Dallas Parallels: Stand by Your Women

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Patrick Duffy, TNT

On the surface, Bobby Ewing’s taste in women seems to run the gamut. Blondes, brunettes, redheads — he’s loved ’em all. But dig a little deeper and a common denominator emerges: Most of the women in Bobby’s life need rescuing from one thing or another, whether it’s salvation from their own neuroses (Pam), their scandalous pasts (April) or their psychotic, homicidal mothers (Jory). Bobby’s attraction to ladies like this should come as no surprise. He has the biggest hero complex on “Dallas,” so of course he’s going to be drawn to women in jeopardy.

Indeed, no matter what kind of drama Bobby’s wives or girlfriends bring into his life, you can always count on him to stand by them — even when they run afoul of the law. This has happened twice on “Dallas.” During the original show’s eighth season, Bobby’s on-again/off-again fiancée Jenna Wade goes on trial after being accused of shooting and killing her on-again/off-again husband, Naldo Marchetta. History repeats itself during the second season of TNT’s “Dallas,” when Bobby’s wife Ann goes on trial for shooting her ex-husband, Harris Ryland.

There’s a major difference in the two storylines, of course, which is this: Jenna didn’t actually shoot Naldo, while Ann most definitely shot Harris. But no matter. What counts is how Bobby supports Jenna and Ann throughout their ordeals. In both storylines, we see him console the accused women, give them pep talks and help their lawyers devise defense strategies. He also testifies in both trials, although he’s called as a witness for the prosecution during Jenna’s proceedings. (Awkward!)

Both storylines also demonstrate how Bobby is willing to — gasp! — lie to protect his women and their children. When Jenna is convicted and sentenced to prison, Bobby falsely declares he’s the father of her daughter Charlie to prevent the judge from making the little girl a ward of the state. Meanwhile, when the police arrive on Bobby and Ann’s doorstep to question her about Harris’s shooting, Bobby falsely confesses to the crime. His reasoning? He wants to make sure Ann and Harris’s daughter Emma doesn’t get mad at Mom for shooting Dad.

In fact, if the two storylines achieve nothing else, they showcase Bobby’s paternal side. Not long after Jenna is found guilty, Bobby goes home and finds Charlie worried about her mother’s fate. Bobby sits with the girl and sweetly assures her that she’ll always have a home with the Ewings. “You’re going to stay right here on the ranch,” he says. Twenty-eight years later, after Ann is convicted, Bobby visits Emma and tells her, “You have another family at Southfork. If you ever need anything, we’re there.”

See? Good ol’ Bobby is even willing to rescue young women in jeopardy. Would we expect anything less from him?

 

‘You’re Going to Stay Right Here on the Ranch’

Bobby Ewing, Charlie Wade, Dallas, Patrick Duffy, Setences, Shalane McCall

Stay

In “Sentences,” an eighth-season “Dallas” episode, Bobby (Patrick Duffy) enters a Southfork guest room and finds Charlie (Shalane McCall) sitting in the window.

BOBBY: Well, I was wondering if you were going to bed or not.

CHARLIE: Bobby, I can’t sleep.

BOBBY: I understand, honey.

CHARLIE: I’m really scared. [Bobby puts his arm around her.] My father’s dead, my mama’s in jail. I know she didn’t kill him, Bobby. Mama couldn’t kill anyone.

BOBBY: Of course she didn’t kill him. And I’m going to do everything I can to help her too.

CHARLIE: Mama really loves you, Bobby. She didn’t want to marry anyone but you.

BOBBY: I know, I know.

CHARLIE: [Sighs] I bet he was really mean to her.

BOBBY: Hey, now. Don’t think about that. You just remember that your mama would never hurt anybody.

CHARLIE: But I feel so funny now.

BOBBY: Funny how?

CHARLIE: Kind of lost. Like I don’t belong anyplace. I thought I was going to live at Southfork and you’d be my daddy. Now I don’t have anybody.

BOBBY: That’s not true. You’ve got me. And you’re going to stay right here on the ranch.

CHARLIE: I can stay here?

BOBBY: Of course you can.

CHARLIE: Yeah, but will they let you keep me?

BOBBY: Well, I don’t see any way they can stop me.

CHARLIE: Yeah, but nobody thought Mama would be convicted and she was.

BOBBY: Charlie, I swear to you, nothing is going to happen.

CHARLIE: [Embracing him] Oh, Bobby, please help her.

BOBBY: Now, come on. You get in bed and get some sleep. You need your rest. [He walks her to the bed and tucks her in.] OK. Good night, honey. [Kisses her, turns off the lamp]

CHARLIE: Good night.

