Larry Hagman hath passed away. Little bummed about this, although it’s not surprising, he’s looked very frail of late, and he was 81 after all. I only bring this up because I have some fond memories of Dallas back in the 1980s. I only really discovered the show in college although I’d obviously known of its existence before then — I mean, was there anyone on the planet who hadn’t heard about Who Shot JR? For some reason we (a couple of my roomies and I) started watching it on Friday nights, along with the sister show Falcon Crest. This latter show was notable somewhat archaeologically for having Paul Freeman as a villain for a season (Belloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark). That was at a time I was really getting into archaeology so it’s got these sort of warm fuzzy memories associated with it. Back then, we would sit down with a bunch of beer and hard pretzels and watch both of them, hooting and hollering at all the camp. And then we’d go out and hit the bars. Great fun.
Hagman always kind of fascinated me because of his Dallas comeback since I still kind of remember him for his role on I Dream of Jeannie. Not only was his comeback neat, but it was a completely different character and format: he went from being the ‘hero’ in a comedy to the villain in a drama. And he pulled it off! Apparently he was a very heavy drinker and eventually had to have a liver transplant so for the last few years he was really on ‘bonus time’. He also had a short-lived series in the 1990s, I think, and it was set in Louisiana, he played a judge I think. I kind of liked the couple of episodes of it, but it was cancelled pretty quickly.
It’s kind of odd how the show is seen as kind of emblematic of the “greedy ’80s” since it originated in 1978. Also, I kind of think it’s absurd to call the ’80s greedy when the ’90s make the ’80s look like the ’60s by comparison. But you know, the powers that be have decided that, so I guess it’ll probably stick.
RIP, Tony Nelson.