LIVE CHAT INTERVIEWS
VIDEO INTERVIEWS INTERVIEW ARCHIVE

Exclusive Dallas interviews from the official dallas website

Exclusive interviews with the cast and production team of the hit tv series Dallas.
Our exclusive interviews enable you to ask the questions.

Ted Shackelford Dallas interview

If television had a royal family, Ted Shackelford would be a member. The family would be the Ewings and Ted Shackelford would be "the middle son," Gary. Of course, the name Ewing is synonymous with Dallas and Knots Landing, and Ted was there for virtually all of it, originating on Dallas in 1979 and riding the horse that was Knots until its trot into the winner's circle in 1993.

Ted Shackelford eschews gossip and doesn't much care for speculation. This Oklahoman cares mostly about doing his job - getting a take right, finding the motivation for an elusive emotion and sharing insights into how a troubled character can grow. He prefers working in film to theatre, loves Joan Van Ark and owes everything to being Gary. He has been reminiscing a bit lately; in an October segment with Van Ark for Soap Net's "Soap Talk" and here in this exclusive interview, featuring questions from Ultimate Dallas and Knots Landing Net web members. Let the memories begin.

Jordan Tate from France asks,

"Hello Ted, Kind regards from France! You were my idol when I was a little girl, and I'm glad to ask you this question: Do you remember the first time you've been noticed by a producer, the first scene you shot, and your feeling at that moment? Have you always wanted to be an actor? Was it a dream coming true?"

Ted Shackelford: I'll answer the second part of that first. Always from about 18 or 19, which is always in a lot of ways. I did theatre in college. I can't really recall the first time I was noticed by a producer but the first time I was on television was doing Daytime for Another World, which I started in December '75 and went until December '76. In January '77 I went out to LA and have been here 26 years.

UltimeDallas: What did you do before Another World?
 

Ted: I did a couple of commercials. A lot of dinner theatre. Thirty years ago dinner theatre used to be much more of a going concern than it is now. You could just do dinner theatre and do fairly OK. That kept me going for a while.

UD: Where did you do dinner theatre?

Ted: All over the Southwest mostly . Colorado, Texas, Arizona. I came to New York and got a job at the Carlyle. Do you know where that is?

UD: I've heard of it; I don't know exactly.

Ted: It's on 76th and Madison and is probably the best hotel in New York. There's the Café Carlyle where Bobby Short performs.

UD: Oh right, right. Sometimes I forget that these nightclubs are attached to hotels.

Ted: Well I was the room clerk there starting in September '72 and then went on to be the night manager. After Another World I came out to Los Angeles and did more television.

Kyle Biggums/Abbylexis from Long Island asks
"I am so excited Ted, you were my favorite male character on Knots Landing, Thank you for answering our question. I am a BIG BIG BIG FAN OF YOURS 1)At this forum we had a debate about your character. I described Gary as a naïve, lazy playboy who was in love with women, horses and cars and who matured as years went on. Do you agree or disagree?"

Ted: (Laughing) In that order, too. Yeah, basically (I'd agree). The guy was an alcoholic who ultimately got sober and matured. He may have acted out a lot but he ended up good. The thing with being on a series that runs that long is that the writers run out of things to do. What happens if you're the guy who's been on the show ten years and is highly paid but they have nothing for you to do is that they bring in other people, and you become a supporting character to those people. So that may explain why it took Gary so long to become mature. Then again, if he were mature too early I wouldn't have a part to play.

UD: Kyle also has a second part to that question: "There's been a big talk about a potential affair with Pat Williams and Gary on the show, would you have liked it?"

Ted: It was in the air. I vaguely remember Lynne Moody and I going to see David Jacobs, who was the creator and executive producer of the show and talking about it, but nothing happened.

UD: Do you think it was because of the---

Ted: Racial aspect? I couldn't tell you. If it was, I doubt anyone would cop to it. But it probably wasn't because of that because David Jacobs was very open to everything. So who knows?

