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Dallas
Season 13


13.01 "Phantom of the Oil Rig"
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  • Episode Number: 308
  • Production Code: 13x01
  • Original Air Date: September 22, 1989
  • Written by: Howard Lakin
  • Directed by: Irving J. Moore
  • Guest Cast:
    • Cliff Bemis (Mr. Shaughnessy)
    • Ron Canada (Dave Wallace)
    • Joshua Harris (Christopher Ewing)
    • John Hoge (Ratagan)
    • Omri Katz (John Ross Ewing III)
    • J. Eddie Peck (Tommy McKay)
    • Sherril Lynn Terrino (Jackie Dugan)
    • Deborah Tranelli (Phyllis)
    • Joey Aresco (Boomer)
    • Gerald Castillo (Manuel Ramirez)
    • Owen Bush (Locksmith)
    • Roseanna Christiansen (Teresa)
    • Danone Simpson (Kendall)
    • Drew Pillsbury (Judson Neil)
    • Hal Riddle (Mr. Deavers)
    • Deborah Tranelli (Phyllis Wapner)
    • Debbie Rennard (Sylvia "Sly" Lovegren [credit only])
    • Fern Fitzgerald (Marilee Stone [credit only])
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Detailed summary
As word gets out that Westar - under Carter McKay - is 'bedding down with the Bedouins', JR and Bobby seek to gain the upper hand with refineries and oil providers. With most of the old cartel retired, Ewing Oil now represents the last of the independent oil companies (other than Stonehurst). JR and Bobby attempt to score a big refinery deal with Shaughnessy, but he wants twice as much oil as they can provide - and that's at their limit already.
Cliff returns home from Louisiana, having been conned for $25,000 from Afton's former husband. He phones his PI, Dave Wallace, who heads off to look into Van Buren. Bobby, however, is less than happy with Cliff taking so much work time to investigate his personal life.
Ellie and Clayton marvel over a birthday card sent to Jock with a mysterious key inside. To the family's amusement, the couple start investigating and get lucky when a young man named Mallory phones: his eccentric father fought with Jock in the war and recently died. After he did so, Mallory Jr sent the card which he found amongst his father's things.
April is increasingly fearful of mysterious hang-up phone calls she is getting, and both she and Bobby suspect Tommy McKay is behind things. However to their surprise, McKay shows up with a haircut and a new suit. He wants to become the right son and heir to his father now, and apologises to April. He seems to have evidence exonerating him from the mysterious phone calls. However in his father's office, Tommy agrees to do whatever his father wants to take counter-measures against the Ewings.
April has been staying at Southfork as her relationship with Bobby intensifies, but now they return to her apartment and find it is occupied... by her sister, Michelle. 'Shelley' heard how well her sister was doing, and decided to come and stay.
In Charleston, South Carolina, Cliff and his PI pursue Van Buren whom they learn attempted to return to his ancestral home but was kicked out and wound up in the drunk tank.
Bobby refuses to put Ewing Oil's reputation in jeopardy by cancelling contracts with old clients for the big refineries, just so they can bring down Westar. But JR has his own plans...
And Tommy meets his old drug-running friend from South America: a former baseball player now reduced to selling guns, and the guy who made the crank calls for him. Tommy has a new request from him: a bomb.
Notes
Aired as a double episode with 13x02.
The thirteenth season of "Dallas" was released on DVD on April 13, 2010 on Region 1, and on September 13, 2010 for Region 2. As with the three previous seasons, the set does not contain any DVD extras.
Kimberly Foster joins the main cast this year as Michelle Stevens. Michelle Stevens is the first character to join the main cast without previously appearing in a guest or 'also starring' capacity - even just for one episode. Technically, though, Foster played a nameless character in season 11's "Tough Love".
The main cast as of this episode: Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie), Patrick Duffy (Bobby), Kimberly Foster (Michelle), Larry Hagman (JR), Howard Keel (Clayton), Ken Kercheval (Cliff), Charlene Tilton (Lucy), Sheree J. Wilson (April) as well as former 'also starring' cast members George Kennedy (Carter McKay) and Cathy Podewell (Cally)
This is the first season not to feature any material shot on location in Dallas. This was due to a rapid decrease in budget which became effective across all the remaining prime-time soap operas throughout the end of the '80s.
The opening credits were revised for this year. While the theme song was updated every year, this time the style of credits was changed - the three-images per cast is reduced to one.
There are no 'also starring' cast members in this episode. (The only remaining contracted 'also starring' person was Audrey Landers). Therefore, this is the first episode to do so since season 5's "The Search".
In the 1989-90 season, "Dallas" remained in the Fridays, 9 - 10 PM slot. It remained before "Falcon Crest", which had entered its critically-derided final season. "Dallas" aired opposite "Perfect Strangers" and "Just the Ten of Us" on ABC, and the short-lived crime drama "Hardball" on NBC.
In a surprising move, CBS renewed the series for two more seasons even though it was at 45 in the ratings and going down. However, at this point CBS was the lowest ranked of the major networks, and so 'Dallas' was still somewhat of a gold mine for them.
The key crew for season 13 was a mix of old and new faces. Returning from season 12 were executive producers Leonard Katzman and Larry Hagman, co-producer Mitchell Wayne Katzman and Cliff Fenneman, who was promoted from co-producer to producer. They were joined by supervising producer Howard Lakin, co-executive producer Ken Horton, executive story consultant Lisa Seidman and associate producers Frank W. Katzman and John Rettino. The associate producers were further family connections: Leonard Katzman's son was a producer and his daughter a regular guest star; Frank was his brother, and John was his son-in-law. (This was the only season for Horton.)

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