The Dallas Decoder Guide to the McKay Family

Carter McKay, Dallas, George Kennedy

Big kahuna

The McKays are back! The family that feuded with the Ewings during the original “Dallas’s” later years is slowly creeping back into TNT’s sequel series: Hunter, a McKay grandson, was introduced earlier this year, while this week’s episode, “Victims of Love,” will bring back Tracey, who’s now played by Melinda Clarke. Need a refresher on the McKays and where they fit into the Ewing-verse? Read on.

Carter McKay, Dallas, George Kennedy

Devil next door

Carter, the meanest McKay. When Dreadful Jenna Wade™ forced our beloved Ray Krebbs to move with her to “Europe,” he sold his Southfork-adjacent ranch to Carter McKay (George Kennedy), who turned out to be the crummiest neighbor a Ewing could ask for. Carter constantly threw loud parties and borrowed Miss Ellie’s tools without returning them. Kidding! The real reason Carter sucked was because he started a range war with the Ewings in a convoluted scheme to seize control of Section 40, the oil-drenched Southfork parcel that everyone on “Dallas” tries to seize at one point or another. Although the Ewings won the war and kept their land, Carter had the last laugh: In “Dallas’s” final episodes, he sold his ranch and saddled the Ewings with an even worse next-door neighbor — Michelle Stevens.

Bobby Ewing, Carter McKay, Dallas, George Kennedy, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Big fish, little fish

… And also the sharpest. When Carter wasn’t bringing down the Braddock County property values, he was shaking up the oil biz. Carter was revealed as the brains behind Westar, Ewing Oil’s biggest rival, and the puppeteer who had been pulling Jeremy Wendell’s strings for years. (All together, “Dallas” diehards: Yeah, right!) Actually, Carter really did display solid business acumen. For example, when J.R. and Bobby (Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy) backed out of a deal to supply the Soviets with Texas crude — citing patriotism! — Carter stole the deal and schooled the brothers on how the world really worked, delivering a prophetic, Chayefskian speech (“Whatever America used to be, it isn’t anymore. …”). Carter’s biggest coup: Tricking J.R. into giving up control of Ewing Oil in “Dallas’s” penultimate episode!

Beth Toussaint, Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Patrick Duffy, Tracey McKay Lawton

Do the hustle

Tracey, the sexiest McKay. Bobby and Cliff were chillin’ at a pool hall one night in ’88 — because that’s how the Barneses and the Ewings rolled that year — when jean-skirted Tracey Lawton caught the eye of the recently divorced Bob. Back then, Tracey was played by Beth Toussaint, who looked a lot like “Terminator” heroine Linda Hamilton, but with poutier lips and punier biceps. Tracey turned out to be a pool shark, but that wasn’t her only secret: She was also a recent divorcee (hence the “Lawton”) and Carter’s estranged daughter. Once again, Bobby found himself playing Romeo, but his romance with this Juliet dimmed pretty quickly and Tracey soon departed Dallas. She didn’t leave in bandages like Bobby’s first Juliet, although somewhere along the way, Tracey — like Pamdid pick up a new face.

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, J. Eddie Peck, Patrick Duffy, Tommy McKay


Tommy, the nuttiest McKay. Oh, this guy was a total whack job. Tommy, Carter’s drug-dealing son, arrived at the McKay ranch after serving a jail sentence in “South America,” and when Tommy wasn’t making a quick buck by spying for J.R. or screaming in the rain, he was hitting on every woman on the show. In April’s case, Tommy hit on her literally, which prompted Bobby to beat the j. eddie peck out of him. Tommy tried to get revenge by blowing up Bobby, and when that failed, the gun-wielding loon was accidentally shot and killed during a struggle with dear old dad. Tracey told Bobby she didn’t blame him for Tommy’s death, but warned him about Carter: “Stay out of his way, Bobby. I don’t want to come to your funeral.” (Silly Tracey. The show already did that storyline!)

Dallas, Jeri Gaile, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Rose McKay

Desk job

Rose, the awesomest McKay. Although Carter was sweet on Sue Ellen, he married Rose Daniels (Jeri Gaile), an Iowa farm-girl-turned-beautician with a penchant for bold print dresses and shoulder-brushing earrings. Rose loved “Mac” and did almost anything he asked, including sleeping with Cliff Barnes so Carter could videotape the encounter and use it to derail Cliff’s resurgent political career. Poor judgment aside, Rose was a hoot because she spent most of her time sashaying around the house in heels and lingerie with a drink in her hand, and Gaile brought a lot of heart to the role, making Rose one of the brighter lights during “Dallas’s” later years. Best of all, when Rose finally got fed up with Carter, she knew how to teach him a lesson: by having sex with J.R. on her husband’s desk! Good going, darlin’.

