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Dallas Actors Out Donna Reed In Barbara Bel Geddes

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

  1. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Removing the notion BBG was requesting a pay rise but did insist on a reduced work load due to health issues I'd be slightly annoyed the character I had brought to life was suddenly filled by another actor with a completely different interpretation.
    I tend to agree with other posters on this subject that the producers were thumbing their collective noses at BBG. And can someone please answer this simple question? As soon as the other actors; Howard, Larry, Linda, Patrick, Victoria etc were aware of what was going to happen why didn't they all walk as a collective group. They all knew what Dallas had become, a massive hit. The cast should have stood as one and told Lorimar Productions re-casting the role of Miss Ellie was not on.
     
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  2. Mustard

    Mustard Soap Chat Active Member

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    I know what you mean, and I agree. Barbara Bel Geddes had been a huge part of Dallas' success. I think her fellow cast members all found out too late about what was going on. I don't think Donna Reed was confirmed in the role of Miss Ellie until late August 1984, by which point they were already many episodes into recording the new season (Season 8 DVD).

    Larry Hagman said that he found out about Barbara's situation that summer when somebody suggested that Donna Reed play Miss Ellie and Larry laughed it off thinking it was a joke. By this time, it was too late to save Barbara's job, and Larry wished that Barbara had gone to him personally a lot earlier. It had previously been Barbara's agent negotiating with Lorimar, and they couldn't agree terms over a temporarily reduced workload and a pay rise. When Barbara realized that she was being dismissed, she tried to say "I'll do it", in regards to Season 8 DVD, but the dye had been cast (to quote David Paulsen). Larry Hagman then tried to get his own mother, Mary Martin, to take over when he realized that Barbara was gone, but Mary turned down her son's suggestion. Lorimar wanted Donna Reed, and that's what happened.

    Barbara Bel Geddes was confirmed as getting back the role of Miss Ellie in April 1985, while there were still another 4 episodes of Donna Reed as Miss Ellie to air. Donna Reed found out about the news while she was on holiday in Europe. There was then a legal battle, where Donna sued Lorimar and where one of her aims was to try to halt production of Season 9 DVD of Dallas, or at least to prevent any scenes being recorded which involved the Miss Ellie character. Donna failed with this attempt, and she later settled out of court. Ironically and tragically, Donna Reed was diagnosed with terminal cancer in October 1985 and she died in January 1986. Had Donna carried on playing Miss Ellie, she'd have managed about another 10 episodes before getting the diagnosis, and would certainly not have done more than 20-22 episodes that season had she carried on for as long as possible in a Jim Davis fashion. Rather ironic considering that Barbara was the one who had previously had the health problems, yet by her return as Miss Ellie, Barbara looked fully healthy again, and she lived until August 2005.

    This whole saga was a soap opera in itself.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2017
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  3. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    How uncomfortable!

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Even the dog is frozen in fear.
     
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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. Chris2

    Chris2 Soap Chat Active Member

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    Barbara was not “fired”. She made a demand for a salary that the producers were not willing t0 meet. She refused to agree to their terms and she did not sign for another season. In general, if you’re asking for a reduced work schedule, it’s foolish to ask for a pay raise at the same time.

    Jim Davis actually appeared in an episode of “The Donna Reed Show”. I have it on my DVR and one of these days I’m going to post a screencap from it so you can all see Jock with Ellie II.
     
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  10. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    We've already addressed all those issues. Her agent thought the threats to bring in another actress was a negotiating ploy (as they did with Larry four years earlier, threatening to bring in Roberts Culp or Vaughn). When Barbara realized they were serious and moving ahead, she pushed her reps aside and got on the phone herself to fix it, but it was too late. That's kinda fired. We've also discussed the lack of wisdom in asking for a raise and a reduced workweek simultaneously, but the reduced work week was apparently intended to be temporary while she continued to recovery from heart surgery.
     
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  11. Chris2

    Chris2 Soap Chat Active Member

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    She was not fired. There is nothing “kinda” about it. If I go to my employer and say, “I’m not going to continue in the job unless you give me more money and reduce my schedule”, and then they replace me, that’s not being fired. That’s called quitting. If Barbara’s actions were the definition of being fired, then anyone could make high salary demands of their employer, get “fired” (by your definition), and be eligible for unemployment.

