In Memoriam: Our 2016 ‘Dallas’ Tributes

Barry Jenner, Dallas, George Kennedy, Jim Gough, Maj Hagman

Dallas Decoder remembers the “Dallas” actors, crew members and other contributors who died in 2016. Click on each person’s name to learn more about his or her career at


Anthony Addabbo, Dallas, Jeff Peters

Anthony Addabbo

Anthony Addabbo

Died October 18 (age 56)

In the 14th-season episode “Smooth Operator,” Addabbo played John, a Hollywood wannabe who pitched Bobby on a TV series that sounded suspiciously like “Twin Peaks.” Eight episodes later, in the series finale “Conundrum,” Addabbo appeared as Sue Ellen’s slimy Hollywood agent, Jeff Peters.


Dallas, Janine, Patricia Barry

Patricia Barry

Patricia Barry

Died October 11 (age 93)

Barry made guest appearances on many episodic series from the 1950s through the early 2000s. In the 14th-season “Dallas” episode “Lock, Stock and Jock,” she played Janine, a married woman who refused to provide Carter McKay with an alibi after his arrest for Johnny Dancer’s murder.


Dallas, Peter Brown, Tom Flintoff

Peter Brown

Peter Brown

Died March 21 (age 80)

In the fifth-season episode “Denial,” Brown, a veteran of the 1960s western “Laredo,” played Tom Flintoff, the creep who tried to force himself on Sue Ellen shortly after her divorce from J.R. Brown’s nephew, Phillip Brown, played architect Brian Johnston on “Knots Landing.”


Dallas, Dr. McWright, Paul Comi,

Paul Comi

Paul Comi

Died August 26 (age 84)

Comi played Dr. McWright, the pediatrician who examined baby Christopher in “Waterloo at Southfork.” Comi logged many other TV guest shots during his 50-year career, including three episodes of “Knots Landing” and a memorable turn in the “Star Trek” classic “Balance of Terror.”


Dallas, Lydia, Ronnie Claire Edwards

Ronnie Claire Edwards

Ronnie Claire Edwards

Died June 14 (age 83)

Edwards, who is best known for her role as Corabeth on “The Waltons,” appeared in the eighth-season “Dallas” episode “Barbecue Five” as Lydia, the tarot card reader that Pam consults during her search for Mark. Edwards also did guest spots on “Falcon Crest” and “Dynasty,” among many other shows.


Knots Landing, Zsa Zsa Gabor

Zsa Zsa Gabor

Zsa Zsa Gabor

Died December 18 (age 99)

Gabor played herself in “Svengali,” a 1982 “Knots Landing” episode in which Valene appears on Mike Douglas’s TV talk show to promote “Capricorn Crude,” her fictionalized book about the Ewings. In real life, Gabor and Larry Hagman once appeared together on a 1979 episode of “The Mike Douglas Show.”


Congressman Oates, Dallas, Jim Gough

Jim Gough

Jim Gough

Died June 7 (age 85)

Gough appeared on “Dallas” as Senator Lee in “Barbecue” (Season 1), Congressman Oates in “Runaway” (Season 2) and the rodeo announcer in “Close Encounters” (Season 9). His other notable credits include a role in the film “JFK” and a guest spot on the Leonard Katzman-produced “Walker Texas Ranger.”


Dallas, Rick F. Gunter

Rick F. Gunter

Rick F. Gunter

Died August 31 (age 65)

Gunter served as “Dallas’s” cinematographer during most of the original show’s final three seasons. He later served as director of photography for several other series, including “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Charmed” and “The Wizards of Waverly Place,” for which he received an Emmy nomination in 2011.


Dallas, Maj Hagman

Maj Hagman

Maj Hagman

Died May 31 (age 88)

Hagman was married to Larry Hagman from 1954 until his death in 2012. Their daughter Kristina appeared in several episodes on the original “Dallas” and this year wrote a book, “The Eternal Party,” about her family, including her mother’s talent as a fashion designer, hostess extraordinaire and devoted spouse.


