Who saw J.R.?
A weekend event organized to celebrate the 30th anniversary of “Dallas” has created a drama worthy of the Ewing family itself after angry fans complained they didn’t get the access to cast members they’d ponied up for — while others got close to the stars without paying for the privilege.
It happened in part because hundreds more people than expected showed up for Saturday night’s barbecue and cast reunion at the famed Southfork Ranch. The event’s organizers are blaming Southfork for allowing gatecrashers; a ranch official places the blame on the organizers.
“It was a huge letdown — totally not worth it. I do feel like I got really ripped off,” Elizabeth Knight, who paid $400 in anticipation of getting access to the cast, told Dallas-Fort Worth television station WFAA.
Fans had paid anywhere from $100 to $1,000 for tickets, with those who paid higher prices to gain greater access to Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy and others.
Jason Hardison, the event’s executive producer, said instead of the 2,000 people expected, 4,000 showed up to celebrate one of the most popular prime-time soap operas in TV history. Viewed panoramically in the show’s introduction, the ranch is in the Dallas suburb of Parker, about 25 miles north of downtown Dallas.
“I’m brokenhearted about what happened and I feel like the fans were cheated out of what was promised to them,” he said. “I felt like the beautiful party that was promised and planned was completely stolen by just a blatant lack of competence on the part of the property owners.”
But an official with the management company that runs Southfork said it only provided off-duty police officers in the area where alcohol was served — anything beyond that was the responsibility of organizers.
Hardison was in charge of the event and would have been in charge of the rest of the security, including the gates, said Darla Cook, vice president of public relations of Arizona-based Forever Resorts.
Cook disputed Hardison’s crowd estimate as well, saying there were only between 1,500 to 2,000 people in attendance. She said it likely felt like more because Hardison’s staff was not controlling what areas of the event fans were able to access.
“I’m working on how they (the fans) can be reimbursed,” Hardison said. “I’m working on how I can make this up to the fans. They deserve that. They did not deserve this disappointment.”
But Joy Garcia said it worked out well for her.
“We were extremely happy that we were in the $100 section because we got the same access that everyone else did,” she said.