1. Show your support for DALLAS in the battle of the soaps

    The Character's Exit

    Click here for more details
    Dismiss Notice
  2. We are experiencing some issues and there may be some downtime to correct this. Apologies for any inconvenience

    Dismiss Notice

Dallas Character Wes Parmalee story with hindsight

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by pete lashmar, Aug 23, 2017.

  1. pete lashmar

    pete lashmar Soap Chat Active Member

    Member Since:
    Mar 24, 2017
    Message Count:
    232
    Likes Received:
    417
    Trophy Points:
    377
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Portugal
    Ratings:
    +467
    I remember (watching the episodes when they originally aired) when the Wes story started out (and previously with Ben Stivers in Season 9) there was a hugely negative reaction to the storyline.

    I hated it at the time - because I loved Ellie & Clayton together and the conflict between J.R & Clayton.

    But watching it again, without the need to wait a week and being able to binge watch, I think it was a great idea, with lots of drama and conflict - I now think it's a great shame it wasn't able to continue longer and expand.

    Steve Forrest gave a wonderful performance & BBG was beyond fantastic in her reaction to it all.

    I also seem to remember the storyline was axed mid season because the viewing audience (like me) hated the idea and execs bailed out due to the reaction (whether this is true or not I really have no idea).

    The idea that Wes might be Jock may have divided viewers, but the idea that a man who had never met some of the Dallas regulars, who had only heard Jock's rambling when he had "the fever" knew them on sight when he arrived in Dallas - with knowledge of the full family history, with hindsight, that was a terribly bad explanation of how he knew so much in order to do what...?

    So, with hindsight, how do people feel about the Wes Parmalee story now...?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Star

    Member Since:
    Sep 28, 2016
    Message Count:
    2,623
    Likes Received:
    2,853
    Trophy Points:
    5,327
    Location:
    Haunting that cozy cellar under Falcon Crest
    Ratings:
    +3,490
    Original Member Since:
    September 2000
    I don't know that the plot was dropped due to viewer complaint -- actor Steve Forrest was already contracted to do a TV reunion movie for GUNSMOKE, and that's why he left.

    In some ways, the Wes Parmalee story was DALLAS because the details, the backstory, the reactions of the family members to the possibility that he might or might be Jock, the Ewings still haunted -- seemingly literally -- by the patriarch long after his death, the fact that the story managed to be both riotously funny and oddly poignant simultaneously, all of which was negotiable.

    Did it happened? Was it the end of the dream or a continuance of it -- a dream within a dream?

    I thought even then that it worked astoundingly well, especially given that Bobby himself had just been resurrected only weeks earlier to great controversy.

    People also remain divided even to this day about whether Wes was Jock or not. The actors were apparently told different things by the producer. But there was enough red herring and enough ambiguity that it permitted each viewer to come to his or her own conclusion and even to feel their conclusion was self-evident.

    But the storyline incorporated all the elements which made DALLAS the show DALLAS: both brilliant and awful, compelling and preposterous, vivid and ghostly.

    If DALLAS was Shakespearean, which some critics argued over the years -- even seriously, the Wes Parmalee story was at the epicenter of that. In retrospect, it was everything the show was about.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017
    • Like Like x 4
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. Chris2

    Chris2 Soap Chat Member

    Member Since:
    Mar 20, 2017
    Message Count:
    44
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    124
    Location:
    United States
    Ratings:
    +70
    I don't buy that the plot ended because Steve Forrest had a TV movie to do, even though I've read that elsewhere. If the plot was important to the show, they would have gotten Forrest to commit to a contract. I read that they changed the ending of the plot because they felt one resurrection (Bobby) was enough. If Patrick hadn't returned, Ben Stivers would have turned out to be Jock.

    I didn't like the plot simply because I didn't like Steve Forrest in the role. From a physical standpoint and in terms of his mannerisms, he was nothing like Jim Davis, who was irreplaceable. Even his hair was wrong.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  4. Alexis
    Angelic

    Alexis Soap Chat Star

    Member Since:
    Sep 15, 2016
    Message Count:
    2,868
    Likes Received:
    3,872
    Trophy Points:
    1,323
    Gender:
    Male
    Ratings:
    +4,563
    I loved it, it was perfect soap opera. I mean it really is that last great bit of DALLAS. After that it all goes down the crapper.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Star

    Member Since:
    Sep 28, 2016
    Message Count:
    2,623
    Likes Received:
    2,853
    Trophy Points:
    5,327
    Location:
    Haunting that cozy cellar under Falcon Crest
    Ratings:
    +3,490
    Original Member Since:
    September 2000
    Well, you may not buy it, but Forrest was indeed contracted to play the main villain in GUNSMOKE: RETURN TO DODGE which was shot in the late-fall '86 and winter of 1986/87.

