What were writers attempting in the range war season?

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by Herofan, Jun 6, 2019.

  1. Herofan

    Herofan Soap Chat Member

    Message Count:
    55
    Trophy Points:
    74
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    U.S.
    Ratings:
    +60
    Gender:
    Male
    It was mentioned in another thread how Sue Ellen shooting JR was basically turned into a joke. Someone mentioned that the popularity of night time soaps was waning, and the sitcom was taking over; therefore, Dallas was trying to be a little funnier.

    I’m currently watching , and I don’t believe I have seen Dallas from this season on since the original airing, and it seems really strange. The range war and J.R. being imprisoned in small town was certainly different. In one way, it’s as if they were returning to the first couple of seasons when things were a little more outdoorsy and had a little more physical action, but at this point, it seemed strange.

    Aside from comedy, was there another trend at the time they were trying to copy for ratings, or did they feel they were returning to the earlier years?

    To be honest, I do find it rather interesting in an odd way. I wondered when J.R. was finally going to have a successful escape, for example, but it’s just not Dallas. It’s like I’m watching Larry Hagman playing another role.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  2. Bill Dilks

    Bill Dilks Soap Chat Active Member

    Message Count:
    260
    Trophy Points:
    277
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Newark DE
    Ratings:
    +377
    Gender:
    male
    Member Since:
    2000
    Yeah...I like your thought. Might have worked better if was only part of one ep carried into the next then resolved. Guess the thought was to drive Cally into our minds as a Dallas regular.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

    Message Count:
    5,428
    Trophy Points:
    6,136
    Location:
    Haunting that cozy cellar under Falcon Crest
    Ratings:
    +7,166
    Medals:
    7
    Member Since:
    September 2000
    It does seem like they were trying to return to DALLAS' more rural, western roots. And I think they were in discussion about that with the network which was pushing for DALLAS to return to an episodic format in 1988 (Katzman nipped that in the bud when he agreeably told CBS that he was thinking about doing stories about Bobby and his old highschool basketball coach reconnecting, and so the network hushed up right fast).

    But it's the shlocky tone of Halleyville and the chain gang plots that killed it. If they'd done it straight, those stories could have worked.

    The range war plot had a bunch of potential, too. But the Ewings handling it all on their own became silly... I wanted to find out years later that there was something buried out there on Southfork which Miss Ellie didn't want the authorities to find --- and perhaps that's the real reason she didn't want any drilling on Section 40. And maybe that's also what Wes Parmalee whispered in her ear just before whisked off after the Southfork barbecue...

    What was it? We could find out a couple of years later. I assume it's more of that nazi treasure buried under Falcon Crest and the Carrington estate. Or maybe it's just Pam.
     
    • Like Like x 4
    • Winner Winner x 1
  4. Billy Wall

    Billy Wall Soap Chat Active Member

    Message Count:
    174
    Trophy Points:
    174
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Ratings:
    +203
    Gender:
    Male
    I think they were going with the old, “Texas Justice” theme. Miss Ellie was as old school as they come. Remember how she handled the reporter that came snooping onto Southfork when JR and Bobby’s plane crashed. I’m paraphrasing, but she said “you know what we do to trespassers out here? Ray, get the riffle out of the closet.” Her calling the shot to blow up the dam and not calling the authorities was definitely in her character
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Taylor Bennett Jr.

    Taylor Bennett Jr. Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Message Count:
    810
    Trophy Points:
    480
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    one of them high rises down in Venezuela
    Ratings:
    +1,394
    Gender:
    male
    my theory is that poor Cousin Jimmy Monahan was buried there, Hutch McKinney-style

    [​IMG]
     
    • Funny Funny x 4
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Enthusiast

    Message Count:
    2,442
    Trophy Points:
    4,535
    Location:
    Fletcher Sanitarium, Barcelona, Spain
    Ratings:
    +4,498
    Medals:
    4
    Gender:
    Male
    Member Since:
    September 12, 2001 (poster formerly known as Pam's Twin Sister)
    Upon an article where Katzman was interviewed, that year "Dallas" was going to become literally "The New Dallas" (thanks Soap Gods for not allowing that!) and go back to the Texan roots of range wars and action "not in bedrooms and boardrooms anymore". Of course, they again contradicted themselves when a few weeks later went on a Urrop tour including then "NuRussia". They also presumably were going to do self-contained episodes (but they didn´t) and give Swellin a black oil baron to mess with. Too bad they didn´t try the latter because at least it would have been groundbreaking, unless they pulled a Dominique, of course.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

    Message Count:
    3,944
    Trophy Points:
    5,636
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    Ratings:
    +5,005
    Medals:
    4
    Member Since:
    1998
    Other than turning Bobby into James Bond, I think they were trying to give us all nervous breakdowns.
     
