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Jon Beck exclusive Dallas official interview

Ultimate Dallas: Welcome to Ultimate Dallas John, we have had loads of questions coming in from the fans so lets kick off

Kristin asks "Are you surprised Dallas is a hit still after all these years, do you ever catch the reruns ?

John Beck: "I don't catch the reruns, I didn't know that. Is that on once a day? (laughs)"

Ultimate Dallas: I believe its on twice a day and at weekends. Don't you get Royalty fees?

John Beck: I hope so , but who knows what they will be. Probably 2 cents each. I have gotten one that small, not from that show. I have literally got 1.02, in fact a few of those which are under 10 cents and I think what I will do is frame them. (laughs)

Ultimate Dallas: How are Royalties decided?

John Beck: I don't know the ins and outs, it begins at a high scale and then diminishes down as its run. Then depending on what market its sold into it can go back up again. Its quite an elaborate scheme of things just so everybody is confused.

Ultimate Dallas: I am (Laughs)

Tripp DiNicola in Charles Town, WV asks "You had a difficult job filling the shoes of a new love interest for Victoria Principal's Pamela Barnes Ewing character, no doubt. The public consistently viewed Bobby and Pam as the ultimate DALLAS couple, which made their divorce so tragic. How did you tackle the challenging task of creating Mark as a potentially likable character, especially since viewers longed for Bobby and Pam to reunite?"

John Beck: Charles Town what?

Ultimate Dallas: Well it says WV, but being from the UK I have no idea where that is.

John Beck: Oh West Virginia

(Then back to the question)

John Beck: It was always set up that way from the beginning , so it was quite a task and of course they came back together in the long run. I was just hoping for the best. I never got an extraordinary reaction from the public but it was everywhere, so constant recognition. It was pretty amazing but I never saw it the way he sees it but I can see his point of view. I never really looked at it like that.

Ultimate Dallas: I guess your character and the Priscilla Presley character were brought in to create that kind of conflict between Bobby and Pamela.

John Beck: Exactly but there were a few characters that did that.

Sandy in Tennessee asks Which episode of Dallas that you were in was your favorite?

John Beck: (Laughs out loud) Oh god that would be impossible, there were so many. At that point it was normal to do 24 shows but Dallas was about 30, I remember one year Leonard Katzman came up and threw his briefcase down and he was a little ticked off, I asked him "What's wrong ?" and he said "Well they just ordered another script". You would think anyone would be jumping for joy if they ordered another one but he was done, finished with it, he had his 30 outlined and in the bag and didn't really want to continue on with anymore, he had to write a 31st episode and was ticked off about it.
I don't know, we had fun ones like when we all partook in a Rodeo, that was fun. Stuff like that was more memorable, we would begin the thing in LA and then we'd go off to Dallas, finish the first six we had begun in LA then we'd begin another six down there and come back and finish those off in Los Angeles and finish the season in Los Angeles. It was so chopped up into bits and pieces it was difficult to keep track of where you were and what you were doing.

Ultimate Dallas: Hey I believe the Governor of Texas popped up at that one

John Beck: Ah yeah. They would gather up anyone they could from Texas that was prominent and most of them wanted to, they were chomping at the bit to come in and do something. It was really a big treat for them, it came down every year for a couple of months, June and July and they loved it, the whole community.

Patrick C.in Texas asks What was your most memorable moment from the show, with a cast/crew member?

John Beck : (laughs) With a horse maybe. No (laughs). Actually I don't, none that I want to talk about.
They trained me to play polo, that was awful lot of fun. I never got very good at it because we didn't spend much time with it but boy we played out at Willow Bend and they trained us out there. We had an awful lot of fun doing that.

Susan W from Northwest England, Wigan asks What was it like acting with my two favorites, with yourself of course, Victoria Principal and Patrick Duffy?

John Beck: (laughs): They are two opposites. Patrick's a real practical joker, in fact I always thought he was lost doing serious and dramatic stuff, finally he did a sitcom, a very very funny guy and Larry equally so. The two of them would always cut up and have a good time and give poor Victoria a hard time, as much as they possibly could. But she held her own, she was a real trooper, a lot of strength. I actually liked working with Linda more than I did Victoria but she was a real pro and Patrick was a lot of fun.

