Thursday, July 18, 2013

July 18: Suicide on "Dallas" Set

On this date in History ... July 18, 1989:

Edward Phillips Jr, of Corydon Indiana, drove his truck onto the set of the TV drama series “Dallas”, set the truck on fire, fired a 12-gauge shotgun five times at the sound stage, and then killed himself.  

Phillips and his wife had purchased Old Capital Popcorn Company in 1983. In 1985, “Dallas” star Ken Kercheval, who grew up in Clinton, Indiana, (north of Terre Haute), liked the popcorn so much that he invested $998,000 in the company, giving him a one-third ownership. Kercheval and Phillips clashed a number of times over marketing strategies. 

In 1988, Phillips was voted out of his management position by his wife and Kercheval. Later that year, Kercheval then bought out the other two-thirds of the company. 

Phillips had been devastated by the loss of control in the company, followed by his wife filing for divorce.  He admitted himself to a hospital for depression. Kercheval said Phillips had acted irrationally and frightened family and associates.

Trivia: Why the name "Old Capital Popcorn Company"?  Corydon, Indiana, was the "old state capital" before the capital was moved to Indianapolis.

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