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 IMDb.com.

 

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 102 – ‘Acceptance’

The emperor's clothes

The emperor’s clothes

The scene everyone remembers from “Acceptance” is the one where the grieving Miss Ellie goes on a rampage in the Southfork kitchen, smashing every dish in sight before tearfully collapsing onto the floor. This is a big, dramatic moment and it never fails to give me chills, but it’s not the only great performance we get from Barbara Bel Geddes in this episode. The quiet moments that come before Ellie’s breakdown are just as moving. They deserve to be remembered too.

More than anything, “Acceptance” is about the journey Ellie takes before she comes to terms with Jock’s death. It begins when Ray visits Ellie on another rainy night at Southfork and suggests she forgive Donna for wanting to write an unflattering book about Jock. Steve Kanaly’s monologue consists of more than 350 words, and he delivers every one beautifully. I also love how Bel Geddes holds her own against Kanaly, even though she is almost completely silent. The look on Bel Geddes’ face tells us everything we need to know. Ellie isn’t really mad at Donna. She’s angry because the husband she loved has died and left her alone.

Virtually every scene that follows demonstrates how Bel Geddes can say more with a smile or a furrowed brow than most actors can with a script full of dialogue. Watch how her expression changes in the scene where Punk invites Ellie to accompany him and Mavis to the Oil Barons Ball. Bel Geddes is so sweet in the way Ellie politely declines Punk’s invitation, but once he tells her about the plan to introduce a memorial scholarship in Jock’s name, her expression shifts to shock, hurt and sadness, all within a matter of seconds. How does she do that?

The poignant moments keep coming. A pensive Ellie strolls around the Southfork grounds, recalling the walk she takes in the classic “Ellie Saves the Day.” She visits the stables and lovingly strokes Blazer, Jock’s horse. “You miss him too, don’t you?” she says. And the biggest heartbreaker of all: when Ellie stands in Jock’s bedroom closet and gently touches his clothes. (In a nice touch, the producers appear to have stocked this set with pieces from Jim Davis’s “Dallas” wardrobe, including the powder blue suit he memorably sported in “Runaway” and the white-dotted bathrobe he wore during the third season.)

Of course, as good as Bel Geddes is, she gets plenty of support from director Michael Preece, who always brings out the best in the “Dallas” cast, and Will Lorin, whose script is full of details that ring true. My favorite of these moments comes in the second act, when Lucy enters Ellie’s bedroom to announce Punk’s arrival. “Tell him I’ll be right there. Offer him a drink,” Ellie says. Offer him a drink. It’s a small line, but it tells us so much about Ellie’s devotion to keeping up appearances, even when she’s in mourning. This is exactly what we expect a woman of Ellie’s generation and stature to tell her granddaughter when company arrives.

Ellie’s struggle reaches its crescendo when she has her breakdown in the kitchen. The sequence begins with the Ewings gathered in the Southfork dining room. As the other characters chatter (listen closely and you’ll hear J.R. and Pam being cordial to each other), Preece slowly zooms in on Ellie’s face as she notices Jock’s empty chair at the other end of the table. Quickly and quietly, she excuses herself and goes into the kitchen, where she orders Teresa to leave. Suddenly, Ellie is overcome with emotion and begins smashing the dishes.

When I interviewed the wonderful Michael Preece last month, he told me Bel Geddes didn’t want to do multiple takes because the material was so gut-wrenching. When you watch the scene, you can tell the actress is taking care to hit her marks. In hindsight, her sense of caution works well. Yes, Ellie is a woman exploding with grief, but she’s also someone whose instinct is to always remain composed. Of course she’d hesitate a little before knocking over a stack of plates.

(Watching this scene, I’m also reminded of a famous sequence from the 1970s sitcom “Good Times,” when Esther Rolle’s Florida Evans, another matriarch in mourning, slams a glass punchbowl onto her kitchen floor. The dialogue is similar too. Florida: “Damn, damn, damn!” Ellie: “Damn you, Jock!”)

