1 9 8 0 – 1 9 8 2 (USA)
619 x 60 minute episodes
The phenomenal popularity of the prime-time serial Dallas led to the creation of this NBC daytime soap opera. The hour series was set in Houston, where (according to NBC’s ads) “living is fast, loving is free, and rules are meant to be broken.”
To help Texas acquire an audience, two popular performers from the NBC serial Another World – Beverlee McKinsey (who received star billing in the credits) and Jim Poyner – were cast as central characters.
Iris Carrington (McKinsey) headed for the Lone Star State along with her son Dennis (Poyner), Dr Kevin Cook (Lee Patterson), Reena Cook (Carla BoreIli), and Victoria Bellman (Elizabeth Allen).
Beverly McKinsey’s Iris showed only flashes of her old viperish self as she became chummy with Alex Wheeler (Bert Kramer), a lover from nearly a quarter century before, following a move to Houston to be near her only son Dennis.
There also was the underdone Arabian-flavored intrigue with Princess Jasmine (Donna Cyrus) and Sheik Cehdi (Mitch Gred), which showcased bad accents with a boring plot that interested virtually no one.
Iris and her situation took centre stage early on as she told Alex her big secret that Dennis was really his son, not ex-husband Eliot Carrington’s. Eliot (Daniel Davis), learning of this, popped up in town to try to kill Alex during the latter’s wedding to Iris.
Alex was later murdered when he discovered mob activities in his oil business, and a grieving Iris broke down when at one point, it appeared Eliot was getting together with Paige Marshall (Lisby Larson), an ex-porno queen and wife of Dennis.
She ended up leaving town with her newly divorced son, while Alex’s brother Grant (Donald May) took over the family oil business. (Iris did return to Another World years later, albeit played by a different actress.)
Other Houston-based characters were Justin Marshall (Jerry Lanning), who held Alex responsible for causing his rival oil tycoon dad’s suicide; Barrett Marshall (Stephen Newman), Justin’s brother who returned from Vietnam where he had been declared missing in action only to find that wife Ginny (Barbara Rucker) was pregnant by Ryan Connor (Phil Clark) – she lost her child in a tussle with Barrett, prompting him to seek therapy, which was soon followed by Ryan’s death.
Reena found herself central to several later plots. Her mother Vicky Bellman (Elizabeth Allen), livid over learning that her attorney husband, Striker (Robert Gerringer), was a bigamist who had another family in Mexico, went on to have a doomed relationship with Hunt Weston (Michael Longfield), a priest.
Meanwhile, Reena got involved in a love triangle with Justin Marshall, who was married to Ashley Linden (Pamela Long), and Justin’s employer Grant Wheeler (Donald May). Justin broke up with his wife, who had her own secret – namely that her 10-year-old cousin Gregory (Damian Scheler), who lived with her and her sister Allison (Terri Garber), really was her son by TJ Canfield (David Forsyth).
TJ’s parents Burton and Mildred Canfield (Larry Weber and Lori March) disapproved of Ashley and TJ’s romance, and with TJ’s love for Paige Marshall (Lisby Larson), it seemed that his interest in Ashley was history. Indeed, he did not challenge her for custody of Gregory when Justin showed renewed love for Ashley.
Meanwhile, Billy Joe Wright (John McCafferty) – an ex-con who had raped Dawn Marshall (Dana Kimmell) – somehow avoided prison and married Nita Wright (Ellen Maxted), then dated Elena Dekker (Caryn Richmond), Max’s sister, after Nina divorced him.
Ruby’s pal Lurleen Harper (Tina Johnson) saved the life of wounded tour guide Joel Walker (Charlie Hill) and then married him.
None of this helped Texas attract a large audience, principally because it was scheduled at 3 pm opposite ABC’s General Hospital, then enjoying a strong ascendancy in the ratings race.
The network changed the time slot on 26 April 1982, but the new slot – mornings at 11:00 – proved even worse for the show, and Texas bit the dust after a twenty-nine-month run.
Several actors returned to Another World when Texas bit the dust in December 1982.
In the fall of 1983, the series achieved a minor distinction when it became one of the few soap operas to be rerun. Procter and Gamble, which owned the serial, sold the reruns (beginning with episode # 104) to WTBS, the Atlanta “superstation” whose shows were carried by many cable systems throughout the US.
Iris Wheeler Cory Carrington Delaney Bancroft
Thomas Jefferson (“TJ”) Canfield
Paige Marshall Carrington
Ashley Linden Marshall
Reena Bellman Cook Dekker
Chandler Hill Harben (1)
Jay Hammer (2)
Ginny Connor Marshall
Billy Joe Wright
Dr Bart Walker
Dr Courtney Marshall
Dr Kevin Cook
George St. John
Colonel Ahmed Al Hassein
Princess Jasmine of Tanquir