#DallasChat Daily: What Were ‘Dallas’s’ Best/Worst Recasts?

Barbara Bel Geddes, Claude Earl Jones, Clifton James, Colleen Camp, Dallas, Dan Ammerman, David Ackroyd, David Wayne, Digger Barnes, Donna Reed, Dr. David Gordon, Dr. Harlan Danvers, Duke Carlisle, Gary Ewing, James Canning, Jenna Wade, John Zaremba, Josef Rainer, Keenan Wynn, Kristin Shepard, Margaret Michaels, Mary Crosby, Miss Ellie Ewing, Morgan Fairchild, Pam Ewing, Philip Levien, Priscilla Beaulieu Presley, Sam Anderson, Ted Shackelford, Victoria Principal

“Dallas” recast several roles over the years. Which ones worked? Which ones failed?

Among the choices: Miss Ellie (played by Barbara Bel Geddes and Donna Reed), Gary (David Ackroyd, Ted Shackelford), Pam (Victoria Principal, Margaret Michaels), Digger (David Wayne, Keenan Wynn) and Kristin (Colleen Camp, Mary Crosby). There were also three Jennas: Morgan Fairchild, Priscilla Beaulieu Presley and Francine Tacker, who isn’t pictured because I couldn’t squeeze her into the collage.

Additional choices: Dr. Harlan Danvers (Dan Ammerman, John Zaremba), Jimmy Monahan (James Canning, Philip Levien) Duke Carlisle (Claude Earl Jones, Clifton James) and Dr. David Gordon, who was played by Josef Rainer on the original show and Sam Anderson on the TNT series.

Your #DallasChat Daily question: What were “Dallas’s” best and worst recasts?

Share your comments below and join other #DallasChat Daily discussions.

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 147 — ‘Some Do … Some Don’t’

Barbara Bel Geddes, Clayton Farlow, Dallas, Howard Keel, Miss Ellie Ewing, Some Do ... Some Don't

Limited engagement

The first scene in “Some Do … Some Don’t:” Donna and Lucy are making muffins in the Southfork kitchen and listening to Miss Ellie and Clayton tease each other about their recent misadventures in Jamaica. Clayton recalls taking Ellie to a French restaurant, where she mistakenly ordered a head of veal instead of a veal chop but ate the whole thing because she was too stubborn to admit her error. Ellie, in the meantime, describes how Clayton accidentally lost his swim trunks on the beach in front of a group of New Jersey schoolteachers. “I would imagine I’m quite famous in Paramus,” he says.

The last scene in “Some Do … Some Don’t:” Clayton brings Ellie home after escorting her to the opening of Jenna Wade’s boutique. The mood is as light and as jovial as the earlier kitchen scene — until Clayton suggests he’d like to stay over so he and Ellie can spend their “first night together.” Suddenly, Ellie becomes rattled, begins to cry and calls off their wedding. “I can’t marry you. I can’t marry anyone,” she says as she runs upstairs. In the freeze frame, Clayton stands at the bottom of the steps, looking more than a little bewildered.

The two sequences serve as the emotional bookends in “Some Do … Some Don’t,” the strongest episode yet from “Dallas’s” seventh season. The opening scene does nothing to advance the show’s storylines, but it’s essential to the episode because it showcases the warm, effortless chemistry between Barbara Bel Geddes and Howard Keel. Together, these actors have charm to spare, and watching their characters gently chide each other allows the audience to feel emotionally invested in their relationship. By the time the hour is over and Ellie has called off the wedding, we can’t help but feel concerned for them.

I also love how “Dallas” doesn’t shy away from the idea that Ellie and Clayton, who are probably supposed to be in their late 60s or early 70s, are capable of having an intimate relationship. I find this subplot even more provocative than Sue Ellen’s May/December romance with Peter Richards. (Frankly, I’m also a little surprised Clayton wanted to sleep with Ellie before their wedding. Who knew the old chap was so modern?) When I watched these episodes when I was younger, I’m sure it never occurred to me to think of Ellie and Clayton as sexual beings, but now it’s not such a hard thing to wrap my head around. Bel Geddes was still a beautiful, vibrant woman when this episode was filmed in 1983, retaining more than a hint of the sauciness she exhibited in her early film roles. Meanwhile, Keel was dashing as ever. In this episode’s final shot, when Clayton stands at the bottom of the Southfork staircase with his hand on his hip, I’m reminded of Clark Gable striking a similar pose in “Gone With the Wind.” I’m sure this was intentional.