Lucas in Canada asks Mr. Beck, I was wondering if you could tell me about your relationships with the Dallas cast members you did not work with much on screen. like Linda, Larry, Charlene, Steve and Barbara.

John Beck: Barbara Bel Geddes was a character , I never did much with Charlene or Barbara at all. Of course with Linda a bit but not too much, we always wanted to work together , we were hoping our storylines would come together, would of been fun.

Ultimate Dallas: Well Sue Ellen did end up working at Marks company, fundraising or something. (laughs)

John Beck: That's right, so we had a bit of a get together there. You remember it better than I do for gods sake, gees.

R.B in Texas asks Was getting your job in ......."Dallas" ...... enhanced because you had worked for Katzman before in ..."Gunsmoke" ?

John Beck: No, I didn't even know Leonard when I did Gunsmoke, I didn't even know Leonard was part of Gunsmoke back then and that came up later down the line - "Oh my god you did......", you know, that sort of thing. I didn't know that back then, but I'm sure when the name came up he remembered me from that because I did about three of the Gunsmokes. One memorable one with Gary Busey and a few others. I don't know if you remember that show at all, you sound like you're a whole anthology of all this stuff. (laughs). It was so much fun, I remember watching it growing up and it went on for so long, it was fun to have done a few of them.

Gravy47 in North Carolina, USA asks

John Beck: Wavy Gravy

Gravy47 asks The fight between the Ewings and Barnes at the Oil Barons ball is one of my favorites.How many times did that scene have to be shot and how much fun did you all have shooting it?

John Beck: Oh boy, (laughs) how many times I have no idea. But we always had fun in those big Oil man's ball. Those were fun and they would bring in a lot of people. As extras all kinds of people wanted to come in, doctors, lawyers, all that sort from the community wanted to be part of it. It was tedious, just the waiting part of it because the set ups were so big but it was always a lot of fun. When you have all those people together, because nobody had that much to do at one time normally so you could cut up and have a good time and not be quite so serious.

Pam in Kentucky asks Hello John!! Thanks so much for answering my question. When Mark was "killed", did you know then that your character may come back later?

John Beck: No I didn't, we didn't know he was killed, it was kind of left up in the air so I knew there was something fishy there so it could possibly happen but of course nothing for sure. You know how those shows are, you never know. But there was not a definite"Yeah you are gonna go away for a while but you are gonna come back"

James in London asks in Season 8, DALLAS took a very different direction, with the Barbara Carrera story and a lot more glamour. Personally, I think all of the regular characters (apart from Pam and Mark, I hasten to add) suffered as a result. Larry Hagman was openly critical of the show's producers during this period. Were you aware of any bad feeling behind the scenes during this period? Was there a notable change in atmosphere, compared to your prior stint on the show?

John Beck: Larry felt that things were going away from the original and felt the original family unit and those original characters were what people wanted to go back to. He was a little upset, it was kind of getting strung out a bit too much so he did want Patrick to come back, I don't think he had any specific ideas exactly how , I don't know if they sat down and said "Well lets do it this way", Leonard was pretty strong with the storyline itself, writing the bible for it but he wanted to get back to an even keel, he thought it was getting off into odd directions.

Ultimate Dallas: During that season I thought Leonard Katzman had left and Phil Capice took the helm and there was a big thing where Larry said he either went or Philip.

John Beck: Oh Jesus you know everything, I tell you. I'm trying to come back to this but don't remember. Leonard was still there but not as prominently, you know more than I do.

James also asks: In her book "The Complete Book of DALLAS", Suzy Kalter suggests that Mark is even more perfect than Bobby! She quotes Leonard Katzman as saying, "He may be more one-dimensional than the other characters but it's only because everyone thinks Pam deserves nothing less." Personally I think that's a little unfair to your portrayal, but was it frustrating to be regarded purely as Pam's knight in shining armour?

John Beck: (laughs) Isn't that nice. Well I don't know, I never take any of this very seriously, no. (laughs)

Kirk Koufax in London asks What was your reaction when you found out Patrick Duffy was to come back from the dead in 1986?

