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Dallas Character Wes Parmalee story with hindsight

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

  1. Angela Channing
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    Great post, I agree with every word.

    It's a real shame that the producers decided against Wes being declared legally as being Jock because it would have created so many more interesting storylines in Dallas. Ellie would be genuinely conflicted between whether to go back to Jock or to remain with Clayton but instead we got to see her gallivanting around solving murder mysteries like a poor man's Jessica Fletcher.

    Going back to when Ben Stivers was introduced to the show, it was at a time when the producers knew that Patrick Duffy was leaving the show and JR had total control of Ewing Oil so there was limited scope for internal family conflict. What better way of creating that dynamic than by re-introducing Jock, someone to fight JR for Ewing Oil and then later to unite with him to get Ewing Oil back from Westar.
     
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  2. Rove

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    On this point we'll have to agree to disagree. As Via The Void rightfully points out:
    Via is correct with regards to the viewers not warming to the idea, I was one of them. My reaction to Wes being Jock (or not) is more to do with my relationship with Dallas at this point. After the Donna Reed scandal and the resulting Dream Season my attitude to the Wes Parmalee story was, "No, not again." It would appear I wasn't alone in my thinking. Jim Davis had such a standing with Dallas fans the mere mention of a recast created a reaction the producers/writers did not anticipate. Or should they have? As the season bible was created did not one person in the chain of command stop and ask, "Should we really be following through with this story after what Dallas fans have had to tolerate the last few seasons?"

    Perhaps it's me. But after the tumultuous last few seasons I had hoped with Bobby's return and Leonard Katzman what Dallas needed more than anything was a calming effect.
     
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  3. Snarky's Ghost

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    Peter Dunne (the 85/86 boss) reportedly intended Wes to be Jock; Katzman (the 86/87 boss) probably didn't.

    So there's more than just one person's intentions behind the Ben/Wes storyline, just as the actors were told different things.

    There's likely not a singular "true version" to the plans behind this plot.
     
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  4. Willie Oleson
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    I think the viewer's suspicion would never really go away, even if the Ewings had acknowledged him as Jock, and he had stayed on Southfork etc.

    And maybe it's in our soap-nature to root for the impossible and unacceptable (we-know-more-than-the-characters), and once that feeling has been satisfied we like to reverse it (we-really-know-more-than-the-characters).

    Personally I like to think he wasn't Jock, but he believed he was. And then somehow along the way, Miss Ellie made him doubt that belief. So that would be the opposite of her experience. A paradoxical tragedy, as it were.
     
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  5. tommie
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    I dunno
    I agree - I think if the dream scenario hadn't happened, then Ben Stivers would've turned out to be Jock. I think they realised with Pam pulling away from Ewing Oil and Jack not really working out as Bobby's replacement that there was no real conflict going on at EO and JR just running the ship would be rather uninteresting. So in that way, Jock returning to shake things up probably made sense at that point.
     
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  6. StrangerDynastyTreeNat89
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    Its amazing how the 1986-87 season was planned out so differently from what we eventually got.

    I can see why viewers would've been turned off at the idea of Jock being recast, especially since how much Jim Davis was loved by all the cast, crew and fans alike, also the Donna Reed debacle was still very fresh on the minds of the viewers and cast.

    We saw blatantly how Larry Hagman felt about Donna Reed as Miss Ellie I don't think he would've been to happy about a new Jock either.

    Had it gone ahead with Ben Stivers rather than Wes Parmalee, I would've had Wendell involved, he brain washes Stivers who was with Jock in the crash to convince him that he is Jock, only for at the end if the season 10 that "Jock"/Stivers sells Ewing Oil to Wendell, setting up a new conflict in season 11, I know its far fetched sounding but hey so is a character having a 31 episode dream :-D
     
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  7. Jock Og

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    Wes Parmalee’s storyline was probably the last great one for DALLAS, as the show returned to form after the quasi DYNASTY dream season. IMHO Steve Forrest was an A* actor and he blended in nicely with the main cast. He would have been a very worthwhile addition to the principal cast in season 10 (DVD-11), had things worked out differently. He should have been cast as Jock’s brother Jason. I can understand how some fans believe he was Jock but nobody could replace Jim Davis.


    The Southfork barbeque is underway. Ray (Jock’s illegitimate son) is drinking at the entrance bar, with his buddies. Wes Parmalee (Jock’s impersonator) appears for the last time, (a scene from season 9, DVD-10, 1986 – ’87):

    Ray: “I just can’t believe you coming out here again. Especially knowing how people are feeling.”

    Wes: “I need to see Miss Ellie.”

    Ray: “I cannot believe the hurt you are causing this family.”