Indeed, “Some Do … Some Don’t” is full of flourishes like this. This comes as no surprise: This episode is helmed by Larry Hagman, who always brings an eye for detail to the director’s chair. For example, in one of the Ewing Oil scenes, Bobby tells J.R. about a company he wants to buy. Hagman could easily have started the exchange with J.R. seated in his office, but instead, he opens the sequence with a shot of Kendall at the reception desk, answering a phone call. In the background, J.R. steps off the elevator and walks through the room, stopping by Sly’s desk to pick up his phone messages. As he heads into his office, Phyllis buzzes Bobby on the intercom to let him know that J.R. has arrived, and then Bobby pops into J.R.’s office to tell him about the potential purchase. Maybe this was Hagman’s way of making sure the actresses who played the Ewing Oil secretaries each got a few lines in this episode — too often these performers toil silently in the background — but it nonetheless makes Ewing Oil feel like a real, functional workplace.

More details: The scene where Pam and Mark visit Cliff and Afton at their townhouse begins with Cliff sitting on the sofa, playing a videogame. It’s another small point, but isn’t it just like Cliff to get so wrapped up in a game that he would ignore his guests? (Also: Notice how John Beck seems to be limping as Mark crosses the living room, a subtle throwback to the previous episode, when the character pulled a muscle while playing tennis with Pam.) Additionally, I love when Cliff arrives at the dive bar for another clandestine meeting with Sly and steals the fries off her plate. In another great restaurant scene, J.R. brings Edgar Randolph to lunch at his favorite French eatery, where J.R. threatens to ruin Edgar’s life in one breath and enthusiastically orders him the bouillabaisse in the next. “Oh, you’re just going to love it. It’s really good,” J.R. says with a smile. I dare you to watch this scene without doing the same thing.

The scene where J.R. and Katherine sleep together for the first time is more wicked fun, and so is Pam’s confrontation with Marilee Stone. Pam is clearly out of line when she orders Marilee to stay away from Cliff, but who cares? Isn’t it nice to see Pam exhibit a little backbone and do something besides whine about being torn between Bobby and Mark? It also turns out that Pam and Marilee make good sparring partners. What a shame Victoria Principal and Fern Fitzgerald don’t have more scenes together on this show.

Surprisingly, I also like Sue Ellen and Peter’s scenes in “Some Do … Some Don’t.” Their once promising storyline took a turn for the ridiculous in the two episodes that preceded this one, but heaven help me, I find the couple’s outing to the ice rink kind of charming. I also like when Sue Ellen and Peter run into his classmates from the university and they mistake Sue Ellen for his mother. This feels like the kind of thing that might happen to a woman who dates a younger man, and Sue Ellen and Peter’s reactions to the situation ring true. Sue Ellen, ever the lady, is aghast at the thought that Peter’s friends are gossiping about them, while Peter couldn’t care less. I still have trouble believing Sue Ellen’s attraction to Peter, but at least it’s nice to see the show bring the couple back to a place that resembles reality.

Some more thoughts about Sue Ellen and Peter’s encounter with his friends: Besides Linda Gray, the actor who impresses me most during the scene is Lee Montgomery, who plays Peter’s pal Jerry Hunter. Watch Montgomery’s sly smile when Jerry spots Sue Ellen and Peter; it’s very subtle, but it lets us know he realizes there’s more to their relationship than meets the eye. It’s also worth noting this scene’s two young actresses, who both became science-fiction stars: Kate Vernon played Ellen Tigh on “Battlestar Galactica,” while Claudia Christian was Ivanova on “Babylon 5.” According to IMDb.com, Vernon and Christian are slated to appear together in a forthcoming film called “Chicanery” along with three other “Dallas” actresses: Colleen Camp, who originated the role of Kristin Shepard in 1979; Patty McCormack, who played Mitch Cooper’s friend Evelyn Michaelson during Season 5; and Michelle Scarabelli, who appeared during the 11th season as Connie, Ray’s stalker.

