Why not Donna Krebbs instead of Donna Reed?

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by Lastkidpicked, Sep 11, 2019.

  1. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    We're doing a re-watch now and we are on the Donna Reed episodes. We noticed two things:

    1) They needed a Miss Ellie to hold some of the plot lines together
    2) Ray and Donna seem to have very little to do.

    So, why not solve both problems at once? Why not use Donna Krebbs to hold the plot lines together? Let's look at what the writers needed:

    1) Plot line one: Jaime. The writers needed Miss Ellie to confirm that Jaime could be Jason Ewing's daughter. Jaime said it herself on her arrival: "Ask Miss Ellie. She would know if I am telling the truth". Great! We are treated to exactly one line from Donna Reed: "You do seem to favor Jason." Well! Case closed, everybody!

    Why not use Donna Krebbs to provide the anecdotal evidence? Something along the lines of, "Sam Culver used to talk about the old days. With Jock, Jason, and Digger. He talked about Jason's daughter, and how Jason would take her out to the oil fields even when she was a little girl."

    2) Plot line two: The matriarch who Lucy and Jaime could turn to for support and advice.
    The great thing about Donna and Ray are they are both a half a step apart from the family. This makes them the perfect people for Lucy and Jaimie to turn to for advice.

    3) Plot line three: Staring blankly into space in every single scene.
    Well, that role was expertly filled by Priscilla Presley, who could stare off into space as if training with Donna Reed for years.

    So, my question is this: Why take a chance on re-casting such a popular character? Why not just leave Miss Ellie in Europe and allow Donna Krebbs to step in during these plot lines?
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
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  2. Bill Dilks

    Bill Dilks Soap Chat Addict

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    Interesting thought, LKP.

    I've been a fan of Donna Reed since THE DONNA REED SHOW, and enjoyed her most in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. But for Ellie Ewing, to me she was too reserved, and played the part too "held-back", with that frail look and fearful aura about her. Not sure what she was going after, but I don't think she portrayed at all the strength Miss Ellie had. When she spoke it was like she was "playing a part", hesitant, and unnatural in manner and cadence, fake and forced. She was an all-round pro, but this one didn't work. To me, every scene she was in was killed and any rhythm built at the time died. The bottom dropped out of any pace established prior to her scenes. And there's no way she could ever tell Ray to "get the shotgun from the closet".

    But again, like a said, lovely lady and a great talent. And food for thought on your post.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
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  3. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    I'll bet Donna Krebbs would have loved that opportunity, It would give her even another opportunity, this time with Jamie, to explain to that she's the authority on everything, just like she acted in her marriage, where apparently Ray doesn't so much go to the john without her OK.

    If there was ever a time when Donna and Ray had an argument and she said "Ok, Ray, I admit I was wrong" I certainly don't remember it. For a politician, she sure lacked the ability to compromise. She always had to get her way. I found Donna highly abrasive and was glad for Ray when he married Jenna. They seemed to treat each other much more as equals, whereas with Donna, Ray always seemed to subordinate to her. Of course, Ray allowed it, so you can only feel so bad for him..
     
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  4. Chris2

    Chris2 Soap Chat Active Member

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    I would have brought in Donna Summer as Miss Ellie. She would install a disco ball in the Southfork living room, and everyone could let loose. Hot stuff, indeed.
     
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  5. Jimmy Todd

    Jimmy Todd Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    @Lastkidpicked's idea is excellent one. I Iiked Donna and Ray and any story that utilizes them is fine by me.
    Donna Reed was a very good actress but her portrayal just didn't work. She played Miss Ellie so differently it was as if the character had been replaced by one of the pod people from Invasion of the Body Snatchers. There could have been a background scene where Kevin McCarthy is on the news for being arrested for blocking traffic and screaming, They're here!!!"
    Regarding Kenny's point about Donna Krebbs' personality, he has a valid point. She could be a know-it-all, but I liked her anyway and never wanted her marriage to Ray to end. She had integrity, was smart, and never backed down from JR.
    Like everyone on God's green earth, she needed to be taken down a peg once in awhile. For example, I didn't like her attitude when her marriage to Ray was breaking up and she was basically unwilling to listen to Ray when he was making attempts to salvage their relationship. She had her mind all made up about how things were supposed to be and wasn't really listening to his side at all. Ray may have had some :eek:ld-fashionef" notions, but he was a good man and she knew who he was when she married him in the first place. I would have liked Miss Ellie to be the one to give Donna a bit of a dressing down and remind her, as only Ms. Bel Geddes" Miss Ellie could, that Donna doesn't ALWAYS have all the answers and needs to practice the art of listening.
    Another time Donna needed to be humbled a bit was when Ray was going to sue for custody of Margaret. Ray has a good point. She decides to move to Washington to be a politician, which means separating Ray from his daughter. Sorry, Donna, I'm all for you having a career, but your child's best interests come first It's in the child's best interests to have both parents in the picture as much as possible, especially since Ray would be a responsible caring Dad. You never wanted to go Washington in all the time your with Ray, and suddenly you decide to do aso after the baby is born? Selfish and unfair to Ray. and Margaret.
    If Miss Ellie, or even Lucy, gave her a good dressing down for this, leave Donna speechless and introspective, I would have clapped.
    Still, I really liked the character and thought Susan Howard did a great acting job. It was a loss to the show when she left.
     
