It's Become Obvious Why Dallas Went Downhill

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by Kenny Coyote, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Star

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    And, meanwhile, on "Knots", its vocal actors (ahem, actresses I´d say, though I would include here those who penned scripts once in awhile like Pleshette, Murray, Devane, or Houghton) relentlessly called at the producers´ or writers´ home to complain about their characters´ lines and suggest ways to improve them. But even so, some actors like Joan Van Ark, Julie Harris or Constance McCashin used to be underutilized during their latest seasons. Which didn´t stop the showrunners to act as a creative team with them and feature the best storylines of that era, prior to the Lechowicz´s arrival.

    And if that happened in the most exquisite soap of the four major ones, go figure what didn´t happen behind the scenes in the Lorimar "products" or in the ever vacuous Spelling "junk TV". I still wish that someone could write a book about the secrets of those shows, maybe Ryan Murphy could add them to the "Feud" anthology.

    Regarding the Capice vs. Katzman chapter, I see it as a power play (to use a title out of the "Dallas" episode titles) and a tale of greed that would make J.R.´s plots look like naughty children´s games. What is so ironic in hindsight is to remember that, back to mid-80´, the Lorimar execs did think they were getting bigger and bigger, producing movies for big screen and setting up takeovers. In their case, I also think that their merge with Telepictures, which I never knew if was a well-thought move or just that, a hostile T.O., partly was what began to hurt the series very badly.

    The video editing has been mentioned already, and it´s tremendously ironic that a dream had a wonderful look and then, when the dreamer wakes up, reality is so blurry. I also think that Donna´s Reed suit damaged the company´s reputation, especially when she died so sadly. And after Duffy´s return, I read in a French magazine that the new Lorimar (-Telepictures now...) honcho stated that the demands of high rises from the actors would be ignored. Which led me to think, given that the date of that interview was 1986 or 1987, that was the reason VP and Susan Howard were let go.

    Again, it was another power play, and the company seemed to need to say who was the boss then. Let's remember that "Knots Landing" was severely hurt those years too, when Harris and McCashin were axed. And "Falcon Crest" (coincidence, another L-T production...) got rid of Robert Foxworth, William R. Moses and Cesar Romero around that time too. At least they seemed to be more coherent than the producers of the two "Dynasties", who always were accusing their colleagues of whatever problems they had (to know more about it, read the "Dynasty" forum and their clever experts there).

    Katzman´s moves after the dream solution seemed to be a desperate seek for control: he hired two of his sons for major jobs in the show, and as Barbara Curran´s book proves, Susan Howard was vocal in her disagreements with both producers (especially with Katzman, because she didn´t want Donna to have a lover while she was pregnant, and she still was angry with him for letting go the deaf boy adoption storyline, for obvious reasons...). Duffy allegedly got paid one million (of 80´s dollars!) just for coming back, and a big rise for episode too, as well as the promise to make Bobby stronger.

    I wonder what Duffy thought about the latter when he saw that his character was playing James Bond and sharing the blame with J.R. about the B.D. Calhoun affair. From good ol´ Bobby he became stupid Bobby. Too bad. I only saw improvements for Bobby in his scenes with Christopher, but not searching for mummy Pam and sharing Ewing Oil with J.R. again (and Cliff!!) were bad moves from the writers (controlled by Katzman).

    If I had to find a reason for that lack of insight, I´d blame those possible behind-the-scenes problems between Katzman and the new people at the helms of NuLorimar. I seriously doubt that someone who gave us seven brilliant seasons of urban, soapy drama could be so lack of imagination and good sense as the five last seasons seem to prove. Even the casting was less than memorable after the dream, look at some of the names of the acting "masters" he brought aboard: Sheree J. Wilson, the guy who played B.D. Calhoun, Hunter von Leer (who seemingly thought that B.D. was a true American hero who wanted revenge because J.R. "killed" his man, lol!), Karen Carlson, the very annoying Mrs. Scotfield, or the girls from the next season, including Miss Bonsai! We were lucky to have William Smithers for awhile!
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018
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  2. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    The beginning of the end. A saying which can be so easily applied to the recasting of Miss Ellie. But I'll add the rot had set in much earlier than the introduction of Donna Reed. That rot had started the moment the opening credits rolled with "Killer At Large." Starring in alphabetical order, "Where was Barbara Bel Geddes?" Shafted by the hierarchy. Talk about lack of respect for an Emmy Award winning actress. By the end of this episode Afton was gone, followed shortly thereafter by Katherine Wentworth. There was the head turning introduction of Mandy Winger and Jamie Ewing.

    Jesus. What happened between "End Game" and "Killer At Large?"
     
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  3. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Star

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    I dare to say that the change you point out actually happened in the middle of the scene of Miss Ellie and Clayton´s wedding (the one we did NOT see). Remember they did a fade out, just when she was walking down the aisle and out of the house? If a character like Miss Ellie gets married and you don´t see their vows and their performers´ acting, this already means that something is wrong.

    Add to that that the Whodunit had little buildup because I have always suspected it was a last-minute addition (as was the first one, but a lot less successful, aside from the staging, which I did love, with the score and the shock of "Bobby´s been shot, not J.R.!"). Suddenly, we had a cliffhanger episode that didn´t really bring anything new at all. It was just the old formula, but reversed: the victim eventually isn´t who we think that would be. This was to "Dallas" what the Moldavia wedding was to "Dynasty": good execution but poor resolution. "Killer at Large" is a season premiere by-the-numbers, with a lot of people telling each other the same thing: "Bobby´s been shot." Lame. Katherine and Pam looked amazing in her Travilla dresses though.
     
  4. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Not my area of expertise, but I thought Travilla was a much better designer than Nolan Miller, which is funny because he was brought to the show exactly because of Nolan Miller on DYNASTY.
     
  5. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Star

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    I 100% agree. So does she:
    upload_2018-11-11_0-49-54.jpeg
     
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  6. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    Travilla did lots and lots of grecian pleating. Sometimes too much.

    But Miller's daywear for Krystle in the mid-to-later seasons was atrocious.
     
  7. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    Nepotism. The culprit for the fall of many Dynasties.
     
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