March 21, 2017
It was on March 21, 1980 when the whole world was left asking the question “Who shot J.R.?”
Need I explain further? I doubt it because – unless one was living beneath a rock – the buzz around the water cooler for the next 8 months centered on this popular cultural phenomenon.
They took bets in Vegas, speculated on radio and TV programs, sold “Who Shot J.R.?” T-shirts, sponsored guessing contests and created a publicity hype never before seen. Some 83 million people viewed the follow up episode in November that year, more people than voted in the 1980 presidential election! At the time ‘Who done it’ (the reveal) was the most watched TV program in history, only being topped in 1983 by the final episode of MASH.
“In the final scene of the 1979–80 season, J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) hears a noise outside his office, walks out to the corridor to look, and is shot twice by an unseen assailant. The episode, titled “A House Divided”, was broadcast on March 20, 1980. Viewers had to wait all summer to learn whether J.R. would survive, and which of his many enemies was responsible.
Ultimately, the person who pulled the trigger was revealed to be Kristin Shepard (Mary Crosby) in the “Who Done It?” episode which aired on November 21, 1980. Kristin was J.R.’s scheming sister-in-law and mistress, who shot him in a fit of anger. J.R. did not press charges, as Kristin claimed she was pregnant with his child as a result of their affair.”
Dallas was ‘must see’ TV in my family’s household, my mother never missed an episode. I’d call it a guilty pleasure.
As always, you can read more about J.R., Dallas and the reverberations from this seismic TV event on the Infallible Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who_shot_J.R.%3F