Rewatching 84-85

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by Chris2, Dec 23, 2018.

  1. Chris2

    Chris2 Soap Chat Active Member

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    Meh. Too many rehashes. Bobby and Jenna engaged, again. Lucy involved with a poor boy, again. Sue Ellen thinks J.R. has changed, but then he cheats on her. Cliff involved with a beautiful woman who is too good for him. Ray’s insecurities damage his marriage to Donna. Another battle for control of Ewing Oil.

    And wow - is Donna Reed awful! I liked her on her own show, but why is she so stiff and artificial in this role? It’s interesting that the producers extended her original one-year contract by two years right after her debut, and then spent the rest of the season marginalizing her character.

    It doesn’t surprise me that the ratings started to flag toward the end of this season. It’s a real comedown from the previous one.

    This is still season 7 to me, btw. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018
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  2. Victoriafan3

    Victoriafan3 Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Funny this would prob be my favourite season of all, though I hear ya about the wooden and unfortunate Miss Ellie change

    I love the look of the show here. Travilla designs, the stories, the filming, the lighter look, Jenna went to jail, the torment and forlorn long and touching build up to Pam and Bobby’s tragic reconciliation and their deep love for each other

    Pam was vulnerable yet strong and she had some great showdowns with JR. Her trip to Hong Kong with Sue Ellen was brilliant

    VP look gorgeous this season. Undisputedly the most beautiful woman on tv and made very easy and enjoyable watching

    Sorry I know I’m in the minority on this forum with this season but with the exception of the failed new Miss Ellie I loved 84-85 Dallas!

    If the ratings period had gone in to Bobby’s death it still would have been the number one show in the US for the fourth time.

    Excellent television!! :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018
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  3. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    When we heard that summer that another actress was taking over the role of Miss Ellie, we simply could not believe it. Or the self-destructiveness involved in re-casting the Emmy-winning matriarch of the biggest show on the planet and a legend in its own time.

    We thought then that this had to be the beginning of the end, and of course it was. How could it not be? And what did this reflect about the value system of the executives??

    The season was well-produced and I had no problem with the stories, but Mis-Ellie Syndrome was the dithery elephant in the living room that season, casting a pall over the year as a whole, the sense that something special had now been ruined.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
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  4. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    That's not how I remember it.

    True or not, the story at the time was that BBG was ill and had to leave and the news that Donna Reed was coming out of retirement was very exciting.

    Anticipation was very high but unfortunately the reality did not live up to the hype.
     
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  5. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    That's pretty much how I remember it too. I rarely follow news regarding TV or movies but back then I did used to watch Entertainment Tonight sometimes so whatever I knew about it was most likely from watching that show. What I remember hearing was that Barbara Bel Geddes had heart problems and needed to take a season off from Dallas to have surgery and recover from it. I think I remember thinking Donna Reed was only a temporary replacement, and that BBG would be back. So I had no problem with it. I didn't like Donna Reed nearly as much, but what could they do? They couldn't shut down for a year while they waited for her to recover from surgery. It seemed like they were just making the best out of a bad situation and I liked season 8 a lot despite Barbara Bel Geddes's absence.

    The stories were still very good, especially the storyline about Cliff blackmailing Sly to spy for him, JR retaliating by blackmailing Edgar Randolph to get Cliff to invest a massive amount of money in a venture in which he had no experience. The Bobby/Jenna/Pam triangle was very good too and the last episode in particular, Swan Song, was very dramatic and maybe the saddest scenes ever in Dallas when Pam sees Bobby get run over right before her eyes and of course the funeral afterwards. Only the aftermath of Jock's fatal helicopter crash was on that level of tragedy, but at least he wasn't murdered. Still, the scenes of the boys returning without Jock, especially the closing scene where JR looks up at the sky with tears in his eyes, and the scenes with Miss Ellie grieving were all extremely sad. Dallas was such a great drama that it seems unfair that they never got The Emmy Award for Best Drama. Of course I'm sure whatever shows won The Emmys that rightfully belonged to Dallas for seasons 3 through 8 would gladly have traded their Emmys in exchange for the money Dallas was making!
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2018
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  6. Clubsoda

    Clubsoda Soap Chat Active Member

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    It's definitely a strong season only weakened by Fake Ellie. Had Barbara been in this season it would easily be in the top 3 every time.