 

‘You Have Another Family at Southfork’

Blame Game, Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Emma Bell, Emma Ryland, Patrick Duffy, TNT

Come

In “Blame Game,” a second-season “Dallas” episode, Bobby (Patrick Duffy) approaches Emma (Emma Bell) at the stable.

EMMA: What do you want?

BOBBY: I thought I’d drop by and see how you’re doing, check on you. And to remind you of something: You have another family at Southfork. If you ever need anything, we’re there.

EMMA: I won’t be needing you. I promise. [She pushes her hair back. Bobby smiles.] What? What are you smiling at?

BOBBY: That thing you did with your hair. It’s just like your mom. So like I said, if you need anything.

What do you think of Bobby’s support for Ann, Jenna and their daughters? Share your comments below and read more “Dallas Parallels.”

‘Dallas’ Season 3: Let’s Speculate!

Dallas, Emma Bell, Emma Ryland, TNT

Uncovered

TV Guide’s ace columnist, William Keck, delivered a must-read preview of “Dallas’s” third season earlier today. Now it’s time for fans to fill in the blanks with their own theories about what we might see when TNT begins televising the new episodes on Monday, February 24.

• One of Keck’s most intriguing tidbits: The new season will feature a pregnancy storyline. Almost any of the show’s leading ladies could become expectant mothers, but my money is on Emma (Emma Bell). Imagine the complications that would ensue if John Ross (Josh Henderson) impregnates his wild-child mistress! Pamela is also a possibility, although would the producers force Julie Gonzalo to wear a padded tummy for a second season in a row? One out-there contender: Suppose Ann (Brenda Strong) delivered a late-in-life bundle of joy to Bobby (Patrick Duffy)?

• The new season will also include a shooting, a death and a wedding, Keck reports. I have no idea which characters might get shot and/or die, but the nuptials seem easy to figure out: After John Ross and Pamela’s quickie wedding in Las Vegas at the end of Season 2, aren’t they due for a lavish Southfork ceremony?

• According to Keck, Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe), who sports a beard in the Season 3 cast portrait that accompanies the TV Guide article, will meet his new love interest Heather (AnnaLynne McCord) when he stumbles upon her fighting with her ranch hand ex-husband. Again, this is pure speculation, but a recent tweet from the set suggests Donny Boaz, who appeared last season as Bo, the ranch hand who supplied Emma will pain pills, will be back next season. Could he be Heather’s ex?

• Keck tells us we’ll finally meet Joaquin, the mystery man Elena (Jordana Brewster) met in Mexico during the second-season finale. The article doesn’t mention who has been cast in this role, but I wonder: Will Nicolas Trevino, the new character played by Juan Pablo Di Pace, turn out to be Joaquin?

Consider this: On April 23, about a week after TNT showed the finale, the Elena character tweeted, “Can’t wait to introduce you all to my uncle Joaquin. He’s quite a character. And a potentially powerful ally.” This tweet is no longer in the character’s feed. Could this mean the producers’ vision of Joaquin has evolved from someone avuncular to someone younger like Di Pace?

• Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) will continue drinking in Season 3 after discovering John Ross is cheating on Pamela. According to Keck, “Sue Ellen’s struggle will climax in a midseason cliffhanger similar to one of the original series’ memorable season enders.” What could this mean? Is Sue Ellen going to wreck her car? Shoot someone? Make another movie?

• Keck reports Bobby might cheat on Ann, either with a “familiar face from the past (Priscilla Presley’s Jenna Wade?) or a lovely newcomer.” Nothing to add here, except this: !

• It looks like “Dallas” won’t forget Larry Hagman anytime soon. Showrunner Cynthia Cidre tells Keck, “We open with Bobby at the Ewing cemetery looking at the graves of J.R., Miss Ellie and Jock, saying, ‘I guess I’m the only one left now.’” The only question raised by this revelation: How many tissues will we need to get through that scene?

What do you think of the storylines previewed by TV Guide’s William Keck? Share your comments below and read more news from Dallas Decoder.

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 138 — ‘Ray’s Trial’

Dallas, Ray Krebbs, Ray's Trial, Steve Kanaly

His day in court

I always remembered the mystery surrounding Mickey Trotter’s death as boiling down to a single question: Did Ray or Lil pull the plug on him? Last week, when I re-watched “Ray’s Trial” for the first time in a few years, I realized “Dallas” also poses a second, more complicated question: Did Mickey want to live or die? Ray and Lucy each offer different answers during the course of the episode, and technically, both of their statements are accurate. Does that mean both statements are also true? I’m not sure anyone can answer that definitively, which makes the storyline feel a lot more interesting than I previously gave it credit for.