Carter McKay, Dallas, George Kennedy, Linda Gray, Peter Ellington, Philip Anglim, Sue Ellen Ewing

Aiding the enemy

Ellington, the adopted McKay. When Carter wasn’t siring nutjobs like Tommy, he was putting them on his payroll. First there was snarlin’ Fred Hughes, Carter’s right-hand man during the range war, whose solution to every problem was to shoot a Ewing. Miss Ellie once referred to Hughes as Carter’s “pet dog,” which tells you everything you need to know about what a jerk he was. Then there was Peter Ellington (Philip Anglim), McKay’s sidekick during the “War of the Ewings” reunion movie. Ellington was super enthused about pushing through his boss’s latest deal with the Ewings — to the point of trying to blow up J.R. and taking Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) hostage. Is it me, or was Ellington a little too — what’s the expression I’m looking for here? — into Carter McKay? Did Rose know about this?

Dallas, Fran Kranz, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, Juan Pablo Di Pace, Nicolas Trevino, TNT

Splitting heirs

Hunter, the mystery McKay. John Ross (Josh Henderson) mentioned playing basketball with “the McKay brothers” during TNT’s first season of “Dallas,” but we didn’t meet one of them until this year, when Hunter showed up and told John Ross how he made a killing by taking his video game company public. Later, we learned Hunter has revenge on his mind and is secretly helping Nicolas and the drug cartel take over Ewing Global. If Hunter is Carter’s grandson, does that make him Tommy’s son? If so, does he hold a grudge against the Ewings because he blames them for his father’s death? Most importantly: Now that Hunter’s here and Tracey’s back, will more McKays show up? No matter how it all turns out, just remember: Whatever trouble the McKays cause next, their arrival in Dallas can be traced back to one person — that awful Jenna Wade. Everything is always her fault, isn’t it?

What do you remember about the McKays? Share your comments below and read more “Dallas Decoder Guides.”

#DallasChat Daily: What’s Your Favorite ‘Dallas’ Wedding?

April Stevens Ewing, Barbara Bel Geddes, Bobby Ewing, Cally Harper Ewing, Cathy Podewell, Cliff Barnes, Dallas, J. Eddie Peck, Jim Davis, Joan Van Ark, Jock Ewing, John Ross Ewing, J.R. Ewing, Ken Kercheval, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Miss Ellie Ewing Farlow, Omri Katz, Pam Ewing, Patrick Duffy, Sheree J. Wilson, Sue Ellen Ewing, Tommy McKay, Valene Ewing, Victoria Principal

Everyone loves the weddings on the original “Dallas.” Do you have a favorite?

Was it Lucy and Mitch’s 1981 extravaganza, or Miss Ellie and Clayton’s understated 1984 affair? How about J.R. and Sue Ellen’s remarriage in 1982, or Bobby and Pam’s second-time-around in 1986? Perhaps you prefer J.R. and Cally’s union in 1989, or Bobby and April’s 1990 nuptials?

Your #DallasChat Daily question: What’s your favorite “Dallas” wedding?

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

Melinda Clarke to Play Tracey McKay on ‘Dallas’

Dallas, Melinda Clarke, Tracey McKay, TNT

Melinda Clarke (Getty Images)

“Dallas” has cast Melinda Clarke as Tracey McKay, one of Bobby Ewing’s girlfriends from the original series. Clarke will appear on the TNT drama during the second half of the third season, which resumes Monday, August 18.

Tracey was introduced during the original “Dallas’s” 12th season and was played by Beth Toussaint. The character is the daughter of Ewing rival Carter McKay, played by George Kennedy, and was briefly romanced by Bobby (Patrick Duffy), but the affair ended when he tangled with Tracey’s drug-dealing brother Tommy, played by J. Eddie Peck. Tracey briefly returned to the series the following season when Tommy was killed off.

