#DallasChat Daily: Is Bobby a Good Husband?

Ann Ewing, April Stevens Ewing, Bobby Ewing, Brenda Strong, Dallas, Pam Ewing, Patrick Duffy, Sheree J. Wilson, TNT, Victoria Principal

Bobby has had three wives on “Dallas,” and each marriage had its ups and downs.

He stood by Pam when the Barnes-Ewing feud was at its peak, but his chauvinistic streak revealed itself on more than one occasion during the course of their marriage. Later, Bobby became April’s knight in shining armor, but only after he got over the fact she once slept with J.R. Meanwhile, on TNT’s “Dallas,” Bobby has been a supportive spouse to Ann, but he’s also been a bit of a hypocrite, flying off the handle whenever he discovers she’s kept secrets from him, even though he isn’t always Mr. Forthright himself.

Your #DallasChat Daily question: Is Bobby a good husband?

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

#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.

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.”

Here’s Everything That’s Happened on ‘Dallas,’ Ever*

Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson

Ain’t over yet

It’s never too late to start watching “Dallas.” If you missed the original show and the first two seasons of TNT’s sequel series, fear not: This post will tell you everything you need to know before Season 3 begins on Monday, February 24. (*OK, this isn’t really everything that’s happened on “Dallas.” For that, you’ll have to keep reading Dallas Decoder every day.)

 

The Original Series (1978 to 1991)

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

In the beginning

Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy), the youngest son of a rich oil and cattle clan, marries Pam Barnes (Victoria Principal) and brings her home to Southfork, the Ewing ranch. This upsets everyone, especially Pam’s daddy Digger (David Wayne), who blames Bobby’s daddy Jock (Jim Davis) for stealing his sweetheart, Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes), and cheating him out of half of Ewing Oil. While Bobby’s devious brother J.R. (Larry Hagman) is building the family empire and catting around, J.R.’s neglected wife Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) becomes an alcoholic and has an affair with Cliff (Ken Kercheval), Pam’s vengeful brother. Later, J.R. and Sue Ellen have a son, John Ross, while Bobby and Pam adopt Christopher, the orphaned child of Sue Ellen’s sister Kristin Shepard (Mary Crosby) and sleazy Jeff Faraday (Art Hindle). Elsewhere, Ray Krebbs, Southfork’s foreman, discovers Jock is his daddy and marries savvy politico Donna Culver (Susan Howard), while Lucy (Charlene Tilton), the daughter of J.R. and Bobby’s middle brother Gary (Ted Shackelford) and his wife Valene (Joan Van Ark), gets engaged to everyone.

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

End of an era

More drama: Digger dies and so does Jock, leaving Ellie to hold the family together with help from second hubby Clayton Farlow (Howard Keel). Southfork burns down, but the Ewings rebuild it. Cliff hooks up with Afton Cooper (Audrey Landers), who gives birth to their daughter Pamela Rebecca, but Afton refuses to let Cliff near the child because of his fixation with destroying the Ewings. Cliff and Pam’s half-sister Katherine Wentworth (Morgan Brittany) arrives, becomes obsessed with Bobby and tries to kill him, then vanishes under a big hat. Sue Ellen beats the bottle and divorces J.R., while Pam has a bad dream, gets burned in a car crash and runs away. Bobby has an on-again, off-again romance with first love Jenna Wade (Priscilla Beaulieu Presley), who gives birth to their son Lucas and then marries newly divorced Ray. James (Sasha Mitchell), J.R.’s illegitimate son, shows up for a while and emulates the old man. Bobby marries April (Sheree J. Wilson), but she dies. J.R. marries Cally (Cathy Podewell), but she leaves. In the end, Cliff finally takes over Ewing Oil, leaving J.R. alone and suicidal.

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Patrick Duffy, Swan Song

Hurts so good

Best Episode: “Swan Song.” The eighth-season finale finds J.R. and Sue Ellen’s marriage on the rocks, unlike the vodka she’s secretly swilling in her bedroom.  Meanwhile, Bobby chooses Pam over Jenna, but crazy Katherine runs him over with her car. The episode ends with the Ewings bidding farewell to Bobby in a deathbed scene that’s so beautifully written and acted, you almost wish it wasn’t part of Pam’s dream. Almost.