    Wes: “Nobody is hurting any worse than I am.”

    Ray: “Maybe but you’re the one that’s causing it. You’ve got Miss Ellie’s head all twisted around. You turned her sons against her. You put Clayton Farlow one of the finest men in the world through the ringer.”

    Wes: “Move aside Ray. I need to see her!”

    Ray: “You know at first I prayed that you were Jock. But now even if you are I don’t think even I care anymore. You’re not the man I loved. He would have disappeared off the face of the earth before he broke a family up like you have.”

    Wes: “You’re a good man Ray. Any man would be proud to have you as a son.”

    Parmalee struts away into the crowd and eventually into the mansion, to see Ellie.
     
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  8. Barbara Fan
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    I will agree that it was the last great storyline on Dallas
    I never believed for a minute that he was Jock and after the Dreary Reed disaster and outcry from fans, they wouldnt go down the same road twice

    However I wanted him to be Jock, Steve Forrest was a great actor, a welcome addition to the cast who could act (SJW et al who couldnt) and THAT voice!! I love it to this day. I didnt like how it ended, i wanted to see that scene in the living room with Miss Ellie and I wish he had stayed around longer in Dallas. Stve Forrest was fab

    And a nice touch as he acted with BBG (she had a fling with him in 5 Branded Women) in the past!
     
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  9. Willie Oleson
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    Whatever it was the writers had planned and/or changed, I think this is one of those odd storylines (like Allison MacKenzie's disappearance on Peyton Place) that simply could not be wrapped up in a satisfactory way because somehow, one way or another, it would end up being somewhat anticlimactic.

    It's been a while since I've seen those episodes, but it's a nice thought that, for a moment, Jock & Ellie found eachother again, even if he wasn't Jock.
    My interpretation of his exit is that he felt he could no longer "be" Jock anymore - even if he was Jock.
    If he thought Dallas wasn't his home anymore, then maybe that was the moment he really died.
     
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  10. pete lashmar

    pete lashmar Soap Chat Active Member

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    I also found it strange that Pam never mentioned he was the same man in her dream - it was like execs decided on the dream scenario but only ever referred it in the first few minutes of the season opener - so they were obviously embarrassed about the whole dream idea too!
     
  11. StrangerDynastyTreeNat89
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    The Parmalee storyline was one of the last decent storylines, along with the BD Calhoun storyline.

    Its true that TPTB intended for Jock to come back, Peter Dunne planned it out, however Bobby's return kinda made the whole thing messy, I wonder how Jock would have fitted in season 11 onwards? I can't see Dallas taking the strange turn it did had Stivers/Parmalee turned out to be Jock.
     
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  12. Rove

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    Can I ask a simple question of my knowledgeable friends? It's clear the season without Bobby was meant to be wiped from memory - after-all it was Pam's dream. Why then would the producers decide to hang onto the Ben Stivers now Wes Parmalee story if everything else was tossed into the bin? A rather odd move for the writers/producers to keep this story from the Dream Season and nothing else.
     
  13. tommie
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    I dunno
    I'd assume they contracted him for a certain amount of episodes. It's probably that boring.
     
  14. Rove

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    I did think of that. I would have liked to be a fly on the wall when it was explained to Steve Forrest how the character he had played, Ben Stivers, believing he is Jock is now Wes Parmalee, believing he is Jock. Poor bloke probably needed some assistance at this point. When Sheldon (The Big Bang Theory) cracks Time Travel perhaps he (alongside his trusty whiteboard) can go back and explain it to Steve.
    images.jpg
    "So, Mr Forrest. Let me explain how this works."​
     
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  15. Snarky's Ghost

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    The contract binds the actor to the production, not usually the other way around.

    Reportedly, when Katzman took DALLAS back over, he liked the character, renamed him, and in the doing made Pam a nocturnal clairvoyant.
     
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  16. Via The Void
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    Steve Forrest was still under contract so Ben Stivers became Wes Parmalee in the following season. :)
     
  17. Matthew Blaisdel
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    But wasn't Stivers introduced, when the dream season was almost at it's end already?
    Katzman & Co must surely have been aware by that point that Hagman was working hard on getting his prank buddy Duffy back on board.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2017
  18. Sarah
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    I would always know my loved ones by their eyes. There was no way Jock wouldn have walked away from his family the way Wes did. Jock was a fighter - why not stay if he was Jock?
     
  19. Angela Channing
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    I agree and that's why Ellie never ruled out Wes being Jock.
     
  20. Seaviewer

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    It didn't actually get that far in the dream. At the end of the season he was still just some mystery man wandering around the ranch.
     

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