To appreciate this aspect of “Ray’s Trial,” it’s worth remembering two crucial scenes from the preceding episodes. In “My Brother’s Keeper,” when Mickey is struggling to come to grips with his paralysis, he pulls Ray aside and tells him, “The idea of living like a vegetable with some damn machine keeping me alive disgusts me. It’s the worst horror I can imagine. … If it happens, I hope and pray that no one’s going to let me live that way.” Later, in “The Quality of Mercy,” Mickey’s mood brightens when he realizes Lucy is determined to stand by him despite the fact that he’ll never walk again. “Who knows? Maybe we’ll get married yet,” Mickey tells her.

But this is “Dallas,” so of course that never happens. When Mickey slips into a coma, his respirator is disconnected off-screen by either Ray or Lil, the two people with him at the time. The district attorney charges Ray, although the show goes out of its way to drop hints that the real culprit is Lil and Ray is only covering up for her. “Dallas” doesn’t solve the mystery until the next episode, allowing the audience to spend “Ray’s Trial” pondering what Mickey wanted, which turns out to be the more interesting question anyway. At the top of the hour, Ray meets with his lawyer and recalls Mickey’s “worst horror” comment, holding this up as evidence that Mickey preferred death to being kept alive via medical machinery. Later, when Lucy testifies at Ray’s trial, she recalls the marriage plans she and Mickey were making before he slipped into the coma. “He wanted to live. He really did,” she says.

Once again, these are two characters offering two technically accurate but fundamentally different answers to the question of whether Mickey wanted to live or die. Who you choose to believe may come down to where you stand on the issue of euthanasia, which is where “Ray’s Trial” ultimately falls short. Scriptwriter Arthur Bernard Lewis doesn’t devote much time to examining the moral implications of Mickey’s death, which is somewhat surprising considering the difference of opinion Ray and Donna apparently bring to the issue. At one point, Ray tells his lawyer, “What I did was not immoral.” This seems to put him at odds with Donna, whose personal beliefs are hinted at in the previous episode when she declares, “Nobody has the right to play God.” So why doesn’t “Ray’s Trial” give us a scene of husband and wife debating the issue?

Even if the material feels incomplete, Steve Kanaly makes the most of it. In my recent interview with him, Kanaly recalled growing up watching westerns and admiring actors like Gary Cooper. The comment must have lodged itself in the back of my mind because when I watched “Ray’s Trial” a few days later, I was struck by how much Kanaly reminds me of Cooper. The actors share similarly quiet, dignified mannerisms, and both are able to say a lot without uttering a single line of dialogue. In Kanaly’s case, watch his haunted eyes in this episode and you’ll see everything that the script doesn’t tell us about what Ray is feeling.

The other performer to watch is Charlene Tilton, who appears only twice but makes a lasting impression. She does a beautiful job delivering Lucy’s tearful testimony, which supplies “Ray’s Trial” with its moment of emotional catharsis. My favorite scene, though, comes a few moments later, when Donna comforts Lucy in the courthouse corridor after Lucy reluctantly testifies against Ray. This is a brief scene and the script doesn’t give Tilton much dialogue, but none is needed. Her anguished expression says it all. The courtroom scenes also feature a couple of old pros — Richard Jaeckel as prosecutor Percy Meredith and Glenn Corbett as Paul Morgan, Ray’s defense lawyer — as well as a young Steven Williams, who appears here as a bailiff and later plays the police captain on “21 Jump Street.”

This episode’s other notable moments include Mark Graison’s polo match, which might be “Dallas’s” most thrilling horseback riding sequence since Jock Ewing surged across the Southfork plains at the beginning of the second-season classic “Bypass.” “Ray’s Trial” also marks Lois Chiles’ final appearance as Holly Harwood. In her last scene, Holly approaches J.R. in a cocktail lounge and taunts him over losing the battle for Ewing Oil. Besides giving Chiles one last opportunity to spar with Larry Hagman, I like how this scene mimics J.R. and Holly’s first on-screen encounter, which also takes place in a cocktail lounge.

The other highlight of “Ray’s Trial” is the arrival of Priscilla Presley, who makes her “Dallas” debut as Jenna Wade. It’s a fine first appearance, although it includes a bit of a curiosity. In one of Presley’s scenes, Bobby pulls up in front of Jenna’s home as she approaches the sidewalk. He invites her to join him for lunch, but when director Michael Preece offers us a close-up shot of Bobby’s car radio, we see the clock reads “5:45.” From this, we can deduce one of two things: Either Ewings eat lunch very late, which makes them a lot different than you and me, or Bobby has yet to figure out how to set the clock in his car, in which case he’s just like us.