    Patrick and Victoria's smouldering chemistry owns this season.
     
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  7. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Yes. Patrick and Victoria's chemistry had never been hotter than in season 8. Like they say, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." They had to be apart for a while to realize how badly they wanted and needed each other.

    So I was happy for them when Bobby asked Pam to marry him again and Pam said yes. They both looked so incredibly happy at the thought of getting a second chance at being married to each other.

    I did feel bad for Jenna though. After all, Bobby proposed and Jenna said yes. They were engaged to be married. With Naldo kidnapping Charlie and then making Jenna run out on Bobby, and then being framed for Naldo's murder and imprisoned, Jenna had gone through hell that season! To go through that nightmare and then to top it all off, for Jenna to then lose Bobby to Pam was awful. I truly felt sorry for Jenna in that season. She had been so good to Bobby too and so patient while he seemingly was getting over Pam (who was preparing to marry Mark Graison).
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2018
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  8. Chris2

    Chris2 Soap Chat Active Member

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    I did like Patrick and Victoria’s chemistry - it saved the season for me. With the initial hurt feelings of the divorce out of the way, they were free to flirt and explore their chemistry.

    While the show’s and/or CBS’s publicist at the time tried to frame Barbara Bel Geddes’ departure as purely a health issue, in reality she chose not to return because the show wouldn’t give her more money and a reduced schedule. She was even reportedly looking at pilots for a new show!
     
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  9. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    The latter subject was later explained as a maneuver from her then agent to get more money...for him. BBG and Larry Hagman were not as involved in this affaire as one could imagine. Larry certainly didn´t know until he got the news and all was done. BBG wanted to go back as soon as she saw Donna Reed´s bouffant on the show (and who could blame her?). "Dallas" always had had an impeccable casting even for the re-castings (Kristin, Gary...), and they needed actors, not stars. Reed was a star from movies and TV, and they didn´t need one of her kind. No matter what I think about her, she had enough of being a supporting actress and had spent the previous 20 years being the main star in films and her own TV show. Blame on the producers who besides were the ones who, Hagman apart, took all the money. And CBS too (beeches!).
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2018
  10. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    She did have a heart problem at the time, didn't she? I'm pretty sure I remember hearing that reported at the time and when she came back you could tell to look at her that she still was not in as good health as she usually was. I remember the aging effect it had on her (older people often appear to age several years within a short time when they have a serious health issue arise) and yu can see it especially well in the episode where she accepts the lifetime achievement award for Bobby at the Oil Baron's Ball. Look at her onstage when she gives her speech while accepting the award for Bobby. Not only had she aged more than a year or so but she still looked sick. I imagine that's why she needed a reduced schedule.
     
  11. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    Well, of course there must have been people who were misguided enough to think that the re-casting of a core character wouldn't be a disaster. Or even to think the entry of a famous actress like Reed was somehow exciting.

    But one wonders why. We certainly knew it would fail. Why didn't you?
     
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  12. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    BBG returned to the show after her heart surgery midway Season 6 (dvd 7). She looked too frail to work again, but she worked until the very end. I´m not sure, but she probably thought that she needed more time to recover, and a shorter schedule. Which would have been something normal for any person in any job. But for strange reasons, the producers preferred to re-cast her than give her the time (and therefore, the money her greedy agent wanted) she needed. One year later, when Pam´s dream started, she had gained weight but she had also had time to rest and went on a cruise too (Barbara Fan may know more about it). Then there was the way the make-up artists made her up when she came back. Her face often appeared just pink or her cheeks red. Fortunately, her condition improved enough to look very much healthier at the end of the dream, just ready to work on the godawful post-dream season and the preposterous Parmalee plot. Too late, IMO.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2018
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  13. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    I doubt you´re in minority: you, Miss Piggy and moi make three. And I´m sure a lot of other friends here agree too. It was becoming "Dallasty", but with intelligence and suspense instead...
     
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  14. Laurie Marr

    Laurie Marr Soap Chat Active Member

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    Dallas has lost its mojo irrespective of Reed’s appointment. The stories and plotting of 84-85 (save the last couple of episodes) was laboured, stodgy and mechanical. In fact, Reed’s performance was probably a symptom of a much deeper malaise. She was merely the most visible metaphor that the time was out of joint and that the centre could not hold. And it didn’t (apart from the brief reprieve of the 86-87 series).
     
