Picks and Pans Review: The Complete Book of Dallas

updated 12/01/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/01/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Suzy Kalter

It's clear that Kalter's attitude toward the TV series is not quite that of the investigative reporter when she refers to Leonard Katzman, one of the show's longtime executives, as Uncle Lennie. Then again this isn't Watergate she's writing about, and it isn't Macbeth either. Kalter, a sometime correspondent for PEOPLE, just has a good time going over the history of the Texas soap opera that began in 1977 and has an estimated worldwide audience of 300 million. She summarizes each of Dallas' first 220 episodes. She rounded up more than 250 photographs, which show how the characters have changed over time. (Some have changed more than others: Digger Barnes, for instance, changed from actor David Wayne into Keenan Wynn.) Kalter also interviewed most of the principals. David Jacobs, creator of the program, remembers his original concept of Bobby Ewing: "He was like Brick in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Then he married Pam, who said, 'Be a mensch.' He didn't want to go into the office, but he did it for her. This screwed up J.R. I wanted to kill off Bobby at the end of the pilot and leave Pam to fight J.R." The rest is histrionics. (Abrams, $29.95)

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