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Jock's Will - What Would You Have Done If You Were Jock?

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by Kenny Coyote, Nov 4, 2018.

  1. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Fan

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    I thought the storyline concerning Jock's will and how it created a one year long contest between JR and Bobby was brilliantly done. It created a situation pitting brother against brother in a contest that was to determine which of them would inherit majority ownership of Ewing Oil and the right for that brother to run it as he saw fit. The storyline dominated the show for the entire year the contest lasted and in many ways it was the year (early season 6 through early season 7) when Dallas was at its best.

    As great as the construction of the will and the contest it created was for dramatic purposes and making great television, it was brutally hard on the whole family - to the point Miss Ellie tried to get the will overturned by reason of Jock being declared not mentally competent at the time of his writing the codicil which contained the creation of the contest and the stipulations for it.

    Suppose that in a real life situation, you were a man who had a family very similar to the family Jock had and owned a company just like Ewing Oil. Also suppose you were on a business trip just like the one Jock was on, so that would be where you were when you wrote the codicil which would tell how it would be determined who inherited Ewing Oil. How would you have written the codicil?

    I wonder if the idea of putting my sons in a contest against each other would have even crossed my mind. If it did, I'd like to think it would be something I wouldn't have chosen to do. Knowing my sons' personalities, their highly competitive nature, and the willingness of each son to go to extremes in order to get his way, I would have viewed a contest as potentially too destructive to justify doing it to JR and Bobby and indirectly, to the rest of my family. To be clear, I'm referring to JR and Bobby specifically in the above description of my sons because even if the idea of a contest were something I'd consider, I'd leave Ray and Gary out of it for the same reasons Jock didn't include them in the contest. Neither Ray nor Gary would have the desire, the inclination, nor the aptitude to participate in a contest for the control of Ewing Oil.

    If I were to decide whom I leave Ewing Oil to based strictly on practical considerations I would leave it to JR because he was the one who had spent his whole life wanting to run and learning how to run Ewing Oil on the day I either couldn't or wouldn't run it myself any longer. Bobby also hadn't shown the consistency in remaining dedicated to one profession as JR had. Bobby had dabbled in construction and politics when he could have remained working for Ewing Oil instead. He quit each of those after a relatively short time.

    The one time he had been in full control of Ewing Oil he relinquished it and not because he realized that how he had retained control of it was unethical. After all, he began by acting as if he were just running Ewing Oil until JR would physically be able to return. Once he was handed the reigns he didn't just ask but demanded he receive full control of how to run Ewing Oil in writing. He emotionally blackmailed Jock into doing this by threatening to leave Texas if Jock didn't comply and didn't let him continue running Ewing Oil even after JR had recovered enough to return to running the company. Bobby knew how Miss Ellie would blame Jock if Bobby were to leave at that time for that reason and how she would take a long time to forgive Jock for Bobby leaving of she ever forgave him at all. Miss Ellie even told Jock at that particular time that she would never forgive him if Bobby left. So Jock grudgingly left Bobby in control even when JR had recovered and wanted his job back. Bobby only relinquished control of Ewing Oil when he felt overwhelmed by the demands of the job. When Bobby relinquished control he told JR that JR was much better at making the kind of tough moral and ethical decisions the man in charge of Ewing Oil had to make - "Much better at that kind of thing than I ever want to be", Bobby added.

    Despite that I wouldn't just leave JR the majority of Ewing Oil and thereby in sole control of running the company. Bobby was born significantly later than JR so he hadn't had as much time to learn the business or as much time to decide if running Ewing Oil was something he wanted. Bobby had clearly shown potential and aptitude for the business though. Jock had been proud of the way he'd run Ewing Oil during his tenure, such as acquiring a refinery. I'd be proud of Bobby for that too, and I'd also be concerned about JR's tendency to be reckless - especially when he mortgaged Southfork. Those things combined would lead me to believe there was not one son who was clearly the perfect choice to be my successor. Loving both sons very much, I also wouldn't want to hurt one by giving the whole thing to the other son. That would be an extremely important consideration to me if I were in Jock's position.

    So I wouldn't put them in a contest pitting my sons against each other and I wouldn't feel right about just leaving full control of Ewing Oil to one son or the other. So that would lead me to do this: I would give my sons JR and Bobby a choice between what I'll call options A and B.