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Who Shot J.R.?

Shot in the dark

J.R.’s Greatest Moment: Who shot J.R.? Sure, taking a couple of slugs to the gut is no fun for our hero, but at least he makes billions of dollars in a risky offshore oil deal before he’s gunned down. Oh, and in case you didn’t hear, J.R.’s assailant turns out to be Kristin, his sister-in-law/ex-secretary/ex-mistress, who’s revealed as the shooter in one of the most-watched broadcasts in television history. (Props to Sue Ellen, who figures it all out.)

 

TNT Season 1 (2012)

Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Jesse Metcalfe, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, TNT

When cousins clash

J.R. emerges from a nursing home and tricks Bobby into selling him Southfork so he can tap the ocean of oil flowing beneath it. Like their fathers, John Ross and Christopher (Josh Henderson, Jesse Metcalfe) butt heads, except their rivalry has an added twist: John Ross has fallen for Elena Ramos (Jordana Brewster), who was Christopher’s childhood sweetheart. Christopher marries Rebecca Sutter (Julie Gonzalo), unaware that she’s the daughter of Cliff, who is now the gazillionaire owner of Barnes Global and still hell-bent on destroying the Ewings. Rebecca kills her lover Tommy Sutter (Callard Harris) in self-defense and has Cliff’s henchman Frank Ashkani (Faran Tahir) dispose of the body. Meanwhile, Sue Ellen runs for governor; Bobby’s new wife Ann (Brenda Strong) feels threatened by ex-husband Harris Ryland (Mitch Pileggi), who knows she’s harboring a dark secret; and John Ross, Christopher and Elena form a company, Ewing Energies, but the partnership is threatened when Elena breaks her engagement to John Ross and reunites with Christopher, who dumps the pregnant Rebecca.

Dallas, Family Business, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, TNT

Bad does good

Best Episode: “Family Business.” In one of Hagman’s most poignant performances, J.R. learns Bobby is secretly battling cancer and returns Southfork to him, ending the season-long war for the ranch. Later, in a chill-inducing musical montage (set to Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around”), poor Bobby suffers a seizure and Rebecca shoots Tommy, splattering blood over her unborn twins’ stuffed animals. Hmmm. Foreshadow, much?

Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, TNT

Pass the torch

J.R.’s Greatest Moment: Who loves J.R.? His son John Ross, who ends the season by gazing at the Dallas skyline with dear old dad and asking him to teach him “every dirty trick” he knows so he can push Christopher and Elena out of Ewing Energies. J.R. beams with pride and tells John Ross that he’s his son “from tip to tail.” Hey, J.R. may have given up the fight for Southfork, but he wasn’t giving up his devious ways — thank goodness.

 

TNT Season 2 (2013)

Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Ken Kercheval, TNT

All about evil

Rebecca reveals she’s Pamela Rebecca Barnes and hooks up with John Ross. Ann shoots Harris after learning he kidnapped their daughter Emma when she was a baby and sent her to be raised by his control-freak mother, Judith (Judith Light). Ann gets probation, Harris recovers and Judith falls down the stairs. Frank takes the blame for Tommy’s death and kills himself at the request of Cliff, who causes Pamela’s miscarriage. When J.R. is murdered in Mexico, it appears Cliff is the killer, so Bobby, Christopher and newlyweds John Ross and Pamela plant evidence on Cliff to make sure he’s arrested. Oh, and Christopher also discovers Cliff covered up his mom’s death. Elsewhere, John Ross somehow inherits half of Southfork; Sue Ellen loses the election but continues to tangle with Governor McConaughey (Steven Weber); Emma (Emma Bell) sleeps with Elena’s ne’er-do-well brother Drew (Kuno Becker), becomes John Ross’s mistress and turns Harris in to the cops for drug trafficking; and when Christopher dumps Elena, jailbird Cliff asks her to become his proxy at Barnes Global, which the Ewings now control.

Dallas, J.R.'s Masterpiece, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

Mourning glory

Best Episode: “J.R.’s Masterpiece.” Our hero is laid to rest in an instant-classic hour that brings back several stars from the original series. The highlight: On the night before J.R.’s burial, Sue Ellen takes a heartbreaking tumble off the wagon, then delivers a mesmerizing eulogy for the man she calls “the love of my life.” Can someone please explain how Linda Gray didn’t win an Emmy for this performance?