I have a lot of fun finding these connections. I’ve always appreciated how “Dallas” offered steady work to older performers like Barbara Bel Geddes and Howard Keel, but until I started this website, I didn’t realize how many young actors appeared on the show at the beginning of their careers. None of these up-and-comers have become as famous as Brad Pitt, who appeared on “Dallas” a few times in 1987 and will probably always be its most famous alumnus, but it’s impressive to see how so many actors who got their start on the show continue to find work.

This realization has made me watch TNT’s sequel series in a whole other light. Pay attention to all the actors who appear in small roles on the new show. Chances are some of them will still be entertaining us years from now.

Grade: A


Dallas, Linda Gray, Some Do ... Some Don't, Sue Ellen Ewing

Not the mama


Season 7, Episode 16

Airdate: January 20, 1984

Audience: 22 million homes, ranking 5th in the weekly ratings

Writer: Leonard Katzman

Director: Larry Hagman

Synopsis: J.R. sleeps with Katherine, allows Cliff to steal another deal from Ewing Oil and continues to pressure Edgar to unseal the offshore oil lease bids. Jenna celebrates the opening of her boutique by sleeping with Bobby. Clayton suggests he wants to be intimate with Miss Ellie, who is rattled and calls off their wedding. Mark checks into the hospital for tests without telling Pam.

Cast: Denny Albee (Travis Boyd), Christopher Atkins (Peter Richards), John Beck (Mark Graison), Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Morgan Brittany (Katherine Wentworth), Martin E. Brooks (Edgar Randolph), Claudia Christian (Peter’s friend), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Eric Farlow (Christopher Ewing), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Susan Howard (Donna Krebbs), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Omri Katz (John Ross Ewing), Sherril Lynn Katzman (Jackie Dugan), Howard Keel (Clayton Farlow), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Audrey Landers (Afton Cooper), Anne Lucas (Cassie), Shalane McCall (Charlie Wade), Lee Montgomery (Jerry Hunter), Priscilla Beaulieu Presley (Jenna Wade), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Debbie Rennard (Sly), Danone Simpson (Kendall), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing), Deborah Tranelli (Phyllis), Kate Vernon (Peter’s friend)

“Some Do … Some Don’t” is available on DVD and at Amazon.com and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.

The Dal-List: Kristin Shepard’s 13 Greatest Moments

Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby

Thanks for the memories, darlin’

Dallas Decoder kicks off its newest periodic feature, “The Dal-List,” with a look back at the 13 most memorable moments featuring “Dallas” vixen Kristin Shepard, played by the magnificent Mary Crosby.

Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby, Rudy Millington, Terry Lester

Clothes call

13. Leaving Rudy. Feeling neglected by J.R. (Larry Hagman), Kristin turned to old flame Rudy Millington (Terry Lester) – and for a moment, it looked like she was going to allow him to make an honest woman of her. Then J.R. showed up, interrupting their post coital bliss. Before this embarrassing scene was over, Kristin had chosen J.R., leaving poor Rudy with a broken heart, no job – and possibly no pants. (“Return Engagements”)

Conundrum, Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby

Of vice and men

12. Scamming Judge Smith. A decade after Kristin’s death, an “angel” showed J.R. what life would have been like if he had never been born, including the revelation that Kristin became a cop. J.R. watched her bust grandfatherly Judge Smith (James T. Callahan) for solicitation – but it turned out the badge was fake: Kristin was really a con artist who preyed on powerful men. Guess she was destined to be bad. (“Conundrum”)

Dallas, Don Starr, Jordan Lee, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby

Daddy day scare

11. Bilking Jordan. After giving birth in California, Kristin sashays back to Dallas and makes a phone call. “The baby … looks just like you,” she coos. The audience is led to believe the person on the other end of the line is J.R. – so imagine our surprise when it turns out to be rival oilman Jordan Lee (Don Starr). It seems Kristin lied to Jordan, telling him he was her child’s father – just so she could bilk him for hush money. (“Full Circle”)

Bobby Ewing, Colleen Camp, Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Sue Ellen's Sister

