'Dallas' vs. Dallas: Where TV stops and reality begins

Retired SMU Journalism Professor Darwin Payne is among those interviewed for the 'Dallas' vs. Dallas phenomenon, which is about to happen all over again.

By Todd Leopold

Dallas (CNN) -- Jessica Angelly stood outside the Sixth Floor Museum last week, taking in the sights of downtown Dallas with family and friends.

It wasn't what she expected.

"I figured it would be a lot of cowboy hats, Wrangler jeans and boots," said Angelly, 17, who was visiting from Metropolis, Illinois. "It's actually kind of disappointing."

Well, you can't believe everything you see on television.

More than 30 years after it premiered, the images of the TV show "Dallas" -- oil derricks, herds of cows, endless fields of the Ewing family's Southfork Ranch, those ubiquitous 10-gallon Stetsons -- still hold sway. Visitors such as Angelly, who wasn't even born when the TV series went off the air in 1991, expect them. Popular culture and even some locals want to present them.

And there's more on the way. On Friday, TNT announced it had picked up a new version of "Dallas," with 10 episodes scheduled to begin airing in 2012. . .

The city's establishment used to lament the stereotypes put forward by "Dallas," said city native Darwin Payne, a retired Southern Methodist University professor and former journalist.

"When the show first began, Dallasites scoffed at its stereotypes, considering it more or less a joke," he said. (If you're looking for cowboy hats and -- for that matter -- cows, Fort Worth is where you want to be. That city still has a twice-daily cattle drive in its stockyards.)

But their tune quickly changed when the show, powered by its early "Who Shot J.R.?" storyline, became a national phenomenon.

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