Shari from Clermont, FL asks
"What, in your opinion, made Gary tick? Was it working the land, or was it the approval he so desperately wanted from his family?"

Ted: Gary was a classic angry guy, and he got hooked on the booze. I think he wanted approval from his family more but in all he was very excitable and passionate. A good person but got carried away with some things. (Laughing)

Ulysses from Germany asks
"During your first eight seasons on Knots Landing you had uncountable shirtless scenes (shirtless at the gym, shirtless at home, shirtless at ranch work, and so on...). But then you even went to bed with your shirt on. Was it your own decision to stop the \"barechested\" acting :-), or was it a decision of the producers? (BTW: I always admired you for your great shape!)"

Ted: (hearty laughter throughout the reading of the question) Oh, Ulysses. You know what? I have no idea about any of that. Who knows why they had me not wearing a shirt in one scene and a T-shirt in another? Probably I had a look they liked for a while and as I got fatter and older they stopped showing off my body. They never told me one way or the other. I remember the actor Dale Robertson said he quit acting when he got tired of having to hold his stomach in. I feel that way sometimes.

UD: (Laughing) You're not fat by any means. The Soap Talk segment proved that yesterday.

Ted: Well, thank you. But as for why I wore a shirt, why did they have Lisa Hartman in a bikini? It's all about entertainment.

UD: I noticed your reaction when I said Ulysses was from Germany. Do you go there?

Ted: I have German Shepherds that I train and have brought back to Germany. I love going there.

UD: But do you live there at all? Some of the other Knots actors have said you lived in another country.

Ted: (Laughing) My wife is Danish and we go to Denmark a couple of times a year. I'd love if I could live part of the year there and hopefully we'll do that at some point. But no, I'm still living in LA and haven't dropped off the face of the earth.

UD: I think it sounded more dramatic to people that you have left LA behind for the wilds of another country.

Ted: (Laughing) Maybe I should have never come back. Like Eddie and the Cruisers. (Pausing) Oh hold on a minute. (A 20-second pause) Sorry about that. We're in the path of the Burbank Airport and between 10-11 Monday through Friday we get planes flying overhead. What's the next question?

Tatianna from Virginia asks
"Did the cast know ahead of time which characters would become the bad guy? For example, when you were first introduced to Jill Bennett, did you have any idea in the beginning that she would turn into a psycho and try to kill the mother of your children? Why do some characters start out to be good people and end up being evil?"

Ted: Because the writers get bored and decide to. It's done to drive the stories.

UD: Did they originally plan that for Jill Bennett?

Ted: No, not at all. That was done to drive her story. Sometimes it works, like in that case, and sometimes it doesn't. (With Jill) it may have been done too quickly.

UD: Was that because they wanted to kill her off?

Ted: No, I don't think so. They just thought it would be a good story.

Danny James from Essex, England - UK asks
"Hi Ted, I live in England and loved you on both Dallas and Knots, would like to know if you have ever done or wanted to do any theatre work? We would love for you to come to our country for a visit sometime! Do you have any plans to? Thanks, Dan."

Ted: Actually, I go there a lot. I was just there three weeks ago. My wife is a publicist and I was tagging along with her. I was probably there seven or eight days. And I worked there from '94 to '95 doing (the TV series) Space Precinct. I try to get back there as often as I can.

UD: It's amazing how big the following is for Knots Landing in Britain. I never expected it.

Ted: You think it's big there? Try France. I was in a Paris for four or five days and I couldn't believe the reaction I got there. It was just bizarre; people recognizing me left and right. In France it's called Cote Quest, or "The West Coast" and in Germany it's Unter der Sonne Kaliforniens or "Under the California Sun." Some things don't translate I guess.

Krista from Orlando, FL asks
"How did you feel about the dream season on Dallas and how it affected Knots Landing's season?"

Ted: It erased most of Knots I think. It really was very weird and made no sense for us. I guess it was kind of like time travel. Once you go back in time if you touch anything, everything gets altered. Or better yet, like a sweater. If you pull that one thread the whole things unravels. That's what happened with the dream season.

