Texas Myth #29

Hey, we’re talking Hollywood here. The hit show, which ran from 1978 to 1991, was filmed at MGM Studios, in California. A few exterior shots showed Big D skyscrapers and Southfork Ranch, the putative home of the oil-rich Ewings. Still, when the City of Dallas learned this spring that a feature film of the show was likely to be shot out of state, it organized a campaign called “Shoot J.R. in Dallas.”

Q: Is the Panhandle really the flattest place in Texas? Or even in the U.S.?
A: The answer is a flat-out no. The much-maligned Panhandle acquired its reputation as a topographical tortilla chiefly because most people see it only from Interstate 40, which bisects it at its most horizontal (i.e., cheapest-to-pave) section. But the region—Texas’s top 26 counties—encompasses some dramatic features, such as Palo Duro Canyon. And by “flattest,” many visitors actually mean “featureless,” as the highway vistas are uniformly dusty and treeless, which for many folks from greener climes translates to “ugly.” Spokesmen from various governmental agencies agree that, because of the multitude of factors involved, determining Texas’s flattest spot, whether a single square mile or an entire county, is difficult. It may lie somewhere along the Gulf Coast—where lush foliage disguises the levelness of the land—or in the Llano Estacado, the dry, empty

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