‘Dallas’ Memoriam: Honoring Those We Lost in 2015

Carl Hardesty, Dallas, Edgar Randolph, Fritz Longley, George Coe, Lorimar, Martin E. Brooks, Merv Adelson

Here’s Dallas Decoder’s annual tribute to the “Dallas” actors, crew members and other contributors who died during the past year. Notable deaths among the show’s extended family also are included. Click on each person’s name to learn more about his or her career at IMDb.com.

 

Dallas, Lorimar, Merv Adelson

Merv Adelson

Merv Adelson

Died September 8 (age 85)

Adelson co-founded Lorimar, the producer of “Dallas,” “Knots Landing” and dozens of other popular shows from the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. The studio’s name was created by combining the name of Adelson’s ex-wife Lori with Palomar Airport, where he used to fly airplanes.

 

Dallas, Old Acquaintance, Richard Anthony

Richard Anthony

Richard Anthony

Died April 20 (age 77)

Anthony played a waiter in the 1978 classic “Old Acquaintance.” His other credits include the 1968 “Star Trek” episode “Spectre of the Gun.”

 

 

Dallas, Edgar Randolph, Martin E. Brooks

Martin E. Brooks

Martin E. Brooks

Died December 7 (age 90)

Brooks played Edgar Randolph — a Sam Culver protégé who was later blackmailed by J.R. — in 10 episodes from 1983 to 1984. Brooks, who is best known as Dr. Rudy Wells on “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “The Bionic Woman,” also appeared in three 1992 “Knots Landing” episodes.

 

Carl Hardesty, Dallas, John Carter

John Carter

John Carter

Died May 23 (age 87)

Carter played Carl Hardesty, J.R.’s go-to man for setting up dummy corporations, in four episodes between 1982 and 1986. He also played a doctor in a 1984 installment of “Knots Landing.” His other credits include nine “Falcon Crest” episodes.

 

Al Checco, Dallas, Ewing Blues

Al Checco

Al Checco

Died July 19 (age 93)

In “The Ewing Blues,” Checco played the man who delivered food to Cliff’s townhouse, noticed J.R.’s appearance on the TV show “Talk Time” and expressed admiration for him. Checcho made guest spots on many other shows, including “Bonanza,” “Kung Fu,” “Growing Pains” and “Scrubs.”

 

Dallas, General Fritz Longley, George Coe

George Coe

George Coe

Died July 18 (age 86)

Coe played Fritz Longley, the retired general who inspired J.R.’s Middle East misadventures, in two 10th-season episodes, “Pari Per Sue” and “Enigma.” Coe also appeared regularly on “Saturday Night Live” during its first season and later voiced a character on “Archer.”

 

Dallas, Diana Douglas, Dr. Suzanne Lacey, Letter

Diana Douglas

Diana Douglas

Died July 3 (age 92)

Douglas played Dr. Suzanne Lacey, the child psychologist who treats John Ross after the Southfork fire, in the seventh-season classic “The Letter.” Douglas, who was married to Kirk Douglas, also played the physician who treated Gary Ewing after his fall from the wagon at the end of “Knots Landing’s” first season.

 

Dallas, Jay Gerber, Rosemont, Southfork Wedding Jinx

Jay Gerber

Jay Gerber

Died October 2 (age 86)

Geber played Rosemont, a sanitarium patient, in the 13th-season episode “The Southfork Wedding Jinx.” His other credits include “Knots Landing,” “L.A. Law” and “Gilmore Girls.”

 

 

Dallas: The Early Years, Ed Porter, Geoffrey Lewis

Geoffrey Lewis

Geoffrey Lewis

Died April 7 (age 79)

Lewis played Ed Porter in “Dallas: The Early Years.” The character actor’s extensive credits also include the Clint Eastwood film “Every Which Way But Loose,” a regular role on the “Alice” spinoff “Flo” and nine episodes of “Falcon Crest.”

