The Dal-List: 37 Reasons to Love ‘Dallas’

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing

Love to love them

“Dallas” debuted 37 years ago today. Here’s why we still love the Ewings.

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Pam Ewing, Patrick Duffy, Victoria Principal

Drive us crazy

37. “Digger’s Daughter.” Bobby marries Pam, Lucy and Ray take a roll in the hay and Jock calls J.R. a jackass. Could this show have gotten off to a better start?

Dallas, Southfork

Big house on the prairie

36. Southfork. To a lot of us, the white house on Braddock Road is more revered than the one on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy, Sue Ellen Ewing

Is blood thicker than liquor?

35. Bourbon and branch. Forget oil. This is what really fueled the Ewing empire.

Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing

Can’t touch this

34. Every time Jock asks for “a touch” of bourbon. Spoiler: It was always more than a touch.

Barbara Bel Geddes, Dallas, Miss Ellie Ewing

Stop or mom will shoot

33. “Ray, get me the shotgun out of the hall closet.” The quintessential Miss Ellie moment.

Dallas, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal

Long walk

32. Pam’s middle screen during the opening credits. It never changed! For almost a decade, she never stopped crossing the Southfork lawn.

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Knots Landing, Larry Hagman


31. J.R.’s first visit to “Knots Landing.” J.R.: Hey, that is good. What do you call this? Valene: Tuna fish.

Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby


30. Kristin Shepard. So much more than the answer to a trivia question.

Dallas, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing

About face

29. Sue Ellen’s 180s. No one does the slow, dramatic turn better.

Dallas, Who Shot J.R.

Clean scream

28. The cleaning lady who found J.R. Her reaction alone made it worth waiting eight months to find out who shot him.

Dallas, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing

Moment of truth

27. “It was you, Kristin, who shot J.R.” The most famous line in “Dallas” history.

Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing

Daddy’s decree

26. “Real power is something you take.” Or maybe this is the show’s most famous line. Six words that encapsulate the Ewing creed.

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

He sizzles

25. Breakfast on the patio. Would you like some insults with your bacon?

Afton Cooper, Audrey Landers, Dallas

Them pipes!

24. The musical stylings of Miss Afton Cooper. She can steal us away anytime she wants.

Dallas, Dallas Press

Bleeds it leads

23. Headlines like these. The editors of The Dallas Press: The only people more obsessed with the Ewings than we are.

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Snake in the grass

22. “Hey, Ray. … You getting good mileage on Donna’s car?” So nice of him to be concerned, isn’t it?

Dallas, Donna Culver Krebbs, Susan Howard

Wind ’em up

21. Donna vs. Bonnie. “Dallas’s” best barroom brawl.

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy, Sue Ellen Ewing

Will power

20. Daddy’s will. Pitting your hyper-competitive sons against each other in a yearlong battle for control of the family empire? Sounds like a plan!

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing

Watch out, wallpaper

19. “I’m going to drink myself into oblivion.” And she damn near did.


Paging KITT

18. The synthesized seventh-season theme music. We half expect Knight Rider to come roaring into the credits.

Bobby Ewing, Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Eric Farlow, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal

Oh, that lighting!

17. Bradford May’s cinematography. The Ewings never looked as gorgeous as they did from 1983 to 1984.

Dallas, Larry Hagman, J.R. Ewing

J.R. Ewing here

16. The phone at the Oil Baron’s Club. Be careful with that thing or you’ll poke out Dora Mae’s eye!

Charlene Tilton, Christopher Atkins, Dallas, Lucy Ewing, Peter Richards

Yes, sparklers

15. Lucy’s modeling career. There’s nothing about this picture I don’t love.

Dallas, Katherine Wentworth, Morgan Brittany

Hat attack

14. Katherine Wentworth. How can you blame a gal for going a little nuts over Bobby Ewing? Also: the hats!

Dallas, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing

Turban renewal

13. When Sue Ellen changed into this outfit to go to the movies. What, you mean you didn’t wear something similar when you saw “Porky’s II” in 1984?

Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Ken Kercheval

The best loser

12. Cliff Barnes. As essential to the “Dallas” mythology as any Ewing. Ken Kercheval is brilliant.

Dallas, Fern Fitzgerald, Marilee Stone

Drip drop

11. “Marilee, you all right, honey? Did it go up your nose?” Best pool dunking ever.

Dallas, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal

Buzz kill

10. When Bobby flat lines, jolting Pam. Gets us every time.

Dallas, Ray Krebbs, Steve Kanaly

Who says cowboys don’t cry?

9. … And then when Ray loses it. Few things move me more than this moment.

Dallas, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing

What a dream

8. The dream season. Look, we love Bobby as much as anyone, but this is one of “Dallas’s” best years — especially where the leading ladies are concerned.

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Patrick Duffy

Mr. Clean

7. Bobby’s return. Was the dream explanation a cop-out? Sure, but who’s going to complain about seeing Patrick Duffy in the shower?

Dallas, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal

The long goodbye

6. Pam. Give the lady her due: Fans spent twice as long clamoring for her return as she spent on the show.

Dallas, John Ross Ewing, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Omri Katz


5. “John Ross, this is Ewing Oil.” Chills.

Brad Pitt, Dallas, Randy

A star is born

4. Brad Pitt’s hair. Also: “Randy”!

Dallas, J.R.'s Masterpiece, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing

Woman of the hour

3. “J.R.’s Masterpiece.” Linda Gray’s tour de force. If you can watch this episode without bawling like a baby, you’re stronger than me.

Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, TNT

Another star is born

2. “I am not my father!” Chills again!

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Forever our hero

1. Larry Hagman. How we loved this man. What an actor! What a guy! We’ll never stop missing him, and we’ll always be grateful he shared his gift with the world.

Why do you love “Dallas”? Share your comments below and read more “Dal-Lists.” 


  1. S.D. Cole says:

    Loved this!

  2. Loved this walk down memory lane. Thanks!

  3. Love it!!!

  4. Charlene says:

    I wish this show would come back….I still say there is hope…

  5. Michelle O'Loughlin says:

    Fabulous list. Though I would’ve switched 2 and 3.

  6. Yes, Victoria’s “long walk” opening credit was iconic, wasn’t it? And I think we ALL know exactly why they never changed that…

  7. Elizabete says:

    I have loved Dallas since I was a teenager. The best tv show of all times. Elizabete

  8. Because I just do. It’s been part of me as long as I could walk and talk. Thank you for this wonderful tribute xxx

  9. I’ll give you a 38th reason we love DALLAS! Its these insightful, inspiring, imaginative, inventive, & innovative DALLAS Decoder entries! Everything about Chris & Andy screams excellence. I just finished my last bottle of J.R. Ewing Bourbon today! How appropriate this post came out! I drank it in 37 sips (gulps) oh & yes, it was “just a touch!”

  10. joesiegler says:

    #6.. Not everyone. 🙂

  11. corinasilva says:

    This was clever and so much fun! I love the little subtleties you included along with the epic lines, burns, plots and fashion. I do believe #29 is my favorite and I need to contact the Complaint Department to delete #30. You know I can’t help myself on that. Team Sue Ellen from crown to (high) heels!

    • Thank you, Corina! I had a lot of fun writing this one. I couldn’t help myself with No. 30. She’s such wicked fun.

      See you on #DallasChat (soon, I hope)!

  12. Chris, re number 8, the Dream season being one of the best years, I would have to amend that to the first half of the Dream Season – the second half gets sillier and sillier. I look forward to your critiques of that season, you’ll see what I mean!

    • That’s a good point, Paul, although I remember there are some pretty good moments during the second half of the season. Not as many as the first, though. I’m really looking forward to getting to that season too. First I have to get through Season 8 (and Jenna’s boring trial. Snooze!)

      Thanks for writing!


      • Dan in WI says:

        Well I for one am missing those classic critiques again. Just take the bull by the horns and plow through season 8. Even that trial at least gives us the goodness that is the return of character actor Stephen Elliot. I’m no fan of the Pam’s search for Mark part of that season either but there is goodness to be had like the fight to keep Ewing Oil out of the hands of Cliff and Jamie. While they got together for all the wrong reasons, I always liked the “courting” scene where Jamie beats Cliff to the punch and asks him out for Chinese and he just smiles.

      • I don’t remember that scene between Cliff and Jamie. That sounds good! My plan is to bring back the classic critiques later in the spring.

      • Dan in WI says:

        It’s a quick throw away line and you have to pay attention to catch it. But to fan’s of Cliffs two trademarks (chinese food and pocket squares) it’s a cool meta moment.

      • Meta moments are my favorites! I’ll keep my eyes peeled. Thanks Dan.

  13. Dan in WI says:

    It seems like just a couple months back Chris posted Dallas’ 35 greatest moments on the 35th aniverary. Now you are telling that was two years ago?!?!?

    Something’s not right here.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful Critique Chris as Always, Couldn’t we go on and on about Dallas, I loved how you brought the classics in the with the new. Indeed a star was born with Josh Henderson, he really put his heart to honor the great Larry Hagman and I think Josh did a Fantastic job in doing so, loved everything you said about Dallas, thank you for the memories

  15. Andy E. says:

    Funny stuff. Well done.

  16. Here is another reason to love Dallas, the power full impact it made in US and international television history more than any show to me in that time period due to not only Larry, but LG, VP,BBG,PD,SH,KK,CT,JD,SK and some of the other additional cast members whose talents made us tune in every week. The great and even the not so great episodes/storylines we saw we will never forget this classic show which is truly classic because after over more than 20 years we are still talking about it.

  17. Morgan Brittany was born only 2 days before Edward Leedskalnin died. Leedskalnin built Coral Castle.

  18. Funny I thought this list was just about original Dallas until I got to the final three entries. In my mind I already think of Dallas and Dallas TNT as two separate enties completely…

    • I think of it as a single franchise that encompasses the original series, the TNT sequel series, the reunion movies, “Dallas” The Early Years” and even “Knots Landing.” It’s a great big Ewing-verse!

  19. “25. Breakfast on the patio. Would you like some insults with your bacon?”

    looool ! you”re so right, Chris ! that was EXACTLY that. ZE big traditionnal ewing’s morning ^^

  20. Loved Dallas so much. I own all the seasons on Amazon Prime. Even the cheesy seasons. JR is my favorite bad guy of all time; Cliff is the best loser ever. ❤ Love all of JR's one liners. After they found Kristen dead in the pool, the sheriff has JR and Cliff at the station for questioning. Sheriff gets JR some coffee and asks "JR what do you like in your coffee?" JR: "Bourbon." LOL

  21. cheryl crosby says:

    I watched Dallas the season I liked was season 8 9 10season 7 was when Bobby was shot instead of JR season 8 was when Bobby supposed to have died season 10was the one I like d the best was when Bobby returned. When Bobby and Pam remarried.

  22. Lewis Goodkouski says:

    Thanks for keeping Linda Gray on. Or me she was perfect for the show.

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