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Dallas had a different vibe

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by Herofan, Feb 3, 2020.

  1. Herofan

    Herofan Soap Chat Active Member EXP: 1 Year

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    I don’t even fully know how to explain what I will try to say, but I always thought Dallas had a different vibe or feel from any other drama show I have ever watched. It seemed like they were in their own world. I could never imagine Dallas crossing over with any other show, other than Knots, and mixing well. I don’t know if it was their way of life, family dynamic or what. Am I making any sense?
     
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  2. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Addict EXP: 11 Years

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    I can explain it, as I'm in Texas right now.

    Watch the early episodes and you may agree that Dallas is really an old Western, set in modern day. In fact, many of the actors were in Westerns before they came over to Dallas.

    Including Jim Davis and Robert J Wilke (Tom Owens).

     
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  3. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Winner EXP: 18 Years

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    You're making sense to me! I think Dallas had a very strong sense of place and its own history. The characters weren't interested in or connected to the outside world the way the Carringtons were when Dynasty first started. They were much more parochial and inward-looking. They didn't even have Christmas -- they had the Ewing barbecue instead. Dallas felt like its own universe, sealed off and claustrophobic, and so everything that happened in that universe felt huge. The same applies to New Dallas in comparison to New Dynasty and Empire, which are much more about the "real world" than their own mythos.

    There are some amazing close-ups of his face in Days of Heaven.

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Addict EXP: 11 Years

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    James makes an excellent point, as usual.

    And here is the proof of what he says, in the episode "The Dove Hunt"

    Click spoiler button to see the events that lead up to this great scene:

    Register or to view Spoiler content!

    Jock Ewing:

    “I owe you, that’s all. Back in those days, I ran roughshod over a lot of people. I don’t remember you, Owens, but I should have – because you got a lot of pride. When you get right down to it, that’s all a man can take to his grave.”

    Now, you tell me many other shows where we can hear dialogue like that, spoken by actors the caliber of Jim Davis.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2020
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  5. Herofan

    Herofan Soap Chat Active Member EXP: 1 Year

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    That’s a very good description. They weren’t connected to or interested in the outside/real world, and maybe that’s what made it seem even more unusual. They were attempting to depict a part of the real world. In other words, it wasn’t Twilight Zone or Star Trek, but their depiction of real rarely went beyond their Dallas universe. They didn’t have Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, nothing. I thought the Ewings seemed more regular than some rich families on tv, but they seemed really out of their element around any common people.
     
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  6. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Enthusiast EXP: 12 Years

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    I describe Dallas as a western too. I grew up on westerns, so I think that's why Dallas appealed to me as much as it did. I didn't think of Dallas as a soap opera and I'm not the kind of guy who would usually watch a soap opera. They had a western and they added a serialized format to it that, at the time, only soap operas used. All the other prime time shows at that time had stories that resolved in an episode, or sometimes two episodes. So it got called a soap opera because the story continued from week to week. That probably wasn't good for Dallas because after awhile they forgot their western roots and started to actually look like a soap opera. Then they lost viewers. Well, they lost a lot of viewers the season after Jim Davis died - the single biggest drop from one season to the next - but they remained successful until they got too far away from what made the show what it was.

    Season 4 scored a 27. 6 Nielsen rating. No other "80s primetime soap" ever attained that level of popularity. I haven't seen any of them but I did see the commercials for them. They didn't have that western look to them.

    Not many! I can't remember if there were any other shows at the time that did.

    For most of the time since then it just got worse because the characters in other shows just fell further and further from even coming close to displaying the rugged individualism Jim Davis portrayed so well as Jock Ewing. Now there's a show that has a character that does have some similarities to the way Jim Davis played Jock Ewing. In Yellowstone, Kevin Costner plays a character who is comparable in some ways to Jock Ewing. It doesn't air very often, just 10 episodes year, but if you like that kind of character, you'll enjoy it.
     
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  7. ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989

    ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989 Soap Chat Addict EXP: 9 Years

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    DALLAS was to me an 80s modern western series, which had roots and elements of films made from the 40s thru to the 60s, westerns mixed with Douglas Sirk melodramas.

    In its first seven seasons (DVD count: 1978-84) it was definitely in this genre, the soapy aspect came along in the 1984-85 season, by then I think it was to do with the fact that DYNASTY was creeping up in the ratings.