In “Acceptance’s” final scene, Ellie visits the Krebbses and gives Donna’s book her blessing. It brings to mind the final moments in the fourth-season episode “Ewing vs. Ewing,” when Ellie stands in Ray and Donna’s living room and asks Jock to forgive her for almost destroying their marriage. That scene, one of the last times Bel Geddes and Davis appeared together, ends with their characters declaring their love for each other. This time around, the moment of satisfaction comes when Ellie finally acknowledges that her husband is dead. “I know that Jock’s not coming back, but I have my memories of him,” she says. “And my memories are forever.”

So are great performances like this.

Grade: A

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Forever

Forever

‘ACCEPTANCE’

Season 5, Episode 25

Airdate: April 2, 1982

Audience: 29.1 million homes, ranking 2nd in the weekly ratings

Writer: Will Lorin

Director: Michael Preece

Synopsis: Miss Ellie accepts Jock’s death and gives Donna’s book her blessing. Afton tries to comfort Cliff after Rebecca fires him. J.R. romances Sue Ellen. Bobby helps the police catch Farraday’s killers. Mitch moves to Atlanta.

Cast: Tyler Banks (John Ross Ewing), Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Phyllis Flax (Mrs. Chambers), Jonathan Goldsmith (Joe Smith), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Susan Howard (Donna Krebbs), Bob Hoy (Detective Howard), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Audrey Landers (Afton Cooper), Leigh McCloskey (Dr. Mitch Cooper), Priscilla Pointer (Rebecca Wentworth), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Debbie Rennard (Sly), Tom Stern (Detective White), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Cooper), Morgan Woodward (Punk Anderson), H.M. Wynant (Ed Chapman)

“Acceptance” is available on DVD and at Amazon.com 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.

Performances

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.

Episodes

“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.

Scenes

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

Knockout

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!”

Costumes

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

Timeless

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.”

Music

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.)

Quips

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 18 – ‘Kidnapped’

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Kidnapped, Patrick Duffy

Bobby, trapped!

New rule: If you’re watching “Dallas” and a Ewing becomes a crime victim before the second act, chances are it’s going to be a lackluster episode.

So far, crooks and lowlifes have been front and center in three installments: The first-season episode “Winds of Vengeance” (two working Joes hold the Ewings at gunpoint and threaten to rape the women), the second-season entry “Runaway” (a robber makes Lucy his reluctant accomplice) and now “Kidnapped” (three abductors hold Bobby hostage).

The first of these segments is actually pretty good. The other two? Not so much.

The problem is “Dallas’s” depiction of criminals. They’re almost always straight-from-central-casting villains who specialize in evil cackling and corny one-liners.

In “Kidnapped,” the bad guys think they’re nabbing J.R. when they tail his Mercedes and force it to come to a stop on a dusty Texas back road. They’re surprised to learn Bobby is behind the wheel, having borrowed his older brother’s car after his own vehicle got a flat tire.

“Our luck!” exclaims Fay, one of the kidnappers, while laughing uproariously. “We may have the wrong goose – but he can still lay the golden egg!”

“Kidnapped” isn’t as awful as “Runaway.” Patrick Duffy does a nice job making Bobby more vulnerable than usual, and I appreciate how the show uses Cliff as the intermediary between the Ewings and the kidnappers. It’s a clever way to involve Cliff in the story and add drama to the scenes of the family awaiting word on Bobby’s fate.

This plot device also lends “Kidnapped” some historical significance: This is the first episode where Larry Hagman and Ken Kercheval share scenes.

Today, we remember J.R. and Cliff’s bitter feud as one of “Dallas’s” defining conflicts, so it’s surprising to remember it took 18 episodes to bring them face-to-face.

Cliff also figures into “Kidnapped’s” best moment: when Jock and Miss Ellie wish him luck before he departs to deliver the ransom.

“You bring my son home safe, I’ll be grateful to you forever,” Ellie tells Cliff.

For a woman whose husband is holding a bag with more than $1 million in cash, those words prove mighty cheap.

Grade: C

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

Face to face, at last

‘KIDNAPPED’

Season 2, Episode 13

Airdate: December 17, 1978

Audience: 16.5 million homes, ranking 18th in the weekly ratings

Writer: Camille Marchetta

Director: Lawrence Dobkin

Cast: Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Nancy Bleier (Connie), Byron Clark (Tom), Stephen Davies (Will Hart), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Meg Gallagher (Louella), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Bob Hoy (Mahoney), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Paul Koslo (Al Parker), Kelly Jean Peters (Fay Parker), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing)

Synopsis: A trio of kidnappers hold Bobby hostage for $1.5 million. Cliff delivers the money and secures Bobby’s release, but they’re almost shot when J.R., Ray and several ranch hands ambush the kidnappers.

