RIP Larry Hagman

| November 24, 2012

Everyone has been memorializing Larry Hagman who died yesterday, by saying that he was “best remembered” as JR in the drama “Dallas” but to me, he’ll always be Air Force Captain/Major Anthony Nelson on “I Dream of Jeannie”.

According to Wiki, Hagman was drafted, at the age of 21, into the Air Force in 1952 (I think that might be a mistake because they say he got out of the service in 1956, which would have been a four year stint, but the draft was only for two years periods, and to the best of my Googling skills, I can’t find a time when the Air Force ever drafted).

Frankie sent us the picture above of him in his enlisted Air Force uniform. Wiki says that during the Korean War, he spent his Air Force time in London, entertaining the troops in Europe, but he’s a veteran, nonetheless.

In regards to the draft issue, I found this; A Presidential panel studying the military manpower issue reported in 1970, “The Navy and Marine Corps have occasionally issued draft calls to meet temporary shortfalls, but the Air Force has never used the draft.” But there’s no source, so feel free to take shots at me.

Category: Blue Skies

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  1. Mike Kozlowski says:


    It’s possible that the Wiki entry is a garble of “got his draft number and decided to go Air Force before somebody puts him in a foxhole.” If he’d have gone Army, he might very well have found himself in Korea, which was still in the midst of The Unpleasantness. USAF on the other hand would have been a lot more willing to let him go MWR.

    Best regards,

  2. Just an Old Dog says:

    Same here, I dream of genie all the way, I never watch so much as one episode of Dallas.

  3. Never watched Dallas, ever. Major Nelson, you bet.

  4. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    Here something that is amazing, at least to me. He was married in England on 18 Dec 1954. He was still married to her when he died. His best man was an AF sergeant.

  5. Bubblehead Ray says:

    When I was in the Navy, we pulled into Portsmouth England for a port call after our Patrol. We all went across the bay to Weymouth and checked out the boardwalk. While walking down the boardwalk I noticed a bunch of T-shirts in one shop that said “I shot JR” or “I know who shot JR”. I had no idea what they were about, and figured it was some “Brit” thing. I asked the shopkeeper “Who’s JR?” She laughed and said “Ere’ look at ‘im wif a Yank accent an E don’t know oo JR is. Ee’s on the Telly tonight luv, you can find out then”.

    I didn’t have the heart to tell her we couldn’t receive television signals on the boat. Didn’t find out why it was so funny to her until I flew back to the States for Offcrew.

    I always remember him as Major Nelson too.

  6. NIN says:

    Probably a case of the original writer assuming that “everybody” who went in any branch of the armed forces was “drafted” back in those days.

    And I agree: he probably said “Lets see, wait until my draft number comes up and wind up an infantryman in Korea, or join the Air Force? Hmmmm, tough choice here…”

  7. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    According to his bio on his official website, he joined the US Air Force while in England. I can’t imagine how but that’s what it says.

  8. Yat Yas 1833 says:

    Larry Hagman was in “I Dream of Jeanie”? I only remember Barbara Eden! Be that as it may, RIP Mr. Hagman.

  9. OWB says:

    RIP Maj Nelson. You will be missed.

  10. I guess the real question will never get answered…did he get laid by Jennie?

  11. Devtun says:

    Larry Hagman was legendary for his on set temper tantrums and being frequently smashed. Don’t know how he kept it together and delivered his lines with perfect comedic timing.

    Maj Tony Nelson’s genius sidekick Army Maj Roger Healey (Bill Daily) was from what I remember from Entertainment Tonight segment drafted into the Army and sent off to Korea as a cannon cocker. Bill Daily was most famous for playing second banana Howard Borden on Bob Newhart Show 1972-1978.

  12. Common Sense says:

    I Dream of Jeannie for me too, never watched Dallas. Just like Patrick Duffy was always the Man from Atlantis. I always wanted to be either a genie or a witch, like Tabitha in Bewitched. I would love to be able to blink my eyes or wiggle my nose and have the entire house clean, sigh…

    We took our kids to Disneyworld in 2001 (yes, the post-9/11 security was, um, interesting) and also saw the Kennedy Space Center. We went to Cocoa Beach and I was disappointed it didn’t look anything like Major Nelson’s neighborhood.

  13. Hondo says:

    CI Roller Dude: given that Jeannie and Major Nelson got married in the series’ last season, I’d guess the answer is a “yes”. That was way before anyone even thought about DADT! (smile)

  14. Smith says:

    A year or so ago Barbara Eden had her autobiography published, and she wrote at some length about he Jeannie days. Apparently Hagman was a nightmare for the show’s producers and directors, being angry, temperamental, dismissive, and as Devtun pointed out, a bit too fond of the bottle. But Ms. Eden said he was always kind and respectful to her, which one is glad to hear.

  15. MCPO Dreams of Genie says:

    You guys can analyze his record up all you want, but my money is on the man who was banging Barbara Eden …

  16. David says:

    small correction for you kids… “draft numbers” as such didn’t exist until the lottery in the ’70s. Prior to that it all depended on your classification, and many folks when classified something like 1A (roughly translated: You’re next) chose an extra year or two service by deciding to enlist in another service for three or four years. A nice racket – if you were drafted you went for two years, almost certainly in the Army, in what werre considered at the time less-than-desirable MOS – if you chose to avoid that, they got you for an extra year or two.