Grade: B

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dallas, Jenna Wade, Priscilla Presley, Ray's Trial

Hello again

‘RAY’S TRIAL’

Season 7, Episode 7

Airdate: November 11, 1983

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

Writer: Arthur Bernard Lewis

Director: Michael Preece

Synopsis: Ray goes on trial and frustrates Donna with his reluctance to defend himself. Bobby runs into Jenna, who now works as a waitress. J.R. woos the cartel.

Cast: Charles Aidman (Judge Emmett Brocks), Christopher Atkins (Peter Richards), John Beck (Mark Graison), Morgan Brittany (Katherine Wentworth), Lois Chiles (Holly Harwood), Glenn Corbett (Paul Morgan), Michael Cornelison (Dr. Snow), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Eric Farlow (Christopher Ewing), Fern Fitzgerald (Marilee Stone), Steven Fuller (bailiff), Tony Garcia (Raoul), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Susan Howard (Donna Krebbs), Richard Jaeckel (Assistant District Attorney Percy Meredith), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Omri Katz (John Ross Ewing),  Howard Keel (Clayton Farlow), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Audrey Landers (Afton Cooper), Joseph R. Maross (Dr. Blakely), Andrea McCall (Tracy Anders), Priscilla Presley (Jenna Wade), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Kate Reid (Lil Trotter), Paul Sorensen (Andy Bradley), Don Starr (Jordan Lee), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing)

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

The Dallas Decoder Interview: Steve Kanaly

Dallas, J.R.'s Masterpiece, Ray Krebbs, Steve Kanaly, TNT

Steve Kanaly

Steve Kanaly will be in Texas this week to film his latest guest spot as Ray Krebbs on TNT’s “Dallas.” I spoke to him recently about what it’s been like to walk in Ray’s boots for the past 35 years — and what the future might hold for everyone’s favorite cowboy.

I’m so excited you’re going to be visiting “Dallas” again. What can you tell us about this appearance?

I’m only in a single episode at this point. I made this bad joke more than a year ago, before Larry [Hagman] passed away, that they’re going to have Ray and Lucy in whenever there’s a wedding or a funeral. And that’s pretty much been the story. This is another wedding. It’ll be a big Southfork extravaganza.

Do you have a lot of lines? Fans like me want to see more of Ray.

No, it’s not a lot of lines, but that’s heartening to hear. I’m torn. Do you say, “No, thanks”? Or do you say, “OK, thank you. I’ll continue to be part of the background”? So I end up listening to all of my friends who tell me, “Take the money! Go be part of it. Something good might come of it.” [Laughs] But it’s still a thrill to say that you’re part of this phenomenon of “Dallas.” And this is the first year they’re going to have to get along without the J.R. character, so I want to wish them luck and help where I can. If being on the show helps, then I’m happy to do it.

Would you want to become a regular on the new show?

My wife says, “Be careful what you wish for.” They’re now filming the entire series in Dallas. I love Dallas, but I also love living in Southern California. I have a whole lifestyle here that I wouldn’t want to lose. And Dallas is nice, but I’d like to just be there on occasion. I would not want to be a regular character, if they’re listening out there. I’d like to appear more often.

And Charlene Tilton will be joining you again?

Yeah. And Afton [Audrey Landers] is in this show too. I saw the script and she has a nice role. I think the producers are going to stay with the younger offsprings’ storylines and the old guys will come in from time to time. They’re not really interested in going back to what we did before. And I have a lot of people on social networks saying, “We’ve got to get Ray back. Ray’s my favorite.” It’s all very flattering. I just wish somebody at the studio would pay attention. [Laughs]

There’s also been talk about bringing back Priscilla Presley as Jenna Wade. Ray could figure into that storyline.

There’s always talk. The last time we saw Ray, he was married to Jenna and raising Bobby’s baby. So that’s what I keep telling the guys on the new show. What about Bobby’s baby? [Laughs]

Bobby’s baby is probably 25 now!

Right. I’ve got a 25-year-old that I’ve been raising over in Europe. [Laughs] If Ray Krebbs ever comes back in a big way, that would be one avenue they could pursue.

Dallas, J.R.'s Masterpiece, Ray Krebbs, Steve Kanaly, TNT

Final goodbye

Your most recent appearance on the new show was J.R.’s funeral. What was that experience like?

