Was it GOOD that CBS spoiled the ending?

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by Lastkidpicked, May 1, 2018.

  1. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Active Member

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    In this day of internet spoilers, bootlegged Hulu previews, and twitter, it's easy to forget that back in the day, a network had much better control over what they previewed to the audience.

    During the original run of Dallas, CBS and Lorimar had a decision to make-- Should they create some buzz for the upcoming episode "a house divided" by showing J.R. getting shot in the previews?

    Or should they keep J.R. getting shot a secret, worrying that people would think, "Well, we know J.R. gets shot, so why watch the entire episode?"

    Two questions for you:
    1) If you were old enough to remember the original run, which way did they go with it?
    and
    2) Do you think this was the right decision?

    I'm interested to hear your thoughts!
     
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  2. KayLloyd

    KayLloyd Soap Chat Fan

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    CBS went to great lengths to keep it a secret. They even filmed the cast taking turns firing the gun. Linda was the only one who knew for sure who shot him because she recorded the voiceover "It was you, Kristin.", but I'm sure many made the correct guess. It was brilliantly done and completely unachievable today. If viewers had known that the shooting was coming, the shocking impact of it would have been lost. I enjoy stories unfolding like that. Too many spoilers today for my taste.
     
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  3. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm not old enough to remember it. But I agree that keeping things a secret is the right way to go with it.

    I think today we have so many spoilers that they sometimes ends up ruining the show. I really hated the way Dallas TNT tried to hype up their ratings with "which Ewing will die" campaign as it just left me wondering the entire episode who would die and when Christopher was blown up it was not a shock. It was more of a "oh no not Christopher". But then again I really didn't want them to kill off any of the Ewings. :(
     
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  4. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Active Member

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    You are right, KayLloyd.

    Maybe I phrased the question wrong, and now I'll give away the first answer in order to clarify.

    During the original run, CBS spent the week showing previews, including the scene where J.R. gets shot and tumbles out of his chair. So even before watching the episode we knew that J.R. got shot at the end.

    This was controversial because some people said, "Well, we already know J.R. gets shot, so why watch the episode?"

    I disagree with this argument. Part of the fun watching A House Divided is knowing that J.R. is going to get shot at the end. I remember talking with my friends during the episode:

    "Sue Ellen is crazy mad! I bet she's going to do it!"
    then
    "Bobby flat out said he was done with J.R. for good! Surely he wouldn't snap and shoot his own brother, would he?
    then
    "Oh, boy! Look at Vaughn basically telling J.R. flat out that he is going to do it!
    then
    "Alan Beam summed it up by saying, 'If you want to shoot J.R., then stand in line. There are a few of us ahead of you."

    To put a finer point on the discussion, I think it is more fun watching the build up when you KNOW J.R. is going to get shot at the end of the episode.

    What do you think?
     
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  5. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    There was never any scenes with Bobby, Pam, or Lucy shooting JR. The producers were never going to have Jock or Ellie do it, and Cliff and Sue Ellen would be too obvious, Kristin obviously did it (and it was obvious she DID do it). I don't know why everyone was so surprised! A five year-old could figure it out!
     
  6. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Bobby and Pam were going to Knots Landing, so the time line wouldn't work for Bobby shooting him.
     
  7. B.J. Ewing

    B.J. Ewing Soap Chat Active Member

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    They let several characters shoot J.R. to keep it a mystery (also for the actors). They let Patrick Duffy take a shower in all secrecy to keep his return a mystery (also for the actors). All this trouble to keep people from knowing the outcome. How easy it would have been to let Linda Gray say some extra lines:

    “It was you, Vaughn, who shot J.R.”
    “It was you, Marilee, who shot J.R.”
    “It was you, Jordan, who shot J.R.”
    “It was you, Alan, who shot J.R.”

    What would it have taken: couple of minutes? Linda once said she told one of her children by mistake. Or ALMOST (not completely sure about that. Anyway, she worried that she spoiled it). In this case even SHE wouldn’t have known.
     
  8. B.J. Ewing

    B.J. Ewing Soap Chat Active Member

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    Come on, it could have easily been Alan Beam, Jordan Lee, Marilee Stone or Vaughn Leland. Don’t say even a 5 year-old could figure out it was Kristin, that’s too easy so many years after the outcome. There were so many more candidates at the time.
     