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, TNT

Only you

J.R.’s Greatest Moment: Who killed J.R.? J.R. did, of course. It turns out he was dying of cancer and arranged his own death so Cliff could be framed for the crime, thus ending the Barnes-Ewing feud … for about 2 minutes, at least. Only a handful of people know the truth, including Bobby, J.R.’s loyal private eye Bum (Kevin Page), Christopher and John Ross, who gets it right when he says, “The only person who could take down J.R. … was J.R.”

What are your favorite “Dallas” memories? Share them below and read more features from Dallas Decoder.

Tonight on #DallasChat: ‘The Many Wives of Bobby Ewing’

Ann Ewing, April Ewing, Bobby Ewing, Brenda Strong, Dallas, Pam Ewing, Patrick Duffy, Sheree J. Wilson, TNT, Victoria Principal

Some guys have all the luck

I’ll host Dallas Decoder’s next #DallasChat on Twitter on Monday, July 8, from 9 to 10 p.m. Eastern time. Our theme: “The Many Wives of Bobby Ewing.”

I’ll tweet a question every few minutes. Each question will be numbered and include the hashtag #DallasChat, so your responses should do the same. A sample exchange:

Q1. Which of Bobby’s wives was your favorite? #DallasChat

A1. Pam was great and Ann is cool, but my personal favorite is April. #DallasChat

You’re welcome to respond to what other people are saying about the show and to start “side conversations” of your own. Three more points to keep in mind:

• During the chat, enter #DallasChat in Twitter’s search field. This will help you watch the search results so you can follow the conversation. Click “All” to see all the related tweets.

• Don’t forget to include the hashtag #DallasChat in each tweet you send so others can see your contributions to the conversation.

• Twitter limits the number of tweets each users can send an hour, so I’m unable to respond to everyone’s answers. I’ll reply to some and “favorite” the others, but please know how much I appreciate everyone’s participation.

Let’s have another great discussion. See you tonight at 9!

The Dal-List: Classic ‘Dallas’s’ 8 Most Moving Funerals

Dallas, Family Ewing, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Texas mourn

J.R. Ewing will be laid to rest in “J.R.’s Masterpiece,” a special “Dallas” episode that TNT will telecast on Monday, March 11. Raise a glass of bourbon (and don’t forget the branch!) as we recall the most moving funerals from the original series, as well as two Ewing funerals seen on its “Knots Landing” spinoff.

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, J.R. Returns, Larry Hagman

Surprise, surprise

8. J.R. Ewing. It’s easy to forget that J.R. (Larry Hagman) already had one funeral. In “J.R. Returns,” a 1996 “Dallas” reunion movie, he faked his death as part of a convoluted plot to wrest control of Ewing Oil from Cliff. The memorial service brought Bobby, Sue Ellen, John Ross and Christopher together at Southfork, along with Cliff, who announced, “I just came to make sure he was dead.” While John Ross (Omri Katz) was eulogizing his father, J.R. himself arrived – on the back of a truck hauling pigs, no less. “Hey, what’s going on? Bobby throwing a party?” he asked. It was silly, but what I wouldn’t give to have J.R. turn up as a surprise guest in “J.R.’s Masterpiece.”

Chris Weatherhead, Dallas, Fathers and Sons and Fathers and Son, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Meg Callahan

Black cat down

7. Blackie Callahan. Blackie who? As “Dallas” neared the end of its run, the producers cast Denver Pyle as Blackie, an aging wildcatter who helped J.R. find oil in the town where Jock had his first strike. In the 1991 episode “Fathers and Sons and Fathers and Sons,” one of “Dallas’s” final hours, J.R. attended Blackie’s funeral, where his daughter Meg (Chris Weatherhead) realized J.R. had been paying Blackie royalties out of his own pocket. The scene was surprisingly touching, not just because it showcased J.R.’s softer side, but also because of Meg’s poignant dialogue: “I guess that’s what life’s all about. The young taking over from the old, shaping things their way.” How prophetic.