    I mean, I saw it. It aired fall of 1987.

    And Forrest had to be in it because it was a sequel, of sorts, to a 1968 episode of GUNSMOKE entitled "Mannon" in which Forrest had played the title character. (BTW: the reunion movie was crap, the best scenes were the endless flashbacks from the original episode).

    So none of that was a cover story.

    Also, all of Forrest's location scenes for DALLAS, scenes where it was clear Wes was skipping town, were filmed in the summer of 1986 --- before any of his episodes had even begun airing. So it's reasonable to assume that his early exit was pre-planned.


    Yeah, we've read stuff like that, too. Wonder what the truth was...

    You have to remember that the writer/producers who'd introduced Ben Stivers were different than the returning staff who renamed him Wes Parmalee. It's quite likely that Peter Dunne may have indeed intended the character to turn out to be Jock.

    But it's improbable that Katzman and Paulsen had the same intention. And the vaguely haunting ambiguity with which the story ended, though frustrating in some ways, seemed to be the entire point.

    Well, he wasn't Jim Davis. He was dead. So they had to go with a different actor. The plastic surgery explanation, though an old soapy stand-by, worked well enough to permit a suspension of disbelief for some of us.

    He tried to do a little bit of a Jock impersonation -- that thing with touching his chin, and the way he said, "Oh, Ellie!!"

    I mean, it was cute if not 100% convincing.

    [​IMG]
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Chris2

    Chris2 Soap Chat Member

    Member Since:
    Mar 20, 2017
    Message Count:
    44
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    124
    Location:
    United States
    Ratings:
    +70
    Oh, I realize he was in the movie. But I don't buy that the movie is why the Wes Parmalee story was resolved the way it was. They signed Steve Forrest in early 1986, long before that TV movie went into production. If they wanted Ben/Wes to be Jock, they would have signed him to stick around. Also: TV movies take about three weeks to shoot, so if even if he had a prior commitment, they could have worked around it. Or they would have gone with a different actor. But they wouldn't cast someone as a major character, only to lose them after a limited number of episodes because of a prior commitment, and then have to hastily rewrite the scripts. "Oh, Steve has to do Gunsmoke, so let's scrap the rest of the storyline." That's not how TV production works, and certainly not a show that was cranking out 30 episodes a year like Dallas did back then.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  7. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Star

    Member Since:
    Sep 28, 2016
    Message Count:
    2,623
    Likes Received:
    2,853
    Trophy Points:
    5,327
    Location:
    Haunting that cozy cellar under Falcon Crest
    Ratings:
    +3,490
    Original Member Since:
    September 2000
    A lot of supposition is being made there.

    The GUNSMOKE reunion movie was scheduled to be shot that winter. And sometimes they take 6 weeks to shoot or more, not always three. (And, no, they really couldn't use another actor in the GUNSMOKE movie because he was the one in the original 1968 episode from which flashbacks were being used).

    Or did you mean DALLAS could have used a different actor? Not if they wanted Steve Forrest, and he was available for a certain amount of time. Which was apparently the case.

    And no one suggested that anyone said, "Oh, Steve has to do Gunsmoke, so let's scrap the rest of the storyline." But we don't know how long Forrest's contract for DALLAS was -- probably not that long, or how early the GUNSMOKE movie signing occurred.

    Hollywood knows how to work around these things.

    And again, how do we account for the fact that Forrest's Texas location scenes as he exited were filmed in the summer of 1986 before those episodes were ever aired?
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
    • Like Like x 1
  8. pete lashmar

    pete lashmar Soap Chat Active Member

    Member Since:
    Mar 24, 2017
    Message Count:
    232
    Likes Received:
    417
    Trophy Points:
    377
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Portugal
    Ratings:
    +467
    The problem is that there were no exit scenes - Bobby flies into the BBQ by helicopter, tells everyone about who Wes is, then it cuts to Ellie in the living room and she says he's left and he wasn't Jock. Now the interior Southfork scenes could have been filmed after execs decided not to continue the story. Is there any possibility that Steve would have returned after filming the TV movie but scripts were changed?
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
  9. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Active Member

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2016
    Message Count:
    119
    Likes Received:
    184
    Trophy Points:
    781
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    United States
    Ratings:
    +208
    Original Member Since:
    2008
    This is an interesting perspective, Pete. It seems we feel differently about storylines upon re-watch than we did the first time around.