 

Dallas, Riobert Magruder

Robert Magruder

Robert Magruder

Died January 2 (age 85)

Magruder, a Texas-based actor, played various roles in four episodes between 1978 and 1984, including a stint as a doctor in the third-season “Whatever Happed to Baby John?” two-parter.

 

 

Dallas, Ewing vs. Ewing, Gordon Oas-Heim

Gordon Oas-Heim

Gordon Oas-Heim

Died June 5 (age 88)

Oas-Heim appears in the credits of the fourth-season episode “Ewing vs. Ewing,” although he isn’t readily visible. The actor’s other credits include “The New Monkees” and a guest spot on “Diff’rent Strokes.”

 

 

Betsy Palmer, Knots Landing

Betsy Palmer

Betsy Palmer

Died May 29 (age 88)

Palmer, who is best known for playing Jason Vorhees’ mother in “Friday the 13th,” portrayed Valene Ewing’s Aunt Ginny on “Knots Landing” from 1989 to 1990.

 

 

Dallas, George Probert

George Probert

George Probert

Died January 10 (age 87)

Probert worked as a “Dallas” music editor on 74 episodes from 1979 to 1982. He also worked on “Lost in Space” and “The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo” and was an accomplished jazz musician.

 

 

Dallas, Geoffrey Ryan

Geoffrey Ryan

Geoffrey Ryan

Died September 20 (age 62)

Ryan served as a Los Angeles location manager for “Dallas” from 1981 to 1983. He also worked on several other Lorimar series, including “Knots Landing,” “Berrenger’s,” “Guns of Paradise” and “Bodies of Evidence.”

 

Dallas, Gregory Walcott, Jim Redfield

Gregory Walcott

Gregory Walcott

Died March 20 (age 87)

In 1980, Walcott appeared in “Who Done It?” and the following episode, “Taste of Success,” as refinery owner Jim Redfield. Ten years later, he returned in the 13th-season episode “Tale of Two Cities” as Jebediah Joyce, the Coast Guard commander who investigated the Ewing Oil tanker disaster.

 

Alan Weeks, Dallas

Alan Weeks

Alan Weeks

Died October 10 (age 67)

Weeks did one-time guest spots on shows such as “Police Woman” and “Fame.” His last credited appearances were two 1991 episodes of “Dallas” — “Designing Women” and “S is For Seduction” — in which he played Thomas, the judge in Carter McKay’s murder trial.

 

What do you remember about these artists? Share your memories below and read our tributes from 2014 and 2013.

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 132 — ‘The Road Back’

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

What hath they wrought?

With “The Road Back,” “Dallas” delivers the first hour of its seventh season and the most thrilling opening in its history. It begins with a nighttime shot of Southfork, which looks familiar against the dark sky except for the flames shooting out of the roof. Director Nick Havinga then brings us inside the house, where we find the occupants right where we left them at the end of “Ewing Inferno,” the previous season’s cliffhanger: Sue Ellen and John Ross are asleep in their beds, each unaware of the smoke filling their rooms; Ray is unconscious in the foyer; and J.R. has collapsed in a hallway. Next, we see Bobby zipping down Braddock Road in his red convertible. When he spots the blaze, he slows down and stares for a moment. “Oh, my God,” he says.

And then, the rescue sequence: As Jerrold Immel’s underscore surges, Bobby guns the car down the driveway and screeches to a halt near the garage. He leaps out of the vehicle and dives into the swimming pool, then runs into the house, where he finds Ray awakening. Together, the two men race upstairs and drag the dazed J.R. down the hall and through the doors to the balcony. Bobby and Ray go back into the house and retrieve Sue Ellen and John Ross, and when they return to the terrace, Ray orders everyone into the pool below. With sirens wailing in the background, J.R. cradles the screaming John Ross and jumps into the water.