UD: Not the least that Gary's kids were named Bobby and Betsy in memory of Bobby's death, which was wiped clean.

Ted: It was bizarre, that's for sure.

Danny James from Essex, England - UK also asks
"Hi Ted, I would like to say well done on "Miracle Dogs" - I watched the movie when it premiered here on Sky TV a few months back, and I thought it was a wonderful film, it was a great family film and I really enjoyed it. It was great seeing you in the film, alongside others, especially Rue McClanahan. I loved the two movies in which you did with Rue entitled Father of the bride, and also the follow up - Mother of the bride, I want to ask you what was it like working with Rue again, and did you enjoy filming Miracle Dogs?"

Ted: I loved doing it. Rue's another fellow Oklahoman and just a hell of an actress. I've worked with her before and she's great. And the movie was great to film. We shot in Cleveland for about a month and the people were fabulous. It was just a great time.

UD: Yeah it was on Animal Planet just a few months ago.

Ted: Is that where it was? I didn't know when it was on. And obviously Sky TV over there.

Sangeeta Joshi from Silver Spring, MD asks
"I've just recently started watching KL on Soap Net, and noticed that in all the years that this show ran, the character of Lucy, who was Gary and Val's daughter, was barely acknowledged or even talked about. Why was that?"

Ted: Well with Lucy . it probably gets too complicated. Having her in there would just be glomming up the story. There really wasn't talk about bringing her over from Dallas. You have to remember that these were two very separate shows. We shot on the same lot but we had separate sound stages and everything else. In a case like Lucy's, it's not about show art, it's show business. The story would've gotten bogged down.

Alice McCarthy from Ireland asks
"What was your favorite storyline in Knots Landing?"

Ted: It had to be the fourth or fifth year when Gary starts drinking again and Ciji gets killed. Gary may be responsible and then Ciji comes back seemingly as another woman and Donna's behind the whole thing. It was a great story.

UD: What made it so great?

Ted: It was unpredictable, good storytelling that brought you back each week. You really didn't know what was going to happen with it. And I had a lot to play, which is what you want as an actor. Those were my best moments.

Joshua Slow from Los Angeles asks
A lot of people on the forum think season thirteen was the most disappointing of all. Then again, the new writers gave you a big storyline with the whole Tidal Energy tale. But do you feel that in the process they ending up assaulting the integrity of the Gary Ewing character?

I mean, wasn't he worth over 100 million dollars or something? And after all he'd already gone through--alcoholism, Abby and Jill Bennett -- it's really sad to think he lost it all and even worked as a hand on his own ranch!!!"

Ted: I think we would all agree with that. It was just bad. That was our lost season.

UD: What happened?

Ted: Who knows? It just didn't work and the thing is, it was obvious from the beginning. I remember thinking that -- "This is not going to work." The show didn't make sense and (the writers) didn't maintain the character of the show.

UD: Yeah Gary inherited 10% of Ewing Oil, which was a billion dollar company. It's just not possible that he sunk all that money on harvesting the energy of the sea!

Ted: I know. It possibly could have made more sense if they focused more on why Gary did this, and what was inside Gary that could have caused him to throw all this money away, but they didn't. They even shut the production down at one point.

UD: What was that like?

Ted: It was in November or December of that year; don't remember exactly.

UD: I'll be nerdy and say November 20, 1991 to be exact. Right before Thanksgiving.

Ted: So it was in November. Well, we were shooting in Hidden Valley, out in Westlake and I show up to the ranch and one of the (production people) says, "So, we're going to shut down production." Just like that. (Laughs).

UD: Were you annoyed?

Ted: No! I said, "Thank you!" I think that was the reaction of everyone. We were saying, "Ah Jesus, what are we playing here?" So when they shut down I had an excuse to go to Germany. I think we were off about five or six weeks and David Jacobs fixed the show. We took a wrong turn that year.

Chris Sumner Matheson from San Antonio, Texas asks
"I see that you were in the Cruel Intentions TV series, Manchester Prep, which was deemed too hot for TV. When they edited into a movie, you were no longer in it. I was wondering what your part would have been had the show aired."