This season, TNT’s “Dallas” introduced Carter’s grandson Hunter (Fran Kranz), a childhood friend of John Ross and Christopher’s who is secretly helping Nicolas (Juan Pablo Di Pace) with his scheme against the Ewings.

A TNT spokeswoman confirmed the casting of Clarke, who is best known for her roles on “The O.C.” and “Nikita,” along with a recurring gig on “C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation” as Lady Heather, a dominatrix. Clarke also appeared alongside Julie Gonzalo in episodes of “Nikita” and “Eli Stone.”

TNT has provided no details on Tracey’s storyline, although showrunner Cynthia Cidre previously hinted one of Bobby’s old flames could return and provide a new obstacle for him and Ann (Brenda Strong). Ultimate Dallas reported the character’s return yesterday.

There’s also no word on why Toussaint isn’t returning as Tracey. Toussaint’s most recent television role was on “The Young and the Restless” in 2006, according to her IMDb profile.

What do you think of Melinda Clarke’s casting as Tracey McKay? Share your comments below and read more news from Dallas Decoder.

The Dal-List: Classic ‘Dallas’s’ 8 Southfork Weddings, Ranked

Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, Julie Gonzalo, Lifting the Veil, Pamela Rebecca Barnes Ewing, TNT

The tradition continues

John Ross and Pamela (Josh Henderson, Julie Gonzalo) eloped on “Dallas” last season, but they’ll get a traditional Southfork wedding in “Lifting the Veil,” TNT’s latest episode. Here’s a list of the eight Southfork weddings seen on the original show, ranked in order of preference. (Also, check out my recent list of all the Ewings who had multiple weddings, including ceremonies that occurred off-camera.)

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy

Wrong way, Bob

8. Bobby Ewing and Jenna Wade (1984). Yes, I know. Bobby and Jenna never got married. But they did have a Southfork wedding; she never bothered to show up. I suppose I should cut Jenna some slack since the reason she skipped out on the ceremony was because her slimy ex-husband, Renaldo Marchetta, kidnapped her and forced her to remarry him instead … but I say nuts to that! I don’t care if Naldo was holding a gun to Jenna’s head; how could she leave Bobby (Patrick Duffy) standing at the altar — especially when he looked so darned handsome in his gray morning coat and striped pants? The ceremony ended with Ray apologizing to the crowd after Bobby dashed off to find his runaway bride. Am I the only one who wishes he hadn’t located her?

Bobby Ewing, Charlene Tilton, Charlie Wade, Clayton Farlow, Dallas, Donna Krebbs, Donna Reed, Howard Keel, Jenna Wade, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Leigh McCloskey, Lucy Ewing, Miss Ellie Ewing Farlow, Dr. Mitch Cooper, Patrick Duffy, Priscilla Beaulieu Presley, Omri Katz, Ray Krebbs, Shalane McCall, Steve Kanaly, Sue Ellen Ewing, Susan Howard

Standing room only

7. Lucy Ewing and Mitch Cooper (1985). Lucy and Mitch’s second wedding was not nearly as grand as their first. It took place in the Southfork living room, which is probably better than the driveway, but nonetheless required the cast to squeeze into what looked like pretty tight quarters. This was Charlene Tilton’s final “Dallas” appearance for a while — the Coopers moved to Atlanta after the ceremony — and it was nice to see everyone give Lucy such a warm sendoff. Even J.R. got sentimental, telling his least-favorite niece, “Lucy, I never thought I’d say this, but I’m really going to miss you, honey. It won’t be the same without you to fight with.” The best part, though: The ceremony inspired Bobby to dump Jenna and go back to Pam. Karma’s a bitch, darlin’.

Barbara Bel Geddes, Bobby Ewing, Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Miss Ellie Ewing, Patrick Duffy

Mama’s boys

6. Miss Ellie Ewing and Clayton Farlow (1984). Ellie and Clayton had the healthiest marriage Southfork has ever seen — yes, even healthier than the one she had with Jock — and I’m sure they had a perfectly lovely wedding, but we don’t really know since “Dallas” never showed us the big event. We only saw Mama (Barbara Bel Geddes), looking so pretty in her purple suit, as she came down the stairs and joined Bobby and J.R. (Larry Hagman), who were supposed to walk her down the aisle. And then … cut to commercial! No shot of the crowd, no exchange of vows, no scenes of J.R. biting his tongue when the minister asked if anyone had objections. To make matters worse, when Ellie got back from her honeymoon, she looked like Donna Reed. (Nice lady, but not our Mama.)

