TEXAS was a soap opera that ran for two years from August 1980 to December 1982 on the NBC television network. It was the second spin off from the series Another World. The show was created by John William Corrington, Joyce Corrington, and Paul Rauch.
The original focus on the show was that of Iris Carrington (Beverlee McKinsey), who had been AW's primary villainess, having taken over in that capacity from Rachel Davis (Victoria Wyndham). Iris had moved from Bay City to Houston, Texas when she was looking for her son, Dennis.
During that time, she ran into her former husband, Eliot Carrington (played most notably by Daniel Davis). Also making the move to Houston with her mistress was her maid, Vivien Gorrow (Gretchen Oehler). Vivien was loyal to Iris, although her mistress' more obvious conniving continually appalled her.
Originally, the show was slated to be a period soap opera called Reunion which was set in the Antebellum South, but Fred Silverman thought it would be a better idea to set it in the modern day, and it was with the promise that if the show was a hit in daytime, that it would be moved to prime-time, a la the series, Dallas, which was hugely popular at that time.
Iris had reconnected with Alex Wheeler (Bert Kraemer), her former lover, who was the head of World Oil, a large oil company in Houston, Texas. It was also later revealed that Alex was the father of her son, Dennis Carrington. Upon hearing that news, Eliot went mad and tried to kill Alex for it.
Another well-remembered character was one Reena Bellman (Carla Borelli), a sassy, many-times married young woman, with a very provocative wardrobe and a very sardonic and bitchy wit. She was married, most notably to Kevin Cook, and Max Dekker. Her parents were Victoria (Elizabeth Allen) and Striker Bellman (Robert Gerringer and Clifton James).
Other families in the show besides the Wheelers included the Marshall family, a ranching family who was headed by strong-willed and widowed matriarch Kate (Josephine Nichols). This family included her son, Justin (Jerry Lanning); her daughter in-law, Ginny (Barbara Rucker) and relatives.
Kind of an honorary Marshall was Lurlene Harper (Tina Johnson), whose late parents were close friends with the Marshalls. Lurlene was a comical character, although Tina turned in a bravura performance when she had been raped by a local man named Bubba Wadsworth.
Ginny's later husband, Ryan Connor; as well as Justin would go after the wicked Bubba, much as they would for their family. At one point, even Kate would threaten Bubba with a gun!
Later on, she and Ginny would help comfort the shaken girl. Lurlene however would bounce back and be as bubbly and funny as ever. She would later marry a man named Joel Walker (Charles Hill) in the series' final year.
Another main family was the Dekkers, which included major characters, Elena (Caryn Richmond); Rikki (Randy Hamilton) and Max (Jay Hammer) who married Reena Bellman. The other major family was the Lindens, comprised of siblings Ashley and Allison and Gregory, Ashley's son. Ashley married Justin Marshall but was in love with T.J. Canfield. After Max's death, Reena went after Grant Wheeler (Donald May) which aggravated his wife, Judith (Sharon Acker).
The show had a loyal audience, but it did not last long and in December 1982, the series was cancelled. The series final episode focused on Judith getting up out of her wheelchair and her giving up her hold on Grant and allowing him to be united with his true love, Reena; Justin and Ashley remained together and they welcomed their new daughter into the Marshall family; and as singer Billy Joe Wright (John McCafferty) led the singing of Auld Lang Syne, Justin toasted the crowd with the words, "To Texas!"
There were many alumni that came from this show. Carla Borelli (Reena) who went on to play ambitious Connie Giannini on the series, Falcon Crest; Donald May (Grant Wheeler), best known for his role of Adam Drake on The Edge of Night; Elizabeth Allen (Victoria Bellman) who was best known for her earlier roles on The Paul Lynde Show and CPO Sharkey; comedienne Dody Goodman (who played gossipy Aunt Mavis); Tina Johnson (Lurlene Harper Walker) who would play an equally comical character in cornpone Country singer Rhonda Sue Huckaby on Search for Tomorrow; Virginia Graham (who played talk show host Stella Stanton); Randy Hamilton (who, while playing Rikki, also was one of the hosts of the long-running kids show, Kids Are People Too); Harley Jane Kozak (who played Brette Wheeler); Lisby Larson (who played Paige); Diane Thompson Neil (Ruby Wright); Caryn Richmond (Elena Dekker) who later played the iconic character, Gidget Lawrence Griffin, on the syndicated series, The New Gidget; Jay Hammer (Max Dekker) who later played Fletcher Reade on Guiding Light; and had been best known for his role of Allan Willis, the Caucasian son of Roxie Roker and Franklin Cover on the situation Comedy, The Jeffersons; but the most successful of the alumni was Daniel Davis, who played Iris's ex-husband, Eliot Carrington. He later became widely famous for his role of Niles, the butler of Maxwell Sheffield and his family (and the verbal sparring partner, later husband, of C.C. Babcock), on the long-running sitcom, The Nanny.