When I revisited “The Road Back” for this critique, I had no doubt these scenes would retain their emotional value, but I was surprised by how well they hold up from a technical perspective. The wide shots of the burning house look a little crude by today’s standards, but they still work. Likewise, the scenes inside the home are as chaotic and scary now as they were three decades ago. “Dallas” producer Leonard Katzman built replicas of the Southfork sets so he could burn them down, so those are real flames you see surrounding Patrick Duffy, Steve Kanaly and Larry Hagman. I’m guessing “The Road Back’s” opening was filmed at the same time as the final scenes in “Ewing Inferno,” although if it turned out Katzman staged one fire for the cliffhanger and another for the resolution, I wouldn’t be surprised. This man had a DeMillian appreciation for spectacle.

“The Road Back” also includes a fantastic scene where Bobby summons J.R. to a Southfork pasture to broker a truce between him and Ray, whose beef with J.R. caused the fire in the first place. Ray angrily reminds J.R. how he made an enemy of Walt Driscoll, the vengeful bureaucrat who tried to kill J.R. but ended up injuring Ray’s cousin Mickey instead. J.R. responds by pointing out that Bobby and Ray had a hand in ruining Driscoll too. “None of us have clean hands, boys. None of us,” J.R. says, and for once, he isn’t twisting the truth. In another poignant moment, J.R. and Bobby stand inside the charred Southfork living room and survey the damage. “We sure made a mess out of everything. Ewing Oil, Southfork, the family. Every damn thing,” J.R. says. It’s nice to see him humbled for a change, no?

I also like the scenes in “The Road Back” that show J.R being nice to the embittered Sue Ellen, not just because it’s good to see his compassionate side, but also because it allows Linda Gray to deliver some terrific zingers. In my favorite exchange, J.R. gets a call from Bobby and rushes out of the hotel room where he’s staying with his wife and son. “I’ll be back as soon as I can,” J.R. says. “Don’t remind me,” Sue Ellen responds. Later, when J.R. encourages Sue Ellen to get some rest, she turns to Pam and quips, “Isn’t it wonderful how thoughtful he can be when he’s caught with his boots parked under the wrong bed?”

(J.R. and Sue Ellen’s dynamic here brings to mind the third-season opener “Whatever Happened to Baby John, Part 1,” when he makes a sincere attempt to patch up his broken marriage, only to discover she’s unwilling to forgive him. Other scenes in “The Road Back” also harken to earlier “Dallas” moments. For example, when J.R. drives away from his meeting with Bobby and Ray, the shot of his Mercedes rolling across the Southfork plains recalls a similar shot at the end of “Digger’s Daughter.” Also, during “The Road Back’s” cattle drive sequence, we hear Ray speak on his walkie-talkie to Hal, a ranch hand seen during the first season, while Miss Ellie and Clayton spend this episode at Lake Takapa, the subject of a major fourth-season storyline.)

Of course, even though the tragic events of the previous season reveal J.R.’s humanity in “The Road Back,” this episode makes it clear he hasn’t been fully redeemed. In one scene, he schemes with Katherine Wentworth to ensure Bobby and Pam don’t reunite. Later, after Sue Ellen delivers her “boots-parked-under-the-wrong-bed” remark, J.R. and Pam get into a nasty spat. (J.R.: “I’ve never heard a woman open her mouth more and say less.”) His most mischievous moment comes in the final scene, when J.R. and Bobby visit Harv Smithfield and tell him they want to call off their fight for Ewing Oil. I believe J.R. feels genuine regret, but when Harv tells the brothers that it’s legally impossible to end their contest, notice the slight, ever-so-subtle smile that break across J.R.’s face. My guess is this is Hagman’s way of signaling to the audience that even though J.R. feels bad about everything that’s transpired, he’s glad he’s going to have a chance to beat Bobby after all.