Dallas, John Hostetter, Paul Derber

John Hostetter

John Hostetter

Died September 2 (age 69)

Hostetter appeared in the 11th-season episode “Lovers and Other Liars” as Paul Derber, a poker buddy of Nicholas Pearce. He also did two guest spots as police offers on “Knots Landing,” was a semi-regular on “Murphy Brown” and voiced Bazooka on the 1980s “G.I. Joe” animated series.


Barry Jenner, Dallas, Dr. Jerry Kenderson

Barry Jenner

Barry Jenner

Died August 9 (age 75)

From 1984 through 1986, Jenner appeared on “Dallas” as Dr. Jerry Kenderson, Mark Graison’s physician and a Sue Ellen’s suitor. He also appeared in four “Knots Landing” entries as Jeff Cunningham, Abby’s ex-husband, and he was a semi-regular on “Family Matters” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” among many other roles.


Carter McKay, Dallas, George Kennedy

George Kennedy

George Kennedy

Died February 28 (age 91)

Kennedy, who won a best supporting actor Oscar for his role in 1967’s “Cool Hand Luke,” played villainous oil baron and Southfork neighbor Carter McKay during “Dallas’s” 12th, 13th and 14th seasons and two reunion movies, “J.R. Returns” and “War of the Ewings.” Dallas Decoder published a tribute to him in March.


Archie Lang, Dallas

Archie Lang

Archie Lang

Died February 17 (age 95)

Lang played a banking associate of Franklin Horner in the fifth-season episode “The Big Shut Down,” then returned for a five-episode stint in the 13th season as Senator Lee, a member of the panel that investigated the Ewing Oil tanker accident. Lang’s other credits include guest spots on “Knots Landing” and “The Waltons.”


Dallas, Leslie H. Hartinson

Leslie H. Martinson

Leslie H. Martinson

Died September 3 (age 101)

Martinson directed four episodes during “Dallas’s” early years: the classic “Julie’s Return” and the campier “Call Girl,” “The Heiress” and “Power Play.” He also helmed episodes of many other series, including “Maverick,” “Batman,” “The Brady Bunch,” “Eight is Enough,” “Wonder Woman” and “Small Wonder.”


James Sheldon, Knots Landing

James Sheldon

James Sheldon

Died March 12 (age 95)

Sheldon directed two episodes of “Knots Landing,” including the second installment, “Community Spirit,” which featured Larry Hagman. His many other directing credits include “Echoes of Love,” a “Family” episode written by David Jacobs, and episodes of “M*A*S*H” and the Katzman-produced “Petrocelli.”


Agnes, Barbara Tarbuck, Dallas

Barbara Tarbuck

Barbara Tarbuck

Died December 27 (age 74)

Tarbuck played Agnes, Cliff’s secretary at the Office of Land Management, in three episodes during the 1978-79 season. Her many other credits include guest spots on “Knots Landing” and “Dynasty” and recurring roles on “Falcon Crest,” “General Hospital” and “American Horror Story: Asylum.”


What do you remember about these individuals? Share your memories below and read our tributes from 20152014 and 2013.

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 95 – ‘Anniversary’

There she is

There she is

In the fourth-season “Dallas” episode “New Beginnings,” J.R. and Sue Ellen recall their meeting at the Miss Texas beauty pageant, where he was a judge and she was a contestant. The conversation is warm and nostalgic – until Kristin calls and announces she has given birth to J.R.’s son. This triggers a chain reaction that eventually includes Kristin’s death and J.R. and Sue Ellen’s divorce.

In “Anniversary,” J.R. and Sue Ellen finally get around to finishing the conversation her sister interrupted. It begins when J.R. shows up on Sue Ellen’s doorstep with a bouquet of yellow roses and a video recording of her appearance in the pageant, which occurred on that date 14 years earlier. “It was the first time I set eyes on you,” J.R. reminds his ex-wife. He also tells her that his life “hasn’t been the same” since their divorce. “I miss you,” J.R. says.

