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Behind the scenes on the TV show Dallas

The production moves forward, slowing down or stopping only for natural causes and acts of God. Most natural accidents are finessed.

Weather

Linda Gray and Larry HagmanWhen the snow that hit Dallas during production of the pilot melted the next day, several tons of gypsum were trucked to the location site to match the snow of the previous day's shoot. When the gypsum read too pink on screen, new gypsum was trucked in. The next day, it snowed again. The weather has always been a formidable factor in the production of Dallas. The temperature frequently tops 100 degrees; numerous cast and crew members have been treated for sunstroke.
Over the years the production company has learned to deal with the heat--actors are ferried in and out of air conditioning, and Gatorade is in ready abundance. Crew members wear shorts and tile men go shirtless, but stars are forced to cope with the heat in wardrobe that includes leather pants, chaps, and three-piece suits.

 

 

 

 

 

Pregnancy

There have been several pregnancies on the set. When Charlene Tilton became pregnant her condition was woven into the story line.However, Charlene went on to carry full term while Lucy, her character--who had been raped--chose to have an abortion. After Lucy's "abortion" and before Charlene's delivery, she was photographed so that her changing shape would not be in frame. Morgan Brittany was also pregnant for her last appearance in Dallas, so her character, Katherine Wentworth, had to kill Bobby via hit-and-run so that she could be partially concealed inside a car.

Illness

When Barbara Bel Geddes had heart surgery, Miss Ellie was whisked away by Clayton Farlow to Galveston to "rest up.'" Deciding not to return to the physical strain of a weekly show, Bel Geddes agreed to have her character replaced. Donna Reed played the part for one year, until Bel Geddes was strong enough to return.
To give Victoria Principal some down time after an old back injury forced her out of work for a week, producers came up with an "'ad hoc kidnapping" that was thrown into the plot in ease Victoria needed to take more time off. As it worked out, Victoria came back to work quickly and her kidnapping was therefore resolved quickly. Most major characters have now been kidnapped.


After heart surgery, Barbara Bel Geddes retired as Miss Ellie and turned her recipes over to Donna Reed. Bel Geddes subsequently returned to the role a year later. Reed died unexpectedly in 1985.

Death

It was decided that Jock Ewing would not be replaced but would die with dignity, just as actor Jim Davis had done. Davis was in the hospital suffering from cancer for some time, but was not written out of the seriesuntil after his death. "'His whole life centered around this show,'" says Katzman. "We kept his character alive so he could read the scripts and have the hope and faith that hewould make it back. People couldn't suddenly say, "Guess what! Daddy died!' It was a very serious, very real situation."We felt we were better off keeping alive the character--Ellie and Jock went on a second honeymoon, then Jock went to South America-until we knew what was really going to happen to Jim and could plan an appropriate and fitting death for Jock that would bring honor to them both. Jock Ewing died an oilman who was serving his country. It was a hard time for all of us." When it came time for Patrick Duffy to leave the show, there was no question that Bobby would die. He could not be replaced and producers did not want him in limbo. Says Katzman, "Patrick just wanted it to be done with dignity." Since it was obvious to producers that Bobby's death would provide a new twist on the cliffhanger for that season, it was easy to build backward and create Bobby's murderer.
Katherine had already tried to kill Bobby once a coincidence that worked handily when Patrick failed to renew his contract.


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