Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘You’re the Dangerous One’

Alexis Smith, Bobby Ewing, Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Lady Jessica Montford, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy, Sue Ellen Ewing, Unexpected

Takes one to know one

In “The Unexpected,” a seventh-season “Dallas” episode, Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes), J.R. (Larry Hagman), Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), Bobby (Patrick Duffy), Ray (Steve Kanaly), Donna (Susan Howard) and Lucy (Charlene Tilton) are in the Southfork living room, awaiting Clayton and Jessica’s arrival.

J.R.: Mama, would you relax? You look like you’re going to pounce on Lady Montford when she walks through the door.

Clayton and Jessica (Howard Keel, Alexis Smith) enter.

CLAYTON: Well, if that’s what she’s going to do, now’s the time to do it.

JESSICA: Better be careful. As Clayton can tell you, folks used to say I wrastle mountain lions down in San Angelo. And there’s one thing I want to get straight from the beginning. Please don’t “Lady Montford” me to death. I answer to “Jessie.”

CLAYTON: She’s also shy, I might add.

ELLIE: Welcome to Southfork, Jessie. [Approaches, takes Jessica’s hands.]

JESSICA: Thank you, Miss Ellie. I was so anxious to see what you looked like, I asked Clayton to show me a snapshot. The man didn’t have any.

ELLIE: Well, we’ll have to fix that.

JESSICA: You sure waited a long time before you asked someone to marry you, Clayton. [Patting Ellie’s hands] But I think she was worth waiting for.

ELLIE: Thank you, Jessie.

JESSICA: [Slipping her hands out of Ellie’s] You know, I thought he was going to stay single for the rest of his life. Either that, or marry someone half his age. [J.R. chuckles]

ELLIE: Jessie, I’d you to meet my family. This is my granddaughter Lucy.

LUCY: Hi.

ELLIE: And my daughters-in-law Donna and Sue Ellen. [They smile and nod] And my three sons, J.R. and Bobby and Ray.

JESSICA: Well, I’m certainly happy to meet you. [Chuckles] Now I know I’ve been away from Texas too long. I’d forgotten how handsome they grew the men in this state.

BOBBY: Well, we thank you.

JESSICA: Now, all I want to know is, which ones are married and which ones play around, or both. [Chuckles] Oh, I’m only kidding, Sue Ellen and Donna. But I can’t remember which one belongs to which since there are three sons and only two daughters-in-law.

DONNA: Well, you’d have to fight me for the silver-haired one here.

JESSICA: No, I think I’d rather tackle another mountain lion. Sue Ellen?

SUE ELLEN: I’m married to J.R.

JESSICA: I see. Well, that leaves Bobby as the single one.

J.R.: Well, that’s only temporary. The ladies are lining up for him.

JESSICA: I’m not surprised. But on the way back from the airport, Clayton spent almost as much time talking about you, J.R., as he did about Miss Ellie. I have a feeling you’re the dangerous one.

J.R.: Well, yes, I have that reputation. But I’m kind to my family and close friends.

JESSICA: [Smiling] Then I think want to be your friend. [To Ellie] I especially want to be your friend.

ELLIE: [Smiling] I’d like that.

JESSICA: Sometimes I come on a little strong. If I do, slap me down. You know, Clayton, there was a nice young man out there struggling with my excess baggage. Did he make it?

CLAYTON: He’s here now. [Takes two shopping bags from Raoul, hands them to Jessica]

JESSICA: Well, there’s China and linen for the ladies — very British — and wool sweaters for the men. I hope I guessed the sizes right. Bobby, would you fix me a little bourbon and branch? Now where’s that special box?

CLAYTON: [Holds up a long wooden case] This one?

JESSICA: [Opens it, removes a sword] I think it’s appropriate to give this to the eldest male member of the Ewing family. It belonged to Henry’s great-grandfather. It hung over the mantel in our home. [Presents it to J.R.]