This scene isn’t quite as moving as the one in “New Beginnings,” but it’s still very sweet. Larry Hagman and Linda Gray had been working together for four years when “Anniversary” was filmed, but they have the chemistry of a couple who’ve been together much longer. This really feels like a conversation between two people with many years of shared connections and experiences. I also like how director Joseph Manduke shows us Sue Ellen’s television set as it plays the old footage of her pageant appearance. It’s a fleeting glimpse of the poised young woman J.R. described so lovingly in “New Beginnings.” (By the way: He’s lucky Sue Ellen has a VCR to play his cassette. The machines were available in fewer than 10 percent of homes in 1982, when this episode debuted.)

“Anniversary” also features a terrific guest turn from Claude Earl Jones, who portrays J.R.’s buddy Wally Hampton, the Tulsa industrialist who agrees to help J.R. lure Cliff away from Dallas. With his big belly and backslapping demeanor, Jones makes a fantastic Ewing crony. The actor is also one of a handful of performers to play three roles on “Dallas:” In addition to Hampton, Jones portrays one of J.R.’s dirty cops in the second-season episode “Call Girl” and rival oilman Duke Carlisle during the 13th season. He’s perfect for each of these parts.

Overall, “Anniversary” is another solid hour from “Dallas’s” solid fifth season. I also love Miss Ellie’s heart to heart with Lucy in the Southfork kitchen, as well as Lucy’s confrontation with Evelyn, the other woman in Mitch’s life. The scene where Bobby presents Pam with her aerobics studio is a kick too, especially for those of us old enough to remember Victoria Principal’s real-life foray into the physical fitness craze of the 1980s.

The other great moment in “Anniversary” comes during the third act, when J.R. arranges for Donna to catch Ray with Bonnie in that cheap motel room. It’s twisted how J.R. schemes to break up his half-brother’s marriage while trying to bring his own union back from the dead, but with J.R., would we expect anything less?

Grade: B


Uh oh

Uh oh


Season 5, Episode 18

Airdate: February 12, 1982

Audience: 22.4 million homes, ranking 2nd in the weekly ratings

Writer: David Paulsen

Director: Joseph Manduke

Synopsis: J.R. kisses Sue Ellen and arranges for Donna to catch Ray in bed with Bonnie. Hampton’s job offer tempts Cliff. Evelyn confronts Lucy, who sleeps with Roger. Bobby buys Pam an aerobics studio.

Cast: Barbara Babcock (Liz Craig), Tyler Banks (John Ross Ewing), Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Lindsay Bloom (Bonnie), Morgan Brittany (Katherine Wentworth), Danny Dayton (emcee), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Susan Howard (Donna Krebbs), Claude Earl Jones (Wally Hampton), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Howard Keel (Clayton Farlow), Leigh McCloskey (Dr. Mitch Cooper), Patricia McCormack (Evelyn Michaelson), Pamela Murphy (Marie), Priscilla Pointer (Rebecca Wentworth), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Dennis Redfield (Roger Larson), Debbie Rennard (Sly), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Cooper), Ron Tomme (Charles Eccles)

“Anniversary” is available on DVD and at and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.

The Best & Worst of Dallas: Season 2

“Dallas” was still figuring itself out during its second season, which means there was plenty to hail and heckle.


Barbara Bel Geddes, Dallas, Miss Ellie Ewing

Don’t mess with Mama

Although every member of the ensemble has great moments this season, no one is as consistently wonderful as Barbara Bel Geddes. Miss Ellie becomes a somewhat frustrating character as “Dallas” progresses – she too often casts a blind eye to J.R.’s shenanigans, in my view – but Season 2 is the year you do not want to mess with Mama. We see her demand J.R. clean up his act, order Julie to stay away from Jock and urge Pam to fight for her marriage. (There’s also Ellie’s encounter with the poor sap who makes the mistake of sneaking onto Southfork; see “Scenes” below.) In just about every second-season episode, Bel Geddes demonstrates how lucky “Dallas” is to have her.


