Fans get shot to meet J.R. at 'Dallas' 30th anniversary party


by By ERIC AASEN / The Dallas Morning News

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:49 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 16 at 4:29 PM

If you're heading to the Ewing family reunion at Southfork Ranch on Saturday, don't be shocked if someone pulls a gun on J.R. again.

In other words, prepare for a wild night.

Some Dallas cast members - in true Ewing style - will arrive by helicopter to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the show's debut. Dollar bills featuring J.R. Ewing - aka Larry Hagman - will shower the crowd.

Speaking of dollars, some fans are paying up to a thousand bucks to attend the hoedown.

Expect some fireworks - not the family feuding kind - a performance by country singer Billy Joe Shaver, a barbecue and a mechanical bull ride.

Organizers say J.R. will be shot, a sequel to the famous episode in which an unknown assailant gunned down the womanizing oil tycoon in his office.

"How long will J.R. last?" said Jason Hardison, the event's executive producer. "He has an expiration date on him at some point in the night."

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Organizers expect a couple thousand people to attend, although tickets for the public were still for sale Thursday at the reunion's Web site,

Several Dallas cast members will be there, including Mr. Hagman, Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy. Others scheduled to appear include Charlene Tilton, Ken Kercheval, Mary Crosby, Steve Kanaly, Sheree J. Wilson, Audrey Landers, Deborah Shelton and Susan Howard.

"I'm looking forward to getting together again and having fun with my buddies, Patrick and Linda," Mr. Hagman, 77, said in a telephone interview from California. "I haven't had any good Texas barbecue in 10 years."

The prime-time soap opera featuring the booze-soaked shenanigans of J.R., Sue Ellen and the gang first aired on CBS in April 1978.

Dallas has been off the air since 1991, but the show has a loyal international fan base thanks to reruns and myriad Web sites about the program.

There had been no plans to mark the show's 30th anniversary, but a story last summer in The Dallas Morning News about the anniversary sparked party plans.

Finding the Ewings at Southfork is like "going to church and finding Jesus sitting in the first pew," Mr. Hardison said.

You'll also find the media at Southfork, including crews from Oprah, Entertainment Tonight, Extra, Inside Edition and Good Morning America, Mr. Hardison said.

Print and broadcast media from England, Ireland, Spain, South Africa, Germany and Australia also plan to be there.

Organizers are negotiating with broadcast networks to televise a reunion special, Mr. Hardison said.

Dallas fanatics are chatting up the reunion online. Fans across the country - from California to Massachusetts - and around the world - Scotland, France and Australia - plan to attend.

"We have some diehard fans," Mr. Hagman said. "People just adore the show. I'm kind of amazed that they're relatively young, in their 30s. That means they were 4 when the show started.

"People say 'I grew up with you.'."