Over 350 million people tuned in the fall of 1980 to find out “Who Shot J.R.?” on the series Dallas. However at a weekend event celebrating its 30th anniversary of at Southfork Ranch on Saturday, fans only had one question on their minds: Who saw J.R.?
Fans who paid somewhere between $500 and $1,000 for tickets of the event felt disappointed and upset for not being able to get up close and personal with the Ewing family themselves that includes Larry Hagman (J.R.), Patrick Duffy (Bobby), and Linda Gray (Sue Ellen).
“It was a disaster” Mickey James told The Associated Press. “It was total chaos. We couldn’t even get close to the stage.”
Dallas, which aired on CBS from 1978 to 1991, follows the dysfunctional Ewing clan dealing with romance, betrayal, greed, power, and oil in and out of Southfork. Centering in on the drama was J.R. Ewing, who was known as the person who everyone loved to hate — committing and breaking every rule ever written yet fans rooted him and considered him a “hero”.
The event’s executive producer, Jason Hardison, was expected an estimate of 2,000 people. He never expected, though, that the attendance would double that. “I’m brokenhearted about what happened and I feel like the fans were cheated out of what was promised to them” he commented. “I felt like the beautiful party that was promised and planned was completely stolen by just a blatant lack of competence on the part of the property owners.”
However, Darla Cook of the Arizona-owned Forever Resorts disagreed. According to the vice president of its public relations, the attendance was only between 1,500 and 2,000 fans, and that felt like more due to the inability of Hardison’s staff of not dealing with several areas of the event fans had access to. “I’m working on how they (the fans) can be reimbursed” she answered. “I’m working on how I can make this up to the fans. They deserve that. They did not deserve this disappointment.”
Still, not all of the Dallas fans complained about the event. “We were extremely happy that we were in the $100 section because we got the same access that everyone else did” said Joy Garcia.