“Black Market Baby” is the most intriguing, “For Love or Money” is the saddest and “Royal Marriage” is a sentimental favorite, but “John Ewing III, Part 2” gets my vote for the season’s all-around best episode. Linda Gray is mesmerizing in the scene where Sue Ellen tearfully confesses her sins to Bobby, but Larry Hagman, Ken Kercheval and Victoria Principal all have terrific moments too.

Hands down, the season’s weakest hour is “Runaway,” the first – and so far only – “Dallas” episode to receive a “D” grade from me. Run away, indeed.


Ten words of dialogue are all you need to describe Season 2’s best scene: “Ray, get me the shotgun out of the hall closet.”

The worst scene? The “Call Girl” sequence where Leeann Rees (Veronica Hamel) lures drunken Ben Maxwell (Fred Beir) into Pam’s bed while J.R.’s sleazy photographer furiously snaps pictures outside the window. What a farce. I half expect Mr. and Mrs. Roper to come charging into the room, wondering what all the commotion is all about.

Supporting Players

Dallas, Joan Van Ark, Valene Ewing


I don’t care how many times I watch it, Joan Van Ark’s performance at the end of “Reunion, Part 2” always knocks me out. In the blink of an eye, Valene goes from anguished when she bids Gary adieu to enraged when she confronts J.R. for driving away his middle brother. With the exception of Linda Gray, no actress in “Dallas” history has better chemistry with Larry Hagman than Van Ark. What a shame she didn’t spend more time at Southfork.

My least-favorite guest stars: the three actors who portray the bad guys in “Kidnapped.” What’s the bigger crime here: holding Bobby hostage or the witless Edward G. Robinson imitations these villains-of-the-week deliver? Then again, what do you expect when performers are given lines like, “We may have the wrong goose – but he can still lay the golden egg!”


Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Ken Kercheval, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal


I loved the striped hoodie, green pants and knee-high tan boots Pam wears during the “Election” scene where Cliff persuades her to organize a fashion show fundraiser for his state senate campaign. You could put this outfit on Jordana Brewster on TNT’s “Dallas” and she’d look just as stylish as Victoria Principal does in 1978.

Pam also gets my vote for worst outfit: the weird “pants dress” she sports in “Black Market Baby.”


Season 1 gives us Jerrold Immel’s classic “Dallas” theme music, but Season 2 brings us many of John Parker’s magical background tunes, including “The Only Lovers,” Bobby and Pam’s theme; “The Adulteress,” Sue Ellen’s bluesy signature; and “The Loyal Foreman,” Ray’s anthem. (If you don’t own it already, do yourself a favor and purchase Parker’s classic “Dallas” soundtrack today.)


Best: “Bobby, come on. Women marry homosexuals all the time. It seems to suit a lot of them.” – J.R.’s response in “Royal Marriage” after Bobby questions his insistence Lucy marry the closeted oil-and-cattle heir Kit Mainwaring.

Worst: In “Fallen Idol,” J.R. expresses his annoyance with Guzzler Bennett’s name-dropping thusly: “The next thing you know, the name of that actress is gonna be Farrah Fawcett-Guzzler.” Oh, J.R.! Leave the pop culture references to Sue Ellen.

What do you love and loathe about “Dallas’s” second season? Share your comments below and read more “Best & Worst” reviews.

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 45 – ‘Power Play’

Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Lucy Ewing, Power Play

Cry, baby

There’s a surprising timelessness to many “Dallas” episodes, but “Power Play” isn’t one of them. The roller disco scenes and slangy dialogue – at one point, Jock lays down some house rules to Lucy and asks, “You dig?” – firmly root this third-season entry in the era in which it was filmed.

The dated feel makes “Power Play” the silliest “Dallas” episode since “Call Girl,” which aired during the second season. Is it a coincidence both installments were directed by “Brady Bunch” vet Leslie Martinson, who also directed “The Heiress,” another weak episode from “Dallas’s” third season?

In “Power Play,” I groan when Kristin whips out her Polaroid camera and starts snapping pictures of Alan and Lucy canoodling together at the roller rink. Later, when Kristin shows her candid shots to J.R., notice how smartly they’re framed. Why is this girl wasting her time fetching his coffee when she clearly has what it takes to become a professional shutterbug?