    Option A: Ewing Oil would be divided into two equal portions. Each son would be able to take his half of the company, use it to form a new company and name it anything he wished except "Ewing Oil." Anything else including J.R. Ewing Oil or Bobby James Ewing Oil would be allowable. Of course they would be free to do as much business as they liked with each other, go in on projects together, etc. One obvious downside of this option would be that neither company would wield nearly the power Ewing Oil had wielded because each would only be half the size Ewing Oil had been. I believe the profit potential of each would actually less than half of the profit potential Ewing Oil had because it's the sort of situation where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Miss Ellie, Ray and Gary would each receive a 10% share of each company.

    Option B: if both sons decided they would like to work together and be co-presidents of Ewing Oil, then each would inherit 35% of the company, with Miss Ellie, Ray and Gary each receiving a 10% share of it. By doing this they get to run the company named "Ewing Oil" and their profits from running Ewing Oil would be considerably greater than the profits they would make running two half-sized companies. This would hopefully accomplish the goal of getting them to respect each other's capabilities and to realize they are stronger together than apart. That would be my greatest wish - to have JR and Bobby learn to run Ewing Oil together, to learn to get along with each other and to respect each others businessmen and as brothers which was Jock's original goal. Hopefully I'd be achieving Jock's goal of without the terribly destructive effects of pitting them against each other in a contest which would hurt the whole family and not be especially good for Ewing Oil either.

    Trying to show them they're better off working together than apart is what I'd do, while still giving them an option where they could run separate companies in case they found working together to be intolerable. What would you do if you were in Jock's position?
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
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  2. Chris2

    Chris2 Soap Chat Active Member

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    The contest is one of the all-time great Dallas stories, but it’s completely unrealistic. You cannot split a company down the middle like that. And you would have had all kinds of politics and favoritism from the employees.

    I would have left 51% of the company to J.R., since he was the most experienced and the one who showed the most passion for it. I would have split the rest between the other sons (no shares for Ellie, since she was always badmouthing the company anyway). And I would have allowed the sons to sell their shares (remember Jock’s clause of no non-Ewing ownership?) with J.R. having the right to match any other bids. That way, J.R. gets the company and the others aren’t forced to stay in business with him. Easy peasy. But a whole lot less dramatic. ;)
     
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  3. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    For J.R.: A whole new wardrobe and a collection of even bigger Stetsons. "And please throw away that safari jacket you jackasssss!!"
    For Miss Ellie: Someone to paint a picture of hers for the SF living-room. "You are as Takapa as me!"
    For Bobby: A collection of gym t-shirts with the legend "Power is something you take!". And a discount card for the Braddock barbershop.
    For Pamela: A Deluxe Edition of "Dallas: The Early Years". "Trust your own eyes little lady!"
    For Lucy: A lifetime supply of hairspray. And something to read: "The Hobbit".
    For Sue Ellen: A lifetime supply of...shoulder pads. "That was the brunette on the couch, ain´t it?"
    For Ray: "How to Succeed in Keeping a Good Wife, and Being a Faithful Husband", cowboy edition.
    For Gary: Same thing as Ray.
    For Valene: "The Eyes Have It", beginners´ collection.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
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  4. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Addict

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    Jock's will was the definition in TV terms of Coleridge's "willing suspension of disbelief." Yes, a father, even Jock, would not have had come up with such an insane way to decide who gets the company--a year is not long enough, given the volatile nature of the oil business, to predict a long term winning strategy. And yes, there was no realistic way the company would have been split in two equal parts.

    But nothing in the setup violated the basic sense of viewers when it came to who Jock was, who the Ewings were, and what Ewing oil meant to the all of them and the family, so nobody cared to ask these questions both the first time and, frankly, in subsequent viewings too.

    What I really liked is how the show took a handicap (the loss of Jim Davis) and turned it into a masterful tale of "the next chapter" in Ewing lives. Frankly, Jock's death is the kinda of plot advancement that shows will nowadays engage in, but back then it would have been inconceivable to have a key character die. So, ironically, real life made the show more realistic than it otherwise would have been.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
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  5. Taylor Bennett Jr.

    Taylor Bennett Jr. Soap Chat Fan

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    Few if any will agree, but I feel strongly that Jock should have passed over all Ewings and left everything to Muriel Gillis.
     
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  6. stevew

    stevew Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Knowing the mess I would have created between my children I would have left:

    10% of EO to each of my 4 sons with

    an additional 30% of EO to JR and an additional 20% to Bobby representing the time they spent with the company in some captivity.