Abby Ewing, Dallas, Donna Mills, Knots Landing, Finishing Touches

Black widow

6. Gary Ewing. “Knots Landing” fans were stunned when Gary (Ted Shackelford) was suddenly murdered in 1984. Everyone on the cul-de-sac turned out for his funeral, which was seen at the end of the episode “Finishing Touches.” The sad affair brought out the best in everyone – except for Gary’s widow Abby (Donna Mills), who refused to make peace with his ex-wife Valene. As the minister read from Ecclesiastes, a lone guitarist strummed in the background and we saw Gary’s friends and neighbors mourning him quietly. Then the camera cut to … Gary, seated in what looked like a police station. It turned out he was alive and in a witness protection program. Thank goodness Miss Ellie never heard about any of this!

Dallas, Gary Ewing, Knots Landing, Love and Death, Ted Shackelford

Bachelor father

5. Valene Ewing. When Joan Van Ark left “Knots Landing” in 1992, the producers “killed off” Valene in a fiery car crash. CBS had slashed the show’s budget, so no departed stars came back for her funeral, which was seen in the episode “Love and Death.” But two important figures in Val’s were mentioned, at least: Lilimae was said to be not up for the trip, while Lucy was traveling in Europe and couldn’t be reached. At the memorial service, Val’s best friend Karen MacKenzie eulogized her as “the little engine that could.” It proved too much for Gary and Val’s little girl Betsy, who ran away in tears. She missed her mommy, but she was probably also afraid Karen was going to break into her “Pollyanna” speech.

Bobby Ewing, Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Jock's Trial Part 2, Ken Kercheval, Pam Ewing, Patrick Duffy, Victoria Principal

Digger departed

4. Digger Barnes. Poor, old Digger. After a life of hard livin’, Keenan Wynn’s tragic character was laid to rest in the last scene of the 1980 episode “Jock’s Trial, Part 2.” It was a fittingly humble affair. When the minister asked Digger’s sister Maggie if she’d like him to say anything special, she wearily responded, “No, please. Just the 23rd Psalm. It’s all he’d have had patience for.” The funeral was difficult for Pam (Victoria Principal), who had just discovered that Digger wasn’t her “real” daddy, and Cliff (Ken Kercheval), who slowly walked away from the gravesite before the final freeze frame. Maybe Cliff was sad – or maybe he was just ticked that so many Ewings showed up.

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Katherine Wentworth, Morgan Brittany, Pam Ewing, Patrick Duffy, Requiem, Victoria Principal

Fit for a queen

3. Rebecca Wentworth. Priscilla Pointer’s grande dame received a grand sendoff in “Requiem,” a 1983 episode directed by Hagman. He memorably showed three black limos arriving at the cemetery and allowed us to watch as the Barneses and Ewings exited the cars, one by one. In true “Dallas” style, Pam was accompanied by Bobby (Patrick Duffy) and half-sister Katherine (Morgan Brittany), who was secretly plotting to steal him for herself. The crowd also included a slew of recurring characters – including Punk and Mavis Anderson and Marilee Stone – and a throng of paparazzi. It felt like the kind of funeral that a Texas society matron would receive – but what was up with all those palm trees in the background?

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Patrick Duffy, Tunnel of Love

Cry Bobby

2. April Ewing. When Bobby’s wife April (Sheree J. Wilson) was killed during their Parisian honeymoon, he buried her in the City of Lights. This always struck me as odd. Shouldn’t April have been laid to rest in Dallas or maybe Ohio, where she grew up? On the other hand, you can’t deny that the funeral, seen in the 1990 episode “Tunnel of Love,” is as sad as April’s death. Bobby is the only mourner there, although young cyclist Mark Harris (played by Duffy’s son Padraic and named for his “Man From Atlantis” character), who tried to help Bobby rescue April, watches from the distance. The fact that priest conducts the service in French reinforces the sense of isolation. Never before has our hero seemed so alone.