Ted: I was the father of someone. It was one of the weirdest experiences of my life. I remember we filmed at USC and I did one day on it. Apparently someone got hold of one of the dailies and they showed it on E! When Rupert Murdoch saw it he said, "No way am I going to run this." So it never made it on the air. I guess this happened because, well I really shouldn't say I guess.

UD: Was it because of it looked like underage porn or something?

Ted: Yeah, I think there was a shot of a 16-year-old having an orgasm and that didn't sit well with the conservative element at Fox. Of course you don't really think of Fox as being a very conservative network but that was the ostensible reason. The decision as to why a show makes it has to do with politics and money. So I'm not sure exactly what happened in this case but it was bizarre.

Pauline from Glasgow, Scotland asks
"Hi Ted, What was it like working on the Dallas set? Can you tell us stories about the Dallas actors?"

Ted: I really wasn't on the Dallas set much. I did three or four episodes so I didn't see too much. I'd say it was a little bit different of a set. It was more relaxed. For example, they might finish at 5:30 in the afternoon where we would go until 10 at night. It just had a different feel.

UD: Did you see any evidence of the infamous practical joking on the Dallas set?

Ted: I heard about it but never really saw it. People thought we were tight with them (Dallas cast) but they were two separate shows and they did their own thing.

UD: Were you ever competing with Dallas?

Ted: Oh, no. There was no need for competition when at the end of the day we were all getting paid to do our work.

Doug Buffington from Tulsa, OK asks
"I have two questions. First, where is the original Southfork from the mini series (the first five episodes) located?"

Ted: That's where I'm from!

UD: I knew you'd like it.

Ted: I'm not sure if the original Southfork was the one that became the place we know, the museum. I know that the one that I shot an episode at was in El Campo, which was outside Dallas but today might have gotten absorbed into Dallas.

UD: Doug also asks "What high school did you go to in Tulsa?"

Ted: Tulsa Edison High School and I graduated in 1964. I bet you weren't even born then.

UD: No, can't say that I was.

Ted:

(Laughing) Oh, boy, I feel old. When were you born?


UD:

Well it's funny because I was born in New York in November 1972, but I didn't want to interrupt before when you said that you were at the Carlyle.


Ted: Yeah I got to New York in June or July of '72, so that's funny. Which hospital were you born at?

UD: Flower Fifth Avenue.

Ted: Where was that? Obviously on 5th but where?

UD: 105th and 5th.

Ted: Wow I was so close, only about a mile away. I was probably working the night you were born. (Laughs more).

UD: Small world, yes. Where did you go to college?

Ted: I went to the Westminster College for Men in Missouri, which is what it was called back then, and transferred to the University of Denver where I ultimately got my degree.

Jock Ewing from Dallas asks
"What the devil's going on around here?"

Ted: What?

UD: Oh look, Jock Ewing's here!

Ted: Aha. I guess that goes back to the idea of "What does it all mean?"

UD: I just saw Jock Ewing pop up into the mix and had to ask. Forgive the interruption. He was Gary's father after all.

Ted: (Laughing) It's fine.

Mark Washington from Maple Heights asks
"Gary was different from most male leads on soaps, he was weak and a little dumb, it did make him unique and fun to watch but did you ever wish they would have made Gary smarter and maybe have wised up to Abby's ways sooner?"

Ted: I don't think Gary was weak. He was an alcoholic and that made him a people pleaser. But yeah, he should have wised up to Abby sooner. He was not swift when it came to women. Not swift at all.

Ashley from North Carolina asks
"Hi Ted! What, in your opinion, was the most intriguing thing about the character of Gary Ewing? Thank you."

Ted: In the first four or five years he was a lot more complicated. There was a lot more to play. What was intriguing was the aspect of alcoholism and his anger. That wasn't explored after a while. It might have had to do with Knots being a nighttime soap, as opposed to a daytime show.

UD: How so?