It was very moving. I had been to two celebrations of Larry’s life — one here at his home in Ojai, where I live, and one in Santa Monica. And they were lovely, beautiful events. But it was not a final closing for me — not like playing that scene. It was really cold that day, and something happened when we filmed that scene that never happened to me at any other time in my 44-year career. I was the first guy to speak, and we had done a couple of rehearsals, and it was real quiet because of the somber nature of the moment. And I delivered my speech and I walk off and the next person comes up, and there are eight of us that do this. Well, it’s an uncut scene that runs for eight or nine minutes. And everybody does this without a flub.

Oh, wow.

Not one. And the director came up afterwards and said, “OK, that’s great. Everybody stay where you are. We’re going to go again. We’re going to move the cameras and come in tighter.” And you know, I’ll be darned if everybody wasn’t letter perfect again. I can’t explain it. I’ve never seen this before on a film set.

Maybe Larry was smiling down on everyone.

It was my final goodbye to Larry, although I really can’t say my final goodbye. Larry was my neighbor. From my kitchen table, I can look up on this hilltop where his house was. So Larry’s on my mind every day.

That’s so nice. Let me ask you one more thing about that scene. After Sue Ellen gives her speech, she’s upset and as she returns to her seat, Ray reaches out and takes her hand. Did the director tell you to do that?

No, that was something I wanted to do. I feel so often that they don’t write these things as well as they might. There’s a lot of family interaction that should go on — like in real families — and that was just something that I wanted to add.

I noticed it when I watched the episode and thought, “Oh, that’s so sweet.” It was a small gesture, but it says so much about who Ray is.

That was it. You don’t know if they’re going to pay any attention to that or not. You want to make the most out of your moment. That’s the thing: Even when I go back and I’m doing kind of a walk-on, I want to make the most out of it.

Dallas, Ray Krebbs, Steve Kanaly

Back in the day

Let’s talk about this great character of Ray Krebbs. I’ve got to tell you: My dad loves you. You’re the reason he watched “Dallas.” He grew up loving westerns and considered Ray the last of the TV cowboys.

That’s very flattering. In my first meeting for “Dallas,” my agent told me, “Oh, there’s three male roles that you could possibly play: J.R., Bobby or this guy Ray Krebbs.” And then I saw the script. Well, here’s this cowboy that’s got a girlfriend up in the barn. He runs a ranch in Texas and flies a helicopter, and I’m thinking, “Well, hell, this is my only chance to play a western character. And what a cool one.” Because like your father and a lot of other people my age, we grew up on old westerns. It was Gene Autry and Roy Rogers and Hopalong Cassidy. And of course John Wayne and Gary Cooper and all the big film stars that played westerns. And then suddenly westerns dried up. So this was my chance to play a western character and pay homage to the blue-collar guys who work hard and try hard and don’t always get the attention.

Was that the secret of Ray’s appeal — he was someone the audience could identify with?

Yeah, very much so. And the writers and the producers always wanted to make Ray very vulnerable. Pride was his big hurdle in life. You know, he tries a lot things and he fails many times, but he kind of always bounces back. He’s always a very honest and straightforward guy. You can always trust Ray to do what he thinks is right.

Did Ray change as the show progressed?

I think there were a lot of changes in the character. The arc was over 11 years. In the beginning, Ray was pretty loose and fancy-free. In the first episode, he was J.R.’s buddy and he was up in the hayloft with this teenage girl. And then there’s the period of Ray and Donna, and then he graduates to being a Ewing. That, by the way, was a huge thing for me.

Tell me about that.

In the third year of the show, I was not happy. They were not giving Ray Krebbs anything to do, and the show was moving further away from ranch life. So I’m thinking, “Gee, I don’t need this. I have a film career I can go back to.” And Larry Hagman said, “Hey, whoa. Don’t run off here. This thing’s about to catch on. We need you.” And so we came up with some story ideas. I had one I liked, which is Ray marries a Mexican girl. They didn’t want to do that then. The other one was, Ray was an illegitimate son of Jock. So thank you, Larry, for convincing me.

Were you two good buddies?

Yeah, the whole cast was very familial. Larry, from the beginning, having had another series experience, saw that it was an ensemble show. He was looking to be at the top of the heap from the very beginning, but he also knew that we all had to work together and act as a family to promote the show and to bring out the chemistry. He was a leader in that way. And we all joined the club. We became a family. I had my life at home with my wife and children and I had my life with my “Dallas” family.

Besides Ray finding out he was Jock’s son, what are your other favorite storylines? Mine is Ray’s relationship with his cousin Mickey Trotter, and how he tries to take him under his wing the way Jock did with Ray.