Dallas, Family Ewing, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Good grief

1. Bobby Ewing. Bobby’s burial in 1985’s “The Family Ewing” is exquisite. Everything feels right: It’s a fairly intimate gathering in a lush Southfork pasture, attended by the Ewings, the Barneses and close associates like Harv Smithfield. Even the wardrobe is perfect, right down to Pam’s Jackie Kennedy-esque pillbox hat. Director Nick Havinga allows us to hear the minister deliver the 23rd Psalm under Jerrold Immel’s solemn score, and then after the family disperses, we’re left with J.R. delivering his memorable speech at Bobby’s gravesite. “I wish I’d take the time to tell you how much I love you,” he says with wet eyes. Does it matter that this scene turned out to be part of Pam’s dream? Yes, but only a little.

What “Dallas” funerals moved you most? Share your choices below and read more “Dal-Lists.”

The Dal-List: Classic ‘Dallas’s’ 5 Most Shocking Shootings

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Who Shot J.R.?

The one heard round the world

TNT’s “Dallas” delivered a shocker at the end of “Sins of the Father,” this week’s episode: Ann (Brenda Strong) shot her ex-husband Harris (Mitch Pileggi) and left him bleeding on his den floor. It was the latest example of “Dallas’s” long tradition of using gunplay to throw viewers for a loop. Here’s my list of the five most shocking shootings seen during the original series.

Dallas, Fat Lady Singeth, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing

She bangs

5. J.R. Ewing (1988). “Dallas’s” 12th season ended with Sue Ellen and boyfriend Nick Pearce (Linda Gray, Jack Scalia) bursting into a high-rise hotel room to confront J.R. (Larry Hagman) over his latest misdeeds. J.R. pulled a gun, Nick lunged at him and before you knew it, studly Mr. Pearce went tumbling over the balcony. That’s when Sue Ellen picked up J.R.’s gun, fired three shots at him and dialed the police to report “a double murder.” Even though this was the fourth (!) time J.R. was shot on the show – and even though there was no doubt he’d survive – you have to admit: Seeing Sue Ellen plug him was pretty surprising.

Dallas, Don Starr, Jordan Lee, Terminus

For whom the booth tolls

4. Jordan Lee. This longtime Ewing frenemy had a penchant for hooking up with shady women – we’re looking at you, Kristin – but when Jordan (Don Starr) got involved with mysterious Sheila Foley (Susan Lucci), he paid the ultimate price. Jordan helped Sheila with her convoluted scheme to masquerade as Bobby’s wife because he believed Sheila merely wanted to make a big speech criticizing OPEC at a Parisian oil conference. When he realized she had deadlier aims, he ducked into a phone booth to call J.R. for help – but before Jordan started dialing, one of Sheila’s goons shot him, ending his 12-year run on the show.

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, End Game, Patrick Duffy

Twist of fake

3. Bobby Ewing. The last episode of “Dallas’s” eighth season felt awfully familiar: The whole world was mad at J.R., and one by one, his enemies were vowing revenge. (Peter Richards: “I swear I’ll kill you!”) As the hour drew to a close, we were given a first-person perspective as someone entered the darkened Ewing Oil suite, walked into J.R.’s office and fired three shots into the back of his chair. A body slumped to the floor, but it wasn’t J.R. – it was Bobby (Patrick Duffy)! Was this a shameless rip-off of the “Who Shot J.R.?” cliffhanger from four years earlier? Absolutely. Was it also one of the show’s best-ever fake-outs? You bet it was.

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, No More Mr. Nice Guy Part 1, Who Shot J.R.?

Big shot

2. J.R. Ewing (1980). Hold your fire, fellow fans. I know what you’re thinking: How can this one not be ranked first on a list of shocking “Dallas” shootings? Because CBS spoiled the surprise. Before the network broadcast “A House Divided,” the serial’s most famous cliffhanger, it aired promos that showed J.R. getting shot. As if that wasn’t bad enough, CBS also ran a half-page ad in TV Guide with a screaming headline (“It Had to Happen – J.R. is Shot!”). So yes, even though J.R.’s shooting was a stroke of storytelling genius – and even though it cemented “Dallas’s” spot in the TV Hall of Fame – it wasn’t much of a shock.

