Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘What Happened, J.R.?’

The Ewing touch

The Ewing touch

In “Dallas’s” fourth-season episode “New Beginnings,” J.R. and Sue Ellen (Larry Hagman, Linda Gray) put John Ross (Tyler Banks) to sleep in his crib.

J.R.: Handsome little devil, isn’t he?

SUE ELLEN: He has eyes exactly like yours, J.R. That’s the first thing that attracted me to you.

J.R.: Is that right? I thought it was my money.

SUE ELLEN: Well, I had several suitors with a lot of money. No, it was your eyes. They always seemed to be hiding secrets. Things you knew about the world that no one else knew.

J.R.: Sue Ellen, what are you talking about?

They leave the nursery and enter the bedroom.

SUE ELLEN: You know something? My mama didn’t want me to marry you at first.

J.R.: Now don’t tell me she wanted you to marry that poor boy you were going around with. What’s his name? Clint something or other? [Removes his jacket, unties his necktie]

SUE ELLEN: No, no, not him. She had Billy Frompton picked out for me.

J.R.: [Chuckles] Billy Frompton. Billy turned into a blimp.

SUE ELLEN: I know, but his daddy was loaded. He had oil and uranium and diamonds and coal and things like that.

J.R.: And you picked me because of my eyes?

SUE ELLEN: And because of the way you speak. [Runs her fingers up his arm] You know, every time you talked to me, I got the shivers.

He walks away, tosses his jacket on the bed, sits on the sofa.

SUE ELLEN: You know, J.R., I’ve always wanted to ask you something. With all those ladies in the state of Texas after you … why me?

She sits and looks at him while he stares at the ceiling.

J.R.: Well, once upon a time, I was a judge in the Miss Texas beauty contest. And after awhile, you run all those girls through the contest, and it looks like a cattle auction in Fort Worth.

SUE ELLEN: [Smiling] I felt the same way too.

J.R.: Then we got down to the bathing suit category. And all those pretty little girls prancing around, trying to look sexy. And then there you were, Sue Ellen. Not trying to do anything. Just looking more sexy than any of them. And you had something else: You looked like a lady. The combination was … [he smiles] devastating. [She closes her eyes, then touches his shirt collar]

SUE ELLEN: You know, I was so frightened when you first brought me to Southfork to meet your parents. They were such imposing figures. I never thought they’d like me.

J.R.: Well, Mama took to you right off. And Daddy too.

SUE ELLEN: We’ve had some good times, J.R. We’ve done some good things too.

J.R.: The best thing we did was that little boy sleeping in the next room.

SUE ELLEN: What happened, J.R.? What happened? Why can’t it be like that again, like it was those first years?

She touches his lips.

J.R.: Sue Ellen –

The phone rings. She answers it.

SUE ELLEN: Hello? [Pauses] Yes. [Her posture stiffens.] It’s Kristin. Calling from California. She just gave birth to a baby boy. You have another son.


  1. This scene was terrific. I was soo mad when Kristin called! Jeesh! She ruins everything. But I have to admit it, J.R and Sue Ellen had a horrible marriage. :/

  2. Yes, this scene was absolutely perfect. Showed J.R.’s human side.

  3. The thing that really bugs me about this scene is JR’s coldness towards Sue Ellen when she is trying so hard to make an effort. He makes me want to slap him.


  1. […] that are so pitch-perfect, you can’t help but feel you’re witnessing something special. The final scene in “New Beginnings” is one of these […]

  2. […] honors, but my sentimental favorite remains the “New Beginnings” moment when J.R. and Sue Ellen reminisce about their courtship. Next to J.R. and Bobby’s sibling rivalry, J.R. and Sue Ellen’s love affair is “Dallas’s” […]

  3. […] scene isn’t quite as moving as the one in “New Beginnings,” but it’s still very sweet. Larry Hagman and Linda Gray had been working […]

  4. […] – and I mean that literally. When J.R. was courting Sue Ellen, Patricia didn’t think he was rich enough. Of course, once they wed, Patricia came around – so much so that when Sue Ellen began to lose […]

  5. […] reminisce. After putting John Ross to bed, J.R. and Sue Ellen retreat to their room, where they recall their courtship in warm, nostalgic terms. For a couple that is usually at war with each other, this […]

  6. […] John Ross. The couple put their son to bed and retreat to their own room, where they quietly reminisce about the early days of their courtship, reminding each other why they fell in love in the first […]

  7. […] clash before he was shot? The time they reminisced about their courtship? Their confrontation after she caught him in bed with Holly Harwood? The time […]

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