Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘Mama, You Didn’t Take Any Licorice’

He remembers, Mama

He remembers, Mama

In “Dallas’s” fourth-season episode “Full Circle,” Cliff (Ken Kercheval), dressed in a three-piece suit, nervously straightens his apartment when there is a knock at the door. He opens it, revealing Rebecca (Priscilla Pointer).


CLIFF: Hi. Come on in.

REBECCA: You look wonderful.

CLIFF: You too. Maybe I should have known who you were when you came in the office the other day but then, I don’t know. You didn’t look exactly like I expected you to.


CLIFF: No. You look kind of um … poised.

REBECCA: [She smiles, then notices the spread on his coffee table] Oh, Cliff. You didn’t have to go to that trouble.

CLIFF: No, it’s no trouble. I’ve got some coffee going. I’ll check to see if it’s done. [Walks into the kitchen] Uh, it’s done. [Peering into the living room] You want some coffee? How do you take it?

REBECCA: Black, please.

He pours two cups, carries them into the living room on saucers and hands one to her.

CLIFF: We can sit down.

REBECCA: You’ve done very well for yourself, haven’t you Cliff?

They sit on the sofa.

CLIFF: Uh, I’ve done OK. I’ve bounced around a bit, from job to job.

REBECCA: But you put yourself through law school.

CLIFF: Yeah, I did that. [Not making eye contact] But that’s a long time ago. Now Pam. Now, let’s see. Now, I don’t think she told me where she found you.

REBECCA: The first time was in Houston.

CLIFF: [Looks at her, then looks away] Did you live there very long?

REBECCA: Yes, we…. We, we sound like two strangers, don’t we? I didn’t want it to be that way. [Moves toward him, but he rises and stands]

CLIFF: It wasn’t my decision. You ran out on me. I was barely 5 years old and you pretended to be dead and you left me with a baby sister and a drunken father. Why?

REBECCA: It wasn’t like…. It’s so, it’s so hard to explain.

CLIFF: I can imagine it’s hard to explain. A mother running out on her own two kids. I don’t know how in the hell a woman can do that. [Screaming] Do you have any idea what it’s like to be 5 years old and be told that your mother’s dead only to find out the truth is that she didn’t want you! That she was only thinking about herself!

REBECCA: [Grabs her pocketbook, rises and walks toward Cliff, who stands not looking at her] I, I didn’t expect you to forgive me anymore than I can forgive myself. [Voice cracking] But, oh how I prayed that you could try.

CLIFF: I have tried! [She opens the door.] Mama. [Grabs a bowl from the coffee table, holds it out for her] You didn’t take any licorice and I remembered you liked it.

He walks toward her and they embrace while sobbing.


  1. Just reading this scene brought tears to my eyes. Ken Kercheval should have scored an emmy for this scene alone.

  2. Kyle Willson says:

    Ken has always been one of the best parts of the show IMHO…JR needs Cliff to give him a grounded, personal reason for being despicable, yet still remain a sympathetic (or at least anti-hero) character. Cliff needs JR for the same. I LOVE their scenes together…Larry and Ken must’ve had a blast trading one-liners and insults….
    Ken is simply AWESOME in this scene….like you said Chris, he covers a WIDE range of emotion and bravely lets himself crack all the way at the end…Takes big ones to lay yourself open like that..Bravo KK!

    • I’m glad you agree, Kyle. Good points about the relationship between J.R. and Cliff; those characters are pretty symbiotic. They need each other, and the show needs both of them.

      Thanks for commenting!



  1. […] “licorice scene” where Cliff tearfully offers his mother her favorite candy. I love that one […]

  2. […] How do you know when a “Dallas” scene is classic? When you only need a line or two of dialogue to describe it. By that standard, the show’s fourth year probably offers more great moments than any other season: “It was you, Kristin, who shot J.R.” “He’s not your daddy. I am.” “You are my mother.” “Real power is something you take.” “Don’t make me see myself in your eyes.” “I love you, Jock.” “Mama, you didn’t take any licorice.” […]

  3. […] famous scene from “Full Circle” – when Cliff tearfully offers his estranged mother a bowl of licorice, her […]

  4. […] invites estranged mom Rebecca (Priscilla Pointer) to his apartment. Nervous small talk gives way to anger, as Cliff tells Rebecca how much her abandonment hurt him. She begins to leave, but Cliff stops […]

  5. […] doesn’t make much of an impression here. Priscilla Pointer (whom I best know for her role as Rebecca Wentworth on Dallas) does make an impression as Dr. Simms, the arrogant head of Westin Hills who disapproves of Dr. […]

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