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

French twist

1. April Ewing. Did you see this one coming? I sure didn’t. Like Jordan’s death, this shooting was part of the storyline about Sheila masquerading as Bobby’s kidnapped wife April (Sheree J. Wilson) during their Parisian honeymoon. April was supposed to be released to Bobby’s custody at the OPEC conference – but when gunfire broke out, she got caught in the crossfire. The scene ended with Bobby weeping as he cradled his dead bride’s body. Wilson had become “Dallas’s” leading lady at this point, making this the first time the show had killed off one of its main characters (not counting Jock, of course). Her death remains one of the show’s boldest – and most heartbreaking – plot twists.

Which “Dallas” shootings shocked you most? Share your choices below and read more “Dal-Lists.”

The Dallas Decoder Interview: Howard Lakin

Howard Lakin

Howard Lakin penned several “Dallas” episodes as a freelancer in the early 1980s, then returned to the series as a writer and producer for its final three seasons. To my delight, he agreed to share his memories of working on the show, as well as his thoughts on the TNT revival.

You wrote some of my favorite “Dallas” episodes, beginning with “The Fourth Son,” the one where Ray discovers Jock is his father. What do you remember about making it?

Not too much, honestly. But my own dad was adopted so I’m sure I was able to find plenty of emotional traction in the Jock-Ray relationship. And I think that also might have been a factor later on when I got to plot the J.R.-Vanessa Beaumont-James Beaumont illegitimate son story.

That’s interesting. Did that happen a lot – your drawing on your own family experiences when writing for the Ewings?

In some of the subtle details, maybe. But not in any real core way.

How did it feel when you’d see “Written by Howard Lakin” appear on screen?

Funny to think back on it. But I was in my 20s during my first three-year stint as a freelance writer for “Dallas” and most of my close friends were not TV watchers. Even my wife wasn’t much of a TV watcher so it was kind of hard to muster up a feeling of self-importance when I saw my name onscreen! Although secretly … yeah, it was cool.

J.R. (Larry Hagman) in “Sunrise, Sunset”

Did you have favorite characters to write for?

Don’t know why this came to mind, but I remember this one scene I wrote for J.R. where he had to walk into a swimming pool fully clothed in order to cut a deal. [“Sunrise, Sunset” during Season 13 – Ed.] But when I saw the dailies, Larry Hagman had ad-libbed a kind of Texas strip tease before getting wet. Off came his hat slowly, off came his watch slowly, out came his wallet, almost seductively. Larry Hagman gave J.R. such character nuance that writing J.R. was fun; whatever I brought to the table, Larry made it better. That said, I also especially enjoyed writing Sue Ellen. Her long character trajectory was one of the most engaging to work on.

Any favorite “Dallas” episodes?

“Wedding Bell Blues” always pops into my head. It was the first “Dallas” episode I both wrote and produced and it marked a change for the show. “Dallas’s” ratings were being impacted by fresh new competition in the late 1980s. These new shows had a much faster pace and a lot more flash. [Producers] Len Katzman and Art Lewis both wanted to keep the show moving forward so it was agreed we’d try to change with the times. “Wedding Bell Blues” was the first step in the process. I guess the feeling at the time was that if we were going to grow old, it wasn’t going to be a rocking chair thing. We were going to take some chances and go down fighting.

J.R. and Cally (Hagman, Cathy Podewell) in “Wedding Bell Blues”

I love “Wedding Bell Blues”! That’s the episode where a storm strands everyone at Southfork on the night of J.R. and Cally’s wedding. It’s probably one of the most light-hearted “Dallas” episodes.

Larry Hagman directed the episode and really had fun with it.

Were there times you’d see one of your scenes after it was filmed and think, “Wow, that’s not how I envisioned it when I wrote it?”

Not really, not that I can remember. More credit to Len Katzman. He was that rare exec producer who came up the hard way, sweeping out sound stages as a teenager – I think I have that right – followed by decades of hands-on experience. He had a great grasp not just of his own job but he really understood the intricacies and elements of everyone else’s job. And in an industry that is known for “creative conflict,” he had a calming influence, it seemed, on everyone. This translated into a “no surprises” kind of show when it came time to look at the rough cut.

What was it like to work on “Dallas” toward the end of its run? It seems like a lot of fans are critical of the final years. What’s your response?

