An aging cast

stevew

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I think Katzman said that if he knew it was going to run as long as it did, he wouldn’t have burned through story as quickly as they did. But that just would have made it slower. Your idea is the right one; they needed a bigger ensemble and wider focus from the beginning. Knots did a good job of expanding the cast and reinventing the show periodically because it was about a location. Katzman felt the show was about the Ewings only. There was an article published in the paper around the time Pam left, and he said something like, “Our show is about the Ewings and a Farlow and that’s it.” Wrong, Lenny.
Actually I agree sort of - the show was about the Ewing's and that's it. I liked Clayton but if he stayed or left I was fine. The story was about Miss Ellie, Jock, JR, Sue Ellen, Bobby, Pam, John Ross, Chris and Lucy. OK so Jock died and that was that. It was handled well - even excellent. Miss Ellie wasn't handled so well - never should have brought on Donna Reed and should have allowed her to fade into the background. JR at some point needed to grow up and move on. I would even have been ok with a serious second marriage or just making him and Sue Ellen stable. And Sue Ellen at best could have been a vengeful Alexis type or a devout matriarch. Bobby and Pam needed their own show in my opinion - a second spin off. There wasn't enough room for JR and Bobby to both be Jock. But if they had left JR dead then Pam being the vengeful Alexis type could have worked. Problem is John Ross and Chris were too young without a major time jump to be of relevance and Lucy they just wrote off. But they could have had Lucy and Jack and Jamie be more - actually taken serious within the business and the family. Lucy imo should have taken on the JR role with a marriage to a grandson of Punk Andersons. Jack could have married Katherine Wentworth and Jamie if she'd had been a lawyer maybe could have taken on a political role and torn in the Ewing's side. There were characters there - but imo Dallas was the Ewing's (when TNT tried to make it more it failed miserably).
 

stevew

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Sue Ellen wouldn't hang around for that either which was a big part in why she divorced him.

The producers missed a trick in not having JR marry a younger woman who could give him more children. Sue Ellen could have gone on to marry an older man with adult children who would all become rivals to the Ewings and bring down the average age of the cast.
Well said. I always thought Sue Ellen married to Wendell with Wendell having older 20's/30's children was a great idea and a great rivalry - where Sue Ellen learns how to run a business and how to be a power play in oil to rival J. R. - hell bent that South Fork should be her's and her son's.
 

stevew

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Sue Ellen tolerated JR’s cheating for a very long time. According to Miss Ellie, JR neglected her from the moment he brought her into the house.
Which was a way to go too - a marriage more a partnership. Problem was would J. R. accept Sue Ellen's dalliance's. It wouldn't be unrealistic to see them both cheat from time to time as long as discrete.
 

stevew

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You all make some very good points here, and this is an interesting thread!
On the family continuing to live at Southfork, may I add the perspective of a Texan?
A lot of houses you own because you bought them. And you know you plan to sell them later.
In Texas a ranch, including Southfork Ranch, is much different.

Southfork Ranch would have been lost to foreclosure in 1959. Ellie Southworth saved the ranch by marrying Jock Ewing, who made enough money in oil to save the ranch. Miss Ellie is a strong woman, but look at the power dynamic here. She "grew to love Jock" but imagine the sacrifices she made in her desperation to save the ranch.

Somebody much smarter than me commented on these boards that "Southfork is a character all on it's own" and I agree with that.

For Bobby, the ties to Southfork are obvious. But even J.R. could never truly call any other place "home". Remember that J.R. did not learn the oil business at Ewing Oil. He learned it at Southfork, by watching and listening to Jock before J.R. was old enough to come into the office.

When J.R. or Bobby make the remark, "Daddy always said this" or "Daddy always said that", those quotes were made at Southfork, while the boys were growing up.

I spend time at a lot of ranches, because I live here. Most of them have stories about the sacrifices made to keep the ranch in the family. You will hear stories about adult children giving up college to come back to save the ranch. You will hear stories about younger kids who dropped out of school to save the ranch.

After the sacrifices made to keep the ranch in the family, you can't just buy a luxury condo in downtown Dallas and consider it "home". The ranch will always be home.

Look at this tribute to Larry Hagman. Ask yourself where it was filmed.



Oh yes. Southfork is the one place the characters would always return.
I agree - South Fork was a character on its own and many families do live together on the same property. For me the issue wasn't living together or the importance of the house, but that they didn't have their own houses on the property - that would have given it more realism for Texas but for many places in the country where people are wealthy and on a single compound.

