Dallas Actors Out Donna Reed In Barbara Bel Geddes

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by MenaceTheDennis, Nov 15, 2016.

  1. MenaceTheDennis

    MenaceTheDennis Soap Chat Member

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    Just watched the opening scene of the dream season with the family arriving home after Bobby died on YouTube. The show didn't even try to make Barbara look anything like Donna did by Bobbys deathbed. Donna in her black and white designer dress and Barbara in one of her famous sack dresses. Think this was a statement by the show as if to say "This is the true Miss Ellie". Barbara was of course better than Donna in the role but there were times where Barbara was dressed horribly. Not dressed casual but HORRIBLY. But then Barbara could look great in some beautiful dress or gown. Why were the clothes with the character so bad at times and then so great?
     
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  2. Don Howard

    Don Howard Soap Chat Fan

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    The leading ladies of DALLAS tended to change their appearance while distraught. Sue Ellen got her hair cut when Cliff was on the brink of death, Jenna got a hair cut when in the slammer and Miss Ellie re-changed her face and her wardrobe following the death of the youngest issue from her womb.
     
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  3. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

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    Miss Ellie - the real Miss Ellie - wasn't written to be glamorous. She grew up on the land, worked the land and loved the land. Had no problem getting her wellies on and getting mud deep in it. At the heart of it she's a Southworth. Of course she looked good at the Oil Barons Ball - it's a Ewing event. But her true character wasn't all lipstick and heels. She wore them well, but that's not who she was.
     
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  4. southfork88

    southfork88 Soap Chat Addict

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    outer elegance vs. inward elegance ... IMO
     
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  5. southfork88

    southfork88 Soap Chat Addict

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  6. southfork88

    southfork88 Soap Chat Addict

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  7. southfork88

    southfork88 Soap Chat Addict

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  8. southfork88

    southfork88 Soap Chat Addict

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  9. southfork88

    southfork88 Soap Chat Addict

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  10. southfork88

    southfork88 Soap Chat Addict

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  11. southfork88

    southfork88 Soap Chat Addict

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  12. southfork88

    southfork88 Soap Chat Addict

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  13. southfork88

    southfork88 Soap Chat Addict

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  14. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Through no fault of her own poor Donna Reed was dropped into a role that she should never had accepted. Barbara Bel Geddes and Donna were like chalk and cheese..and the above photos prove it. Donna could have worked if she was cast as Miss Ellie from the outset. I actually liked her demeanor. If Dallas had begun with the Southworth family being from wealth it would have been an interesting backstory where Miss Ellie (Princess of Braddock) fell for Jock - a boy from the wrong side of the tracks.

    I'm really torn over the whole Barbara Bel Geddes and Donna Reed debacle. I often wonder how Donna Reed and Jim Davis would have played against each other. Would they have had good chemistry? I personally believe they would have. Jock - in his twilight years - was still the tough as nails cowboy while Miss Ellie (Donna Reed) displays class and elegance, again as shown in the above images.
     
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  15. ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989

    ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989 Soap Chat Addict

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    They should've kept Miss Ellie as an off-screen presence in the
    1984-85 year and have Donna Reed play a Southworth cousin from Fort Worth or something, then once Miss Ellie is back for the
    1985-86 year, the Southworth cousin gets a decent send off and all is well.
     
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  16. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat Addict

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    The trouble with all these alternate scenarios is that they didn't know BBG would be back. The only real alternative to a recast was killing the character off and it was determined that they couldn't do that because Miss Ellie was the only one left who could keep JR in check. Just look at what happens when she really does leave the scene a few years later.
     
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  17. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    It's a myth, oft-repeated, that BBG sat at home that year jealously watching another actress in her role, and then called up producers and demanded her job back. BBG was fired because she asked for a temporarily reduced workweek due to coronary bypass recovery issues and (at the same time, I'm guessing unwisely) a raise.

    The producers saw Reed's scenes weren't working and they almost immediately starting shoving her off-camera as much as possible. Even Reed publicly complained about only appearing in 9 seconds of an episode.

    Near the end of the season, the producers quietly called BBG up and asked her to return.

    So somebody knew pretty quickly that BBG could or might return.

    Primetime recasts of core characters almost never work. Placing Miss Ellie in a hospice somewhere with health problems (until they'd worked out their issues with BBG contractually) should have been done. But executive arrogance, which this event seems to be, sometimes has little foresight to it.
     
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  18. southfork88

    southfork88 Soap Chat Addict

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  19. southfork88

    southfork88 Soap Chat Addict

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  20. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    Exactly. Barbara Bel had cemented her portrayal of Miss Ellie. Hiring Donna Reed gave the character a completely different persona. It was like the producers deliberately chose her, as if to say to Barbara Bel, "See what we can do?" The other jarring issue with the recast was there was no effort from Donna Reed to "dress down" Miss Ellie. Again, I'm not blaming her since this may have been out of her control as well. But all that coiffed hair, jewellery and clothes was something Barbara Bel was not wearing in her portrayal of Miss Ellie.

    The whole exercise was jarring.
     
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