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  9. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Active Member

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    Proof of how great the storyline was is in the fact that we are still talking about it all these years later!
     
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  10. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    In UK we were behind USA in showing Dallas and in ?? march/April 1980 Larry appeared on a Terry Wogan chat show and revealed he does get shot

    However Thanks to Dallas, thanks to terry, Dallas was becoming hot over the whole series 2 - with so much publicity, press, magazine covers and articles almost on a daily basis

    I knew JR was going to be shot but as a schoolgirl it was the excitement of who, what, when and why and who pulled the trigger

    It was on the BBC news that JR was shot, it was simply the best time to be a Dallas fan, it was Everywhere and JR was the hottest star on the planet and we all wanted more of Larry

    Bookies were taking bets on who pulled the trigger and there was so much speculation

    Im glad Dallas was an 80s show, of its time and pre internet, twitter and FB

    We really didnt have a clue who done the dirty deed and the speculation continued all summer right thro the Nov when it was revealed and NO ONE Knew

    How they kept it a secret I do not know but they did

    The big reveal - It was shown on a friday in USA and sat in UK, so we were by now 24 hours behind

    I stayed up to 4 am on sat morning to hear on radio 2 that Kristin pulled the trigger and it was right that Terry Wogan and a reporter in LA announced it

    I was SUPER EXCITED and the press were just mad for Dallas

    It really was the most exciting time to be a Dallas fan and was never surpassed

    a few years later they revealed JR was going to be shot again, only to find that Bobby was in the swiveling chair

    By then the press spoiled it for us Brits and printed photos of it, same with Bobby being run over by katherine, and Pams dream so nothing was ever a real surprise ever again which was a shame

    B

    I think they got it spot on in 1980 and it resulted in Dallas being the most watched show in the world with hype, expectation and anticipation!
    I dont think it could happen now and that a shame.
     
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  11. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Active Member

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    You summed that up perfectly!
     
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  12. Mustard

    Mustard Soap Chat Active Member

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    I didn't watch Dallas until the DVDs, apart from my memories as a 7 year old of seeing my mother on Sundays watching the last season before it was cancelled. Regarding Who Shot J.R., the obvious suspects to my eyes were Sue Ellen, Cliff, Kristin, Vaughn Leland and Alan Beam. One of those 5 seemed certain to me when I first watched the DVDs, but I think every character had a motive. Even Jock and Miss Ellie were outside bets, after the way that Bobby and Pam cleared off from Southfork with them intending to visit Gary and Val in Knots Landing.

    My mother thought it was Cliff. She was convinced that J.R. congratulating him and then getting on the telephone and saying "shut down that field, shut down every single well" made Cliff snap. Almost right. Cliff did go there intending to shoot J.R. but was beaten to it by Kristin. I thought it was most likely to be Sue Ellen. She had the gun, and J.R. saying "What difference does it make? Whoever it is has got to be better than the slut I'm looking at right now" was cutting.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
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  13. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    I thought it was Donna!
     
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  14. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Active Member

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    The ratings for the episode prove the point that they did it right better than anything else ever could. They set a ratings record for an episode of a one hour drama series that still stands today.
     
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  15. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Horse sh#t. They needed an important character, but not TOO important, and that would only be Kristin.
     
  16. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat Addict

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    We were well behind in Australia, too, but in reply to the original question, it didn't matter because it was always going to be about who dunnit.

    In a sense the shooting itself was just a hook to get you to watch them set up the suspects.
     
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  17. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Fascinating. :)

    For everyone else who's also old enough to remember it, who did you think it was that had shot JR?
     
  18. Majorfanofshow

    Majorfanofshow Soap Chat Member

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    I am very confused! A House Divided is the episode where JR is shot. I didn’t think this was about who shot JR just that JR is shot. Did people know JR would be shot before a house divided Aired? I think the answer is yes. Everyone knew he would be shot. Would it have been better if no one knew jr was shot? Like no one knew Will was shot to death on good wife?!?
     
  19. B.J. Ewing

    B.J. Ewing Soap Chat Active Member

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    I think that's absolute nonsense. But you're entitled to your opinion. I'll leave it at this.
     
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  20. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    HUH?

    Maybe Donna Reed a few years later....
     
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