Who Shot JR?
On this date in 1980, one of televisions biggest cliff-hangers captured the imagination of the American public. Who shot JR?
JR Ewing was the cornerstone of a wildly popular TV show on CBS called Dallas. Long before the internet, social media or even personal computers, network television was where we found our entertainment.
If you were lucky you had four or five channels, NBC, CBS, ABC, TBS and PBS, back in the day when we watched those channels you had to get up out of your chair, walk over to the TV and change the channel….. horrors, right?!?!??
In 1980, Dallas was the number one show on television, it centered on The Ewing family, a rich oil family who lived in Texas.
JR was the dastardly, pompous tycoon, older brother who never saw a potential deal he couldn’t manipulate or a woman he didn’t feel entitled to romance, all while his wife sat home, drank vodka and popped pills.
During the 1980 season, JR had managed to create enemies with everyone, he had cheated his family members, business partners, mistresses and wife.
In the final scene of the season, JR was in his office late at night and heard a noise in the outer office, when he walked into the room to investigate, he was shot, falling to the ground and lying in a pool of blood as the credits appeared on the screen.
For that entire summer the country was locked in intrigue for Who Shot JR? There were songs written, rumors surfaced, the mystery even made the cover of Time Magazine.
When the season returned in August, everyone was abuzz, not only did we not know if JR survived the shots, but we didn’t know who did it.
As the mystery was revealed we learned the would-be assassin was Kristin. One of JR’s lovers and his sister-in-law.
During those hey-day years of nighttime soap operas, the shows would end every season with a great cliff-hanger, keeping fans interested in the show until it came back on the air in the Fall, but none of them were as big as WHO SHOT JR?