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10 Things You Didn't Know About the TV Series 'Dallas'

Associated Press/ Facebok/ Southfork Ranch

Arguably the most popular prime time soap opera in American history, Dallas had more incredible moments and memorable characters in single seasons than most shows have in their entire run. The TV show, which aired on CBS from 1979 - 1991, starred cast members Larry Hagman as Texas oil baron and salacious cowboy J.R. Ewing, Patrick Duffy as his brother Bobby Ewing, Ken Kercheval as J.R. arch-enemy Cliff Barnes, Linda Gray as J.R.'s put-upon wife Sue Ellen Ewing, Barbara Bel Geddes as Miss Ellie Ewing, Victoria Principal as Pamela Barnes Ewing, Steve Kanaly as Ray Krebbs, Jim Davis as Jock Ewing and Charlene Tilton as Lucy Ewing Cooper.

The television series followed the scheming millionaire Ewing oil dynasty as they backstabbed, lied, cheated and fought with each other and their enemies in storylines more explosive than TNT. America became enthralled with this war of the Ewings, making Dallas a show still beloved to this day. 

Here are ten things you didn't know about this classic Texas soap

1. The show had Super Bowl level ratings

The most famous episode of the TV series Dallas, "Who Done It?" or "Who shot J.R.?" as it was known colloquially thanks to its legendary cliffhanger, was viewed by over 83 million people on November 21st, 1980. That made it the most-watched episode of television in United States history until the M*A*S*H* series finale broke that record a few years later.

The first season isn't viewed as a "first season." The five-episode first season of Dallas was referred to as "The Miniseries" until 2004. Season 2 was called Season 1 and so on. A bit confusing.

2. J.R. was constantly drinking on set

Larry Hagman said that he got so bored playing the same character, J.R. Ewing, over and over again that he started getting pretty drunk at work, drinking up to five bottles of champagne a day. He also claimed, however, that he had a high tolerance and never missed a day of work or spoiled a take because he was drunk.

3. Its theme song was the GOAT

The Dallas theme song was voted the best TV theme song of all time in an Entertainment Weekly poll.

4. The show had an I Dream of Jeannie reunion

In the show's final season, Larry Hagman's character J.R. Ewing faced a millionaire hellbent on revenge, played by his I Dream of Jeannie co-star Barbara Eden. 

5. You can visit the real Southfork Ranch

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Dallas, and by extension Southfork Ranch, had become so iconic that people were visiting the real-life Texas home, called Duncan Acres, day and night. It got so bad, that the family who owned it had to sell the house. The sprawling estate has since been turned into a museum dedicated to the show. You can now visit the real ranch and shop Dallas merchandise and view Lucy's wedding dress and even the gun that shot J.R. 

Even better? You can actually stay the night at the iconic mansion and living like J.R. Ewing himself.

Read More: The 10 Best Television Shows Set in Texas

6. The show's spinoff was written before 'Dallas' was

Knots Landing was created first but its producers weren't able to sell it anywhere, so they made Dallas instead. When Dallas got huge the network, of course, wanted more, so the producers went back to their original idea.

7. Only one actor was in every episode

Despite the show being stacked with stars, only Larry Hagman appeared in all 357 episodes in his role as J.R. Ewing. 

8. Patrick Duffy's wife called his own story twist

Patrick Duffy was asked to return to the show in 1986 despite the fact that he'd been killed off. His wife said the only feasible way that would make any sense would be if he'd actually died in a dream. The producers took her advice and did just that. They made his death, along with the rest of the 1985-1986 season, a dream. 

9. Even the producers didn't know who shot J.R.

"Dallas" star Larry Hagman is seen, April 25, 1978, in his dressing room inside his custom van, on the location of the television series, in Dallas, Texas. Hagman says he is a van freak and has gone from California to Dallas to Maine in it. (AP Photo)

The show shot several different actors gunning down J.R. Ewing, including Charlene Tilton and Jim Davis, before finally deciding on Mary Crosby, who played Sue Ellen's sister Kristin, as the shooter.

10. It was the longest runnings series... but not for long

Dallas took over The Love Boat's title as longest-running American primetime TV series but its title was stolen by its own spinoff, Knots Landing, a year after the show was canceled.

Now Watch: Texas' Oldest Standing Mansion is a Must-See Gem of the Hill Country

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10 Things You Didn't Know About the TV Series 'Dallas'