'Who Shot J.R.?' 5 things to know
Larry Hagman's iconic "Dallas" character, J.R. Ewing's funeral takes place on Monday's episode of TNT's reboot of the '80s prime-time soap. (Hagman died in November, but filmed several second-season episodes, including last Monday's, which ended with J.R. being shot.)
Coincidentally or not, Monday's episode airs just 10 days shy of the 33rd anniversary of the cliff-hanging season finale in which J.R. was shot (for the first time) by an unseen assailant. That episode triggered a media frenzy ("Who shot J.R.?") that continued until Nov. 21, 1980, when the killer was revealed in an episode that became the most-watched prime-time show in U.S. TV history. Here are five things to know about "Who Shot J.R.?"-mania:
1. As a result of the frenzy, Hagman staged a walkout, demanding a bigger salary. The show resumed production in June, but Hagman stayed away. Ten days later, he returned, garnering a raise ($100,000 per episode) plus a share of profits from J.R. merchandise.
2. Hagman was offered £100,000 during a vacation in England to reveal the shooter's identity. He refused, admitting that neither he nor anyone in the cast knew.
3. Bookmakers made Dusty Farlow (J.R.'s wife Sue Ellen's lover, who disappeared after a plane crash) the favorite, followed by Vaughn Leland (a banker J.R. swindled) and Kristin Shepard (J.R.'s mistress). The latter was the shooter.
5. Former President Gerald Ford was playing in a golf tournament in Las Vegas with actor Jim Davis, who played J.R.'s father, Jock Ewing. "You've got to tell me who shot J.R. or Betty's going to kill me," Ford pleaded.