J.R.: [Hands his drink to Sue Ellen] Darlin’, would you please? Well, this is beautiful. [Takes the sword] Are you sure you want to give us a family heirloom?

JESSICA: Yes, I am. I want your family to know how important this marriage is to me.

ELLIE: Thank you, Jessica.

BOBBY: [Hands her a drink] Jessica?

JESSICA: Oh, thank you. [Raises her glass] To the Ewings … and to the Farlows.

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 153 — ‘And the Winner Is …’

And the Winner Is ..., Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Ken Kercheval

Everybody loves Cliff

Is Cliff Barnes the most lovable jackass in television history? I can think of no other character who manages to remain so endearing despite being such a jerk. Exhibit A: “And the Winner Is ….” In this episode, Cliff wins the auction for the government’s offshore oil leases, but only after J.R. has tricked him into inflating his bid by tens of millions of dollars. Realizing he’s in over his head but not willing to admit it to himself or anyone else, Cliff insults Pam, ignores Afton, alienates Marilee and treats Jackie rudely. And yet you can’t help but like the schmuck.

The question is: Why? I suppose several factors explain Cliff’s appeal, including the vulnerability he’s displayed in previous episodes. Yes, he’s a boor in “And the Winner Is …,” but he’s also the sweet-natured guy who famously reconciled with his estranged mom by offering her a bowl of licorice. We’re also willing to cut Cliff some slack because we recognize how much of him resides in each of us. Consider the “And the Winner Is …” scene where he gets mad at Sly and she smartly disarms him by saying he’s become more ruthless than her boss. It’s music to Cliff’s ears, reminding us that he doesn’t want to beat J.R. as much as he wants to be him. Once you realize that’s Cliff’s motivation, how can you not excuse his bad behavior? I mean, we all want to be J.R., don’t we?

Of course, if you really want to know why Cliff remains a sympathetic figure, look no further than Ken Kercheval. No “Dallas” actor is better at wearing his character’s obliviousness on his sleeve, and no one brings more electricity to their performances. You can feel Cliff’s manic energy throughout this episode: when he runs into Bobby while storming out of Pam’s house (“What the hell are you doing here on a weekday?” Cliff demands); when he pops out of Afton’s loving embrace to call Mark Graison about business; when he summons Jackie to his office to fix him a drink because he’s too wound up to do it himself. You don’t watch Kercheval, you experience him.

This is why J.R. and Cliff’s confrontation in “And the Winner Is …” is so entertaining. Kercheval and Larry Hagman are fire and ice; while Cliff rages, J.R. stands there, coolly burrowing deeper and deeper under Cliff’s skin. Watching this scene, it occurred to me: Just as Cliff wants to emulate his enemy, I have to believe J.R. harbors a secret, grudging respect for Cliff. Who else but “Barnes” would have the courage to stand in the middle of a crowded restaurant and shout at J.R.? Who else has the capacity to keep getting up and dusting himself off after J.R. has knocked him down? If nothing else, J.R. must enjoy having Cliff to bat around whenever he gets bored.

Kercheval’s scenes elevate “And the Winner Is …,” but this episode has several other good moments. I love seeing J.R. helpfully explain to Edgar Randolph that he did him a favor by blackmailing him because it will force Edgar to come clean to his wife. After Edgar punches him in the gut, J.R. deadpans to Sly and Phyllis, “I saved that man’s marriage and gave him a new lease on life. He doesn’t have a grateful bone in his body.” I also like when Miss Ellie and Clayton dine with Punk and Mavis, who reminisce about the beginning of their 25-year-old marriage. It turns out the Andersons were previously married and divorced from other people. Who knew? Speaking of divorcees: I’m charmed by the scene where Bobby and Pam take Christopher out for ice cream — especially when little Eric Farlow “photo bombs” one of Victoria Principal’s close-ups.

