I remember Larry Hagman’s J.R. Ewing character very well. On Friday nights when I was about 11 or 12, my family would eat dinner on a Friday night, and then watch The Dukes of Hazzard on CBS, followed by Dallas, which was a show about lots of things I didn’t yet understand. For instance, it was several years before I realized that “the Cartel” they always spoke about on the show was referring to OPEC. I was a smart kid in some ways, but utterly clueless in others.
I was saddened to hear that Larry Hagman died recently, but I have something that I remember about him. And sharing those remembrances is what I do in this space, so here goes:
I watched a lot of TV when I was a kid. Gilligan’s Island, the Brady Bunch, Get Smart, F-Troop, and whatever else was on when the Cubs’ game wasn’t on. And so one day I was watching an old rerun of I Dream of Jeanie. I don’t know why I remember this, but it was a black and white episode, since it was one of those shows that was in both black and white and in color. The first season, beginning in the fall of 1965, was in black and white, but by 1966 everything was in color. So that narrows it down as to when the episode I’m thinking of was filmed.
Anyway, Larry Hagman played Tony Nelson on the show, and in this particular episode he was talking to his friend, Roger Healey. And as he was doing so, he tied a tie around his neck. I watched the motions that Hagman made on the television screen and thought “I can do that.” So I went into my Dad’s closet, took out a tie, and stood in front of a mirror. And after a time or two of practicing, I had learned how to tie a tie. So that’s something that Larry Hagman taught me how to do, entirely by accident.
I probably wear a tie two or three times a year, at the most. The act of putting on a tie for everyday use is something that’s dropped off quite a bit since the 1960s. But the next time I put one on, I’ll be sure to think of Larry Hagman.