Hurricane Hagman

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 August, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 August, 1996, 12:00am

For those who know Larry Hagman as J R Ewing, you might me surprised to discover he had a well-established television career long before Dallas.

Just as Patrick Duffy (Bobby) was the web-limbed Man From Atlantis, Hagman was the serviceman sidekick in I Dream Of Jeanie, a sitcom in a similar vein to Bewitched. He starred in the series for five years and when Dallas started in the 1970s I remember my father saying he would never be taken seriously as JR.

How wrong could he have been? If Hagman had been typecast pre-Dallas, it was nothing compared to what he was to experience after many years as the oil-rich Texan.

Maybe Hagman, who recovered from life-threatening liver surgery, learned a few lessons about life after playing JR.

He has recently put his Malibu beach home on the market for US$6 million (HK$46.4 million) and says he intends to spend, spend, spend.

'I want to take all my money and spend it,' he said, after experiencing an 'awakening'.

The actor, who has dabbled in Taoism for some time and refuses to talk on Sundays, made his fortune from the series that became such a way of life worldwide that the Turkish parliament closed early in 1980 so that MPs could get home in time to see JR being shot and it made the BBC Nine O'Clock News.

Hagman's 1974 film Hurricane (World, 9.30pm) is based on the true story of Hurricane Camille, which hit the coast of Louisiana in the early 70s.

It depicts the US Air Force's dangerous search for the centre of the hurricane and the growing tension of the people who are caught on land and at sea as Camille approaches.

Rescheduled from last week, when, perhaps, it was perceived there were too many disaster movies listed, it is an interesting documentary about how people try to cope with one of nature's most destructive forces.

Grandpa Walton (Will Geer) and Mother Walton (Michael Learned) make guest appearances, taking time out, as it must have been, from making the best family soap opera ever.

Incidentally, who decides on the name of hurricanes and typhoons? I adore the name (it was my late grandpa's) but who came up with the recent Typhoon Herb? Lawrence Turman and David Foster, whose hits include Short Circuit and Running Scared, made Gleaming The Cube (Pearl, 9.30pm), so you can imagine what it will be like; however, it will only appeal to those who know what the title means. It does refers to skateboarders who 'reach the ultimate'.

Consequently, there are some fabulous skateboarding scenes from a young and very cute Christian Slater, who is out to avenge the death of his adopted Vietnamese brother.

Slater is not bad, on or off the board, but you really have to understand the culture to be bothered to go the distance.

Buy a copious carton of popcorn, shut the curtains, take the phone off the hook (and switch off your pager), suspend all forms of belief or opinion and you might learn to enjoy the very colourful and truly escapist Hercules (World, 8.30pm).

This week, there is a message in it for all of us about not judging on looks and trusting creatures with one eye in the middle of their forehead.

What is not meaningful is airing public education ads late at night when they are aimed at children.

I watched one of those 'tell someone who cares if someone is touching you in the wrong place' ads at 10.50pm.

It appears Hong Kong cares, but is too embarrassed to properly confront such a sensitive issue.