to JR and Sue Ellen as the quasi Lord and Lady Macbeth of the show. But, I loved all of it because it was like nothing I’d ever watched before. I adored the Terry Wogan shows when cast members were guests. Just the best, and there was a sense of excitement beforehand, reading the Radio Times and realising who would be on at 7pm. My family think it’s funny that I remain obsessed but I don’t care. It would take something really unique for me to say that Dallas wasn’t my all time number one tv show any longer :)
It was Bypass that did it for me - I thought the mini series was oK but nothing too special back then - It was Bobby and Pam who were my main reason to watch at first until a wee blonde lady stole the show for me!!

I didn’t start watching til season 6 so I was too young to remember so many of those great early episodes. When I saw them later on they made me love the show even more. But a big part me of still wishes I could’ve experienced them live as they were happening at the time.

Thats a shame @DallasFanForever - the first 6 seasons were the best for me and like @Ukdallasfan Im glad i was the age i was to watch it from the very beginning and to grow up with it - it saw me leaving school, right thro graduation to starting my job.

Part of me wishes that I was 10 years older than i was when it started as id be working and could have gone to Tx in the summer to see them film. I was never going to get there on £2.00 pocket money!
 

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I can never entirely pinpoint when I started watching DALLAS, but it was definitely after the "Jock years". I never saw an episode with Jim Davis (excluding flashbacks) until the show went into syndication in the 90s. I reckon I started watching in '82 , which would have put me around 7 . Why I was watching a soap at that age is one of the mysteries of my childhood; neither my parents nor grandparents watched. Near as I can figure, it aired after THE DUKES OF HAZZARD and I just kept the TV on. My earliest memory of the show is of wondering why that guy (JR) was so mean to that lady (Sue Ellen). I guess my interest was piqued and I started to pay attention.
 

Barbara Fan

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It was on various days in UK, started on a Tues in 78, went to a friday, went to Saturday in 1979-80, some of S3 original was on a sunday night and ended up as Wed night TV at 8 or 8.10pm for many years., I liked that as it broke up my week nicely.
Then at the sad end it was punted to a sunday afternoon (shame on the BBC!) and beaten by the snooker or a John Wayne film on BBC2

I can understand why tho, final series was Dallas in name only!
 
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