    The writers missed an opportunity when they wrapped up the Wes Parmalee storyline. They had Bobby fly in and announce that Wes was a fake, and he was not Jock.

    They could have siezed the opportunity by having Wes just disappear.

    Was he a fraud who just gave up?

    Was he really Jock, and left for find more evidence to prove that he was Jock?

    Did somebody threaten him into leaving?

    It could have been more intersting to leave it open like that-- so that the viewers could debate whether he was Jock or not.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  10. Karin Schill
    Fine

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2016
    Message Count:
    2,807
    Likes Received:
    5,092
    Trophy Points:
    4,333
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Sweden
    Ratings:
    +5,442
    Original Member Since:
    September 2004
    I think the Wes Parmalee storyline really suffered from the dream season as I always thought it was ridiculous how he showed up first as Ben and then as Wes. So for a long time I thought they should have scrapped the storyline all together with the dream season.

    I can sort of see why they didn't though as that plot never got a chance to develop in the dream season. But I still don't like the storyline. Maybe it's because of the dream season or because I really love Miss Ellie and Clayton. I don't know. But that storyline is my least favorite one from season 9.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  11. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Star

    Member Since:
    Sep 28, 2016
    Message Count:
    2,623
    Likes Received:
    2,853
    Trophy Points:
    5,327
    Location:
    Haunting that cozy cellar under Falcon Crest
    Ratings:
    +3,490
    Original Member Since:
    September 2000
    The ambivalence made it more interesting.

    People assume Wes took off because he'd been exposed as an alleged fraud, but he left before he knew what information Bobby was bringing back from South America.

    But he did leave immediately after Jeremy Wendell told him that Wendell's only agenda was to destroy the Ewing family once and for all. With that revelation, Wes showed up at Southfork, told Ellie he wasn't Jock, relayed a personal past startlingly like that of Jock's, and then disappeared like vapor.

    The observant viewer is left to wonder what all this meant. Regrettably, the downturn of the show during its closing seasons make the Parmalee/Jock enigma less effective in the long run.

    [​IMG]
     
    • Like Like x 3
  12. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Addict

    Member Since:
    Sep 18, 2016
    Message Count:
    1,077
    Likes Received:
    1,622
    Trophy Points:
    892
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
    Ratings:
    +1,841
    Even with hindsight I did not like the direction where the writers were taking us with Ben Stivers/Wes Parmalee story. Just the mere hint he could (or not) have been Jock was a real turn off for me, which would explain why I began to drift away. Those behind the scenes had really tested my metal. First up was the Barbara Bel Geddes/Donna Reed debacle. Then we had the Dream Season. Now this? And to think more was to come with Pam's exist.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. Sarah
    Cynical

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2016
    Message Count:
    2,320
    Likes Received:
    2,698
    Trophy Points:
    5,327
    Gender:
    Female
    Ratings:
    +2,979
    I never ever believed he was really Jock. Not once - and I say that as someone who watched originally in 1986/87. That opinion hasn't changed 30 years on.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
  14. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Addict

    Member Since:
    Sep 18, 2016
    Message Count:
    1,077
    Likes Received:
    1,622
    Trophy Points:
    892
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
    Ratings:
    +1,841
    Agreed. By this point my patience with Dallas was wearing thin. Was this the best the creative writers could deliver? As if Dallas fans had not suffered enough the last few seasons we had to contend with this. Why even tinker with the memory of Jock? I understand it's Hollywood and often believability was tossed to the winds but I found this story rather insulting to Jim Davis. It was unnecessary.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. Angela Channing
    Cloud_9

    Angela Channing Soap Chat Mega Star

    Member Since:
    Sep 13, 2016
    Message Count:
    3,366
    Likes Received:
    3,836
    Trophy Points:
    5,954
    Gender:
    Male
    Ratings:
    +4,149
    Original Member Since:
    1999
    I loved the Wes Parmalee storyline, it probably the last great Dallas storyline and also one of my all time favourites. However, whether or not Wes was Jock or not, I felt the end was rushed and unsatisfactory. In the episodes leading up to when Wes left, Ellie was beginning to believe that he could be Jock and then suddenly Wes tells her her he isn't and leaves with no explanation regarding why the came to Southfork to claim he was Jock. I always felt the plot was going in the direction that Wes was Jock but he left because he didn't want to disrupt the lives of his family and didn't want Ellie to have to chose between him and Clayton. That would have been a far better conclusion to the plotline than the lame one that was given to viewers.