    And don’t lecture me about how “we’ve addressed all those issues” like you’re some sort of expert when it’s clear you don’t understand employment basics.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2017
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  12. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    Hmmm.... I've noticed sometimes you're really right, Chris2. And sometimes you're really something else.
     
  13. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

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    I have watched Dallas since early childhood and grew up with the show. I have never ever had any inclination or belief that BBG was fired. My understanding of this time period was that she was very ill.
     
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  14. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    I take it you don't keep up with various versions of the story. BBG did not quit due to illness. Her heart surgery was more than a year earlier, she was still having pain and fatigue, and she requested a reduced workweek (presumably temporary) but also a simultaneous raise -- which might not have been the best idea. They kept telling her "no" and that they were bringing in another actress, but her representatives may not have believed the brass. Once she realized they were serious, BBG got on the phone herself and tried to fix it, but it was too late; they had apparently hired Donna Reed.

    Almost immediately, the producers began cutting Reed's scenes back dramatically because they obviously weren't working, and later quietly approached BBG to come back.

    So her illness was a factor in her requests, but she didn't leave because she didn't feel good.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
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  15. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    I have read every piece of info about it that I could find, and my understanding is that BBG wanted (after being put into that car´s trunk by Lady Jessie!) to work fewer hours because she was still recovering from her heart scare. She reportedly had a rather greedy agent at that time who convinced her to ask for more money and threaten with leaving if she didn´t get it.
    [​IMG]
    The Capice/Katzmen didn´t like that demand (as usual, because a woman was making it!) and only agreed to the reduced hours part. Allegedly the agent answered back to the producers without consulting BBG, and they let her go.
    upload_2017-12-12_15-15-50.jpeg
    "Dallas" is NOT "...A Wonderful Life"!!!
    All this happened at Larry Hagman´s back. BBG did want to return, especially when she saw Donna Reed in the show trying to re-create her character after a Travilla makeover. Audiences disliked Reed´s "re-interpretation" of a Texan matriarch (oh why am I being so kind here...?) and the cast didn´t warm up to the actress either, with the exception of Susan Howard.

    upload_2017-12-12_15-2-43.jpeg
    Even the porcelain figure had to cover his eyes!

    So Capice started his much-maligned scheme of discreetly luring BBG back (and diminishing Reed´s part to the minimum), and they wrapped up the season and sent everybody home. Reed went on a holiday to Urrop and she learnt about BBG´s return there, in the worst possible way, as we all know. BBG was in, Reed was out. Reed suited them and got a compensation, but she died soon after that.

    About the infamous agent, he reportedly conned BBG and left/was fired. Please feel free to share your thoughts and further info so we can have the truest possible version of that "affaire"...
     
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  16. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing Soap Chat Warrior

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    The way I see it was that Barbara worked until the end of her contract and it wasn't renewed. As she was out of contract, she couldn't have been fired as she was no longer employed by Lorimar at that point. Lorimar chose to go in a different direction with the character rather than re-employing Barbara for more money for fewer shows.
     
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  17. Frank Underwood

    Frank Underwood Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    The whole "choosing to go in a different direction with the character" business is such horse shit. Don't producers realize it ruins the continuity of a show to have a character dress and behave differently without any explanation? Not to mention the unexplained face transplant. Reinterpreting a character is fine for plays and reboots, but not a continuing series.

    On a side note, I always thought this was the ugliest dress Reed ever wore. It looks like it was made from fruit roll ups, and is the antithesis of what Miss Ellie would actually wear.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
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  18. MenaceTheDennis

    MenaceTheDennis Soap Chat Member

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    Donna looked great in the role and I loved the dress she wore in your pic BD. I'll always prefer Barbara in the role, but you have to admit Donna never looked less than perfect as Miss Ellle. Never could say that about Barbara. It's as if some days she would just show up in whatever she was wearing. No hair or makeup assistance either and just started filming.
     
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  19. Richard Channing

    Richard Channing Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Yes, they seemed to forget that although Ellie would happily walk around in a sack, she wouldn't be seen dead in a plastic bag.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
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  20. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    I think the "face transplant" comes under the heading of Suspension of Disbelief but, I agree, the character's personality should remain constant.
     

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