The Mickey Trotter stuff was, once again, a case of: It’s Ray’s turn. When you have a big cast, it can’t always be your turn. And when it is, you can get excited about it.

Do you remember working with Timothy Patrick Murphy?

Well, sure. He was a great young guy. Always prepared. Easy to get along with. He had a nice edge to him at times. I thought he did a great job as Mickey.

I want to ask you about one of my other favorite moments, which is your performance during Bobby’s deathbed scene. There’s a shot of you just standing there, holding Susan Howard and sobbing. It never fails to move me.

For me, it really was saying goodbye to a friend [Patrick Duffy], who you love. It wasn’t hard to find that emotion. We were all pretty upset that he was not going to be on the show anymore.

Dallas, Donna Krebbs, Ray Krebbs, Steve Kanaly, Susan Howard

Ray and Donna

I mentioned Susan Howard. How did you enjoy working with her?

We got along real well. She’s a very sweet girl. She brought a lot of nice things to the show — and she’s a real Texan. Our families got along well. She was a little bossy. [Laughs] And so I would come home and I would complain to my real wife about my stage wife bossing me around. [Laughs]

Well, you know, Donna was a little bossy.

That was her character too. Ray and Donna became one unit. It was “Ray and Donna.” And you know, you sometimes wish it didn’t quite happen like that. It’s better when they’re struggling in some way.

How did you feel when they wrote her out of the show? Because as you say, you were a pair and suddenly half of you were gone.

It’s just one of those things that nobody could do anything about. There were internal issues that were going on, and from my perspective it meant that there was an opening for Ray Krebbs to branch out and do other things — other business things, a new wife, new storylines. You know, after you’ve been on a show for a long time, you’re looking for those kinds of opportunities, so it was a mixed blessing. I know she was not happy leaving. But that’s just the way it turned out.

Let me get back to one thing. We touched on this briefly, but how are you and Ray alike and how are you different?

Well, I try to be honest with everybody in my personal life. I would say that Ray was like that, a straight shooter. I’m definitely a hard worker, which Ray was. I don’t have quite the amount of pride that he did. I don’t struggle with that. Ray had kind of a violent side to him that I don’t have. But you know, Ray was a guy that I liked to be. It was fun to be Ray. I never wanted to be any of the other characters. I never wished that I was Bobby or J.R. I know Kenny Kercheval wanted to play Ray. I think he was happy to be Cliff Barnes in the end.

I think I’ve read where he auditioned for Ray. I can’t even wrap my mind around what that would have been like.

He would have been good. He’s a wonderful actor. But they let me kind of develop this character. Certainly the story had a lot to do with it, but how I wanted to play it was pretty much was what I got to do and I can thank [producer] Leonard Katzman for that. Leonard trusted me. He was the guy who kind of gave me the nod for the part to begin with. If there was a lot of Steve Kanaly in Ray or a lot of Ray in Steve Kanaly, I don’t know. They got kind of mixed up along the way.

You once did a TV Guide interview where you said people on the set would call you Ray.

Not just the set! [Laughs]

You said that that didn’t happen so much to Linda [Gray] or Larry. No one called them Sue Ellen and J.R. in real life.

Larry would call me Ray sometimes. [Laughs] This was when we were neighbors in Ojai! “Hey, Ray. Oh, I mean Steve.” So it was an enduring character, I think. And I did my homework. I went to the rodeo all the time. And I made friends with all these cowboys. I went into the cattle business. This is funny: The first week I’m on the show, this one guy, who was a Teamster captain and a cowboy, came up and said, “Well, Mr. Kanaly, you’re doing a real good job with this Ray Krebbs, but I’ve got to tell you: Around here, see, nobody wears them damn Levi’s. You got to wear Wrangler’s. You’ve got to wear boot-cut Wranglers. That’s what the real cowboys wear.” So I began to understand that there was a real fashion and you had to pay attention. The cowboys and the people who love the westerns are very critical of what they see. And if you don’t have the right jeans on, or if you wear your hat in some funny way, or if it’s an odd hat in their opinion, they’re going to notice.

Switching gears a bit: You recently filmed a guest spot for “DeVanity,” an online serial.

Yeah. The producer, Michael Caruso, sent me some material and it was a six-page scene. And I read it and said, “Hell, this is good!” And Michael told me, “Well, I wrote it for you.” So I was obligated to say yes. And it’s virtually for zero money. But all the years I ever did “Dallas,” I think the longest scene I ever had was with Barbara Bel Geddes, and it was five pages.

So besides acting, what else are you up to these days?

