Photos by Velton Hayworth
Fans of the iconic TV show Dallas were able to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the debut of the long-running series with legendary cast members Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing) and Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs) at a BIG party in Dallas.
VisitDallas and Southfork Ranch partnered to produce a weekend of events to commemorate one of the most popular TV shows in American pop culture history that kicked off on Friday evening at Southfork and concluded Saturday evening with the Dallas Fan Party at the Longhorn Ballroom, the filming location for many of the series’ original bar scenes.
“Many of us have great memories of the Dallas series, whether we grew up here or watched the show from across the globe. It’s an iconic piece of pop culture history and helped shaped international perceptions of the city of Dallas,” said Phillip Jones, President and CEO of VisitDallas. “I’m thrilled to be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the show in its one true home – Dallas, Texas – and to show visitors how the city has grown.”
The Dallas Fan Party was an overwhelming success with a line wrapping around the Longhorn Ballroom with fans clamoring to get inside and meet the the stars.
Upon entry, fans were were able to get items autographed by the show’s stars and get their photos taken with members of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
As the fans made their way inside the party, country music star Neal McCoy performed some of his hits, including “The Shake,” where he was joined on the stage by the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
Shortly after, Duffy, Gray, Kanaly and Tilton took the stage with KLUV’s Jody Dean as the moderator. The cast members shared stories from their days on the iconic series and as the night wound down, VisitDallas unveiled a new “Welcome to Dallas” sign at the back of the Longhorn Ballroom.
debuted on April 2, 1978, and ran for an astonishing 14 seasons, airing its final episode on May 3, 1991. The series revolved around a wealthy and feuding Texas family, the Ewings, who owned the independent oil company Ewing Oil and the cattle-ranching land of Southfork.
The show was famous for its cliffhangers, including the “Who Shot J.R.?” mystery – the 1980 episode “Who Done It” remains the second-highest rated prime-time telecast ever.
The series won four Emmy Awards, including a 1980 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series win for Bel Geddes. With its 357 episodes, Dallas remains one of the longest lasting full-hour prime time dramas in American TV history and was included in TIME magazine’s 2007 list of “100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME.”
“Southfork is excited to cohost this legendary event with VisitDallas. Many of our employees worked here during the show’s original filming; this will be a true homecoming for the stars and our staff,” said Janna Timm, Director of Sales and Marketing, Southfork Ranch. “Every year we host thousands of people who have been touched in some way by the show. We are thrilled to share this celebration with the extraordinary Dallas fans!”
The legendary series, which shined a spotlight on the city of Dallas, is still an international sensation.
Thousands of visitors travel to Southfork Ranch annually to see the Ewing Mansion and artifacts from the show.
In 2010, TNT announced it had ordered a new, updated continuation of Dallas. The revival series, continuing the story of the Ewing family, premiered on TNT on June 13, 2012, and ran for three seasons, ending its run on Sept. 22, 2014.