April Stevens Ewing, Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Patrick Duffy, Sheree J. Wilson

Welcome to the jungle

5. Bobby Ewing and April Stevens (1990). Here’s a ceremony I wish we hadn’t seen — not because I don’t like Bobby and April (Sheree J. Wilson) as a couple, but because the producers filmed their wedding on a soundstage instead of the “real” Southfork. The result: It’s like the Ewings have landed on one of the fake-looking planets the Enterprise crew used to visit on “Star Trek.” I mean, check out this picture. Why does Southfork look like a jungle? It was nice to see all the pre-wedding festivities, though, including Bobby’s bachelor party at the Oil Baron’s Club and April’s bridal shower in the Southfork living room. Although I can’t help but wonder: Why was the guest list at April’s shower dominated by Bobby’s family and the Ewing Oil secretaries? Didn’t the poor girl have any friends of her own?

Oh, what now?

Oh, what now?

4. Bobby and Pam Ewing (1986). Right before these nuptials began, tipsy Ray blabbed the big secret that Jenna was pregnant with Bobby’s child, which almost made Pam call the whole thing off. (Must Jenna ruin everything?) But then the ceremony began, and it was a hoot: As Cliff escorted Pam down the aisle, he warned her that she was “walking straight into hell.” Meanwhile, when best man J.R. reminded Bobby that it wasn’t too late to change his mind, Bobby threatened to kick J.R.’s butt, prompting the minister to shush them both. The best part: During the vows, we saw flashbacks to Bobby and Pam’s first ceremony, which occurred off-camera in 1978. Sure, the show muffed some details — Duffy’s jacket and Victoria Principal’s hair were all wrong — but it was still a nice touch.

Dallas, J. Eddie Peck, Tommy McKay

Something blue

3. J.R. Ewing and Cally Harper (1989). This wedding was absolutely nuts, which is why I loved it. As soon as J.R. and Cally said “I do,” a big storm swept over Southfork, forcing everyone to spend the night at the ranch. Sue Ellen took the room across the hall from the newlyweds, Cliff bunked on the sofa, Carter McKay raided the refrigerator in the middle of the night and Lucy ran around filming everything with a camcorder that was as big as her. The most insane moment of all: Shirtless wacko Tommy McKay (played by the gloriously named J. Eddie Peck) — tried to put the moves on April — in little John Ross’s bedroom, no less! — and when she rebuffed him, he burst onto the balcony, smashed a bottle of booze against the wall and started screaming in the rain. I guess that was one way to cool off.

Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Lucy Ewing

Altar girl

2. Lucy Ewing and Mitch Cooper (1981). The first Southfork wedding seen on “Dallas” was also filmed on the soundstage, so the show staged the ceremony on the driveway set since, you know, there was no lawn. Otherwise, the producers spared no expense, even bringing in Gary and Val, Lucy’s deadbeat parents from “Knots Landing,” to witness the nuptials. In fact, there were so many extras on the dance floor, I was afraid they were going to waltz right over Sue Ellen, who sat around flirting with snoozetastic Clint Ogden. I also loved when Jock and his sons ducked into the living room to conduct a little business on Lucy’s wedding day (shades of “The Godfather”), although the best part of all came when J.R. and Afton snuck off during the reception to have sex — in the bed he shared with Sue Ellen!

Cliff Barnes, Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Back off, Barnes!

1. J.R. and Sue Ellen Ewing (1982). Now this is everything a Southfork wedding should be. One year after J.R. and Sue Ellen were divorced, they got hitched again because, you know, why not? The wedding was so big, it couldn’t be contained to a single episode: Part 1 ended with the minister asking if anyone had objections to the couple’s remarriage, and even though everyone should’ve stood up, the only person who did was Cliff (Ken Kercheval). So did he interrupt the nuptials? Nah. At the beginning of Part 2, we realized he was just stretching his legs. The ceremony continued and then it was on to the reception, which was ruined when J.R. and Cliff started a brawl that began on the dance floor and ended in the swimming pool. Perfect! The only thing that would’ve made this more fun was if Jenna had gotten dunked too. (Oh, quit your moaning. You know she deserved it.)

What’s your favorite “Dallas” wedding? Share your comments below and read more “Dal-Lists.”