"So you know J.R.?" Seriously, we heard that every single time some Israeli kid found out our group of Texas Jewboys and Jewgirls hailed from Dallas, namesake for what was easily the most popular teevee show in all of Israel in 1984 -- well, that and WKRP in Cincinnati, which always seemed to be on whenever we spied a set. Our hosts in Netanya were especially delighted to meet fellow Teen Tour-er Michael Thum, whose old house on Deloache Avenue had been used in five Dallas episodes, as Holly Harwood's humble abode. "It was awesome," says Michael, who spent many days during the summer with the likes of J.R. and Bobby traipsing through his house. "Yeah, but hanging out in the pool with Lois Chiles in her bikini ... trust me, I remember this whole scene."
Course, a year after our visit came the book Watching Dallas: Soap Opera and the Melodramatic Imagination, which more or less accused the internationally popular series of promoting "cultural imperialism." And in 1990, much of the book The Export of Meaning: Cross-Cultural Readings of 'Dallas' dealt with the show's impact on Israel. I blame all of this on Michael.
Alas, neither Michael nor Lois Chiles will be in attendance tomorrow at the Dallas 30th-anniversary barbecue at Southfork Ranch. But ducats are still available, for those interested in spending quality time with the likes of Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy, Charlene Tilton, Ken Kercheval, Audrey Landers and other returning cast members. We'll attend as well -- slide shows and recaps, as always.
But, till then, a clip from Dallas featuring yet another (four-episodes) cast member who won't be making the reunion pit stop. --Robert Wilonsky