Ultimately, “Power Play” suffers more from poor plotting and character development than high camp. J.R.’s scheme to have Alan marry Lucy so she’ll move away is another eye-roller, and I chuckle when Donna’s attorney, Jonas Smithers, drops by her apartment and blurts out the size of her inheritance – $10 million! – despite Ray’s presence in the room. This Smithers fellow isn’t very discreet.

But “Power Play’s” biggest flaw is its depiction of Lucy. Once again, “Dallas” can’t decide if the character is a child or a woman. In one scene, Jock tells Lucy he doesn’t want her staying awake until midnight to study. A few scenes later, when J.R. forbids Lucy to continue dating Alan, Miss Ellie reminds him Lucy is “a grown woman.”

My guess is “Dallas” wants us to see Lucy as Ellie does – as an adult, albeit a young one – yet the show continues to make her seem juvenile. Lucy decides to marry Alan merely to spite J.R.? Really, “Dallas”?

No wonder Lucy spends so much time at the roller rink in this episode. She’s gotten quite good at going round in circles.

Grade: C


Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby, Power Play

See what develops


Season 3, Episode 16

Airdate: January 4, 1980

Audience: 20.6 million homes, ranking 4th in the weekly ratings

Writer: Jeff Young

Director: Leslie Martinson

Synopsis: When Kristin tells J.R. about Alan and Lucy’s relationship, J.R. schemes to bring the couple closer, hoping Alan will marry his niece and take her to Chicago. Alan proposes to Lucy but she balks – until J.R. forbids her to see Alan and she decides to marry him. J.R. angers Kristin when he has a fling with Serena, a high-class call girl.

Cast: Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Stephanie Blackmore (Serena), Karlene Crockett (Muriel Gillis), Mary Crosby (Kristin Shepard), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Susan Howard (Donna Culver), Laura Johnson (Betty Lou Barker), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Jeanna Michaels (Connie), Randolph Powell (Alan Beam), Michael Prince (Jonas Smithers), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing), Keenan Wynn (Digger Barnes)

“Power Play” is available on DVD and at and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.

Dallas Isn’t ‘Brokeback Southfork,’ But It’s Pretty Gay

Dallas, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing

You go, girl

By today’s standards, “Dallas” isn’t a “gay” show. Southfork never hosts a “Brokeback Mountain”-esque love story. There are no same-sex office romances at Ewing Oil. Dusty Farlow wears ascots to keep dust out of his face, not because he’s fabulous.

Yet “Dallas” is very much a show with gay sensibilities. It regularly explores themes – empowerment, identity, gender roles – that resonate with gay audiences, and often in ways that are surprisingly smart.

I didn’t catch a lot of this while watching the show in the 1980s, when I was a pretty confused gay kid. But when I think about those years now, I wonder if “Dallas’s” gay subtext helps explain its appeal to me. Maybe my middle-school gaydar was stronger than I realized.

Kit, But Not Much Kaboodle

“Dallas” makes subtle references to homosexuality in early episodes like “Election,” when J.R. questions Cliff’s close relationship with his male campaign manager, and “Call Girl,” when J.R. creates a scandal by making it look like Pam is involved in a three-way relationship with a man and another woman.

The show stops dancing around the issue in “Royal Marriage,” the 1979 episode where Kit Mainwaring, an oil-and-cattle heir who is secretly gay, breaks his engagement to Lucy and comes out of the closet. This episode, which reflects the ’70s trend toward “socially conscious” television (see also: “All in the Family,” “Lou Grant,” et. al.), is handled with surprising sophistication, making Kit one of prime-time television’s breakthrough gay characters.

Kit is also a footnote: “Dallas” ran 14 seasons and produced 357 episodes, yet he is the only character whose homosexuality is ever acknowledged on the show.

There are only fleeting gay allusions in later episodes. During the sixth season, Lucy wonders if John Ross’s camp counselor Peter Richards is gay because he doesn’t want to date her (she doesn’t realize Peter is in love with Sue Ellen), but the show never again identifies a character as being gay.