Not everything about “And the Winner Is …” works: The auction sequence is far-fetched — does half the population of Dallas show up to see Edgar and his fellow bureaucrats open a handful of sealed envelopes? — and so is the post-auction reception at the Oil Baron’s Club. Is this a government exercise or the Academy Awards? As silly as this is, nothing compares to the ridiculousness of Lucy and Peter’s fashion photo shoot at Southfork. Between the extras who hover in the background holding sparklers and the sight of Charlene Tilton and Christopher Atkins vamping through massive eyeglasses, I have to believe this sequence was every bit as campy when it aired in 1984 as it is today. On the other hand: If Lucy and Peter wore those frames today while walking down a street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, or some other hipster neighborhood, I’m sure everyone would think they looked very cool.

Especially if Peter wore his Speedo too.

Grade: B

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

And the Winner Is …, Charlene Tilton, Christopher Atkins, Dallas, Lucy Ewing, Peter Richards

Give a hoot

‘AND THE WINNER IS …’

Season 7, Episode 22

Airdate: March 2, 1984

Audience: 21.5 million homes, ranking 3rd in the weekly ratings

Writer: Arthur Bernard Lewis

Director: Nick Havinga

Synopsis: Before the government auctions its offshore oil leases, Sly feeds Cliff false information, driving up his offer. After submitting his inflated bid, Cliff wins the auction to drill in Gold Canyon 340, only to learn Marilee has backed out of the deal, leaving Cliff on the hook with the government. Ray and Donna urge Edgar to come clean about his past to his wife. Bobby and Pam grow closer, alarming Katherine. Peter tells Sue Ellen he believes he was the father of the child she lost, which leaves J.R. seething when he overhears their conversation. Ellie encourages Clayton to invite his sister to their wedding.

Cast: Mary Armstrong (Louise), Christopher Atkins (Peter Richards), Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Morgan Brittany (Katherine Wentworth), Martin E. Brooks (Edgar Randolph), Roseanna Christiansen (Teresa), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Eric Farlow (Christopher Ewing), Fern Fitzgerald (Marilee Stone), Wendy Fulton (Jan Higgins), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Alice Hirson (Mavis Anderson), Susan Howard (Donna Krebbs), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Rosanne Katon (Billie), Sherril Lynn Katzman (Jackie), Howard Keel (Clayton Farlow), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Audrey Landers (Afton Cooper), Joanna Miles (Martha Randolph), Priscilla Beaulieu Presley (Jenna Wade), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Debbie Rennard (Sly), Don Starr (Jordan Lee), Paul Sorensen (Andy Bradley), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing), Deborah Tranelli (Phyllis), Debi Sue Voorhees (waitress), Morgan Woodward (Punk Anderson)

“And the Winner Is …” is available on DVD and at Amazon.com and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.

Classic Critiques Return to Dallas Decoder

Dallas, Barbara Bel Geddes, Bobby Ewing, Charlene Tilton, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Lucy Ewing, Pam Ewing, Patrick Duffy, Ray Krebbs, Steve Kanaly, Sue Ellen Ewing, Victoria Principal

Tanned. Rested. Ready.

Dallas Decoder is resuming its coverage of the original “Dallas” series, starting today. I’m picking up where I left off earlier this year — about two-thirds of the way through the seventh season. Look for a fresh episode critique and “Dallas Scene of the Day” transcript each Wednesday for the next few weeks.

These are the episodes that brought us Lady Jessica Montfort’s arrival, Peter Richards’ farewell, the Gold Canyon 340 imbroglio and the “Who Shot Bobby?” cliffhanger. I hope you’ll take the trip down memory lane and share your thoughts about these storylines, which debuted during the winter and spring of 1984.

I’ll continue writing about TNT’s “Dallas” too, including a final batch of “Dallas Parallels” posts. I also have some fun stuff planned on social media, so if you haven’t liked this site’s Facebook page or followed the Twitter feed, I hope you’ll do so.

As always, please know how much I appreciate everyone who reads Dallas Decoder and shares their love for “Dallas.” If you have ideas or other feedback, I encourage you to share them in the comments section below or by e-mailing me at dallasdecoder-at-gmail.com. I always love to hear from my fellow fans.

