Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Vacation Day 4, Part 1: Southfork Ranch!

We got up around our usual 7:30-7:45 on Tuesday morning and had the hotel's breakfast. I'm sure it was more waffles. Ugh. We were staying just about 10 minutes from Southfork Ranch, and got there about 9:15 after it opened at 9. I was hoping we could get on the first tour - which ended up not being a problem since we were the only people there. When we walked in they asked us if we were German since they usually get their first. Ha!

They have a rather large gift shop with a museum attached. The museum has all kinds of Dallas memorabilia, including handprints of most of the main characters. Here I am with good ole JR!Our tour was at 9:30, and no one else ever showed up so we got a golf cart ride over to the house. Pretty informal tour!
It turns out the show was only ever shot from the outside, something we didn't know until we took the tour! For many seasons a family lived here, and during the summer they would leave and the show would come in and shoot outside scenes - all the patio scenes and pool scenes, riding and ranch stuff, etc. Everything else was shot in California on stage sets. During a Super Bowl game involving the Dallas Cowboys, the location of the house was somehow leaked in a promo spot, and people starting peeking in the windows and bothering the family, so they sold the house but the show still only shot there in the summers. During a later reunion movie they did shoot some inside, but really this house was only used for outdoor stuff!
The above sliding glass door was where they'd come in and out, other than that the actors never really went around the house and a sheet was hung here "shielding" the family from the show. After the house was sold they did use some of the rooms as dressing rooms. It's really not THAT big of a house, not by today's standards.
Our tour was VERY informal. An older guy sat us down at a kitchen type table and told us all about the house and ranch. There was a little room adjacent with more chairs, I guess that's where they go if they have lots of people!! He said JR and Sue Ellen sat in the chairs above during a reunion show.
THE famous pool! Lots of great pool fight scenes in that thing!
We actually got to go out on the front balcony. The cleaning lady had used a ton of bleach or something, so he was opening the doors and said we could go out there. Normally they do not let people out on the front balcony, so that was a treat!
The rooms were decorated for each character, but pretty cheesy stuff. Nothing authentic. This was the JR bathroom. A little over the top with all the mirrors and brass!
The above patio table was the one in the show they used to eat on all the time.

They do still have lots of longhorn cattle. They have built another building with a ballroom, meeting rooms, etc. I think they really get most of their money from hosting big events. They were getting ready for a big ball that weekend. It makes sense, the show is getting further and further in the past and I'm sure demand for Dallas stuff is definitely dropping.
Mean looking things....
The gardener was out there getting everything pruned up for the big event. You would think she'd have SOME apprehension about running into the arms of a complete stranger.
But nope, none at all.
The tour guide said JR stood right there a few years ago for a promo, he has the spot marked. For some reason he did this same pose, not sure why but Lilli was game!
Lilli and I with the Ewing "mansion".
Snacks make any tour better!
From here we loaded up and headed north into Oklahoma!

1 comment:

  1. Whoa, it seems you guys had a great time on your stay here! That's a pretty big property, and the views you've seen there surely made your day complete! When will you go back here? I’m sure those memories will be with you for the rest of your lives! :)