  8. Herofan

    Herofan Soap Chat Member

    Message Count:
    55
    Trophy Points:
    74
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    U.S.
    Ratings:
    +60
    Gender:
    Male
    Interesting. That explains a lot. I have a love/hate feeling with this season. As I mentioned before, I actually thought the range war and JRs lock-up was rather interesting, but in a different way; it just wasn’t Dallas, but I found myself actually anxious to see what happened next, which was certainly different from the previous season. In my opinion, the most boring season to that point was the one after the Wes Parmalee season.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Fan

    Message Count:
    469
    Trophy Points:
    984
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    United States
    Ratings:
    +897
    Medals:
    2
    Member Since:
    2008
    I can give insight as I was around for the original run of Dallas.

    Here's what I remember:

    1979, the miniseries Dallas premiers

    In America, the late 70's was full of "real life" tv. Among the top 10 shows were:

    All in the Family
    Sanford and Son
    Chico and the Man
    The Jeffersons
    Good Times
    Maude

    If you remember any of these shows, they were entertaining but they could be a little depressing. They were shows that demonstrated the struggles of "real people".

    We needed some diversion. Something fun to watch to forget about the struggles of "real people". Along comes the fabulously wealthy Ewing family. The perfect show for the perfect time!

    We enjoyed watching J.R. making million dollar deals at the Cattleman's Club. We enjoyed watching wealthy business owners come and go. I even remember when Pam started dating Mark Graison, my European friends asked me, "Are ALL Texans rich?" It sure seemed like it if you were watching Dallas!

    Fast forward to the late 1980's. Real life was becoming a lot more fun. Gas prices were cheap, and airline tickets were even cheaper. It was a time to be getting out. Out eating, out driving, out having fun. As Lenny Katzman said, the action wasn't in the boardrooms any more.

    The range wars reflected this. Lots of outdoor scenes, lots of action. And as @Herofan said, it wasn't classic Dallas.

    But it was fun!
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019
    • Like Like x 3
    • Funny Funny x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  10. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Message Count:
    839
    Trophy Points:
    480
    Location:
    Maryland
    Ratings:
    +1,013
    Brilliant insight, Last Kid!

    The only part I might not agree with was your statement that it wasn't classic Dallas. To me, Miss Ellie telling the family that "we're going to blow that dam to kingdom come" was just as classic Dallas as Miss Ellie asking Ray to get the shotgun because a reporter had trespassed on their land to try to profit on their grief and anguish by trying to get a story at this particular time. She asked the reporter "Do you know what we do to people who do what you're doing" (or however the word for word quote goes) and it showed Miss Ellie in a very similar mood to how she felt when she decided to blow that dam "to kingdom come."

    However, we do agree on the most important four words of your post: "But it was fun"!

    Damn right! (dam right? - :) )
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  11. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Fan

    Message Count:
    469
    Trophy Points:
    984
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    United States
    Ratings:
    +897
    Medals:
    2
    Member Since:
    2008
    You make a very good point. Maybe what I should have said was that for the years leading up to the range wars the action in the show took place in the offices. The range wars took the action out of the offices and back out to the ranches.

    So you are right that the show came around full circle-- back to the classic Dallas of the early years, with Ray running the ranch, and bar fights and everything else that made us love Dallas to begin with.

    Damn right! (Dam right?)
    I see what you did there!
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Hero

    Message Count:
    6,783
    Trophy Points:
    3,636
    Location:
    Ballymoney, Co Antrim
    Ratings:
    +6,041
    Medals:
    4
    Member Since:
    April 2006
    I thought the range was OK, especially as it gave Miss Ellie some good material. The Haleyville nonsense was just awful, not Dallas at all.

    Swami
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  13. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Message Count:
    839
    Trophy Points:
    480
    Location:
    Maryland
    Ratings:
    +1,013
    I liked the range war a lot. It was unique in that there had never been anyone who had been so aggressive in their way of going after the Ewings. people like Cliff Barnes went after them, sometimes in subtle ways and sometimes in ways that weren't subtle at all, but nobody had literally started waging war against them in such a physical style. I enjoyed seeing Miss Ellie's reaction to the dam, blowing the dam "to kingdom come" which showed she was capable of retaliating in an equally open and equally physical way. This was really a different way of attacking the Ewings than anyone else had done before. Usually the fighting was done in the boardrooms of oil companies. Nobody had ever hired mercenary soldiers to try to make them submit and agree to sell them the land known as "Section 40." The range war was certainly a dramatic way of introducing George Kennedy as Carter McKay. That had to have been the most high profile debut any actor ever got when being introduced to the audience as a new addition to the Dallas regular cast.

