The Dal-List: Classic ‘Dallas’s’ 10 Most Memorable Monologues

Ann Ewing, Brenda Strong, Dallas, TNT, Trial and Error

Testify!

Few will forget the courtroom testimony that Ann (Brenda Strong) delivered at the end of “Trial and Error,” last week’s “Dallas” episode. Here’s a look at the Barneses’ and Ewings’ 10 most memorable monologues from the original series and its “Knots Landing” spinoff.

Barbara Bel Geddes, Dallas, Miss Ellie Ewing

Curses!

10. Miss Ellie’s lament. With the Ewing empire on the brink of collapse, Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes) goes to the site of Jock’s first strike and curses his memory. “Damn it all, Jock. You couldn’t have been an insurance salesman. Or a shoe salesman. No, you had to have oil in your blood. In your heart. And now … our sons are fighting for their lives.” It’s one of the better moments from one of the show’s better later episodes. (“Judgment Day”)

Dallas, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal

She remembers mama

9. Pam’s discovery. Pam (Victoria Principal), believing Rebecca Wentworth is her long-lost mother, confronts the Houston matron in her opulent home. “I found you. You’re alive. And I’m so happy. I don’t know how to tell you how happy I am,” she says through tears. With every line, Principal seems to reveal a little more of herself, so much so that by the end of the speech, her lip quivers uncontrollably. Bravo. (“The Prodigal Mother”)

Dallas, Priscilla Pointer, Rebecca Barnes Wentworth

Runaway mom

8. Rebecca’s confession. After denying her identity, Rebecca (Priscilla Pointer) sits with Pam on a park bench and tells her the truth: She is, in fact, Pam’s mother. “I never divorced Digger,” Rebecca says as her voice begins to crack. “I was afraid that if I tried, he’d find me, and drag me back to that awful life. Pamela, I saw a chance for happiness, and I took it. Don’t blame me for that.” Pointer’s delivery is hauntingly beautiful. (“The Prodigal Mother”)

Dallas, Gary Ewing, Knots Landing, Ted Shackelford

No beach bum

7. Gary’s mea culpa. Gary (Ted Shackelford) begs Lucy to stay in Knots Landing and apologizes for his past sins, telling her he’s trying hard to be a better man. “I’m not a loser anymore,” Gary says. At one point, he becomes tongue-tied, as if he can’t find the words to convey his guilt and regret. In the DVD commentary, Shackelford laughs and suggests he paused because he couldn’t remember his next line. No matter. It still works. (“Home is For Healing”)

Dallas, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing

Bye bye, love

6. Sue Ellen’s kiss-off. In Linda Gray’s “Dallas” departure, Sue Ellen shows J.R. the scandalous movie she’s made about their marriage – and vows to screen it for the public only if he misbehaves. “If I feel that you’re not doing right by John Ross … or if I get up on the wrong side of the bed one morning. Or if I’m simply bored – then I’ll release the movie. And then, J.R., you will be the laughingstock of Texas.” Corny? Sure, but also mighty triumphant – and darn memorable. (“Reel Life”)

Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Ken Kercheval

Never too late

5. Cliff’s regret. My favorite Ken Kercheval scene: Cliff summons Miss Ellie to a park and apologizes for perpetuating his father’s grudge against the Ewings. “Digger was wrong, and I was wrong. If it’s not too late. I’d like to make peace. I’d like to ask you to forgive me,” Cliff says. In an interview with Dallas Decoder, Kercheval fondly recalled his friendship with Bel Geddes. What a shame these two pros didn’t get more screen time together. (“Brother Can You Spare a Child?”)

Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing

American dad

4. Jock’s plea. After Pam suffered her first heartbreaking miscarriage, Jock (Jim Davis) sat at her bedside and begged her and Bobby not to leave Southfork. “Us Ewings, we’re just not an easy family to live with, as you found out. We’ve had things our way for so long that maybe – well, maybe it got in the way of our being just people. I guess that you don’t have no reason to really care, but I want to keep my family together.” Who knew the old man could be so soft? (“Barbecue”)

Dallas, Ray Krebbs, Steve Kanaly

He knows father best

3. Ray’s tribute. Ray (Steve Kanaly) tries to make Miss Ellie accept Jock’s death by reminding her of his humanity. “He was a man, just like anybody else. He had friends. He had lots of friends. But he had enemies, too. He was human, ambitious. He knew that the oil game was rough, hardball all the way. But he wanted what was best for his wife, and for his sons. And he did what he thought was right.” The most honest eulogy Jock ever received. (“Acceptance”)

