Saturday, 24 November 2012

The world according to Snafu - Larry Hagman

I was saddened to hear that the actor Larry Hagman has just died. My commiserations to his family. I remember him mostly from a TV series I watched on and off called ‘I Dream of Jeannie’, an entertaining light domestic fantasy about a man married to a female genie with magical abilities. All set in, as was then, (1960s) modern America. I understand from the constant media attention over the last thirty years, that he also starred in a soap called Dallas. The old adage about any industry is encapsulated in the old conundrum, ‘What does the Ford Motor Company make?’ Although everyone would usually answer cars, the real answer is money. It exists for no other reason and so to put this into perspective, you must never forget that the real purpose of soaps is to make money for the TV companies and they do a good job of getting lots of people to pay for many TV channels continued existence. Whilst I have nothing against soaps as such, I have never understood their appeal. Although I never watched the series, it was impossible to miss all the media interest that Dallas received but I feel somehow that soaps are a form of voyeurism, an artificial peep hole where the audience can follow these pretend people’s small doings in painful detail. If anyone followed their neighbour’s lives in such a manner from their rear window with binoculars, it really would be voyeurism. Like many media experiences, you can do things which would be unacceptable in real life via certain TV programmes and even more so in a computer game where you can steal and pillage at will in a way that would place you in jail for life in the real world. With soaps you can follow other people’s lives as if you were a fly on the wall but the big problem is when people become so fixated they find it hard to distinguish the fantasy lives from reality and start sending hate mail and proposals of marriage and even money to various characters in their favourite TV series. The one good thing that came out of the TV series ‘Dallas’, was that for residents of the city of Dallas, it took attention away from the assassination of JFK. Whereas previously, to the shame of the residents, visitors had always wanted to be taken to see the assassination site, after the success of the TV show, they wanted to visit the filming locations where the soap of the same name had been produced. This changed the public perception of Dallas from a city where a USA president had been killed, to a much more glamorous place. An interesting insight into the mind of the general population and the power of the news media.


  1. I was always a 'Bewitched' girl, so I have to admit that Larry Hagman is JR to me - not that I ever watched Dallas either. I would come over all sniffy about soaps, except I love Holby/Casualty, so I can't exactly preach, can I?

  2. MAJ, At first I was confusing the plot line between I Dream of Jeanie with Bewitched, they were very similar. Jeanie was in fact a genie as in the genie of the lamp not a witch. I did watch both come to think of it, but not Dallas.