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

Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘I Hate This Family!’

Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Lucy Ewing, Pam Ewing, Runaway, Victoria Principal

Pout it out

In “Runaway,” a second-season “Dallas” episode, Pam (Victoria Principal) enters her bedroom and finds the dresses she brought home for Lucy on the floor. Lucy (Charlene Tilton) stands at the window, pouting.

PAM: Well, I guess you didn’t like them. [Lucy doesn’t respond.] Honey, Miss Ellie or Sue Ellen will probably bring you into town later. [Lucy continues staring silently out the window.] We’ll find something you like.

LUCY: [Facing Pam] I am old enough to pick out my own clothes! [Turns back to the window]

PAM: Yes, you are. All right, just trying to help.

LUCY: [Faces Pam again] This is supposed to be my birthday party! Grandma is making out the invitation list, Sue Ellen is gonna hire some old-fogey band – and J.R.’s gonna use it for one of his big deals! [Begins crying] And now you’re going to buy my clothes! I hate this family! [Runs out of the room and past a distraught Pam]

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 12 – ‘Runaway’

Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Lucy Ewing, Runaway

Diary of a teenage brat

“Runaway” is one of “Dallas’s” weakest episodes. Almost everything about it – the writing, the directing, the acting, the music – is bad.

The episode treats Lucy, who was so daring during “Dallas’s” first season, like just another bratty TV teenager. She spends the beginning of “Runaway” whining about how the Ewings are ignoring her. At one point, Jock sends her to her room.

Is this the same Lucy who was blackmailing her teacher and seducing Ray a few episodes ago?

“Dallas” clearly wants us to feel sorry for the poor little rich girl. John Parker, who scored the music for “Runaway,” punctuates each of Lucy’s outbursts with a cloying violin solo that becomes the character’s theme music in later episodes.

By the end of “Runaway’s” first act, Lucy has run away from Southfork and fled to the outskirts of Dallas, where she hooks up with armed robber Willie Gust.

Greg Evigan, who plays Willie, must have prepared for the role by watching Cooper Huckabee’s performance in “Winds of Vengeance.” Both actors seem to believe maniacal laughing is the best way to signal their characters’ villainy.

When Willie isn’t in hysterics, he’s waging a one-man war on Texas’s cash registers, leaving Lucy to cower in the passenger seat of his far-out custom van. But if she’s so afraid of him, why doesn’t she just hop out and run away?

Another mind boggler: How does frightened Lucy manage to deliver such a confident performance during the talent show Willie makes her enter?

“Dallas” creator David Jacobs has said the show’s producers were crunched for time when CBS renewed the series for a second season. According to him, the writers scrambled to produce scripts for the season’s first seven episodes, which were filmed in Texas during the summer of 1978.

“Runaway” is the last of these seven episodes, and you can tell. This feels like something cobbled together by people who were eager to get out from under the hot Texas sun.

Making matters worse: “Runaway” doesn’t end – it stops.

In the final scene, Miss Ellie announces Bobby is bringing Lucy home.

“There’s just one thing,” Jock says. “I was hoping to have a dance with my granddaughter.”

“Well,” Ellie responds, patting his arm. “What about tomorrow?”

Parker’s cloying violin music swells, the frame freezes, the credits flash – and we’re finally done with “Dallas’s” most prophetically titled episode.

Run away, indeed.

Grade: D

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Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Greg Evigan, Lucy Ewing, Runaway, Willie Gust

Bonnie and Clod

‘RUNAWAY’

Season 2, Episode 7

Airdate: October 28, 1978

Audience: 12.8 million homes, ranking 35th in the weekly ratings

Writer: Worley Thorne

Director: Barry Crane

Synopsis: Lucy, feeling ignored, runs away and hitches a ride with an armed robber. Bobby tracks Lucy to Austin, where he rescues her and the robber is arrested.

Cast: Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Greg Evigan (Willie Gust), Jim Gough (Congressman Oates), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing)

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