Buckle up, Bob

10. Charming Bobby. Kristin (Colleen Camp) paid her first visit to Southfork just as Bobby and Pam (Patrick Duffy, Victoria Principal) were hitting a rough patch – so J.R. naturally encouraged his wife’s little sister to seduce his baby brother. Kristin obliged, charming Bobby with her clever wit and tight sweaters. Then Bobby and Pam made up, leaving Kristin free to pursue the brother she wanted all along. (“Sue Ellen’s Sister”)

Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby, Power Play

See what develops

9. Exposing Lucy. The only person Kristin despised more than Lucy (Charlene Tilton) was J.R.’s protégé Alan Beam (Randolph Powell), so when Kristin saw Lucy and Alan canoodling at a roller disco, she did what came naturally: She reached for the nearest Polaroid and started snapping pictures. Kristin hoped exposing Lucy and Alan’s secret affair would get them in trouble. It didn’t work out that way, but it still caused lots of drama. (“Power Play”)

Dallas, Knots Landing, Krisitn Shepard, Joan Van Ark, Mary Crosby, Valene Ewing

Lap it up, Val

8. Befriending Val. After wearing out her welcome in Dallas, Kristin headed to Knots Landing, where she got busy wrecking the marriage of those nice young suburbanites, Kenny and Ginger Ward (James Houghton, Kim Lankford). Soon, Valene (Joan Van Ark) was confronting Kristin, who confessed she was pregnant and afraid for her future. It was a rare and moving glimpse into Kristin’s soul. Who knew she even had one? (“Kristin”)

Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Linda Gray, Mary Crosby, Silent Killer

Sister, sister

7. Taunting Sue Ellen. Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) was suffering major post-partum depression when Kristin started flirting with J.R. So you couldn’t blame big sis for being suspicious when Kristin popped into her bedroom one evening to see if she’d be joining the rest of the family for dinner. “Were you thinking of occupying my chair?” Sue Ellen seethed. “Somebody will if you don’t pull yourself together,” Kristin sneered. (“The Silent Killer”)

Dallas, Divorce Ewing Style, Kristin Shepard, Linda Gray, Mary Crosby, Sue Ellen Ewing

Spill life

6. Drenching Sue Ellen. Oh, look: Sue Ellen and Kristin are in a posh restaurant, toasting their renewed friendship. Nice to see them getting along, isn’t it? Whoops, klutzy Kristin just spilled her cocktail in Sue Ellen’s lap. If she’s not careful, the Ewings are going to smell the booze and begin to suspect Sue Ellen has fallen off the wagon. Wait, what’s that you say? That was Kristin’s plan all along? What a hussy! (“Divorce, Ewing Style”)

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Kristin Shepard, Larry Hagman, Mary Crosby

If smirks could kill

5. Seducing J.R. Once J.R. hired Kristin as his new secretary, it didn’t take her long to figure out his scheme to secretly mortgage Southfork. She threatened to spill the beans to Jock and Bobby – unless J.R. slept with her. Turns out she didn’t need to ask twice. “Kristin,” J.R. said as he took her in his arms, “with your mind and your body, it just might take me a lifetime to figure you out.” Cost him his life is more like it. (“The Kristin Affair”)

Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby, Nightmare

Move over, Florence Nightingale

4. Mocking J.R. While recovering in the hospital from his shooting, J.R. was surprised to receive a visit from Kristin, who was still in town after his goons failed to run her off. “Don’t you worry, Kristin. When I get out of here, you’ll get yours,” J.R. warned. “I know I will,” she smirked as she looked his paralyzed body up and down. “But not from you. That’s for sure.” J.R.’s under-his-breath response after she left the room: “Bitch.” (“Nightmare”)

Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Gone But Not Forgotten, J.R. Ewing, Ken Kercheval, Kristin Shepard, Larry Hagman, Mary Crosby

Is it really that black and white?

3. Scandalizing J.R. After giving birth to the son she claimed was J.R.’s, Kristin showed up at Southfork demanding more “child support.” Next thing you know, Cliff was fishing her dead body out of the swimming pool and claiming J.R. had murdered her. Before all was said and done, J.R. was being hauled into court to prove his innocence. Even in death, Kristin was still causing him trouble. That’s our girl! (“Gone But Not Forgotten”)

Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby, Who Done It?, Who Shot J.R.?