“The Road Back” also offers the classic scene where Pam takes Sue Ellen to a French fashion boutique to rebuild her wardrobe after the fire, only to watch in horror as Sue Ellen lustily accepts the glass of champagne offered by snooty Madam Claude. Says Sue Ellen when Pam suggests they should leave: “Pam, don’t be a nag.” This episode is also chockablock with casting trivia: Omri Katz makes his first appearance as John Ross; Dan Ammerman, who originated the role of Ewing family physician Dr. Danvers in the second-season episode “Bypass,” shows up here as the Farlows’ doctor; and daytime soap opera star Stephen Nichols (“Days of Our Lives,” “General Hospital”) and Fox News Channel anchor Arthel Neville have bit roles.

“The Road Back” also marks the debut of my favorite version of the “Dallas” title sequence music, the one that features the synthesized riff when the signature three-way split screens begin. The sound effect is pure ’80s, which his probably why I love it so. “The Road Back” is also the first “Dallas” episode to feature the work of cinematographer Bradford May, whose camerawork gives the show a rich, textured look. It’s a dramatic contrast from other years, especially toward the end of “Dallas’s” run, when the show looks flat and washed out. Sadly, May is with “Dallas” for just 27 episodes. I’m not sure why he didn’t last the whole seventh season — there are conflicting explanations for his departure — but one thing is certain: Thanks to him, “Dallas” finally looks as good as it is.

Grade: A

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Omri Katz, Ray Krebbs, Steve Kanaly

Hot heir

‘THE ROAD BACK’

Season 7, Episode 1

Airdate: September 30, 1983

Audience: 23 million homes, ranking 2nd in the weekly ratings

Writer: Arthur Bernard Lewis

Director: Nick Havinga

Synopsis: Bobby rescues J.R., Sue Ellen, John Ross and Ray from the fire and later brokers a truce between his feuding brothers. J.R. and Bobby tell Harv they want to call off the contest, but Harv informs them it’s legally impossible. Sue Ellen discovers the car accident wasn’t her fault. Mickey emerges from his coma. Mark fears the fire will reunite Bobby and Pam, while J.R. and Katherine agree to work together to keep them apart. Clayton tells the Ewings that Miss Ellie needs rest and won’t return to Southfork for awhile.

Cast: Dan Ammerman (Neal), Mary Armstrong (Louise), John Beck (Mark Graison), Morgan Brittany (Katherine Wentworth), John Devlin (Clouse), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Eric Farlow (Christopher Ewing), Dana Gibson (Ellison), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Gloria Hocking (Madam Claude), Anna Kathryn Holbrook (Ann), Susan Howard (Donna Krebbs), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Omri Katz (John Ross Ewing), Howard Keel (Clayton Farlow), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Betty King (Groves), Kay E. Kuter (Sampson), Michael Krueger (Henri), Timothy Patrick Murphy (Mickey Trotter), Arthel Neville (waitress), Stephen Nichols (paramedic), George O. Petrie (Harv Smithfield), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Kate Reid (Lil Trotter), David Sanderson (Buck), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing)

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

The Art of Dallas: ‘Whatever Happened to Baby John? Part 1’

J.R. and Sue Ellen (Larry Hagman, Linda Gray) are seen in this 1979 publicity shot from “Whatever Happened to Baby John? Part 1,”“Dallas’s” third-season opener.

Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘I Am No Longer for Sale’

Dallas, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, Whatever Happened to Baby John Part 1

Oh, snap!

In “Whatever Happened to Baby John, Part 1,” “Dallas’s” third-season opener, J.R. (Larry Hagman) sits next to Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), who is lounging near the Southfork pool, reading Texas Homes magazine.

J.R.: Darling, I wish you’d try and take a little more interest in things.

SUE ELLEN: Interest? In what?

J.R.: Well, to start with, our child.

SUE ELLEN: [Flips a page] I don’t think he’s exactly suffering from lack of attention.

J.R.: You wanted that child so much, and now you just don’t seem to care at all.

SUE ELLEN: [Flips a page] Of course, I do.

J.R.: Well, it doesn’t look like it. That’s what I’m saying.

