This post picks up our tour of the Southfork Ranch, home to the TV show “Dallas.” We already established that the house is smaller than it looks on TV. Many visitors are apparently surprised at how small the pool is, but it’s actually about as big as I thought it would be. Our guide told us the actors would have to go back (the crew may have pulled them back) to swim the same short lap over-and-over again to get the scenes completed. That pool was the location of lots of Ewing intrigue! We’ll have to see if the pool plays a part in the new Dallas series coming to TNT this summer.
(Here’s a fun coincidence: On the day when I am writing about Southfork, Parade Magazine has a feature subtitled “The Nighttime Soap is Back.” There are several mentions of Southfork, the Ewings and actors Larry Hagman, Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy who are all returning for the new series!)
“Back at the ranch,” we entered the house through the porch featuring “Miss Ellie’s” original porch furniture. From what I remembered from TV, I thought we’d be in the kitchen.
Instead, we went into a hallway and then turned into a room with rows of chairs and a screen. (Keep in mind, it was only my brother and me sitting in a room with about 48 empty chairs).
I thought there might be a video about the making of the TV show, but instead our sparkly Southern guide told us the story of the Southfork ranch itself (ownership, how it came became an event/conference center, etc.) Fans actually camped outside on the road and even knocked on the door after CBS sideline sports reporter Phyllis George announced the address on national television. Also, when the character of J.R. was shot, fans brought flowers and balloons to the house. Another fun fact we learned was crazy number of affairs J.R. had – 29!
Here’s what’s a little weird about visiting the house itself – the interior does not match the TV Southfork. I really wanted to see that iconic staircase, but we learned that the interior of the fictional Ewing mansion was modeled after another home in Dallas. (Our polite guide did not seem to mind my question about that).
So if the interior doesn’t match the TV show, what is the Texas Southfork going to show us? They have designed rooms “inspired by the characters,” which feature furniture and fixtures in the style of the real house was built (1970). Got that?
Next post: The mansion’s rooms.