Ted: Nighttime has a certain verisimilitude that daytime doesn't seem to have. On daytime they continue to revisit a lot of the same stuff while nighttime does move on and show development.

UD: On nighttime they have to be quicker because it's only once a week, too.

Ted: Right. They have to compress everything while on daytime you can stretch it out. I think nighttime is more about the story and the character development.

UD: While we're on the subject of character development and writing, both Joan Van Ark and John Pleshette told me that they didn't approve of the way Lynn Marie Latham and Bernard Lechowick took the show in the later years. What's your opinion of that?

Ted: There are two different approaches on a show like Knots. By the time Bernie and Lynn came on the characters were already established. In the first few years of any series you have to spend time creating characters. Bernie and Lynn were very good at driving the story and they did terrific work. I really enjoyed working with them. I can remember going to Bernie with a script and saying, "That's not something Gary would say," and he'd say, "You're right," and change it right in front of me. I had a good working relationship with them.

UD: You probably had a good relationship with everybody. David Jacobs had said that you were the "saint of Knots Landing." That you always showed up on time, you always knew your lines, and always did a good job. Did you know he thought that about you?

Ted: No, I didn't and that's very kind of him. It took me a while to get to that point. There was a time where I wasn't a saint and I was a devil. I was going through a divorce and I acted out a bit. So that's a very nice compliment. You know, it was a great job. And after a while I realized, who am I not to enjoy it? They don't ask you to do much, to be truthful, they really don't. We're all very lucky and very fortunate. You can almost equate it with being a professional athlete. It was a treat, a gift and everything else.

Chris Sumner Matheson from San Antonio, TX also asks
"One of the best new characters in the later years of Knots Landing was Jill Bennett. I thought Jill and Gary were dynamite together, and even though "The Perfect Crime" was excellent, I would have loved to see Teri Austin stay on as a twin or look alike. What do you think? Did you enjoy working with Teri?"

Ted: I did enjoy working with Teri. But they knew it wasn't going to work with Teri as a twin or look alike since they already did it before.

UD: Were they ever considering her to be Sally's Friend?

Ted: No. Lar (Park Lincoln) was Sally's Friend and they were going to use her as Amanda but they thought she was too young for me, so they chose Penny (Peyser) instead. But I don't think Teri was even on the show at that point.

Joshua Slow from Los Angeles also asks
"I can recall some very powerful scenes between you and Joan van Ark. For example, there's a scene on the beach where Val is near tears and Gary is laughing boisterously. Soon they're BOTH laughing uproariously. This sort of chemisty is very special. But often it comes with a price. I have heard, for example, that on the set of KRAMER VS. KRAMER, Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep fought a lot because they were both perfectionists. I get the vibe that JvA is also rather a perfectionist. I've heard that she always wanted retakes. In your opinion, was JvA ever difficult to work with? Come on, Ted, be honest, LOL."

Ted: (Laughing) Who asked that?

UD: Joshua, the one who asked the Tidal Energy question.

Ted: Oh, OK. Well, I personally never found Joan difficult to work with. If I could work with Joan Van Ark every day for the rest of my life I would. I was honored that Joan said in the interview with you that she thought I was her soulmate. We had a connection like we were soulmates. It was just so easy working with her. She was a perfectionist, yes, but I'm not so it worked perfectly. (Laughs) She knew exactly what she wanted and how to get there. Television is so dictated by time constraints that you have to make quick decisions and go with them. Joan was able to do that.

UD: It sounded like the shooting schedule on Knots was so quick that it was like improv.

Ted: It was like improv, you're right. You really had to make fast decisions. I prefer it, though. I'm a very lazy actor; I just like to get into it and do it. It might be better for my craft if I wasn't so instinctive.

UD: But you like the spontaneity of it better.

Ted: I like the spontaneity. Theater to me is acting but it's more real on film. When you're shooting there's just something very personal; it's just you and the camera.

UD: Wouldn't the "theatre elite" say that theatre is the more legitimate medium, and that it's more real because you're feeding off a live audience?

