Things Ewings Say (J.R. Edition)

Things Ewings Say (J.R. Edition) copy


If the first season of TNT’s “Dallas” taught us anything, it’s this: J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) still has a way with words. With “Revelations,” the eagerly awaited season finale two days away, here’s a look back at some of his best lines.

• “Son, the courts are for amateurs and the faint of heart.”

Responding to John Ross’s suggestion that he could win a legal fight with Bobby in “Changing of the Guard”

• “Son, never pass up a good chance to shut up.”

Imparting more wisdom to John Ross in “Hedging Your Bets”

• “I hate to hit a man below the belt, but you know I will.”

Threatening Mitch Lobell in “Hedging Your Bets”

• “Time has not been kind to that face.”

Upon seeing Cliff Barnes for the first time in many years in “The Price You Pay”

• “Bullets don’t seem to have much an effect on me, darlin’.”

Greeting a shotgun-wielding Ann in “The Price You Pay”

• “I’m going to tell you the truest thing my daddy ever told me: Nobody gives you power. Real power is something you take.”

Quoting Jock to John Ross in “The Price You Pay”

• “Those people are not passing away because of old age. They’re trying to get away from the food.”

Describing the culinary options at his nursing home in “The Price You Pay”

• “That Mexican girl?”

Describing Elena in “The Last Hurrah”

• “Our girl is crazier than an outhouse rat.”

Describing Marta in “The Last Hurrah”

• “Are you really going to break bread with this lowlife?”

Upon learning Sue Ellen plans to have lunch with Cliff in “The Last Hurrah”

• “Well what fun would I get out of telling you that?”

His response when John Ross asks where he’s going in “Truth and Consequences”

• “For a chance to make money from me, Cliff Barnes would push his mama in a puddle of piranhas.”

Assessing his chances of joining Cliff’s high-stakes poker game in “The Enemy of My Enemy”

• “A cheated man is a dangerous man. Just ask my son.”

Describing Frank Ashkani in “Collateral Damage”

• “OK, I admit, I have lapses where I do wrong now and then.”

Offering Bobby the understatement of a lifetime in “Family Business”

What’s your favorite J.R. quote from “Dallas’s” first season? Share your choices below and read more features from Dallas Decoder.


  1. I can’t quite remember the new lines, but my favorite will always be the Cattlemen’s club line: “Looks like they’ll let just about anybody in here these days.” He said that to Cliff Barnes about 3 times throughout the first 5 seasons.

    Oh, and in the new Dallas I love when he tells Ann, “You’re gonna have to work on that imagination.” Or something to that effect. It was classic J.R!

  2. I love the line J.R said about Ann Ewing in Family Business Wife No 3 is packing heat.On Twitter this weekend J.R. calls Cliff Barnes Cliffy Boy.Got to love J.R he is a legend.

  3. LOL. J.R can throw that in Bobby’s face since he’s only had two wives and Bobby 3. 😛

  4. “Looks like I barged in on some kind of conspiracy. It seems like every time I turn around in this house, someone is conniving against me.” J.R. Ewing Season 6. 🙂

  5. What about……”I would recognize the smell of brimstone and crazy anywhere’ after Cliff says hey don’t know if you remember…I’m Cliff Barnes……

    Also, same scene. I’ll be there when they lower your body in the grave…that sound will be me dancing in the dirt over your grave!

    On a sentimental note…..Jr talking to John Ross….. ‘Southfork is more than just dirt to me. It is in my blood and in my bones.’

  6. Here are a few from a JR-themed coffee mug I bought at the Texas State History Museum in Austin a year or two ago:

    “Sue Ellen, you’re a drunk, a tramp, and an unfit mother.”
    “The world is littered with the bodies of people that tried to stick it to ol’ J.R.”
    “A conscience is like a boat or a car. If you feel you need one, rent it.”
    “Lots of men have tried to run roughshod over me. You can visit most of them in the cemetery.”
    “Saying terrible things is part of my charm.”

  7. BTW…the line he says as he walks off after Ann runs him out of Bobby’s sickroom was an adlib of Larry’s. ‘Damn woman is out of her mind’…….

    I am always reminded of an interview I read years ago by one of the Dallas producers. They used to caution writers about writing jokes for JR. They were adamant that there were to be no jokes. The said the fun of the remarks were that they were written as a straight forward serious comments…but it was Hagman’s delivery that got people. The bible for the season would be completed, but various writers would write out the dialogue. Since JR was known for the outrageous remarks…writers were tempted to be funny. Producers told them…JR is not funny and he is not a nice person. Larry’s genius with the character is that he could say those things and the viewers would be shocked but still would get a kick out of what he said.

    • I think not writing jokes for J.R. is a wise approach. My guess is Larry’s improvised dialogue is funnier than anything a writer could come up with.

      Thanks for sharing, hel. I appreciate your comments!


      • I agree to that too. You never want forced jokes. He had some whoppers that made me bust out laughing. I love when J.R faked being near death after Sue Ellen shot him. and after he tells the doctor to set the room up with life support and machines, the doc says, “That would be wrong and cruel!”
        J.R says, “Wrong and cruel. My two favorite words.” His lines just stun you into laughter.

        I think I found my absolute favorite picture of Hagman as J.R!

      • Heh heh. That’s a great picture. You can just imagine what he must be thinking there.

  8. I Always Drink Bourbon Always Straight Bourbon

  9. Ewing Oil Is Mine. No One ever Takes It From Me And Daddy

  10. Good Riddence Barnes And You Know That


  1. […] much as I enjoyed all the hilarious stuff that came out of J.R.’s mouth, Sue Ellen delivered the season’s best line in “No Good Deed” […]

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