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Dallas at 40: The Inside Story of the Show that Changed Texas Forever

From the perspective of 2018, the TV series Dallas is a relic of the 1980s. The outrageous dealings of the obscenely wealthy Ewing family was termed a "primetime soap opera," but it pioneered so many TV tropes we take for granted today: an unethical protagonist, a continuing story arc, and end-of-season cliffhangers. As the show turns 40, we have a chance to learn how that all came about. The show's creators wanted an "epic saga," but they didn't know a thing about Dallas, the city.  

Jim Schutze was a columnist for the Dallas Times Herald from 1978 to 1991: Of course, Dallas hated Dallas at first. It was everything that Dallas felt that it was not. The boots, the hats, the ranching, the oil. That was all Houston.

Bob Miller was the show’s on-set men’s costumer: [When we shot scenes in downtown Dallas,] we had a whole stock of cowboy hats to give to the background actors, just to make sure Larry didn’t look odd. He didn’t want to be the only person walking around in a hat.

The people of Dallas didn't think much of the show at first, but at least it shifted the world's view of the city as the place where Kennedy was shot. As Dallas grew to be a global phenomena over 14 seasons, Dallas residents managed to embrace it. The cover story of this month's Texas Monthly magazine is an extensive oral history of Dallas. -via Metafilter


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