John Beck: Its nice you have a few questions coming from the UK, everyone seems to be from the US.
You know that was a strange situation there, I didn't know until the following year when it was all leaked out. I thought it was a pretty wild move the way they did it. A dream? Come on that's pretty crazy, the whole year was a dream.

Ultimate Dallas: Your comeback was just a dream, it never really happened.

John Beck: So I didn't exist, I was a figment of your imagination for a year.

Ultimate Dallas: So how were you told about that, I gather you planned on coming back ?

John Beck: Well it was right until the bitter end, literally the end. Leonard called me and said "Hey you're not coming back this year" and I said "Oh really, what's going on?" (laughs). He wouldn't let on exactly what was happening, so I didn't know fully. I don't think anybody did. We did a scene where Pam came to the door of the shower and I of course was in it, but when the door actually opened , unbeknown to her or any of us, on the other side of town they were shooting Bobby opening the door and looking out to say "Hi". They brought her to the door using me as the decoy for it, but she didn't know either, none of us knew. Bobby knew of course (laughs), Larry probably knew, I think Victoria claims she knew but she didn't.

Ultimate Dallas: So were you both called in specifically to do that scene?

John Beck: It was the end of the day and someone said "Hey we have a new scene". I said "What is it?" and they said "A shower scene" and I said "Oh they want to see her boobs" (laughs). They called props and said "We need some soap for the shower" and he said "What do you mean, we don't have any soap, this was sprung on us", so one of the guys said "Get a potato and peel the potato to make it look like a bar of soap". Which is what they did, which I thought was hilarious. Basically she came to the door and said "Oh honey" and I said "Come on in" and we had a shower together, when really what it was she comes to the door and says "Oh Bobby I had this horrible dream". So it was sprung on us on the same day.

Ultimate Dallas: So were you on a yearly contract?

John Beck: With me it was, with them, when you do the first contract its a 7 year stint and they give you what your raises will be but if they want to drop you after a season they can do that.

Tatianna in Virginia asks: Hi John, thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to answer questions from your fans. Loved to watch you on Dallas. My question for you is, if Patrick Duffy had not returned to the show, then the dream season would not have happened. Did you have plans to continue on the show ? How do you think your role of Mark Graison would have evolved if it had not been a dream.

and

Franck Beaumont in: Paris, France asks Hi John, nice to hear from you - Do you know what would of happened if Dallas had not been a dream? Story between you and JR about this dead student of which Mark seemed to be responsible, discovered at the end season 8- if it hadn't turned out to be Pam's dream ?

John Beck: Not at all, you would get hints about what was happening but I never knew what was going to happen. We got the scripts about a week in advance which is good, might of been two.

Jaime Ewing in Tampa, Florida asks Hi John!! You have always been my favorite Dallas Hunk! One of the tabloids once reported that during your stint on Dallas, you were approached by Playgirl to do a nude layout . Is their any truth to that and if not, would you have ever considered it if they did? I have many friends who would have snatched up every copy if you did!

John Beck: (Laughs out loud) No, no no never (laughs). Interesting (laughs)

Garrett Los Angeles asks I noticed that a number of actors who had less prominent roles on Dallas had their name and image included among the other main characters during the opening credits of the program. Given the prominent role you played in the Dallas storyline, what did it take to be on the opening credits?

John Beck: It was pretty much the original group, I think they stuck to that. Did Priscilla become part of that?

Ultimate Dallas: Yes I believe she did

John Beck: I don't think there were many that did, like Carrera, myself and some of the others.

Ultimate Dallas: Towards the end of the series it seemed any old person was in the credits because they had nobody left (laughs)

John Beck: Exactly, they were running out of the old folk.

John Ross IV in Los Angeles, CA asks glad to have you here on Ultimate Dallas. My question is: What did you find was the main difference between daytime and nighttime soaps when you did your guest stint on Passions, which by the way, I was working on when you were. Thank you

John Beck: The difference is scary, its an hour, an hour everyday as opposed to an hour every week. The actual dialogue is much less in an hour night time than in the daytime. With night time drama its more like a movie , there's not nearly the amount of dialogue. It's much easier to do Night Time shows, much more fun and much easier. My heart goes out to anybody working in daytime, its the toughest part of the business there is, its such a grind.

