It’s been two decades since dastardly oil baron J.R. and the rest of the Ewing clan checked out of Southfork Ranch, whose green pastures and pillared mansion symbolized the Big D for fans around the globe.
Thanks to TNT’s reincarnated Dallas, the Ewings and their famous homestead are galloping back into the pop-culture limelight. And so are the acolytes willing to pay $10.75 a head for a glimpse of the real-life Southfork, about a 45-minute drive northeast of DFW Airport.
No matter that only exterior scenes were filmed here, that the pool where Miss Ellie poured coffee and Pam showed off her cleavage is puny, or that, as Helen Anders of the Austin Statesman-American points out, “almost nobody who lives in the Dallas area does this, and if you mention wanting to, most locals will roll their eyes.”
Over the past few weeks, visitor numbers at the 340-acre ranch in Parker – now run by Forever Resorts as a conference and meeting center as well as tourist attraction – have nearly tripled to about 300 a day.
Outside, you’ll find the same white fences and yellow awnings that grace both the original and re-imagined series. Inside, the mansion has been gussied up with themed bedrooms; gift shops specialize in Dallas-themed memorabilia and Western wear (sequined cowboy jackets with shoulder pads, perhaps?) and displays feature patriarch Jock Ewing’s 1978 Lincoln Continental and the gun that shot J.R. (His Stetson hat, meanwhile, is enshrined in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s contemporary Americana exhibit.)
Dallas airs Wednesdays at 8:00pm on TNT.
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