Ted: You do have the intensity of the audience and that is very important while on film it's all about the moment and there is no audience.

UD: Did you really feel there wasn't an audience? Didn't people come up to you when the show was running?

Ted: They did at times, but it's delayed. They're not there when the show is shot so the instant response is not there.

UD: I would bet you didn't watch the show when it was on then. Michele Lee sounded like as much of a fan as she was a star of the show while Joan Van Ark occasionally watched the dailies but not Thursdays at 10.

Ted: I watched the show in the first few years but then I stopped. I can see why Joan said that. It's a totally different experience shooting the scene and watching it when it's on. I hardly ever watch myself anymore. I act for the reality, for the moment, and most of all I do it for the process. Although I did Love Letters with Mary Frann and then Joan for a week and that was pretty real, I must admit. The emotions were there. (Pausing) That was a meandering answer.

UD: That was a great response. If that was meandering, then please meander more. I don't like the kind of one-line responses you get at press conferences that say nothing.

Ted: The reason that people say one line at junkets is that they've heard the same question 37 times. You get bored out of your mind. In a way, that's like doing a play. You have to do it eight times a week, saying the same lines over and over again.

UD: And you know, I just thought of something. With TV, especially what you did on Knots Landing, you never did the same thing twice. Whether you realized it or not, you took a 14-year journey as Gary Ewing. So no wonder you thought of it as more real than doing theater because it was. You created a character as a young man and followed him to be a middle-aged man.

Ted: That's true, I never thought of that. When I started I was 33 and finished when I was 46, almost 47. Gary matured and inevitably grew up.

UD: But you like the spontaneity of it better.

Ted: I like the spontaneity. Theater to me is acting but it's more real on film. When you're shooting there's just something very personal; it's just you and the camera.

UD: Wouldn't the "theatre elite" say that theatre is the more legitimate medium, and that it's more real because you're feeding off a live audience?

Ted: You do have the intensity of the audience and that is very important while on film it's all about the moment and there is no audience.

UD: Did you really feel there wasn't an audience? Didn't people come up to you when the show was running?

Ted: They did at times, but it's delayed. They're not there when the show is shot so the instant response is not there.

UD: I would bet you didn't watch the show when it was on then. Michele Lee sounded like as much of a fan as she was a star of the show while Joan Van Ark occasionally watched the dailies but not Thursdays at 10.

Ted: I watched the show in the first few years but then I stopped. I can see why Joan said that. It's a totally different experience shooting the scene and watching it when it's on. I hardly ever watch myself anymore. I act for the reality, for the moment, and most of all I do it for the process. Although I did Love Letters with Mary Frann and then Joan for a week and that was pretty real, I must admit. The emotions were there. (Pausing) That was a meandering answer.

UD: That was a great response. If that was meandering, then please meander more. I don't like the kind of one-line responses you get at press conferences that say nothing.

Ted: The reason that people say one line at junkets is that they've heard the same question 37 times. You get bored out of your mind. In a way, that's like doing a play. You have to do it eight times a week, saying the same lines over and over again.

UD: And you know, I just thought of something. With TV, especially what you did on Knots Landing, you never did the same thing twice. Whether you realized it or not, you took a 14-year journey as Gary Ewing. So no wonder you thought of it as more real than doing theater because it was. You created a character as a young man and followed him to be a middle-aged man.

Ted: That's true, I never thought of that. When I started I was 33 and finished when I was 46, almost 47. Gary matured and inevitably grew up.

UD: That kind of journey is something only a handful of people could talk about. We watched you develop over 14 years and we watched the rest of the core cast age as well. People would still be watching you in your 50s.

Ted: I think they would too. One of the things I was so glad that happened to me on Knots was that I learned to relax. Through the familiarity of doing it for years you learned to concentrate on what the scene is and your partner. On stage you can't do that.

