How Dallas Helped and Hurt Dallas

Dallas gets thrown under the bus in this morning's Los Angeles Times. In a story about how the Fox series The O.C. -- which went from beloved to...uh...beloathed (?) in record time -- is likely to get the ax, there's also some question about how the show affected the image of Orange County. Well, naturally that leads to talk of how other cities were affected by network shows set in their fair towns, chiefly Miami and Boston (with Cheers, seriously). And Dallas with, d'uh, Dallas, which once "roped in about half a million tourists a year," according to a study by University of Calgary assistant professor Simon Hudson and a colleague published in the Journal of Travel Research.

Hey, them's some nice numbers, but the Times says our town ain't never gotten outta of the shadow of J.R.'s hat; insists the paper, "the Ewings have plagued Dallas."

Write Yvonne Villarreal and Ashley Powers:

"The nation's ninth-largest city has been stuck with the show's big-oil, big-hair image like a teenager with a despised childhood nickname.

Though it tried and failed to lure the shooting crew of the coming Dallas movie, the city's visitors bureau has otherwise worked to shift its small-screen reputation by wooing travel writers and meeting planners to tour downtown. Its brochures — slogan: 'Live Large. Think Big' — tout an updated skyline, high-end shopping and dining, and photos that reflect Dallas' diverse population.

In part, the efforts stem from when the bureau asked folks several years ago what images the city's name conjured. Nearly a quarter-century after Dallas debuted, officials blanched at the top responses: 3) Tex-Mex and margaritas; 2) giant-haired women; and 1) J.R. Ewing."

Better that than, oh, Lee Harvey Oswald, though, right? --Robert Wilonsky

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