I would expect that a man like Jock and even JR in time would run their "empire" from their home. I would expect that JR would have retired and turned the day to day over to lieutenants and have them come out to the house to meet with him. What we saw from Jock early on as "retired" was very believable to me. Going in every day to "run" the business, not so much.

I appreciate your point of view from Texas, certainly most relevant to the show, but this idea of "home" among the very wealthy, even those with homes all over the country, rings true even if no one lives in the house any more. Case in point, the Ford's here in Michigan still maintain their grandparents home, it belongs to them, it's open to the public, but it is still their home, the property means something to them in a way that those with out such a "home" don't often understand. The same can be said for many people I know here in Michigan, a farm "home" or a "cottage" home on a lake up north. There is this sense of "home" that many people can attest to and selling it and moving away from it is NOT an option.
 

stevew

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I can't agree more. I live in our old family ranch myself. It's been in our family for 100 years and I'd never ever sell it.

Agriculture and farming changed significantly in Germany unlike any other industry. Small farmers (like my granddad) stopped farming during the 70s like nearly everyone else. It's either grow or give way.

It's 25 acres of meadows plus forest and a tiny lake. The cattle is gone, the old ranch house has been rebuilt by my father with two flats and it's just beautiful.

The more I think of it - my father's love for the land resembles that of Miss Ellie's. The difficult times, episodes during the war and all these stories about the people could fill a book easily.

I could never sell it. It'd kill my father.

I'm glad they never did a plot about the Ewings losing Southfork, not even temporarily.
I feel what you're saying.
 

Chris2

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Actually I agree sort of - the show was about the Ewing's and that's it.
Dallas was better when it was about the Ewings and the Barneses, and how the families intermarried. A modern day Romeo and Juliet. Once the Barneses were mostly wiped out and it became just about the Ewings, it got a lot duller.
 

darkshadows38

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i never understood why everyone had to live under the same house i've never got that at all does anyone?
 

stevew

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Dallas was better when it was about the Ewings and the Barneses, and how the families intermarried. A modern day Romeo and Juliet. Once the Barneses were mostly wiped out and it became just about the Ewings, it got a lot duller.
Good point. Maybe 75 / 25 Ewing's / Barnes's but it did become just Ewing's and so yes it did get a lot duller.
 

Billy Wall

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Actually I agree sort of - the show was about the Ewing's and that's it. I liked Clayton but if he stayed or left I was fine. The story was about Miss Ellie, Jock, JR, Sue Ellen, Bobby, Pam, John Ross, Chris and Lucy. OK so Jock died and that was that. It was handled well - even excellent. Miss Ellie wasn't handled so well - never should have brought on Donna Reed and should have allowed her to fade into the background. JR at some point needed to grow up and move on. I would even have been ok with a serious second marriage or just making him and Sue Ellen stable. And Sue Ellen at best could have been a vengeful Alexis type or a devout matriarch. Bobby and Pam needed their own show in my opinion - a second spin off. There wasn't enough room for JR and Bobby to both be Jock. But if they had left JR dead then Pam being the vengeful Alexis type could have worked. Problem is John Ross and Chris were too young without a major time jump to be of relevance and Lucy they just wrote off. But they could have had Lucy and Jack and Jamie be more - actually taken serious within the business and the family. Lucy imo should have taken on the JR role with a marriage to a grandson of Punk Andersons. Jack could have married Katherine Wentworth and Jamie if she'd had been a lawyer maybe could have taken on a political role and torn in the Ewing's side. There were characters there - but imo Dallas was the Ewing's (when TNT tried to make it more it failed miserably).

The one thing I disagree with you on is you can’t remove Bobby because he balanced out JR. A great villain works better when he have a great hero.
 

Snarky Oracle

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The one thing I disagree with you on is you can’t remove Bobby because he balanced out JR. A great villain works better when he have a great hero.
Which Pam would have been if they hadn't squelched her and sidelined her with Angelica Nero.
 

stevew

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The one thing I disagree with you on is you can’t remove Bobby because he balanced out JR. A great villain works better when he have a great hero.
I agree with that, but I don’t believe that the hero had to always be Bobby nor that JR had to remain the villain for all 14 years and 2 movies.
 

Lastkidpicked

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I live in our old family ranch myself. It's been in our family for 100 years and I'd never ever sell it.

Agriculture and farming changed significantly in Germany unlike any other industry. Small farmers (like my granddad) stopped farming during the 70s like nearly everyone else. It's either grow or give way.

