June 11, 2012 at 9:11 AM ET
Get out your cowboy boots and 10-gallon hat, because "Dallas" is returning to the small screen on Wednesday. And once you've got that hat and boots on, you'll be in good company, because Larry Hagman -- who starred as the iconic J.R. Ewing in the original series that ran from 1978-1991 and is returning in the (pardon the pun) reboot -- apparently is never seen without his own.
"I keep them on all the time," he told TODAY's Ann Curry and Willie Geist on Monday.
Hagman, along with original cast members Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy, joined fellow cast members Brenda Strong, Josh Henderson, Jesse Metcalfe, Jordana Brewster and Julie Gonzalo on the set to chat about the show's past and future.
Duffy said the show -- which picks up at Southfork exactly 20 years after the original ended -- is meant to be a continuation. "It's as if you just didn't tune in for 20 years, and you were on the wrong channel. And if you turn to the right channel, here we are.... We consider this year 14 of the show."
So why go back now? "Money," said Hagman, whose J.R. starts off in a nursing home ... but is quickly roaring back to rare form. "It doesn't last long, I tell you that," he said.
Hagman impressed the young actors around him, most particularly Henderson, who plays his son on the show (and is learning all of J.R.'s old nasty tricks): "When he steps on set it really kind of consumes the room," said Henderson. "My first scene with him, I remember just staring at him and it was my time to talk and I literally forgot my lines."
And when Hagman "summoned" (Duffy's word) the cast to his home for a dinner, they got a chance to check out his extensive collection of photos and memorabilia. It turns out that the actor really does keep his costume consistent, no matter where he is, as Metcalfe pointed out: "He has photos of himself everywhere in the world, in his hat and boots. He's in a gondola in hat and boots!"
So the big question for long time fans is this: Will the new "Dallas" all turn out to be a dream? Duffy (whose character Bobby appeared to be dead for a full season and then turned up in the shower, changing the whole storyline) won't rule it out. "If we can get (ratings) out of it...." he chuckled.
"Dallas" premieres on June 13 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT.