Southfork Ranch draws 'Dallas' fans old and new
Visitors start their tour in a museum featuring everything from the gun that "shot" J.R. to scripts from the original series to the wedding dress of Lucy, the niece of J.R. and Bobby, who was played by Charlene Tilton. For those puzzled about the complicated relations of the Ewing family, there's a family tree to peruse.
As tour guides take visitors through the barns and pastures on their way to the house, they point out where scenes from both the old and new series were filmed — from the cottage where Elena Ramos, played by Jordana Brewster, lives, to the spot from the original series where the funeral was held for Bobby, who was later famously revealed to still be alive. The story of his death turned out to be part of a prolonged dream sequence.
Around the house, the pool and patio have provided spots for countless shots. And while interior scenes for the home on the series were never shot inside the 5,900-square-foot (548-square-meter), four-bedroom house, visitors can still walk through and take in the rooms decorated in homage to the Ewings, with rooms reflecting the tastes of different characters.
Sally Peavy, tourism sales manager at Southfork, said scenes from reunion shows have been filmed in the house and that a scene in the second season of the new show was also filmed in one room, though details of the scene have not been revealed.
There's also a restaurant and two gift shops on the grounds. One sells items including hats and belts and has as its centerpiece family patriarch Jock Ewing's silver Lincoln Continental, which features "trunk sales."
Josh Henderson, who plays John Ross, was born in Dallas and spent much of his childhood here. Henderson said that when he got the part of J.R.'s son, his mother informed him that he'd already been to Southfork once, at age 3.
"I don't remember it but my mother definitely made sure I had that information," said Henderson.
Janice Johnstone of Vancouver visited Southfork in November while sightseeing in Dallas. An avid fan of the original series, she enjoyed hearing tidbits from the tour guides.
"I think just hearing the history of how people found out that that's where it was and they had all these people driving by constantly, I thought that was kind of interesting because those are things that you don't hear," she said. "I think it's definitely worthwhile going, anybody who has watched the show I think would really appreciate it."
When Larry White, who lives near Springfield, Mass., was in Dallas in November, a friend drove him by Southfork. Since he had a flight to catch, he didn't have time for the tour, but did make a quick stop in a gift shop and took a picture of the house complete with a longhorn.
"It's just clearly a piece of American history at this point," said White.
If You Go...
SOUTHFORK RANCH: 3700 Hogge Road, Parker, Texas, http://www.southfork.com , 972-442-7800. Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tours depart from the visitor center every 30 to 45 minutes. Adults, $13.50; $11.50 for senior citizens; $8.50 for children ages 6-12; children 5 and under free.
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