Southfork remains popular draw for “Dallas” fans

Southfork, the home of the Ewing family of television's “Dallas,” has remained a popular tourist attraction in the Plano, Texas area just outside Dallas.
by Carla Hinton Published: June 24, 2012

Have breakfast on the veranda with Miss Ellie or take a scenic horse ride with Bobby and J.R.

Sunbathe with Lucy by the swimming pool with a cocktail in one hand and an iPhone in the other as you check your million-dollar bank deposits.

This is the stuff that dreams are made of when one takes a tour of one of the most celebrated ranches in the world: Southfork.

Made wildly famous by the iconic prime time TV show “Dallas,” Southfork Ranch remained a popular tourist attraction long after Sue Ellen and the rest of television's Ewing clan signed off in 1991 after 13 years on the air.

That popularity increased in the months leading up to the premiere of cable channel TNT's new version of “Dallas,” Sally Peavy, a longtime Southfork tour guide and “Dallas” aficionado, said recently.

Peavy said each day about 75 people tour the sprawling ranch in Parker, Texas, near Plano. She said that number increased to just more than 200 a day as the June 13 premiere of the new “Dallas” approached.

Just hours before the premiere, Peavy held sway at Southfork, in an area called “Jock's Living Room” where a huge painting of “Dallas” patriarch Jock Ewing (portrayed by actor Jim Davis, who died in 1981) hangs above the fireplace mantel. She talked to reporters and others invited to the “Denim and Diamonds Gala” hosted for the show's premiere by the Plano Convention & Visitors Bureau.

A reporter asked Peavy what it is about “Dallas” that continues to ignite the imagination and loyalty of so many people.

Peavy said the show brings good memories flooding back for many people, plus TV viewers liked to live vicariously through the opulent and mega-rich Ewings.

“They reflect back to who they watched the show with,” she said of die-hard “Dallas” fans. “Then, too, people wanted to be a Ewing and have that lifestyle.”

Peavy said as iconic as Southfork has become, it's surprising for most people to learn that the 340-acre ranch wasn't the TV show producers' first choice in filming locations back in the 1970s when “Dallas” was being molded and shaped.

She said the show's first handful of episodes were filmed at a place north of Southfork before producers discovered the mansion nestled on an expansive acreage that TV viewers came to know so well.

by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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