This isn’t altogether surprising. Prime-time television mostly retreated to the closet during the AIDS hysteria in the 1980s. Also, once “Dallas” became television’s most-watched show, it embraced its escapist bent and pretty much stopped doing “issues” stories. Both factors probably explain why the producers notoriously dropped plans to make villainess Angelica Nero a lesbian during the 1985-86 season.

Sue Ellen: Icon – and Avatar

The absence of gay characters on “Dallas” doesn’t mean the show lacks characters and storylines gay audiences could identify with. Consider Sue Ellen, whose boozing, philandering and sharp tongue make her an icon among gay fans who love camp.

But Sue Ellen shouldn’t be treated only as a joke. If you consider her arc during the course of the series, she makes an ideal avatar for gay audiences.

When “Dallas” begins, Sue Ellen is the show’s most sexually repressed character. In the first-season episode “Spy in the House,” she tries to spark J.R.’s interest with a sexy negligee, only to have him cast it aside and accuse her of being unladylike. J.R.’s rejection sends Sue Ellen into the shadows, where she finds sexual fulfillment with other men and develops her drinking problem. This double life must have felt familiar to gay men and women who spent the ’70s and ’80s trapped in the closet.

By the end of the Reagan era, when AIDS was galvanizing gay people and giving the gay rights movement new momentum, Sue Ellen finally begins pulling herself together. She quits drinking, embarks on a successful business career and leaves J.R. for good.

During Linda Gray’s final appearance on the show in 1989, Sue Ellen turns the tables on J.R. and tells him off, one last time (“You will be the laughingstock of Texas.”). All “Dallas” fans cheered this moment, but for gay viewers, I suspect it had special meaning. Sue Ellen was standing up to her oppressor at a time when many gay Americans were beginning to do the same – in the voting booth, in the workplace, in the streets.

There’s Something About Gary

“Dallas’s” gay viewers might see themselves in other characters, too.

The series often explores the theme of confused identities. Two notable examples: Pam and Ray each learn they were raised by people who aren’t their biological fathers, and for both characters, this discovery triggers a lot of angst.

“Dallas’s” recurring theme of estranged fathers and sons is probably familiar to a lot of gay men. At various points, Jock has tense relations with each of the Ewing boys, especially Gary.

In fact, the dialogue during Gary’s homecoming in the second-season “Reunion” episodes makes me wonder if the producers were considering making the character gay. Pam points out Gary is “different.” Bobby calls him “gentle.” Lucy says she hopes Val will “straighten” him out. Was this coded language, dropped into the scripts to lay the groundwork for Gary’s eventual coming out?

Maybe, maybe not. But a gay Ewing is an interesting idea to contemplate.

Are you listening, TNT?

Do you consider “Dallas” a gay-friendly show? Share your comments below and read more opinions from Dallas Decoder.

Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘I Married a Fighter’

Bobby Ewing, Call Girl, Dallas, Pam Ewing, Patrick Duffy, Victoria Principal

Winners reconciled

In “Call Girl,” a second-season “Dallas” episode, Pam (Victoria Principal) is leaving her apartment, suitcase in hand, when Bobby (Patrick Duffy) arrives.

PAM: Bobby, what are you doing here?

BOBBY: It’s time to come home, Pam.

PAM: Didn’t you see the paper?

BOBBY: Yes, I saw it. So what?

PAM: I’m leaving Dallas. [Turns to walk away; he grabs her arm]

BOBBY: First Southfork, then me. Now Dallas, Pam?

PAM: I can’t live with the scandal.

BOBBY: Come on, Pam. It was a setup – and everybody knows it.

PAM: How can I go back to Southfork with this hanging over my head?

BOBBY: It’s the only thing you can do. Are you still looking for excuses to stay away from me?

PAM: I don’t want to stay away from you. I never did.

BOBBY: Then give some credit to the people that love you – to Mama, Daddy and me. Now, we know you wouldn’t be involved in something like that.

PAM: Well, how can I face them? What do I say to everybody at The Store?