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  6. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Star

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    An interesting thread and a great idea. As we know Donna is given authority by Bobby to be his eyes and ears at Ewing Oil while he is recuperating from his blindness. I would have kept Bobby blind for most of the season until the end when his sights begins to return. This would have given Donna a higher profile and some much needed conflict between the Ewing/Krebbs family. Ray would have been in a difficult position at home since we know his traditional thinking on what constitutes a wife while also defending Donna at the big house when JR is on the attack.
     
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  7. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    It is a good idea, in that a lot of people would have liked it, but for me personally as someone who isn't a Donna fan, I wouldn't be enthusiastic about Donna being given more time on screen than she already had. I find her character so abrasive, that the less she's used the better. There isn't any other character on Dallas who was part of the main cast from an early period in the show onwards I would say that about. She acted like she was an authority on everything. I've seen people who act that way in real life and it sure doesn't help them make friends or become well liked.

    "Ray may have had some old-fashioned notions but he was a good man." Why would one preclude the other? Remember, one day in the future, people will consider all of us "old-fashioned." Will they say that some of us were good men in spite of it? I don't subscribe to the notions "change for the sake of change" or that we are any better than people 50 years ago were.

    I think of it as: Not "old fashioned" notions. Traditional notions. Tradition is highly important in every culture. Cultures around the world differ vastly but one thing they all have in common is they all have their traditions.

    Do you remember when Ray suggested they try to "compromise" and she blew up at him? I was thinking, aren't politicians supposed to be good at compromise? Donna reacted like "compromise" was a cuss word.

    Still, as I said, you can only feel so bad for Ray because he did allow Donna to walk allow over him. I can't imagine what they saw in each other -they were the unlikeliest couple in Dallas ever, and that's saying a lot. Paul (Ray's lawyer) said Ray "might be the greatest guy this side of the Mississippi" but they (Ray and Donna) came from different worlds.

    There's a saying regarding romantic relationships that "opposites attract." It must have been true in Donna and Ray's case, at least. I can't recall a couple who were more different from each other.

    I agree that would have been in the best interests of Margaret. I have nothing against Donna wanting to have a career, but to put her child's interests secondary to her career was wrong. There's no justification for a woman ever putting her child's health and welfare secondary to her career ambitions.

    We're seeing a fairly unnatural phenomenon these days where women are having children later in life than they ever have in the past, and it sure is coming at an awfully high price. Medical researchers are finding out there are all sorts of risks to the baby's health and proper development when a couple decides to have a child relatively late in life.

    Dallas even used that as part of a storyline. Remember when after Ray suggested they try again, Donna said that at her age, there would be substantial risks? Well, if she knew that already, why did she wait that long to begin with? Donna waiting so long to become a mother, forcing Ray to wait so long to become a father - something he wanted very much, and doing that while knowing it was risky to the health and development of the baby was selfish in the worst sense of the word. I know why she did it, it was because she was still more interested in working than having a baby. Well, if a a woman takes that attitude, that her career is the main thing, and having child is something she'll just put off until as late as possible, there's a serious downside to that.

    The justification I usually hear people try to use is that the wife wants to get further ahead in her career before she take s time off to have a baby. Well, whether she takes the time off early in her career or later in her career, it's still going to disrupt her career for the same amount of time. So, why not do that earlier, when it will give the couple the best possible chance of having a healthy child?

    There are upsides to having children while a couple is relatively young. Raising children takes a lot of energy. People have more energy in their younger years.It also increases the likelihood the children will get to spend a good amount of time with their grandparents, get to know them well, and of course gives the grandparents more time to spend with their grandchildren, to enjoy them, love them , and impact wisdom to them. If a couple is going to have children, having them while they're still reasonably young is a win/win situation.

    If there's a couple that thinks their chid's health is less important than the mother's career, I don't they're cut out to be parents. That's alright though if they aren't cut out to be parents and they know it. I don't think every single couple in the world are cut out to be parents.. If they do become parents though, the health and welfare of the child has to be a top priority.

    I bet Bobby is glad you're not his eye doctor.