It's 25 acres of meadows plus forest and a tiny lake. The cattle is gone, the old ranch house has been rebuilt by my father with two flats and it's just beautiful.

The more I think of it - my father's love for the land resembles that of Miss Ellie's. The difficult times, episodes during the war and all these stories about the people could fill a book easily.

I could never sell it. It'd kill my father.

Thank you for sharing that, Lost Son. I'm glad you posted.

I would expect that a man like Jock and even JR in time would run their "empire" from their home. I would expect that JR would have retired and turned the day to day over to lieutenants and have them come out to the house to meet with him. What we saw from Jock early on as "retired" was very believable to me. Going in every day to "run" the business, not so much.

I'm glad you mentioned this, because there is one thing that Dallas didn't show very often, even though it happens in real life all the time.

Many wealthy out here are not into the usual displays of wealth. No yahts, no penthouse apartments. Instead, many of the wealthy people enjoy owning prize cattle or owning prize winning horses. One way to show this off is to have an office out at the ranch. Even today, I often hear this conversation all the time:

@Billy Wall : Steve, I need to see you so we can sign the papers on that refinery expansion.
@stevew : Okay, Billy. Why don't you come by the ranch on Tuesday afternoon and we'll take care of it.
 
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stevew

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Thank you for sharing that, Lost Son. I'm glad you posted.



I'm glad you mentioned this, because there is one thing that Dallas didn't show very often, even though it happens in real life all the time.

Many wealthy out here are not into the usual displays of wealth. No yahts, no penthouse apartments. Instead, many of the wealthy people enjoy owning prize cattle or owning prize winning horses. One way to show this off is to have an office out at the ranch. Even today, I often hear this conversation all the time:

@Billy Wall : Steve, I need to see you so we can sign the papers on that refinery expansion.
@stevew : Okay, Billy. Why don't you come by the ranch on Tuesday afternoon and we'll take care of it.
I see that here too. There might be an office in town where all the other people in the business work day to day, but not the guy running the show, his office in town is usually empty. He run's the show from where ever he's sitting. I felt that way early on in the series with Jock at home and his study and how he directed J. R. And if there is a penthouse apartment, well it's just there, no big deal, just a place to stay if they stay too late in town. Again, early Dallas. The one thing missing I would have expected from Jock would have been a big hunting property up in Montana or Wyoming or some place cooler in the summer months.
 

Lastkidpicked

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I see that here too. There might be an office in town where all the other people in the business work day to day, but not the guy running the show, his office in town is usually empty. He run's the show from where ever he's sitting.

Very good point. This is a status symbol , showing that you're far enough along in life that you don't go to people, instead people come to you. As with other symbols of success and status, you have to earn it.

To put a finer point on it-- Jock Ewing, Clayton Farlow, or Punk Anderson could run a business from the home or the ranch and people would seek them out and travel to see them. If Cliff Barnes tried the same thing, he would fall flat. It must be earned.
 

Laurie Marr

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The actors/characters definitely morphed, although that was not entirely down to the passage of years. For example, Larry got the bags under the eyes sorted early on and looked younger as a result; Linda looked like a doctor’s receptionist for the first few years and BBG got cubby. Conversely, Davis abandoned the extra rinse used in the pilot and looked noticeably older just a few months later when the show returned to our screens. .

The cast looked VERY different after only a few years. Most of it had to do with a burgeoning budget that could embellish the production values. That being said, it took them 8 years to find a toupee for Hagman that didn’t look like three day old roadkill.
 

Rove

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The producers missed a trick in not having JR marry a younger woman who could give him more children. Sue Ellen could have gone on to marry an older man with adult children who would all become rivals to the Ewings and bring down the average age of the cast.
That would have been a novel approach. The writers could have kept JR and Mandy together and she delivers twins. Perhaps this might have been the wake up call Sue Ellen needed in finally accepting JR had moved on. It would have also created some drama for John Ross, Sue Ellen and JR as little John Ross suddenly felt slighted that JR's attention is elsewhere.

Perhaps the writers should have expanded the role of Randy as played by Brad Pitt. Maybe he could have rocked up at one of the Ewing bar-b-ques with his sister and recently divorced/widowed father. I'd prefer divorced father because you just never know what wicked ex-cow might rock up to cause trouble.
 

Rove

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I always thought Sue Ellen married to Wendell
I much preferred Jeremy Wendell as he was and played so deliciously by William Smithers. Because of his singledom his train of thought was focused solely on business and that's exactly how I liked him. I could never envisage Sue Ellen and Jeremy Wendell together.
 
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