SUE ELLEN: Appearances can very often be deceiving.

J.R.: Honey, I know how – I know how hard this has been for you. How difficult the time it was to quit drinking and go cold turkey and I just want you to know that I admire you for it, Sue Ellen.

SUE ELLEN: [Looks up from the magazine] My drinking was never a problem. I kept trying to tell everybody that.

J.R.: And what I’m saying is, if we try, if we really try, we can solve all our other problems – and I want you to know I am going to try. I really am. [Takes the magazine from her, pulls a ring box out of his pocket] Sweetheart, I got a little present for you this morning. I dropped in a store downtown. [Opens the box] Jeweler calls it a maternity ring. [He holds open the box, smiling.]

SUE ELLEN: You bought me once, J.R. – and you can’t do it anymore. I am no longer for sale.

She snaps shut the box, gets up and walks away.

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 30 – ‘Whatever Happened to Baby John? Part 1’

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, Whatever Happened to Baby John Part 1

Meet the press

J.R., how do you do it?

During “Dallas’s” first two seasons, you neglect your wife, mistreat your mistress, forge your daddy’s will, ruin your mama’s reunion with her long-lost brother, sabotage one brother’s attempt to reconcile with his wife and child, drive another brother out of the family business, ruin your rival’s political career and frame him for murder, attempt to blackmail a closeted gay man into marrying your niece and try – twice – to ensnare your sister-in-law in a compromising position.

Yet as “Dallas’s” third season begins, I can’t help but feel sorry for you as you struggle to be a better husband to Sue Ellen, only to be rebuffed at every turn.

What’s wrong with me?

I realize J.R.’s motivation for wanting to save his marriage isn’t altogether altruistic. The character is obsessed with his reputation, and now that his wife has given birth, he undoubtedly wants his family – and Dallas society – to see him as a loving husband and doting father.

On the other hand, Sue Ellen’s near-death experience in the second-season finale, “John Ewing III, Part 2,” seemed to stir long-forgotten feelings that remain strong in this installment. Never before has J.R.’s concern for Sue Ellen seemed this heartfelt.

You have to give Larry Hagman a lot of credit. Can you think of another actor who could make J.R. this sympathetic, even after all the terrible things he’s done?

Toward the end of “Whatever Happened to Baby John? Part 1,” when J.R. finally runs out of patience and forces his frigid wife to accompany him to the hospital to pick up the child, it seems like he’s reverting to his mean, old ways.

But when J.R. and Sue Ellen arrive at Dallas Memorial and learn the baby is missing, he exhibits more uncharacteristic selflessness when he calls Southfork to share the news with Miss Ellie, who responds by saying she’ll have Lucy and Pam brought home.

“That’s a good idea,” J.R. says.

Wait, what?

J.R. Ewing is concerned about his bratty niece and least favorite sister-in-law?

Never mind what’s wrong with me.

J.R., what’s wrong with you?

Grade: B

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Whatever Happened to Baby John Part 1

Mr. Nice Guy

‘WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JOHN? PART 1’

Season 3, Episode 1

Airdate: September 21, 1979

Audience: 16.1 million homes, ranking 19th in the weekly ratings

Writer: Camille Marchetta

Director: Leonard Katzman

Synopsis: While her baby remains hospitalized, Sue Ellen returns to Southfork, where she resists J.R.’s attempts to be kind toward her.  When the couple goes to the hospital to bring the child home, they’re stunned to learn he has been kidnapped.

Cast: John Ashton (Willie Joe Garr), Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Meg Gallagher (Louella), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Sheila Larken (Priscilla Duncan), Jeanna Michaels (Connie), Cliff Murdock (Lieutenant Simpson), George O. Petrie (Harv Smithfield), Randolph Powell (Alan Beam), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing), Sandy Ward (Jeb Ames)

“Whatever Happened to Baby John? Part 1” is available on DVD and at Amazon.com and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.