I’m happily married to my original wife for 38 years. We’re best buds. We’re very invested in being grandparents. We have four grandkids now and they’re all up in San Francisco, so we try to go up there once a month for at least a week or so. One of my other main things is staying healthy, so I work out every day. I do that nearby at a school where I’m a volunteer, teaching a program that has to do with sport shooting. It’s very rewarding. And I paint and play the piano. I’ve done that all of my life.

Tell me about your painting.

I do watercolor, transparent watercolors. It’s something that I’ve done for years.

It’s hard to imagine Ray Krebbs picking up a paintbrush, unless he’s whitewashing a fence maybe.

Yeah, right. I guess there’s one area where Ray and Steve are not at all alike.

Share your comments below and read more interviews from Dallas Decoder.

Steve Kanaly Will Return to ‘Dallas’ Next Season

Dallas, Ray Krebbs, Steve Kanaly, TNT

Home on the range

Steve Kanaly will guest star on “Dallas” next season, a TNT spokeswoman confirmed today. Earlier, Kanaly tweeted a picture of himself and wrote, “[Shining] my spurs for a new Dallas episode.”

No word on how many episodes Kanaly will appear in. The actor portrayed Ray Krebbs, J.R. and Bobby’s half-brother, for 12 seasons during the original “Dallas’s” run. So far, he’s reprised the role in three TNT episodes.

TNT hasn’t confirmed if other actors from the original series will return too. In the summer, showrunner Cynthia Cidre said she was considering bringing back Jenna Wade (Priscilla Presley), Bobby’s first love, who later married Ray.

Are you excited about Steve Kanaly’s latest visit to “Dallas”? Share your comments below and read more news from Dallas Decoder.

Drill Bits: ‘Dallas’ Season 3 — Spoilers, Speculation and More

Ann Ewing, Bobby Ewing, Brenda Strong, Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Elena Ramos, Ewings Unite, Jesse Metcalfe, John Ross Ewing, Jordana Brewster, Josh Henderson, Julie Gonzalo, Pamela Rebecca Barnes, Patrick Duffy, TNT

Back to work, people

Production on “Dallas’s” third season begins today. There isn’t a lot of news to report, although insiders have dropped a few tidbits about what fans can expect when TNT begins televising the episodes next year. If you want to be surprised, stop reading here.

Jenna Wade may return. The show’s writers are toying with bringing back Bobby’s first love, TV Guide reported last month. Said Executive Producer Cynthia Cidre: “It’s on our [planning] wall, and we’re thinking about it seriously.” Priscilla Presley, who played Jenna for five seasons on the original “Dallas,” stoked the speculation a few days later when she tweeted, “What do you think would happen if Jenna Wade returned to Dallas?”

Cliff Barnes and Judith Ryland will return. Dallas Decoder has confirmed Ken Kercheval will be back as Cliff Barnes, but there’s no word on whether Audrey Landers will return as Afton Cooper. Meanwhile, during a recent Twitter exchange with “Dallas” writer Aaron Allen, fans expressed hope Judith Light’s character, Judith Ryland, will return in Season 3. Allen’s response: “Judith is back!”

Good news for Linda Gray and Jordana Brewster. During another Twitter exchange with fans, Allen offered this nugget: “If you’re hoping for more Elena and Sue Ellen driven stories, you’ll LOVE season 3.” He also tweeted: “Bobby and Ann have kind of a slow burning story this year. It gets bigger in the second half.” (Sounds like a good time for Jenna to show up, no?)

More new characters are on their way. Get ready to meet Nicholas, whom Showbiz411 describes as “a powerful billionaire businessman. Self-made. Rough childhood. Raised himself up by his bootstrap. He’s charming, sophisticated, smart, cunning.” Elsewhere, TV Guide’s William Keck tweeted about another newbie: Heather, whom he described as “a pretty tomboy ranch hand … who is attracted to bad boys.”

New loves, old traditions. Christopher will get a new love interest, Jesse Metcalfe told “Access Hollywood” last week. (You don’t suppose it’s Heather, do you?) Meanwhile, Brenda Strong and Julie Gonzalo tweeted pictures of themselves and Emma Bell on horseback this week, leading fans to wonder if they’re preparing for an episode set at the Ewing Rodeo. Giddy up!

So when will fans get to see the Ewings back in action? TNT, which ordered 15 episodes, hasn’t announced a premiere date. One possibility: the show will begin in the winter and continue into the spring, then take a break and resume in the summer.