    The idea that Jock was in a fever "ranting and raving" about personal details of his life than very few people knew about and Punk didn't remember any of this until Bobby returned from South American was frankly ridiculous.
     
    • Like Like x 4
    • Agree Agree x 2
  16. Angela Channing
    Cloud_9

    Angela Channing Soap Chat Mega Star

    Member Since:
    Sep 13, 2016
    Message Count:
    3,366
    Likes Received:
    3,836
    Trophy Points:
    5,954
    Gender:
    Male
    Ratings:
    +4,149
    Original Member Since:
    1999
    I too watched it when it was originally screened and I always believed Wes was meant to be Jock and I still believe that today.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. Angela Channing
    Cloud_9

    Angela Channing Soap Chat Mega Star

    Member Since:
    Sep 13, 2016
    Message Count:
    3,366
    Likes Received:
    3,836
    Trophy Points:
    5,954
    Gender:
    Male
    Ratings:
    +4,149
    Original Member Since:
    1999
    That's not how I view it. Jim Davis was loved and admired by Dallas fans and it to his credit that he created a character so strong that Jock remained in the consciousness of the producers and writers to the extent that they saw value in reviving the character. Bringing back Jock was not an insult to Jim Davis but a tribute to him.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Star

    Member Since:
    Sep 28, 2016
    Message Count:
    2,623
    Likes Received:
    2,853
    Trophy Points:
    5,327
    Location:
    Haunting that cozy cellar under Falcon Crest
    Ratings:
    +3,490
    Original Member Since:
    September 2000
    And there was the scene with Wendell where Jeremy said his main goal was to destroy the family. Which Jock wouldn't have wanted. That appears to be, possibly, the thing which motivated Parmalee to take off.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  19. Seaviewer

    Seaviewer Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2016
    Message Count:
    652
    Likes Received:
    896
    Trophy Points:
    3,484
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Australia
    Ratings:
    +968
    Original Member Since:
    14 September 2001
    I totally bought into at the time and still see it as unresolved. The so-called proof that Bobby brought back was not definitive. It showed how he could have learned what he knew but by no means proved it.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  20. Via The Void
    Breezy

    Via The Void Soap Chat Active Member

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2016
    Message Count:
    244
    Likes Received:
    329
    Trophy Points:
    377
    Gender:
    Male
    Ratings:
    +420
    Can I just remind everyone that we never saw the scene where Wes tells Miss Ellie he's not Jock. Ellie tells this to the boys & Clayton after it happens. If you watch that particular scene just look at how Barbara Bel Geddes plays it. She quite calm & collected, she doesn't appear to be overly angry or hurt at all, if anything she plays it very wistful & anxious as if she's hiding something. She only becomes angry when Clayton wants to track Wes down. She just wants to forget about it. Why? If he really wasn't Jock, Miss Ellie would probably have reacted like Clayton, gunning for justice, yet she doesn't do that. Why? Is there something Wes told her that she's hiding?

    It's up to your own interpretation of how that scene runs. Maybe he isn't Jock, but the possibility exists that he could be. What if he indeed was Jock and he was frustrated that none of his family wanted him in their lives any more. They didn't believe him and he didn't have any other proof other that the letter's and the belt buckle which Miss Ellie took. What are the odds of someone other than Jock having those things?

    Wes submitted to a medical examination & X-ray photo's showed that he had the same bone breakages as Jock had. What are the odds of two different men having identical bone breakages?

    I honestly think the producers and writers intended Wes to be Jock, but reneged when they realised the storyline wasn't going down well with the viewers. A quick solution had to be found to write the character out. The solution they came up with was to leave his departure deliberately ambiguous but with a question mark over if he really was Jock.

    I believe that he was Jock and that he left to spare his family any more pain. I think that he either lied to Miss Ellie that he wasn't Jock or he told her the truth that he was but that he couldn't stay because his presence was tearing the family apart.

    Steve Forrest played the role very well, I think it was a real shame that he never got to stay on as Jock Ewing. :(
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
    • Like Like x 4
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Winner Winner x 1

Share This Page