Dallas was a long running prime time "soap opera" telecast from 1978 through 1991. It had a very large cast, elaborate sets, and was primarily about power, money, and sex. According to Brooks and Marsh the show was not a "hit" until the 1980-81 season when it began to become the most popular series on network television. A number of "spin-off" shows followed after that, such as: Knots Landing, and imitators such as Dynasty, Flamingo Road, and Midland Heights. Many well known Hollywood movie stars took "cameo" roles in the show from time to time.
The photograph above is one the games spawned by the telecast. This copy was donated to the Museum in 1991. The game was an highly structured "strategy" game modeled after a number of industrial simulations used for educational purposes in MBA programs. This commercial version was intended to offer players a recreative experience based upon the successful telecast. In the game, a player takes the part of the President of the "Ewing Corporation" - the mythical corporation in the television show - and through various decisions tries to enhance the corporation's holdings while thwarting the competition.
Another simulation game based upon the telecast was offered by SPI (Simulations Publications Inc.) - a producer of many educational, war gamming, and scifi role-playing games. According to Redmond Simonsen, the Creative Director of SPI, the game of Dallas was developed by James F. Dunnigan and issued in 1980. This game was donated to the Museum in 1991.
The game is a playing card and role-playing game based on the TV soap opera. The boxed set includes cut-apart cards for major characters from the series, along with a 16 page instruction book, 16 page book of characters, and a 16 page "Scriptwriter's Guide". Character attributes include power, persuasion, coercion, seduction, investigation, and luck.
Simonsen writing on the Web in 1988 indicated that SPI published two runs of Dallas for a total of 80,000 copies. He stated that was 79,999 too many - and contributed somewhat to the bankruptcy of SPI in 1981. The assets of SPI were sold to TSR, Inc. - the publishers of Dungeons and Dragons.
Pictured on the game box are the major long-running stars of the show:
J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) - center
Miss Ellie Ewing (Barbara Bel Geddes) - second on left
Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) - second on right
Last update May 25, 2010