Pamela from London asks Every time I think of Mark Graison I have the image of the white car What kind of car was it and what was the idea behind having a car that looked like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? I guess it impressed Pamela but from my point of view it was a passion killer.

John Beck: It looked like a pimp mobile to me, I wasn't crazy about it, it wasn't my choice. It was an Excalibur, there was a small company that made them, there was a company in Santa Barbara that made them called the Clinet, which I think was a little bit smoother and classier than that one. Somebody thought it would be a great car for me to drive so there I was driving it.

Vince LaMarcaMinneapolis asks I remember your role in the movie "The Other Side of Midnight" where you worked with Susan Sarandon and Marie-France. Can you share any of your memories of making that movie? Thanks.

John Beck: It was a big film and Susan Sarandon had only done a couple of things prior to that, now look where she's gone. Marie France was a big star in France and I'd seen them both do a couple of things and I thought it was going to be a fun adventure and it was. We shot in Paris, actually shot on the Eiffel Tower, wasn't the greatest script in the world, just typical soapy kind of stuff for the big screen but I enjoyed making it and it didn't turn out that great (laughs). It was another fun experience, maybe not the best, but ok.

Pauline in Glasgow asks Rollerball has achieved cult status, did you watch the remake?

John Beck: No I haven't seen it, people have said don't bother. That was a lot of fun to do, what a great cast that was. We did that in Munich and London. Just enjoyed that, it was a memorable film to do. They just blew it in the remake, I guess they tried to make it into a big action film.

Paul in Freeland, MI asks Do you keep in contact with any cast members?

Danny James in Essex, England, UK also asks I would love to know if you still keep in touch with any of the cast of Dallas?

John Beck: You know I don't, if we bump into each other its fun but I don't actually keep in any close contact with anybody. I ran into Larry at Ojai, California and I ran into Linda on Models Inc. That real tight group Larry and Linda have, I know Linda directed Larry in a play. I think Linda, Larry and Patrick probably stayed pretty tight, they always were, they were the tightest of the bunch.

Ultimate Dallas: Actually that is interesting, there was another question, which I believe was from Lucas in Canada, who asked if there was a type of hierarchy on the set?

John Beck: Well just personalities melded and came together and those guys certainly did, those three in particular were close. Larry loved Barbara Bel Geddes, he just thought she was great, and they loved the original Dad, Jim Davis, I remember Larry talking about how much he loved him, what a great guy he was. So I think it must of been a great time for them all when they all came together, because Larry had nothing going on at that time then all of a sudden this night time soap came along and he became this huge huge huge star. I think they must of had a wonderful time in the beginning, that group, and it just went on from there.

Jay in Norway asks What are you working on at the moment?

John Beck: In the business not a lot right at the moment, I have a series that I created that I'd like to do myself but I don't think anyone is going to bank on me at the moment, I'm looking at Sam Elliot, he's an old friend and maybe he'd have more bankable power than I do. I'm kind of pushing that around a bit and another one that deals with NASCAR, which is such a big hit. I did a pilot about five years ago about a NASCAR family, its the biggest spectator sport we have over here now. We have a couple of ideas for a game show but whether or not that works I don't know.

Mindy from New York asks Are you going to return to daytime tv?

John Beck: I had a ball on Passions, I did a stint on Sanata Barbara, that was very serious and I didn't like that but the one thing I did on Passions was kind of a real off the wall bigger than life kind of thing and I had a ball doing that. It was a lot of fun, if the character was right I would certainly do it.

Ultimate Dallas: Well thank you John, we really appreciate you taking time out to answer our questions

John Beck: You are very welcome, it was very nice speaking with you.

Special thanks to the wonderful John Beck for taking part and to all the fans for your questions. You will be happy to know none of this was a dream and and you talk about it NOW on the Official Dallas Fans Forum. Click HERE to leave your comments.

 


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