Instead of focusing on negatives, because in a weird way that just tarnishes the show’s overall reputation, I’d love to hear about some upbeat takeaways from the show’s later episodes now that 20-plus years have passed. What was fun, what made folks feel, what do they still remember with fondness, you know? After 20 years, it might be time to look back and re-visit the good stuff. Personally, having experienced both the glory years and the do-not-go-gentle-into-that-good-night years, I prefer the latter. CBS, Lorimar and Elvis had left the building. Len had won the right to bring the ship home all on his own and in terms of working conditions, it had the most relaxed vibe of any show I ever worked on.

Don and Sue Ellen (Ian McShane, Linda Gray) in “The Serpent’s Tooth”

Do you have a favorite storyline from those final years of the show? Something you think worked really well?

Off the top of my head, I think …well, I don’t know if these were the story lines that worked best but I really enjoyed crafting the three romances which featured Bobby-April, J.R.-Vanessa, and especially Sue Ellen and Don Lockwood because I was determined that Sue Ellen should have a powerful, positive walk-off ending. I really enjoyed Ian McShane. He was fun to work with and a cool dude – aside from being an awesome actor. Gayle Hunnicutt was a class act and a nice person to boot. And Sheree Wilson did a good job with the long romantic build-up and payoff in Paris with Patrick Duffy.

If the show had been renewed for a 15th season, do you have any idea what storylines you might have pursued? Any idea how the cliffhanger with J.R.’s “suicide” attempt would have been resolved?

I don’t remember any discussion of “what if” so I can’t help you there. If we had known there was going to be a 15th season, I doubt very much that the suicide storyline would have been used at all.

You’ve talked in past interviews about how every “Dallas” character reflected some facet of Leonard Katzman’s personality. Can you talk a little more about that?

It’s just my opinion. But here’s an example: Art Lewis and I would sit with Len for endless hours in his dark office, windows shut, stuffy as hell, hashing out stories. I would have mock arguments with Art, each of us taking the story choices in different directions. Len would just listen. More argument, Len would just listen. Ideas, ideas, how a character should react, what would Bobby do, whatever, then at some point Len would literally swivel in his chair so we couldn’t see his face – this could last for five seconds or two minutes. Then he’d swivel back and give us a satisfied smile and let us know which of our many ideas were correct according to the grid through which he saw the whole arc of the show. It was like he could slip into the skin of each character.

Any thoughts on what Mr. Katzman might make of the new TNT series? And what do you think of the show?

I definitely like the new show. It’s really remarkable how it remains true to the spirit and mythology of the original and yet adds all this new good stuff. Can’t speak for Len Katzman but I know he’d be very pleased with its success.

John Ross (Tyler Banks) in “Head of the Family”

It’s funny: One of the first episodes you wrote, “Head of the Family,” ends with little John Ross sitting in Jock’s chair at the head of the Southfork dinner table. It kind of predicts the whole TNT series!

Damn, I totally forgot about that.

You’re now a rare book dealer. How did that come about?

Showbiz, especially episodic work, is so adrenaline-driven that I really needed ways to chill. Before I got my MFA degree at UCLA film school, I got a degree in lit from Antioch College. Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy – read everything they wrote. Decided to collect their first editions. Built such a good collection that eventually it morphed into Lakin & Marley Rare Books here in San Francisco.

You just published a novel. What can you tell us about it?

It’s brand new, called “California Noir.” You can buy it on Amazon or ask for it at your local bookshop. It’s an emotional thriller, equal parts suspense and romance. Don’t want to do any spoilers so, in classic TV shorthand, think of it as “Dallas” meets “Casablanca,” a film noir novel that’s just as much a love story as it is a mystery to be solved.

Getting back to “Dallas:” The series has now spanned several decades. What do you think is the secret of its enduring appeal?

Live long enough and you can end up literally watching hundreds and hundreds of television series, many absolutely brilliant, most the usual re-mix or formula. “Dallas” is much more saga than series. Its narrative is expansive, and larger than life and convoluted in a good way. From my point of view, what makes it endure is also what makes it iconic. I mean, despite its oversized Texas storytelling, anti-heroic bluster and Dickensian cast of characters, there is still so much to care about on a human level and a whole lot of universality in how it deals with complex family love, family business and family conflict. That’s my take on it anyway.

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