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Honor thy daddy

2. J.R.’s promise. J.R. (Larry Hagman), after slipping into a depression over Jock’s death, addresses a portrait of his father. “I’m back, Daddy. And nobody’s going to take Ewing Oil away from me. Or my son, or his son. I swear to you. By God, I’m going to make you proud of me.” The combination of Hagman’s conviction, scriptwriter David Paulsen’s dialogue and Bruce Broughton’s rousing score never fails to give me chills. (“The Phoenix”)

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Patrick Duffy

Exit the hero

1. Bobby’s goodbye. As Bobby (Patrick Duffy) lay dying in his hospital bed, he bids his family farewell. To Miss Ellie: “Oh, Mama. I’m sorry.” To Pam: “All that wasted time. We should’ve been married.” He seems to be looking at J.R. when he delivers his last words: “Be a family. I love you so much.” Duffy has never been better, and when the monitor flatlines and Principal leaps? Fuhgeddaboudit! Yes, the scene’s emotional impact is diminished somewhat by the fact it turned out to be a dream. Still, does “Dallas” get better than this? (“Swan Song”)

Which “Dallas” monologues moved you most? Share your choices below and read more “Dal-Lists.”

Comments

  1. I thought it was great that you brought up #5 “Cliff’s Regret” in your interview with Ken Kercheval. Jim Davis had a very close relationship with Victoria Prinipal and was even buried with photos of her, along with photos of his own daughter. It is clear that the close personal relationships these people had with each other translated amazingly onto camera.
    I can’t say enough about Sue Ellen! She is the best!
    It was clear that Jock was grooming Ray for the oil business and clearly favored Ray Krebbs. Many scenes of Ray and Jock together at the Cattlemans Club. It was also clear that Ray nearly worshiped Jock Ewing. The relationship between the two makes this scene all that much better because it finally shows Ray coming to terms with the idea that Jock was just a human like everyone else.

    This list is a good example of why Dallas is such a great show. It has a large range of top talent. In some of these scenes I feel that it is impossible to tell these people are on a set acting.

  2. barbara fan says:

    My number 1 would be S5 original the Big Ball – When Miss Ellie gets up on stage and says her “Jock Ewing was a great man, measured in the only true value of a man…..” speech
    The other is Miss Ellie and Pam’s Dream season 8 Oil barons ball speech in Winds of Change
    The Brenda Blands dont even come anywhere near! Sorry – like your choices of original Dallas tho, the other is Cliff and Miss Ellie in a park and a shoebox of memories – just wonderful

    • I thought about including that scene too, BF. But since I had Ray’s tribute to Jock already on the list, I thought I’d look for something different for Miss Ellie. I always liked the scene where she curses Jock. It’s one of the highlights of the show’s later seasons. I also love the Pam scene you mention. That’s a great one too.

      Thanks for your thoughts BF. I always love to hear from you.

      CB

  3. Your #5 would be my #1. I’ve always been a sucker for the epiphany scene and the way Cliff’s relationship with Dandy brought on an epiphany of truth that Dallas’ most famous feud was really nothing more than a misunderstanding was so very well played. It lead to a birth of a whole new Cliff Barnes that became a best friend, wedding best man and business partner to Bobby Ewing and a truly great uncle to Christopher Ewing.

    I’ve asked it before and I’ll keep asking until we get an answer. How did we get from this Cliff Barnes to the Cliff Barnes of 2012? I want a satisfactory answer.

    • You know, Dan, I seriously considered moving Cliff’s scene closer to No. 1. It’s such a great scene, and I’m glad to hear you appreciated the Dandy storyline. I think that one gets overlooked, but as you pointed out, I like how the storyline helped Cliff become a deeper character and a more integral part of the show during its later years.

  4. Miss Ewing says:

    I think Sue Ellens funeral speech along the lines
    “I was mis texas when I met JR and fell madly , hopelessly passioantely in love wiht the most charming scoundrel I think I’ve ever met…………
    the letter is so touching anf fianlly brings up the love sue ellen always had for JR everyday

    • I love that speech too. It’s one of Sue Ellen’s best scenes ever. For this list, I focused on monologues from the original series. At some point I’ll do something similar for the new show and Sue Ellen’s eulogy will definitely be on that list.

      Thanks for commenting, Miss Ewing!

      CB

  5. Anonymous says:

    One more monologue: The one where Lucy tells Mickey about Roger the photographer who raped her and got her pregnant. Very moving scene!

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