“Well, if you’re in Plano you HAVE to go and see Southfork Ranch!”
I must have made a bewildered face at this point.
“You know, where they filmed Dallas?”
Oh yeah, THAT show. The show that is aired in 96 countries worldwide. The show that is personally responsible for all the confused looks I receive across the world when people find out that I’m from Texas and am neither rich nor white. The show that has a cult following that I don’t really understand. Firefly I get. Dallas, not so much.
It was pervasive in my childhood and I remember it being on the TV, though I’m not even sure when I watched it.
It was a phenomenon – and still is.
We were greeted by the cheerful Sally who gave us a personal tour of the homestead of the well known TV family, the Ewings. I was in for quite a surprise. The passion of the people visiting was infectious. At one point, one woman even went so far as to correct Sally on the episode number she was referencing when talking about what happened to one of the characters!
I learned so much about Southfork Ranch on the tour, but these were some of the more interesting points:
- There are 63,000 square feet of indoor event space on the property. They were hosting TWO proms and wedding the night we were there!
- People from around the world come to Southfork Ranch. We managed to have 2 people from France and 2 people from England in our group.
- It was one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Dallas area in 1981.
- People would break into the property and watch the owners sleep, swim in the pool, and even leave notes.
- They have a museum completely dedicated to Dallas. Make sure to look for Larry Hagman’s handprints. Think Hollywood placed in a Texas themed room.
We made our way through the mansion that has caused such a TV ruckus over the years. As someone who had never really watched it as a kid, boy was it something new to me.
In short, I had never seen such gaudy decorations in my life.
But I could understand the charm.
Like the following:
This is the Ewings Dining Room. I will say that it would be considered classy to most, but I think the decorations make it a bit overwhelming. It reminds me of a funeral parlor and I can’t imagine a family dinner in here.
I was impressed with Miss Ellie’s Kitchen. Sure I could do without the plethora of roosters decorating the room but I’m also a sucker for country kitchens. Score one for the Ewing family.
Then we went into Jock’s Living Room – talk about a man room. It reminds me of a lawyer’s office.
One of my favorite rooms in the house had to be the incredibly tacky bathroom in J.R.’s Master Suite. OMG look at it. Look at those mirrors. I had to take a picture because I’m not sure anyone would believe me.
Bobby’s Room looked a bit confusing because I wasn’t sure if a boy or a man lived in it.
Lucy’s Yellow Rose of Texas Suite made me gag a bit – but I’ve never been a super girlie girl.
It is the small things around the mansion that made me giggle and be so incredibly happy that I was experiencing it – like the cardboard cutout of JR, hanging out behind the bar…
…that you could take a picture with.
How about dropping by J.R.’s murder scene?
Or the museum that featured actual saddles, dresses, and scripts from the show.
I even attempted to read the family tree that I quickly gave up on.
…and my day was made at the end of the tour when a gentleman came up to Sally with a very concerning question.
“Where are JR’s ashes?”
“Umm, Larry Hagman’s ashes are probably in California with his wife.”
“Oh, I heard that they were here.”
“Where did you hear that?”
Yes, my friends, people are still gossiping and speculating about the show Dallas – even on the Internet. I held back my giggle and took it all in. While this may have been a debacle for me, I could appreciate the passion and obsession people had for this show.
Because, I’m sure if they had a Sex and the City museum in Carrie’s old apartment, I would be a fangirl leaving notes at a stranger’s apartment window, too.
R.I.P. Larry Hagman/J.R./Captain Tony Nelson
Disclosure: I was a guest with the Plano CVB but all opinions are my own.