Dallas: More Than Just “Who Shot J.R.?”

southfork ranch
The Real Southfork Ranch-now a tourist attraction

The television show “Dallas” first premiered in 1978 and became an iconic American prime-time soap opera. With 14 seasons and 357 episodes, the series chronicled the lives and scandals of the wealthy Ewing family, who made their fortune in the oil industry. The show’s cast featured notable actors such as Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, and Victoria Principal. A revival of the series aired from 2012 to 2014, introducing a new generation of the Ewing family to viewers.

“Dallas” was well-known for its dramatic storylines, which often included elements of romance, betrayal, and power struggles. The show’s catchy theme song, composed by Jerrold Immel, provided an energetic and memorable introduction to each episode. Over the years that the series aired, “Dallas” generated several spin-offs, such as the aptly named “Knots Landing,” which followed one of the original series’ characters in a new setting. As for famous quotes, one of the most recognized lines from the show is J.R. Ewing’s iconic “Don’t forgive and never forget; Do unto others before they do unto you,” which encapsulates the ruthless mentality often displayed by the characters.

The success and popularity of “Dallas” positioned the show as a significant influence on the television landscape during its original run, paving the way for the prime-time soap genre to flourish. Its captivating storytelling, memorable cast, and enduring catchphrases have left a lasting legacy in television history.

The Cast of Dallas

The television show “Dallas” aired for 13 full seasons from 1978 to 1991 and featured a talented ensemble of actors. The series was focused on the lives of the wealthy Ewing family, who resided in Dallas, Texas. The main cast included Larry Hagman as the notorious J.R. Ewing, Patrick Duffy as Bobby Ewing, Linda Gray as Sue Ellen Ewing, and Victoria Principal as Pamela Barnes Ewing, among others. These characters were a significant part of the show’s success, making it one of the era’s most popular programs.

In 2012, a sequel of the original series, also called “Dallas,” was launched and aired for three seasons. The new show featured a mix of original and new cast members, including Josh Henderson as John Ross Ewing, Jesse Metcalfe as Christopher Ewing, Jordana Brewster as Elena Ramos, Julie Gonzalo as Pamela Rebecca Barnes, and Brenda Strong as Ann Ewing [source].

“Dallas” is primarily known for its drama genre, focusing on the intrigue, affairs, and rivalries within the Ewing family. There were spin-offs from the original series, with the most significant one being “Knots Landing” (1979–1993), which centered around the lives of neighbors living in a fictional California community.

Throughout its 13 seasons and 357 episodes, “Dallas” had many impactful and memorable moments. Some of the most famous quotes from the show include J.R. Ewing’s “Don’t forgive and never forget; Do unto others before they do unto you,” and “If you want to make it to the top in this world, you gotta move fast.” Each quote exemplified the character’s cunning nature and desire to maintain power and control over his family and business empire [source].

A Truly Classic Theme Song

The iconic theme song of “Dallas” was composed by Jerrold Immel, an L.A.-based composer who had previously worked on the television show “Gunsmoke.” The theme song is known for its catchy melody and classic 80s synthesizer sound, which perfectly sets the mood for the drama in every episode.

The theme song’s blend of distinctive synth sounds and evocative melody effectively captures the show’s essence as it flies through Dallas’ mirrored downtown and across dusty cattle pastures. It has become synonymous with the show’s success and is remembered fondly by fans.

In addition to composing the memorable theme song, Immel scored many episodes throughout the show’s run. He later created the theme song for “Dallas” spin-off Knots Landing, which began in 1979 and ran for 14 seasons and 344 episodes.

Dallas Spin-Offs

The original “Dallas” television series led to a spin-off series titled “Knots Landing,” which premiered in 1979. It focused on four married couples living in a California cul-de-sac and featured appearances by some “Dallas” characters.

In addition to the original series and “Knots Landing,” there was also a revival of “Dallas” that aired from 2012 to 2014. This updated version of the show featured some original cast members, such as Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray, and Larry Hagman, as well as new characters and storylines.

  • Original Series: 1978-1991
  • Spin-Off – Knots Landing: 1979-1993
  • Revival Series: 2012-2014

Famous Quotes

“Dallas” featured numerous memorable quotes throughout its 14-year run. The show’s intriguing storylines, dramatic situations, and unforgettable characters contributed to these iconic lines. Here are some of the most famous quotes from the series:

One of the standout quotes comes from John Ross, who stated, “I am not just like my father. I’m worse.” This line, uttered by the son of the show’s villainous J.R. Ewing, emphasizes the turbulent relationships and fierce competition within the family.

Another famous line, “Who shot J.R.?” became a well-known pop culture moment, referencing the cliffhanger that kept viewers wondering about J.R. Ewing’s fate. The “Who shot J.R.?” line has become synonymous with suspenseful, unresolved plotlines in television dramas.

Other notable quotes from the series include exchanges between characters that highlight the show’s themes of family, power, and loyalty. These captivating lines still resonate with fans decades after the show’s conclusion.

The Dallas Wrap-Up

The show is known for its engrossing storylines, blending elements of romance, rivalry, and power struggles, which made it one of the most popular television dramas in the 1980s.  In its prime, “Dallas” was a highly influential show that defined its genre, the prime-time soap opera. The series significantly impacted prime-time television and became a global phenomenon, influencing many subsequent soap operas.