She bangs

2. Shooting J.R. No one knew whodunit when J.R. was gunned down in his office. Then the weapon was discovered in his bedroom closet. The cops arrested Sue Ellen, who figured out Kristin was framing her and made little sister confess. Of course, Kristin had a get-out-of-jail card: She was pregnant with J.R.’s love child. Fed up with her drama, J.R. finally exiled Kristin to California. Too bad she didn’t stay there. (“Who Done It?”)

Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby

Wait ’til you see him grown up!

1. Birthing Christopher. OK, we never actually saw this on screen, but so what? After miscarrying J.R.’s baby, Kristin got pregnant by sleazy Jeff Farraday (Art Hindle), who sold their child, Christopher, to Bobby after Miss Shepard took her deadly dive into the Southfork swimming pool. So when you think about it, Kristin is responsible for giving us Jesse Metcalfe on TNT’s “Dallas.” If that’s not a crowning achievement, I don’t know what is.

What do you consider Kristin Shepard’s greatest moments? Share your choices below and read more “Dal-Lists.”

Critique: ‘Knots Landing’ Episode 18 – ‘Kristin’

Dallas, James Houghton, Kenny Ward, Knots Landing, Kristin, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby

Killer smile

I’ve always had a soft spot for television crossovers. When I was a kid, I loved seeing Mary Richards visit Rhoda Morgenstern in New York and watching Steve Austin and Jamie Somers fight Bigfoot together. Somehow, crossovers made television seem more real: If Mork could show up on the Cunninghams’ doorstep, why couldn’t he show up on mine?

All these years later, I still think it’s cool when Kristin Shepard pops in on Gary and Valene Ewing, even if “Kristin,” the “Knots Landing” episode that brings her to town, is a little lackluster. (Trivia: “Kristin” also features Tom Fuccello, “Dallas’s” Senator Dave Culver, although he’s somewhat confusingly cast as a different politico here.)

This episode aired about a month after Kristin was fingered as J.R.’s shooter on “Dallas,” and I’m sure that’s no coincidence. If CBS’s goal was to send Kristin to Southern California so “Knots Landing” could soak up some “Who Shot J.R.?” Nielsen afterglow, the ploy worked: On the night it debuted, “Kristin” was seen in 15.6 million homes, or about 2 million more than watched “Knots Landing” the previous week.

Too bad the show didn’t come up with something more interesting for Kristin to do. Her fling with Kenny Ward feels like more of the same. On “Dallas,” Kristin slept with J.R. and tried to seduce Bobby. Is she only capable of chasing married men?

The change of scenery does reveal another side to the character, albeit fleetingly. When Kristin confesses her pregnancy to Val, she seems genuinely frightened about her future. This might be the character’s first sincere moment since Colleen Camp played the role during “Dallas’s” second season.

Interestingly, something similar happened when Lucy visited Gary and Val in “Home is For Healing.” In that first-season “Knots Landing” episode, Lucy suddenly became a more interesting, believable character. What is it about Knots Landing that brings out the best in the women of “Dallas”?

Of course, as soon as we catch this glimpse into Kristin’s humanity, she decides she’s overstayed her welcome and departs Gary and Val’s. I understand why the show sends her packing: Kristin arrived in town on the heels of Abby Cunningham, and the cul-de-sac only had so much room for man-stealing hussies.

Still, I wish Mary Crosby had hung around a few episodes longer. With more time, “Knots Landing” might have turned Kristin into a three-dimensional character, something “Dallas” never really achieved.

Grade: B


Dallas, Gary Ewing, Knots Landing, Kristin, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby, Ted Shackelford

Bad to the last drop


“Knots Landing” Season 2, Episode 5

Airdate: December 18, 1980

Audience: 15.6 million homes, ranking 29th in the weekly ratings

Writer: Diana Gould

Director: Nicholas Sgarro

Synopsis: When Kristin is arrested at a Hollywood party, she turns to Val, who invites Kristin to stay with her and Gary. Kristin has a fling with neighbor Kenny Ward, whose wife Ginger walks in on them, prompting Ginger to sue for divorce. Kristin confesses her pregnancy to Val and decides to leave, much to Gary’s relief.