    Higher profile than she already had? Why? To increase the amount of squabbling at Ewing Oil? That would have been great for business. To send her in as Bobby's replacement at Ewing Oil, as if he couldn't possibly be expected to work anymore if he were blind? There are some highly competent businessmen who are blind.

    If Bobby needed an interim period to adjust to being blind before he went back to work, in a company the size of Ewing Oil certainly Bobby must have had some very well trusted executives, vice presidents and such who knew infinitely more about Ewing Oil than Donna did and who would also have had the ability to form much better working relationships with JR than Donna ever could have, considering she and JR disliked each other tremendously.

    I prefer the way they did things, regarding the relationship between the Ewings and the Krebbs families. I like to see a nice range of dynamics in a family oriented show between good times and bad times, a range of happiness and sadness, getting along with each other and not getting along. It gives things a good balance and each condition provides contrast with the other. Each makes the other have more impact! Besides, I don't think a shortage of conflict was ever Dallas' problem. A shortage of intelligent conflict did, however, become a problem at times, primarily in the waning years of the show.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
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  8. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    I'm just supposing this, but I'm guessing they had Howard Keel under contract for that season, and very possibly the next after that. If that was the case, they probably didn't want to pay him his year's salary to sit at home, and thereby lose another main character from the show, telling us Clayton and Ellie are on a year long vacation in Europe. Besides, what if BBG had needed yet one more year to recover than she did? Do they extend their European vacation to two years, and pay Keel another year's salary to sit at home?
     
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  9. Lastkidpicked

    Lastkidpicked Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Good point, Bill. As happens sometimes, a great actress in the wrong role and it just doesn't "fit".

    By the way, it's only three months until we have out annual It's a Wonderful Life party. Done it for 20 years and I hope you will watch it this Christmas as well.

    You bring up a good point, Kenny. Without Miss Ellie there is no real reason for Clayton to be there.

    And if you have a chance to re-watch his scene with Lucy, where they start out arguing, it will make you a Howard Keel fan. The way his baritone voice fills the scene, "I may not be your grandfather, but you will treat me with respect!" made any money they paid him well worth it.

    I would give money to listen to that man read the phone book.

     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
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  10. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Star

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    If "Dallas" OR Season 7 had been written by the "Knots" writers instead of Season 8, things would have been very different regarding the women´s role in the show. They might have made Donna another exec at Ewing Oil (after all Ray was co-owner) and work not only when Bobby was blind but permanently, as they did with the "Knots" ladies in the final years at Sumner Group. That way all of them would have been in business: Pam at BW, Donna at EO, Sue Ellen at Valentine, and even Lucy might have been used as Gary also was co-owner of EO. Just my 2 cents.
     
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  11. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    That's an idea so good it should have been mandatory.

    All the Dallas women should have been sent to work in business. Whether they had the qualifications for it or not. Whether they enjoyed it or not.

    The only thing that would make it better is to have Sue Ellen go to work in the oil business, because portraying her as selling women's underwear isn't flattering enough. To show she didn't want any special treatment just because she's a woman, Sue Ellen could have worked as a roughneck in the oil fields for at least her first couple years, where she no doubt would have excelled.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
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  12. Jimmy Todd

    Jimmy Todd Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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  13. Chris2

    Chris2 Soap Chat Active Member

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    Great idea. Faux Miss Ellie could have been president of Ewing Oil. Jenna would head up HR and mental health, Teresa would be head of environmental impact, and Lucy could have modeled as the public face of the company and head of PR.
     
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  14. MenaceTheDennis

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    Not only with Howard under contract and wanting to use him, I think the producers wanted to prove a point that everyone else, save Larry, Linda, Patrick and Victoria were expendable, especially Larry. Dynasty fell into this trap too, horribly recasting all the Carrington children as long as they had John, Joan and Linda. There was no way to tell if Barbara would ever return when she left in early 1984. They already lost Jim, so they felt they had to recast. They went in a different direction from Barbara with high profile casting, and people still remembered Donna as one of America’s favorite tv moms. Everything was right in theory, it just didn’t pay off when Donna started playing the role. The show ended the year at number 2, but losing to Dynasty which went to number 1 for the season must’ve stung. Donna had an impossible task, and I respect her for all she went through with the show.
     
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  15. Chris2

    Chris2 Soap Chat Active Member

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    The show just wasn’t set up to continue when some of the main characters wore out their welcome or actors playing them left. If they had been smarter, there would have been another offscreen Ewing sibling (or two) who could have been brought in later on. I remember “The Yellow Rose” did this - there were two more siblings who existed and were referred to but weren’t series regulars. And the “long-lost illegitimate child” plot could have been reserved to introduce a new character into the show, not for Ray.
     

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