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1980s / Who Shot JR
Who shot J.R.? was a mass media-manufactured open question in 1980. In the CBS television series Dallas, the character of J.R. Ewing, played by Larry Hagman, was shot by an unknown assailant in the final scene of its 1979-1980 season, which aired on March 21, 1980 and was entitled A House Divided. Viewers had to wait all summer, and most of the fall due to a Hollywood actors' strike, to learn whether J.R. would survive, and which of his many enemies was responsible. Security was tightened at the Lorimar studios where Dallas was filmed. During the summer of 1980, the question "Who shot J.R.?" was asked in everyday conversations across America and worldwide. T-shirts printed with such references as "Who Shot J.R.?" and "I Shot J.R.!" became common over the summer. Betting parlors worldwide took in massive amounts of money. People were placing bets as to which one of the 10 or so principal characters had actually pulled the trigger that shot J.R. A session of the Turkish parliament was suspended to allow legislators a chance to get home in time to view the Dallas episode. Ultimately, the person who pulled the trigger was revealed to be the character of Kristin Shepard (played by Mary Crosby) in the "Who Done It?" episode which aired on November 21, 1980. Kristin was J.R.'s scheming sister-in-law and mistress, who shot him in a fit of anger.