Question: Dear Mr. T., How did Victoria Principal's character Pam Ewing finally leave Dallas? I know she was burnt in a cliffhanger episode and a stand-in played her in bandages the following season. But how did they write the character off the show and was she ever heard from again? Rob
Televisionary: After meeting a tanker the hard way and staging one of TV's coolest explosions ever see what happens when you drive while on the phone? Pam Ewing (Principal) did indeed pull a Claud Rains, doing the bandage thing for a while. When the bandages came off, she went on the lam, warning Bobby (Patrick Duffy) not to come after her and filing for divorce.
That worked for a year or so until Jordan Lee (Don Starr) spotted her and brother Cliff (Ken Kercheval) came a-runnin'. Not that it did much good, of course. She banished him from her life, too and then it was revealed she was dying. So the short answer is that she went to character heaven.
If that sounds hokey or strange, it's nothing compared to the other antics the Dallas writers pulled throughout the show's long (1978-91) run on CBS. The big one, of course, was Bobby's not-death. After Bobby perished in an accident, the show was hurting and the ratings dropped accordingly during the '85-86 season. Reportedly, star Larry Hagman personally asked Duffy to rejoin the cast, which left the producers with a major problem: How to reincarnate him?
No problem. Turns out the whole death thing in fact, the entire season was a dream that dopey old Pam had. When the next season kicked off, she found him in the shower, very much alive... and ended up eating a ball of flame for her troubles.
But just as outrageous to my mind (or courageous, maybe) was the way the series ended, a work of creative daring outdone only by St. Elsewhere's final revelation that the entire series was made up by some kid. After a supernatural Joel Grey showed a drunken J.R. whose whole life was a shambles at that point what his world would have been like if he'd never been born, he prepared to shoot himself. But in the ultimate cliff-hanger, Bobby ran in as a shot rang out and only he would ever know where that gun was pointed.