BOBBY: You take it one step at a time, Pam – and the first step is to come back to the people that love you. For a while, nothing else matters.

PAM: I truly wish I could believe that. [Turns away from him]

BOBBY: Do you know I love you?

PAM: I know you love me, Bobby.

BOBBY: But you don’t know why that picture was taken, do you?

PAM: [Turns and faces him] To embarrass Maxwell.

BOBBY: Honey, if it were only to embarrass Maxwell, why were you involved in it at all?

PAM: J.R.? J.R. did that to both of us?

BOBBY: I don’t know who else – except I couldn’t prove anything.

PAM: Well that finishes it. Don’t you understand? It’s over. [Turns to walk away; he grabs her and makes her face him]

BOBBY: It’s only over if you want it to be! It’s only over if you stop fighting! Pamela, J.R. has been trying to do this to you ever since I brought you to Southfork. And if you leave now – if you run – then he wins, finally and completely. I married a fighter. Are you ready to let J.R. win? Or do we stand together and fight him? Together, we can win. And I want you with me.

PAM: I love you, Bobby.

BOBBY: Then let’s go home.

They kiss.

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 25 – ‘Call Girl’

Call Girl, Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Leanne Rees

Hooker by crook

To me, “Dallas” isn’t campy. It has silly moments, but even when the show goes over the top, it still has interesting things to say.

“Call Girl” is an exception. This episode is pure cheese, which can be fun but mostly makes me wince.

Everything about J.R.’s scheme here is absurd: the way Leanne sneaks into Pam’s bedroom and opens the drapes to give J.R.’s photographer a clear shot, Leanne’s clumsy attempt to lure the drunken Ben Maxwell into the room, Pam’s wild-eyed expression when she awakens to find him falling into her bed.

The whole thing plays like something from “Three’s Company” – only funnier.

The most ludicrous thing about Maxwell’s “threesome” is how it winds up on the Dallas Press’s front page under a Pearl Harbor-sized headline (“FINANCIER IN LOVE NEST”).

You have to wonder: Why is this newsworthy? Aren’t the Dallas Press’s editors afraid Maxwell, Pam or Leanne might sue them for libel? How did the paper manage to get the late-night “tryst” on the front page by the next morning? Was the article written by the same lightning-fast reporter behind the sensational coverage of Julie Grey’s death a few episodes ago?

Indeed, when “Call Girl” debuted, it became the latest “Dallas” episode to portray reporters as sleazy, which must have made the show seem out of step with the times.

Five years after the press brought down Nixon, journalists were being lionized in pop culture. On television, “60 Minutes” was a hit and the newspaper drama “Lou Grant” was a critical darling, while the box-office champs included “The China Syndrome,” which opened three weeks after “Call Girl’s” broadcast.

I realize “Dallas” isn’t concerned with depicting journalism fairly – on the show, the press serves as a plot device to expose the Ewings’ secrets – but as a onetime reporter, it’s disheartening to see my favorite show take a dim view of a profession I loved.

In fact, the only thing more bothersome is when “Dallas” takes a dim view of itself, which is what happens with “Call Girl.”

Grade: C


Ben Maxwell, Call Girl, Dallas, Fred Beir, Leanne Rees, Pam Ewing, Veronica Hamel, Victoria Principal

Staged bedfellows


Season 2, Episode 20

Airdate: February 23, 1979

Audience: 12.7 million homes, ranking 37th in the weekly ratings

Writer: Rena Down

Director: Les Martinson

Synopsis: J.R. makes it look like Cliff’s political patron had a ménage a trios with Pam and her new roommate Leanne Rees. The man resigns but the scandal prompts Bobby and the Ewings to rally around Pam, who returns to Southfork.

Cast: Robert Ackerman (Wade Luce), Barbara Babcock (Liz Craig), Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Fred Beir (Ben Maxwell), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Veronica Hamel (Leanne Rees), Claude Earl Jones (Matt Henderson), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Paul Sorensen (Andy Bradley), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing), Mark Wheeler (Kit Mainwaring), Buck Young (Seth Stone)

“Call Girl” is available on DVD and at and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.