    DALLAS did seem to be in its own universe, especially after 1986 when it split off from KNOTS for good, you could say that the two shows did exist in parallel universes from then on, KNOTS & FC seemed more closely related.

    DYNASTY also seemed very out of this world more so than DALLAS, which does refer to past world events, which makes it seem more real.

    I do wish John Wayne has lived long enough to see DALLAS become a success, he totally would have gotten a guest role!
     
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  8. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Addict EXP: 11 Years

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    I can picture him saying, "I am Takapa!"
     
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  9. Bill Dilks

    Bill Dilks Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Agree completely! This finally puts into words my love of the show...a modern western, that soon developed story lines that carried from one week to the next.

    I heartily dislike the word "soap". The term soap opera originated from schmaltzy daytime radio dramas, followed by daytime tv, being sponsored by soap manufacturers to appeal to the housewife. That's all it is.

    DALLAS toward the end of S02 became a continuing modern western. Was STAR TREK a soap? Was ANDY GRIFFITH or MY FAVORITE MARTIAN a soap? Sure, they had a couple of continuing story lines, or things that carried through from one episode to the next, like most shows did. STAR TREK lost a star ship, and that lost ship didn't reappear the following week. GUNSMOKE lost a rustler, and that character was gone from the show. Bonanza wasn't a SOAP either. These aren't perfect examples, but I'm merely making a point.

    Just because a story line carries through for a while or a seasonal character comes and goes doesn't make it a "soap" in my book. But the media loves to label and downgrade everything they touch, unless they personally like it or it's professionally or industry-wide expedient. More reasons why the media is not relevant and hasn't been for a very long time.

    upload_2020-2-4_13-8-50.jpeg

    Story line good or bad, Forrest (right) made a good Texan. And Punk is in Jock's category for sure.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2020
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  10. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle EXP: 19 Years

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    DALLAS was a soap due to its continuing story structure, unusual in primetime then.

    There is indeed a pejorative ring to the word.
     
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  11. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator EXP: 21 Years Staff Member

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    Larry Hagman once said it wasn't a soap. It was a 'night time drama'.
     
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  12. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle EXP: 19 Years

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    Well, John Forsythe also didn't like DYNASTY being called a "soap" -- the irony being that DYNASTY eventually became a daytime soap.
     
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  13. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Warrior EXP: 12 Years

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    Gays And Their Wives
     
  14. Laurie Marr

    Laurie Marr Soap Chat Active Member

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    DALLAS took some classic universal themes, added some brilliantly reworked archetypes and located it in a setting that had authenticity - so much so that Southfork gave a mere serial drama the heft of a saga. The inspired casting is what made all of it work so well, for so long and so memorably.
     
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  15. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Star EXP: 3 Years

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    DALLAS a soap? Perish the thought. I mean, STAR TREK also had a storyline where two characters who were antagonists could have been the father of an alcoholic woman's baby. And another where the patriarch has a bastard son whose paternity has been hidden. And one more where one character's lost mother comes back and is a tycoon and tries to destroy the rival company of her son's. And another where the main villain has an affair with the wife's sister, and she shoots him and gets away with it because she is pregnant with his child. All these are typical Sci-fi plots. Or Westerns. Or documentaries about brain surgery. But certainly not a soap.
     
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  16. Laurie Marr

    Laurie Marr Soap Chat Active Member

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    Two households, both alike in dignity....

    From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,

    Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.

    From forth the fatal loins of these two foes

    A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life.....
     

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  17. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle EXP: 19 Years

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    It seems the term soap is used a lot for a drama about a family. BIG VALLEY was sometimes derided as being a "soap" (as was BONANZA, but it didn't have any women) and it wasn't even serialized.
     
  18. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Star EXP: 3 Years

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    An excellent observation James. It felt like I was peering into a snow globe but in this case the Ewing Universe. It's a credit to the early writers and producers how tight they kept the focus on the Ewing family. I also liked how the writers created the synopsis the Ewing family would devour itself but GOD help any outsider who threatened the family.
     
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  19. Taylor Bennett Jr.

    Taylor Bennett Jr. Soap Chat Dream Maker EXP: 1 Year

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    in the absence of that, we have this:



    (head about 30 seconds in to see the confrontation)

    I still submit that Jock Ewing wouldn't have backed down to Jacob McCandles in a million years, John Wayne or no John Wayne
     
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  20. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Addict EXP: 11 Years

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    And Forrest is another one who starred in American Westerns

    [​IMG]
     
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