    JR share would gave the only voting power and the right to buy out for market value all other shareholders as well as the right of all other shareholders to have the company buy them out, all or in part. Shares cannot be sold outside of the family unless the company is dissolved.

    trust funds to John Ross and Lucy invested separate from EO and managed by professional CFA’s

    the ranch land, and separated mineral rights, along with 10% of EO in trust to establish a Family Foundation for charitable purposes; note that 20 acre lots from the land is to be offered to Bobby and Gary on which to build, if they choose (not Ray as its Southworth land); the Foundation under Miss Ellie’s control, the EO shares under JR’s control.

    the house to JR in trust to Miss Ellie until her death as the Southworths would have left it to JR as the oldest son. All contents inside the house and all other residences (which one would assume they’d have others) to Miss Ellie.

    the SF cattle business with a $1 a year, 1,000 year lease of the Southfork land for cattle ranching, and everything else I own to Miss Ellie, except for a long list of personal items to divvy up to my family.

    In South America I’d have written letters not a codicil.
     
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  7. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Active Member

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    Barbara Bel Geddes did an an amazing job when the codicil was read aloud,

    "Oh, No! Jock!"

    She knew this would lead to disaster.

    One problem is that Bobby would be looking forward to the future, and want Ewing Oil to remain strong no matter who ran it. J.R. would win at any cost, even if it meant crippling the company.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018 at 5:03 PM
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  8. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Addict

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    Even with Jock/Davis gone, it was emblematic of their relationship, of her loving someone whom she knew was at in many ways incompatible with her life philosophy, but loving him nonetheless.
     
  9. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Active Member

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    YES! Very good point.

    And this points out something I never thought about before. During Jock's final hours, he wasn't thinking about writing final thoughts to the PEOPLE in his life-- he spent that time thinking about what would happen to Ewing Oil.

    Interesting.
     
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  10. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Maybe what Miss Ellie was thinking after Jock´s will reading was: "My God. Gary will go back to booze when he leaves Southfork. He´s so weak, my dear little baby...At least she has Valene to make his meals and buy his underwear..." If she only knew that Gary was "gallivanting" around the cul-de-sac with the Abster already...!!
     
  11. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Addict

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    She wouldn't have recognized him--neither did I because I loved David Ackroyd's Gary.
     
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  12. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Fan

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    The codicil to his will was written because Jock was thinking about JR and Bobby and how to finally teach them to fully respect each other and to learn to fully cooperate with each other. That was a tall order - a difficult lesson for even a man as competent as Jock to teach to sons with as different personalities and attitudes as JR and Bobby...but Jock thought it was vital that they learn it and I agree. This was something Jock had been trying to teach them for some time and it had been very difficult. Clearly it was going to take something dramatic to get them to finally learn this lesson and Jock thought that a contest for Ewing Oil might be the one thing powerful enough to once and for all teach them this lesson.

    I got the idea that Miss Ellie never understood the purpose of the contest - to get JR and Bobby to respect each other's abilities and to learn that they were much stronger working together than apart. The purpose of the contest was all made clear in the letter Jock wrote which was read by Punk Anderson at the ending of the contest. Jock's letter explained all this but they never showed Miss Ellie's reaction to it or if she even knew about it. That she never even acknowledged that letter and its vital message leads me to think she never was even told about it and that's a shame.

    I think she would have been a lot happier with how Jock handled things in his will had she known and understood the contents of the letter. This was the most important lesson from Jock that JR and Bobby never fully learned - that they would both be much better off once they learned to fully respect each other's strengths and abilities and how the unique strengths and abilities of one brother would complement those possessed by the other.

    Jock said in his letter "I don't care which one of you wins the contest; I truly don't." Jock wanted them to take the energy they had used to compete against each other during the contest and channel that energy into working together towards one productive goal. Had they truly learned to respect each other's abilities and learned how to work together they would have not only taken Ewing Oil to much greater heights than one brother ever could have on his own, but it would also have lead to the two of them having a better relationship as brothers and both being happier as a result. The entire family would have benefitted from that. It was tragic that JR and Bobby never fully learned Jock's final and most important lesson for his sons.
     
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  13. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Active Member

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    A very well thought out and interesting post by Kenny Coyote!

    And here is where the writers had a great opportunity to explore a supporting character. I always liked Punk and Mavis. Imagine if Bobby (or J.R.) had gone to Punk, asking for help and guidance. It would have been great to hear Punk tell stories about the exploits he had with Jock in their younger days.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018 at 7:11 PM
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  14. Via The Void

    Via The Void Soap Chat Fan

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    JR's illegitimate daughter!

    You've got to be kidding!! :eck:
     
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