"Dallas" first aired in April 1978 as a mini-series that would become one of the most successful shows in television history, airing for 14 years.
Dallas was a dazzling prime time soap opera about a millionaire Texas oil family with conflicts as big as the state. The final episode of the 1979 season made "Dallas" a national sensation. A record-setting 90 million Americans tuned in to find out "Who Shot J.R.?"
Blast to the Past, 1979, with "The Early Show"
Relics of '79!
Reflections on 1979
Popular Products of 1979
1979 Memorable Ads
"Devil Went Down to Georgia
Just for the record, it was Kristin, J.R.'s scheming sister-in-law.
The character J.R. Ewing was played by Larry Hagman. Hagman, who still wears a cowboy hat, said on "The Early Show" his wife helped him choose the part.
Hagman said, "She's the one who read the script and said, 'This is the one. There's not one redeeming nice person in the whole show."
Linda Gray, who played Sue Ellen Ewing, said her part didn't even have a name in the beginning of the show. Her character, Smith pointed out, rarely got the opportunity to talk.
"I was referred to as 'the brunette on the couch,'" she said. "...I was saying stupid lines, like 'Coffee, J.R.?'"
Gray said that, at one point, she wanted to direct the show and was turned down and fired. However, she said Hagman stepped in and expressed his dislike of the decision, and she was rehired.
Patrick Duffy, who played Bobby Ewing, said on "The Early Show" from Minneapolis, he got to work early each day because all the actors got to "play" on the set. e said an added incentive of working on the show was the job security.
Duffy said, "We knew where we were going to work the next year for 13 years, and that's unheard of (in acting.)"
How did Duffy deal with playing the goody-goody character all the time?
He joked, "I went home and kicked the cat a lot, so I could get it out of my system. But I had a function, and my function was to be the good guy."
For more with the cast members of "Dallas" and their thoughts on still wearing cowboy hats, the episode "Who Killed J.R.?," and their work today, click on the video below.
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