Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘To Ewing Traditions’

Barbecue Four, Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

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In “Barbecue Four,” a seventh-season “Dallas” episode, J.R. (Larry Hagman), Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), Bobby (Patrick Duffy), Jenna (Priscilla Beaulieu Presley), Ray (Steve Kanaly) and Donna (Susan Howard) gather around the Southfork dining room table.

J.R.: [Pulls out Sue Ellen’s chair] Darlin’, why don’t you sit in your regular place here? And that’s right, Jenna, you sit in Pam’s old chair. And Donna, why don’t you sit in Lucy’s chair, since we don’t have a regular place for you. [Pulls out the chair]

DONNA: [Sits] Thank you.

J.R.: And that’s right, Ray. You sit where Gary used to. You two have so much in common. Well, I think that’s about it now. I’d like to propose a toast. [Raises a glass] To Ewing traditions.

Miss Ellie and Clayton (Barbara Bel Geddes, Howard Keel) appear in the doorway.

ELLIE: May we join you in that toast?

J.R.: [Sets down his glass] Mama, well! How good to have you home. [He approaches and hugs kisses her, followed by everyone but Jenna, who remains seated.]

BOBBY: Why didn’t you tell us? We’d have picked you up at the airport.

RAY: Welcome home, Miss Ellie.

ELLIE: Oh, Ray.

SUE ELLEN: Oh, Miss Ellie.

BOBBY: [Shaking Clayton’s hand] Clayton, thank you for bringing her back to us.

CLAYTON: She wouldn’t stay away from Southfork another day.

BOBBY: Well, I know how that is.

ELLIE: I’ve been away too long. [Approaches Jenna, touches her shoulder] Oh, Jenna. Bobby told me that he was seeing you. It’s nice you’re here.

JENNA: Thank you, Miss Ellie.

J.R.: [Pulls out her chair] Here you go, Mama.

ELLIE: Thank you, J.R. [She sits.] Oh, I’m so glad to be back.

SUE ELLEN: You know how we feel.

ELLIE: Ray, I’m sorry about what you went through.

RAY: Well, that’s all behind us now, Miss Ellie.

ELLIE: Yes, but not the memories. I know how strong memories can be.

J.R.: Oh, you look wonderful. I mean, really wonderful.

ELLIE: Well, I did nothing but loaf and rest.

BOBBY: Well, it’s been good to you. You look terrific.

ELLIE: I’m sorry about the divorce.

BOBBY: I know, Mama.

ELLIE: Jenna, I hope I’m not embarrassing you, but I’d grown very fond of Pam.

JENNA: I understand.

ELLIE: Well, I may have been in Jamaica for a while, but I still know what time it is in Dallas and we should all be eating dinner by now. [They all laugh.] Clayton, please sit down. [Clayton sits in Jock’s old chair. J.R., Bobby and Ray each look bothered.] After all those restaurants we’ve been eating in, I’m really hungry for good old Southfork cooking. I mean, no matter how good the restaurant is, there’s nothing as good as eating at home. J.R., why don’t you take some of that food and pass it around before it gets stone cold?

J.R.: Oh, I’m really not hungry, Mama.

ELLIE: [Chuckles] You? Not hungry?

J.R.: I suppose it’s the excitement of you being home … with Clayton.

He smiles faintly and then looks at Clayton. The smile fades.


  1. It might be awkward C. B. to have Clayton sit in Jock’s chair. But its appropriate as he was Ellie’s rock in her stressed out life crisis. He kept her safe & thus deserves the full respect of Southfork, its traditions such as family meals, & the respect of the Ewing/Krebbs men, even if they are uncomfortable. They need to get over it.

  2. It was awkward to see Clayton sit in Jock’s chair, like he was replacing him, which it may have felt like for the Ewing boys. Clayton was Miss Ellie anchor during the stress of the fight for Ewing oil and he later on married her which makes him head of the family, not replacing Jock but another father figure to support and advise the family. What was also even more awkward was having Jenna sit in Pam’s chair, she does not belong at the table much less as a Ewing and she definitely could never replace Pam. Miss Ellie was just being nice and cordial when she saw Jenna sitting there but you could sense she really missed Pam and was sad about the divorce and which Pam was the one there


  1. […] Four” scriptwriter Arthur Bernard Lewis and director Leonard Katzman give Bel Geddes a dramatic entrance. It begins with the Ewings gathered in the Southfork dining room, where J.R. is lobbing one sly […]

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