  15. Mustard

    Mustard Soap Chat Fan

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    I thought Barbara looked her old self again in Season 9 DVD when she returned, even though she had put on some weight. She was definitely healthier than she had been in Season 7 DVD. It was so nice to see her again in the aftermath of Bobby's death.
     
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  16. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The reason BBG gained weight was because she had to give up her smoking 70 a day habit (from being a teenager) It is also a side effect of heart surgery for many people.

    Howard keel said at a concert she left Dallas to relax, rest, get well, paint, draw and sculpt (she was very arty - inherited from her father Norman) but as she got stronger she missed Dallas and her co stars. HK also said she made a slow recovery from her heart attack and quadruple bypass but she inspired him to get the op when he discovered he had a blocked artery.

    BBG had a holiday home on the coast of Maine - near Acadia national park - and spent much of that summer sailing prior to her return to the show

    Im not a fan of that Season for obvious reasons - the heart and soul of Dallas was missing and replaced by a robot in a bouffant wig devoid of emotion or facial expression.

    (I always recorded Dallas on VHS and still did , but i also used to tape it onto cassette tape too - but stopped at episode 7!!!! I restarted at S8 again and only recently threw all those cassette tapes out as I no longer have a player and some of them pulled!!)

    Its not a season I watch much, and always felt the newbies like Jamie and Mandy werent in the same league as Kristin or Afton for example and were weaker actresses
    (little did we know Uncle Lennie had SJW and co waiting in the wings!!)

    but i do like Bobby and Pam getting back together and I enjoyed Swan Song and VP looked stunning - her style, her make up, hair, she was just perfect.
     
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  17. Chris2

    Chris2 Soap Chat Active Member

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    I blame Barbara as much as I blame Lorimar and CBS for her departure. Barbara’s agent was working at her behest. If the agent was greedy, then Barbara was greedy too (I don’t think she or her agent were greedy, BTW). From a negotiation strategy standpoint, you don’t ask for a raise at the same time as asking for a reduced schedule. She would have been better off just asking for the latter. Money was also a factor in her departure in 1990, IIRC

    I do think the producers were shortsighted in letting her walk away in 1984. Surely there was room for some compromise, but I also think the producers wanted to make an example of her, to show the others that they could be replaced if they wanted too much money.

    Frankly, I blame Hagman as much as any of them. Lorimar’s mission was to run a profitable business. To keep paying Larry his exorbitant salary, they started cutting away core cast members in the later years. They acted, financially, as if Dallas was “The Larry Hagman Show”. From a creative standpoint, it certainly wasn’t.
     
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  18. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Hagman's salary wasn't exorbitant when you consider the amount of money Dallas was generating. The cast of Friends demanded and got a million dollars each per episode and they were only working half as much because it was a half hour show. They were grateful to Hagman because he paved the way for actors being paid what they were worth instead of allowing the network to keep all the money.
     
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  19. Chris2

    Chris2 Soap Chat Active Member

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    Back then, TV shows made most of their money after first run, as opposed to when they ran on the network. You can’t compare Dallas to Friends. Friends has had a much greater syndication afterlife. As a sitcom, it has played in syndication for 25 years and counting. It is one of the most successful TV series of all time.

    By contrast, Dallas had a relatively short syndication afterlife. Serialized dramas don’t repeat particularly well. CBS didn’t own the show and only benefitted from the first two runs of the show (and in later years, only the first, since they didn’t rerun it during the summer).

    There is not an infinite supply of money, particularly for a show that has peaked in the ratings and is declining. And later, they made Larry an executive producer, even though he was not writing and producing, as an excuse to give him more money. I would have rather seen them use that money to retain Victoria Principal and others.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2018
  20. Mustard

    Mustard Soap Chat Fan

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    Larry Hagman was reluctant to become an Executive Producer on Dallas, according to a 1988 Chicago Tribune article I read a while back. The head of Lorimar talked him into it, by responding to Hagman asking him how he (Hagman) has any credentials for the role by saying "You'll make lots of money".
     

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