Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘I Gave You Up Too Soon, J.R.’

Barbara Bel Geddes, Dallas, John Ewing III Part 1, Miss Ellie Ewing

Mama tried

In “John Ewing III, Part 1,” a second-season “Dallas” episode, Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes) sits at the piano in the Southfork living room, talking to J.R. (Larry Hagman).

ELLIE: You were a small child, J.R., when I stopped interfering in your life. For some time now, I’ve been thinking that wasn’t a very wise decision. But just because I didn’t say anything doesn’t mean I haven’t watched and seen. You’re power hungry. [J.R., standing behind Ellie, throws back his head and sighs.] You’re like your daddy in that. But he has redeeming qualities. His love for his sons, for one. I don’t know that you have any redeeming qualities, J.R. Is there anyone you love?

J.R.: [Standing at the bar] I love Sue Ellen.

ELLIE: From the day you brought that girl into this house, you’ve neglected her. First with the business, then with other women. You didn’t even bother to be discreet most of the time. I don’t know why she didn’t leave you years ago.

J.R.: Don’t you?

ELLIE: I know money’s important to Sue Ellen – and power. But she loves you, J.R. She always has. You just never gave her half a chance.

J.R.: I don’t wanna talk about this anymore.

ELLIE: Sue Ellen’s in trouble, J.R., and your child’s life is in danger. You must do something about it.

J.R.: [Sips a drink] It’s too late. [Leaves]

ELLIE: I gave you up too soon, J.R. I should have held onto you a little longer.


  1. […] shenanigans – but Season 2 is the year you do not want to mess with Mama. We see her demand J.R. clean up his act, order Julie to stay away from Jock and urge Pam to fight for her marriage. (There’s also […]

  2. […] but occasionally she couldn’t help but stick her nose in their business. Like the time she called out J.R. for allowing Sue Ellen’s drinking to spiral out of control. Or the time she suggested the […]

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