Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘You Needed Slapping Down, Cliff’

Dallas, End Game, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Slap master

In “End Game,” “Dallas’s” seventh-season finale, Cliff (Ken Kercheval) pours a drink in his office for Vaughn (Dennis Patrick), who sits in front of the desk.

CLIFF: Vaughn, now look, we’re two civilized human beings. [Hands him the drink] We’ve made money before and we’ll make money again. I’m just asking you for a little bit more time. [Walks behind his desk]

VAUGHN: No. The interest payment must be collected on its due date. Now you read the papers. It was very specific.

CLIFF: I’m just asking you to bend the rules a little bit. There’s oil in that tract and we’re gonna hit, and we’ll all be rich. [Turns his back, looks out the window]

VAUGHN: If you don’t strike oil by midnight tomorrow night, the bank is foreclosing. And all of the assets of Barnes-Wentworth will belong to the bank.

J.R. (Larry Hagman) enters.

J.R.: Well, Vaughn, not all the assets. If I remember correctly, our deal calls for me to get control of Gold Canyon 340.

CLIFF: What are you doing here?

J.R.: Oh, I just thought you might want to see the face of your other friendly banker.

CLIFF: No, no, no. I got my money from Vaughn.

J.R.: You got your money from both of us. And tomorrow night, we’re going to turn off the faucet, and all your cash flow is just going to dry right up.

CLIFF: You set me up?

J.R.: From the very beginning. But I didn’t do it alone. In addition to Vaughn Leland here, I had a great assist from your massive ego and unbelievable stupidity.

CLIFF: I had those tracts checked. There’s oil in there.

J.R.: Well, sure there is. Millions of dollars’ worth. Oh, it was a fair setup. As a matter of fact, it was the fairest setup I’ve ever had the pleasure of engineering. I couldn’t lose — because I knew you were just too dumb to find that oil.

CLIFF: Why? Huh? Why did you do that?

J.R.: Because you needed slapping down, Cliff. You’d been stealing deals right out from underneath my nose. And after all these years, you know better than to butt heads with me. But I got all that property back. I got Kesey and Murphy, and tomorrow night, I’ll own Gold Canyon 340. You needed a lesson, you see. And the only way I could get the message through that thick skull of yours was to have you bankrupt your mama’s company while I just sat back and watched you. You’re out of my life for good.

CLIFF: [Softly] No, uh-uh. No, I’m not finished yet.

J.R.: Sure you are. Tomorrow morning, the janitor’s going to come in here and sweep you out with the rest of the trash. Unless, of course, you do the honorable thing, get in the elevator, go up to the roof and jump off, huh? [Chuckles] Oh, come on, Vaughn. I’ll buy you a drink. [Turns and leaves, followed by Vaughn]


  1. I’ll take my J.R. Ewing Bourbon with branch Andy!

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