On This Day: ‘Dallas’ Airs Its Final Episode in 1991

by Emily Morgan

It’s been three decades since fans saw the “Dallas” cast members hang up their stetson hats and turn off the ignition to their Mercedes Benz, yet the show remains a staple of American pop culture. 

In 1991, fans said goodbye to the Ewing family in the finale titled “Conundrum.” The final show aired on CBS on Friday, May 3, 1991, as a double-length episode.

The episode’s plot is similar to that of the classic holiday film, It’s a Wonderful Life. In the episode, J.R. Ewing is taken on a journey to visit what would become of the Ewing family had he never been born. Although it’s been decades since he stopped filming”Dallas,” Patrick Duffy, who played Bobby Ewing, is still reminiscing on his Dallas days. Further, he revealed his thoughts on the series finale episode.

Patrick Duffy On Series Finale Of ‘Dallas’

“Now understand that, that last episode of “Dallas,” in my opinion, went off the rails, Duffy said in a recent interview. “It wasn’t even “Dallas” at that point. And I was not in favor of that episode, so I don’t know how that happened. But at the wrap party, we were still anticipating a follow-up year. The idea was we knew that JR didn’t actually shoot himself (which he does in the last moment of the last episode). Lenny would say, ‘The script is going to be that you come upstairs, he’s not dead. He shot the mirror.'”

Duffy also revealed that he had no idea that the show was being canceled. In fact, it wasn’t until the show’s wrap party that he learned the reason for the cancellation.

“But when we went to the wrap party, dancing and singing and doing the thing, Leonard pulled me aside and just whispered, he said, “We’re being canceled. Just so you know.” So I scuttled over to my wife and my sons, who always went to the wrap parties, and I said, “Dad is out of work. Everybody stop spending money. Daddy’s out of work. So we’ve got to figure out what to do.” But it didn’t come as a shock. We had pretty much worn out the storylines and it was time. It was getting tired and it was, time.”

Although the original “Dallas” came to an end, Duffy did get the chance to reprise his character. From 2012 to 2014, he starred as Bobby in the TNT “Dallas” revival. He starred alongside some of his original castmates, including Linda Gray, Ken Kercheval, and Larry Hagman. In October of 2014, the series was canceled by TNT after three seasons due to declining ratings.