Cast: Eric Coplin (Mark Russelman), Mary Crosby (Kristin Shepard), Peter Elbling (Al Tuna), Tom Fuccello (Ed Kroft), Danny Gellis (Jason Avery), David Haskell (Dr. Karl Russelman), James Houghton (Kenny Ward), Kim Lankford (Ginger Ward), Michele Lee (Karen Fairgate), Constance McCashin (Laura Avery), Donna Mills (Abby Cunningham), Don Murray (Sid Fairgate), John Pleshette (Richard Avery), Ted Shackelford (Gary Ewing), Louise Vallance (Sylvie), Joan Van Ark (Valene Ewing)

“Kristin” is available on DVD. Watch the episode and share your comments below.

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 32 – ‘The Silent Killer’

Dallas, Digger Barnes, Keenan Wynn, Silent Killer

The rogue

“Dallas” recasts two pivotal roles in “The Silent Killer:” Keenan Wynn succeeds David Wayne as Digger Barnes and Mary Crosby replaces Colleen Camp as Kristin Shepard. Both newcomers instantly put their own stamp on the characters.

Wayne played Digger during “Dallas’s” earliest episodes, offering an angry performance that helped establish the show’s dark tone when it began. Wayne beautifully captured Digger’s broken spirit, earning the “special guest star” billing he received during his appearances.

The moment Wynn appears in “The Silent Killer,” it’s clear “Dallas” is taking Digger in a different direction. Wynn is taller than his predecessor, and with his bushy beard and cheap fedora, he comes off as more of a charming rogue than a pitiful drunk.

Wynn’s Digger is also mellower. In “The Silent Killer’s” first act, he tells Cliff, “I only want what’s coming to me. I don’t want to see Jock Ewing flat broke.” It’s hard to imagine Wayne delivering that line.

Crosby reinvents her character, too. Camp’s unconventional beauty was unique, but in Crosby’s hands, Kristin is slyer and more seductive. Neither Camp nor Crosby particularly look like they could be Linda Gray’s sister, but Crosby’s bitchy chemistry with Gray is undeniable, as demonstrated in the scene where Kristin asks Sue Ellen if she’ll be joining the family for dinner.

“Were you thinking of occupying my chair?” Sue Ellen asks.

“Somebody will if you don’t pull yourself together,” Kristin sneers.

In another fun scene, Patricia, played by the wonderful Martha Scott, stands with Miss Ellie on the Southfork patio, watching over baby John and imagining the bright future that awaits him. “Someday, I expect, he’ll have a great big office, right next to his daddy’s,” Patricia says.

This rather prescient moment, like Crosby and Wynn’s strong first impressions, make up for “The Silent Killer’s” eye-rolling final scene, when Pam refuses to tell Bobby why she suddenly doesn’t want to have children.

The audience knows Pam’s reason – she fears her children will inherit neurofibromatosis, the Barnes family’s newly discovered genetic disease – but it isn’t clear why she insists on keeping Bobby in the dark about it.

Be careful, Pam. Neurofibromatosis may kill children, but secrecy kills marriages – and if you want to save yours, you’ll have to come clean soon.

Grade: B


Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby, Silent Killer

The rascal


Season 3, Episode 3

Airdate: October 5, 1979

Audience: 14.1 million homes, ranking 31st in the weekly ratings

Writer: Arthur Bernard Lewis

Director: Irving J. Moore

Synopsis: When Digger visits, Pam and Cliff learn the Barneses have neurofibromatosis, a rare genetic disease that could be fatal to their children. Pam persuades Cliff to keep this a secret from Sue Ellen, even though he might be baby John’s father. Patricia and Kristin visit and Kristin flirts with J.R.

Cast: William H. Bassett (Dr. Paul Holliston), Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Jocelyn Brando (Mrs. Reeves), Mary Crosby (Kristin Shepard), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Georgann Johnson (doctor), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Randolph Powell (Alan Beam), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Martha Scott (Patricia Shepard), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing), Keenan Wynn (Digger Barnes)

“The Silent Killer” is available on DVD and at Amazon.com and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.

Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘This is a Mistake?’

Colleen Camp, Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, Sue Ellen's Sister

Hell, or high water?

In “Sue Ellen’s Sister,” a second-season “Dallas” episode, Kristin (Colleen Camp) is in the Southfork swimming pool, lounging on a float, while Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) sits on the edge, dipping her toes into the water.

