13 June 2012 | tavm
Dallas: The Early Years provided a fine background of the Barnes-Ewing feud for me
Because the new "Dallas" series with three of the original cast members premiered a few hours ago on TNT (which I won't be able to see for awhile since I don't have cable and the site it's on isn't easy to get into), I decided to watch on YouTube this movie which chronicled the origin of the Barnes-Ewing feud. It started with J.R. (Larry Hagman, of course) talking to a reporter about his view about what happened between his dad Jock Ewing and Willard "Digger" Barnes to cause such animosity though he admits he doesn't know the whole story. Then we jump to 1951 at the annual barbecue as the now-bitter and drunk Barnes attempts to shoot Jock and then we go to 1933 as Willard and Ellie were initially dating. I'll stop there and just say this was even better than I first remembered when first watching back in 1986 when this first aired. Kudos to David Marshall Grant as Digger, Dale Midkiff as Jock, and Molly Hagan as Ellie for perfectly bringing the characterizations of the younger version of these legendary people to life. Among the supporting turns, I also liked seeing Diane Franklin as Jock's first wife Amanda, Hoyt Axton as Ellie's father Aaron Southworth, and Bill Duke as sharecropper Seth Foster on screen as well as the young J.R. played by Kevin Wixted. Creator David Jacobs certainly knows how to provide enough atmosphere in filling the background of these characters and Jarrold Immel is fine with the score he provided here which is no surprise since he did create the theme song, after all! So on that note, I highly recommend Dallas: The Early Years if you're a die hard fan of the show. P.S. When watching this again, I realized that Ms. Hagan was later one of Herman's consciences in "Herman's Head" which I enjoyed. And that Dale Midkiff would a year or so later play Elvis Presley in the TV movie version of Elvis and Me which was based on the memoirs of Priscilla Presley who was playing Jenna Wade on the show at that time. And, no, I didn't recognize this Diane Franklin as the same one that played Karen in The Last American Virgin. She sure fooled me!