    I liked the way that at first The Ewings were divided as to whether they should hire solders of their own. Bobby didn't want to and Clayton didn't like the idea either. But JR said they needed to and surprisingly, Miss Ellie agreed with what JR wanted to do rather than back up Clayton and Bobby and do whatever it was they wanted to do. I know what they didn't want to do - they didn't want to hire armed men to protect Southfork - but what did they want to do instead of that? What was their plan for how to deal with McKay's armed mercenaries? I don't think they had a plan. It's easy to criticize someone's plan and say their proposed solution isn't good when you don't offer any solutions of your own either.

    So eventually JR and Miss Ellie's armed guards managed to outmaneuver McKay's men with help from Bobby, Ray, JR and even Miss Ellie as well. It wasn't the most believable story, especially for that modern time as opposed to the 1800s, but it was a lot of fun and it was one of those times when faced with a threat from the outside, the Ewings united and fought together to protect their family and their land. There were so many times that The Ewings were quarreling with each other, especially Bobby and JR, so it was great to see them helping each other to fight people who posed a threat to them. It showed that the Ewings were capable of putting aside any personal differences they may have been dealing with at the time, and becoming a formidable adversary capable of doing whatever it took to keep their family and their ranch safe from harm.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
    • Informative Informative x 1
  14. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

    Message Count:
    3,944
    Trophy Points:
    5,636
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    Ratings:
    +5,005
    Medals:
    4
    Member Since:
    1998
    Yes...so was I...;)
     
    • Winner Winner x 1
  15. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Fan

    Message Count:
    469
    Trophy Points:
    984
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    United States
    Ratings:
    +897
    Medals:
    2
    Member Since:
    2008
    Dallas Parties!

    "Put your coat over in the room with the green shag carpet. Grab some fondue and let's find out who shot J.R.!"



    [​IMG]
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. southfork88

    southfork88 Soap Chat Addict

    Message Count:
    1,000
    Trophy Points:
    892
    Location:
    Italy
    Ratings:
    +1,320
    Member Since:
    2008
    I remember reading an article in which Ken Kercheval criticized this new dynamics of Dallas, limiting himself to having many contacts with Larry Hagman, responsible with Katzman for these bizarre stories.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  17. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Enthusiast

    Message Count:
    2,442
    Trophy Points:
    4,535
    Location:
    Fletcher Sanitarium, Barcelona, Spain
    Ratings:
    +4,498
    Medals:
    4
    Gender:
    Male
    Member Since:
    September 12, 2001 (poster formerly known as Pam's Twin Sister)
    Miss Ellie would have never allowed such a stupid, fanatic and "illegal" thing as battling with McKay in the Range war. It was something that ended (predictably) with dead people, and that might have also ended with dead Ewings. She would have never, ever, have let her two sons (her only sons in Texas!) risk their lives and put the Ewing name in danger, AGAIN. I could never understand why the CIA or whoever took them the company away didn´t realize they were dealing with mercenaries again, and put them in jail. Dumb dumb dumb plot for Rambo fans only! (Not that it´s a bad thing, but not my thing: if I had wanted to see that in my TV, I´d have watched the awful A-Team et al). Kaztman shame shame shame for that storyline!!!

    upload_2019-6-10_21-29-13.jpeg
     
  18. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Message Count:
    839
    Trophy Points:
    480
    Location:
    Maryland
    Ratings:
    +1,013
    What do you suppose her solution to the problem should have been since the police weren't helping?

    BTW, I don't think the story was very believable but it was a lot of fun.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
  19. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Enthusiast

    Message Count:
    2,442
    Trophy Points:
    4,535
    Location:
    Fletcher Sanitarium, Barcelona, Spain
    Ratings:
    +4,498
    Medals:
    4
    Gender:
    Male
    Member Since:
    September 12, 2001 (poster formerly known as Pam's Twin Sister)
    Since when didn´t the police or the sheriff or the politicians didn´t help the Ewings? I didn´t have fun watching the stupid things they did that season, from encouraging John Ross and Chris to kill animals to cause those oh-so-bad people´s death. And then look, McKay is a good guy because we got George Kennedy to play him. And Wendell a criminal. Old times Wendell would have used every trick in his bag to blackmail or force the Ewings to sell the lands, but still being the cold as ice villain he always was. That season was pure shitte. Thanks to Soap Gods for the Europe tour...
     
  20. Taylor Bennett Jr.

    Taylor Bennett Jr. Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Message Count:
    810
    Trophy Points:
    480
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    one of them high rises down in Venezuela
    Ratings:
    +1,394
    Gender:
    male
    reading Lastkidpicked's excellent post, it occurred to me... that episode where JR and Bobby get stuck in the elevator with a case of wine might have been a lot more entertaining if it had been JR and Fred Sanford!

    [​IMG]
     

Share This Page