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The shooting The Episode The fate of JR

The Shooting

DALLAS - Who Shot JR Ewing?

For millions of people around the world the most important news of the 80`s was not the Polish Revoloution.....the hostages in Iran.....the catastrophic earthquakes....the Iraq-Iran war.....or the American presidential elections. In fact the number 1 topic, all the way from Philadelphia to Hong Kong, from London to Johannesburg wasn`t anything real at all. It happened in America on March 21st 1980 and was the simulated shooting of a rapacious Texas oil baron at the hands of his low-life mistress, his wife's sister, in a popular American Tv Series.

The Shooting

Iv never heard anything like it before" comments Linda Gray. Iv been talking to some people here in Hollywood who have been around television for years and they tell me that they have never seen anything like it either" adds Linda "all the newspaper and magazine articles, all the media coverage, people gambling in Las Vegas and London.....and we hear they actually showed the shooting on BBC News in Britain.....I mean.......its incredible"
The shooting and the long awaited denouncement delayed by more average true life happenings, a Hollywood actors strike- has proved to be one of the single most cataclysmic Tele events in the world.

Streets had emptied on March 21st 1980, the night JR got shot, they emptied again on November 21 when Kristin coughed......as brazenly as ever.

Fifty three countries tuned in to the shooting, the headline making news of which helped sell the series to another eleven countries by the time it came back on air again.

It had just got out of hand! Certainly out of planning. Lorimar/Warner Brothers doesn't expect to cause such a shock again, they didn't plan on causing the first one at all. The whole notion of JR being shot was postscript. The second years season should of ended with the two hour account of Jocks trial Jock was let off the hook when his old foe confessed to the murder of Hutch McKinney, then on his death bed Digger confessed that Hutch was indeed Pam's father. SHOCK HORROR. THE END. SEE YA NEXT SEASON.............................

But NO..................Dallas had started to become popular during this season and CBS were leading the ratings war battle because of it, they demanded 2 more episodes before closing that season. At this point they had no idea how to end the season. After much thought Philip Capice came up with the idea "Lets Shoot JR". As Katzman explained "we thought what the hell, shoot him and we'll figure out later who did it". Larry Hagman was not pleased with this whole shooting idea, he felt it lacked imagination and had been done time and time before.

Larry suggested that JR walked into the Elevator at Ewing Oil and fall 15 floors as there was no lift. MMMmmm perhaps not.

Then they decided on an alternative cliffhanger with a suicide attempt by Sue Ellen "she fixes herself the ultimate nightcap, goes off to kiss her baby goodbye. Enter JR, drunk, in need of a hair of the dog and spies Sue Ellens deadly cocktail of barbiturates and he downs it in one go. Sue Ellen sees all, does nothing, says nothing, returns to baby John and rocks his cot. Shock! Horror! Credits roll.

But no said the producers, that may be a good idea but the fact remains its not as fun as shooting JR. So shot him they did and television history was made.

Check out our exclusive interview with Dallas writer Camille Marchetta