KRISTIN: You know, I could spend the rest of my life here, Sue Ellen, instead of a few days visiting you.

SUE ELLEN: No matter what Mama says, Kristin, money is not the most important thing in the world.

KRISTIN: That isn’t what you used to think.

SUE ELLEN: Well, I thought I could save you from repeating my mistakes.

KRISTIN: [Glancing around Southfork] This is a mistake?

SUE ELLEN: I might have made other choices – choices that would’ve made me happier.

KRISTIN: You don’t have to worry about me, Sue Ellen. I’ll be very happy. [Adjusts herself on her float] Happy and rich.

SUE ELLEN: You don’t like me very much, do you? Why? What have I ever done to you?

KRISTIN: You didn’t have to do anything. You were there. “Look how pretty your sister is, Kristin. Look how well-behaved she is. Why can’t you be well-behaved like that? No, you can’t have a new dress, Kristin. We’ll just make over one of Sue Ellen’s. It’ll be just fine.” No one paid any attention to me until after you married J.R.

SUE ELLEN: That’s not true, Kristin.

KRISTIN: Yes it is. I remember it very well, Sue Ellen, and I’m not playing second fiddle to you anymore. I’m not gonna be second best. I’m gonna get everything you’ve got and more – much more.

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 24 – ‘Sue Ellen’s Sister’

Colleen Camp, Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Sue Ellen's Sister

Little sister dontcha

If Sue Ellen could go back in time and give her younger self a good talking-to, the conversation would probably sound a lot like the lecture she delivers to Kristin at the beginning of “Sue Ellen’s Sister.”

In the scene, Kristin is resting on a float in the Southfork swimming pool and chatting with Sue Ellen, who is lounging nearby. The topic turns to the Ewings’ wealth, and Sue Ellen warns Kristin that “money is not the most important thing in the world.”

“That isn’t what you used to think,” Kristin says.

“I thought I could save you from repeating my mistakes,” Sue Ellen responds.

“This is a mistake?” Kristin asks, surveying their surroundings.

The exchange is part of “Dallas’s” effort to make Sue Ellen a more sympathetic character than she was at the beginning of second season, when the show depicted her as Southfork’s scheming lady-in-waiting.

While “Dallas” uses Kristin to plum the depths of Sue Ellen’s regret and reveal her caring, sisterly side, Kristin isn’t just a plot device. She turns out to be a pretty interesting character in her own right.

Frankly, some of this stems from the actress’s physical appearance: Colleen Camp is beautiful but in an unconventional way, lending credence to Kristin’s complaints in this episode about growing up as Sue Ellen’s “ugly duckling” kid sister.

Kristin is also a bit ironic: She dreams of marrying a rich man, but she could probably become wealthy on her own. She is planning to go to college to study architecture – she tells Bobby she’s “a great fan” of Louis Khan and I.M. Pei – and she is also clever, declaring her ace backgammon and tennis skills stem from the “geisha training” her mother puts her through.

“Sue Ellen’s Sister” marks Kristin’s final appearance until the third season, when Mary Crosby takes over the role and the character abandons her architectural ambitions for, um, lesser pursuits.

This lends “Sue Ellen’s Sister” unexpected poignancy, particularly in the scene where Bobby and Kristin frolic in the Southfork pool and he tells her she looks like a “drowned rat.”

On this show, have more prophetic words ever been spoken?

Grade: B


Colleen Camp, Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Sue Ellen's Sister



Season 2, Episode 19

Airdate: February 16, 1979

Audience: 15.7 million homes, ranking 23rd in the weekly ratings

Writer: Camille Marchetta

Director: Irving J. Moore

Synopsis: J.R. pushes Sue Ellen’s visiting sister Kristin Shepard into the arms of Bobby, who gently rebuffs her. Cliff makes Pam an unwitting accomplice in his attempt to sabotage a Ewing Oil deal. Bobby salvages the deal but Pam still refuses to come home.

Cast: Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Colleen Camp (Kristin Shepard), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Meg Gallagher (Louella), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), John McLiam (Wally Kessel), Jeanna Michaels (Connie), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing)

“Sue Ellen’s Sister” is available on DVD and at Amazon.com and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.