Greg asks
"Ted-- I believe I remember you saying on Lifetime's Intimate Portrait of Lisa Hartman-Black that the scene where Gary first saw Cathy roll the serving tray into the honeymoon sweet just after Gary married Abby was a remarkable scene because of all the emotion in it. I agree. I was wondering did you enjoy the Ciji/Cathy storyline? To me, it stands out as a great era on "Knots Landing." Thanks!"

Ted: I remember that scene vividly - it was great! When we shot it, it gave me chills. Yeah, I knew what was going to happen, I read the script but still, there's Ciji - holy shit! Gary was stunned, stunned. It was fabulous.

UD: What were some other great scenes you remember?

Ted: Scenes when Gary starts drinking. One time when Gary gets drunk and Gary and Val have a huge argument. It was just a knock down kind of fight early on. Also when Val is going to have a colostomy and Gary freaks, he can't handle it. He breaks down on the phone talking to Miss Ellie. It was a terrific scene. We tried to do it in one take, for obvious reasons, but wound up doing it in two. Another time when Joan's dies supposedly and Gary has to tell the twins. That was tough emotionally to do . anytime you have to cry it goes somewhere that you don't want to go. Whatever emotional trick you need to do, you do it. Everybody has a process and they get there, and yeah, it's your job, but it's not a usual thing to be doing.

UD: But didn't you know that Val was going to be brought back at the end of the season so she wasn't really dead?

Ted: No she was gone. Off the show. We thought the character was really dead.

Seaviewer from Australia asks
"Ted, there's been a lot of discussion here about your and David Ackroyd's interpretations of Gary Ewing. Have you seen his episodes and, if so, did it influence your portrayal?"

Ted: I did see the episodes early on but it didn't influence me. We worked from our scripts and these were two different performances.

Chris from Winston-Salem, NC asks
"Hi Ted, I actually learned a LOT about alcoholism and how it destroys you, thanks to your work on KL. It made me rethink a lot about my own behavior. I know this is rather personal... but did you have to do a lot of research for those episodes... or were you relying on personal (not necessarily yours) experience?"

Ted: Anytime you have to play any emotion like that you have to go get it. So I just tried to tap into what Gary would have been feeling. Some things you have to research but not that. All the research in the world can't get to that emotion.

Alex Wade from Detroit asks
"Much was made in the beginning of Gary's alcoholism, and it was handled with great honesty -especially the relapses and recovery. But what the hell was Gary doing for all those years he was drinking himself into oblivion and separated from Valene? Would you have liked the writers to explore Gary's lost years in more detail, i.e. you could have had a bastard child appear from nowhere or a barfly wife whom you never legally divorced."

Ted: (sustained, Gary-like, from the belly laughter) Those things aren't relevant. It could be an interesting parlor game but I have no idea. I'm not a writer; I don't have an objective eye. So it's not for me to speculate about what happened to Gary before.

UD: But wouldn't it have been fun to know through flashbacks, like they did with the other characters?

Ted: Probably. But I just stick to acting, because I know I can do that. I have no interest in writing, directing or producing.

UD: A bunch of the actors did other things on Knots Landing, but you never wanted to?

Ted: I never had that desire. And besides, all that other work is grownup work anyway.

UD: So I should ask the obligatory, can't-end-the-interview-without-it question. Is there going to be a reunion?

Ted: Nothing's planned. But that could change. It all depends on the demographics and if there are enough viewers out there, money, politics, lots of things.

UD: I don't know if a full-scale reunion movie would be viable so much as a 25th anniversary retrospective with the cast involved. But either option would be great. Would you participate if they did something?

Ted: It hasn't been 25 years, has it? (Pausing) Yes it started in '79, so that's '04, wow it has! That's amazing. Of course I'd do it! Knots Landing is the best thing that ever happened to me. I'd do it any time. Everything I have in life comes from Knots Landing. And after working on other shows, we look like a how-to manual to do television.

JR RECOMMENDS
DALLAS DISCUSSION
Dallas official fans forum
Discuss Dallas and meet fans in the official Dallas fans forum.

DALLAS VIDEO
Dallas video clips
Watch video clips from the show, interviews and more.