Let J.R. Speak

During the first two seasons of TNT’s “Dallas,” the show’s regular cast members took turns delivering the “Previously on ‘Dallas’” voiceover that starts each episode. Longtime fan Joe Siegler has an idea: Why not use Larry Hagman’s voiceover exclusively, beginning with the third-season episodes?

As Siegler sees it, this would honor Hagman and ensure his presence remains in each episode. It would almost be like ol’ J.R. is watching over his family and bringing the audience up to speed on their doings each week.

This week, Siegler took to Twitter and ran his suggestion past a few cast members. Brenda Strong retweeted his message and added, “Great idea!” We agree. Make it happen, TNT.

Et Cetera

• Don’t miss Dallas Divas Derby’s interview with Kenneth Larsen, a talented artist and “Dallas” enthusiast who recently tweeted terrific drawings of Hagman and Gray.

• This week, I’m asking fellow fans to choose their all-time favorite “Dallas” cliffhanger. Head over to Dallas Decoder’s Facebook page to weigh in.

• Like to discuss “Dallas”? If so, consider dropping by one of my weekly #DallasChats, held Monday nights at 9 Eastern on Twitter. You’ll have fun, I promise!

“Drill Bits,” a roundup of news about TNT’s “Dallas,” is published regularly. Share your comments below.

Dallas Cliffhanger Classics: Season 8

Dallas Decoder celebrates “Dallas’s” classic cliffhangers with weekly summertime flashbacks. Collect all 14 images and share them with your friends.

Bobby Ewing, Clayton Farlow, Dallas, Donna Krebbs, Donna Reed, Howard Keel, Jenna Wade, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Miss Ellie Farlow, Patrick Duffy, Pam Ewing, Priscilla Presley, Ray Krebbs, Steve Kanaly, Susan Howard, Victoria Principal

Drill Bits: After J.R.’s Funeral, ‘Dallas’s’ Ratings Dip

Ann Ewing, Bobby Ewing, Brenda Strong, Dallas, Ewings Unite!, Patrick Duffy, TNT

Back to normal

“Dallas” lost almost all of the extra viewers it picked up during J.R. Ewing’s funeral last week.

“J.R.’s Masterpiece,” the sendoff for Larry Hagman’s iconic character, was seen by 3.6 million viewers on March 11. It was the TNT drama’s most-watched telecast this year, beating the show’s second-season average by about 1 million viewers.

The latest telecast, “Ewings Unite!,” scored 2.7 million viewers on March 18. This audience included more than 1 million viewers between ages 18 and 49, a demographic that advertisers pay a premium to reach.

A ratings decline was expected. Television series often get a boost from “milestone” episodes, and the death of J.R. – whom Hagman began portraying in 1978 – fit the bill.

Meanwhile, the audience for “J.R.’s Masterpiece” continues to grow. Within a few days of the episode’s March 11 telecast, DVR users had pushed its audience to 4.6 million viewers, a 26 percent increase from the previous week’s episode. When DVR users are counted, “J.R.’s Masterpiece” averaged 1.8 million adults between ages 25 and 54, an audience that TNT targets, and 1.5 million adults between 18 and 49.

TNT has not announced whether it plans to renew “Dallas” for a third season. The cable channel renewed the show for a second season two days after the third telecast.

Austin to Dallas

I haven’t seen next week’s episode of “Dallas,” but I’m calling it now: The highlight will be Lee Majors’ guest appearance as Ken Richards, one of Sue Ellen’s old flames. (Well, that and the return of Audrey Landers as Afton Cooper.)

As regular readers of Dallas Decoder know, “The Six Million Dollar Man” was my other favorite show growing up, so you can imagine how excited I am to have Col. Steve Austin visit “Dallas.” You can also imagine how thrilled I was to interview Majors a few weeks ago. If you haven’t already checked out our chat, please do so.

Derby II

Dallas Divas Derby, a March Madness-style brackets competition that pits the women of “Dallas” against each other, is back for more fun. The most recent round ended earlier this week with victories for Elena Ramos (Jordana Brewster), who beat Jenna Wade (Priscilla Presley) in a matchup between “The Outsiders,” and Pamela Rebecca Barnes (Julie Gonzalo), who defeated Serena Wald (Stephanie Blackmore) in a showdown between “The Setup Queens.” Voting in the next round will end Monday, March 25.

Drinking Drew

If you’re a fan of Kuno Becker’s performance as Drew Ramos, be sure to check out The Drew, the latest addition to Cook In/Dine Out’s “Dallas Drinks” collection. Like Mr. Becker, this drink is hot stuff!

“Drill Bits,” a roundup of news about TNT’s “Dallas,” is published regularly. Share your comments below.