Thanks again, and welcome back to classic “Dallas”!

The Dal-List: 36 Experiences Shared by Longtime ‘Dallas’ Fans

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Master of the universe

Remember when “Dallas” ruled the world? Here are 36 experiences shared by fans who’ve loved the show since its heyday.

 

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy1. Getting together with the fam on Friday nights to watch the show.

 

Dallas, Dukes of Hazzard 2. Feeling excited when you saw this because it meant “Dallas” was up next.

 

Dallas, credits, theme, titles3. Getting chills when the “Dallas” theme music began. It didn’t matter how many times we’d heard it before, we always got chills.

 

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing4. Loving when these two fought.

 

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Pam Ewing, Patrick Duffy, Victoria Principal5. Loving when these two made up.

 

Barbara Bel Geddes, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, Miss Ellie Ewing6. Loving these two. Period.

 

Dallas, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing7. The highlight of each season premiere? Seeing how everyone’s split-screen would be updated.

 

Barbara Bel Geddes, Bobby Ewing, Clayton Farlow, Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Howard Keel, J.R. Ewing, Ken Kercheval, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Miss Ellie Ewing Farlow, Sue Ellen Ewing8. Wondering whose face would get covered by Leonard Katzman’s name at the end of each episode.

 

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Kristin Shepard, Larry Hagman, Mary Crosby, Pam Ewing, Patrick Duffy, Victoria Principal9. Wondering who would get shot, blown up or soaked at the end of each season.

 

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Who Shot J.R.?10. Obsessing over this.

 

Dallas, TV Guide11. Hating summer.

 

Barbara Bel Geddes, Bobby Ewing, Christopher Atkins, Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Miss Ellie Ewing, Pam Ewing, Patrick Duffy, Peter Richards, Victoria Principal12. Covering your school folders with these.

 

Bobby Ewing, Cliff Barnes, Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Ken Kercheval, Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy13. Trying to trade your Cliff for a J.R. or Bobby. How come no one ever took us up on the offer?

 

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, shirt14. Dressing “Dallas.”

 

Dallas, J.R. Ewing Beer, J.R. Ewing's Private Stock15. Drinking “Dallas.”

 

Barbara Bel Geddes, Bobby Ewing, Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Dallas game, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Lucy Ewing, Pam Ewing, Patrick Duffy, Sue Ellen Ewing, Victoria Principal16. Playing “Dallas.”

 

Dallas, Flip Out, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman17. Flipping out.

 

Dallas, 1980, Southfork18. Dreaming of visiting Southfork.

 

Dallas, Dallas cologne19. Wanting to smell like Southfork.

 

Bobby Ewing, Cliff Barnes, Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Ken Kercheval, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, National Enquirer, Pam Ewing, Patrick Duffy, Sue Ellen Ewing, Victoria Principal20. Reading the National Enquirer to learn the latest spoilers.

 

Dallas, Dallas is Better than Dynasty, Dallas vs. Dynasty, Dynasty, Moldavian massacre21. Rolling your eyes whenever someone said “Dynasty” was better than “Dallas.”

 

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Dallas: The Complete Ewing Family Saga, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Laura Van Wormer, Linda Gray, Pam Ewing, Patrick Duffy, Victoria Principal22. Devouring this book.

 

CBS, Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, Thanksgiving Day parade23. Skipping NBC’s Thanksgiving Day parade coverage because CBS’s coverage was always hosted by the “Dallas” stars.

 

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, New York magazine, People, Sue Ellen Ewing, TV Guide24. Wondering why “Dallas” never did holiday episodes. At least we got to see the Ewings celebrate on magazine covers.

 

Barbara Bel Geddes, Dallas, Miss Ellie Ewing25. Wondering why Barbara Bel Geddes won only one Emmy for playing Miss Ellie.

 

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman26. Wondering why Larry Hagman never won any Emmys for playing J.R.

 

Dallas, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing27. Worshipping Linda Gray.

 

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Patrick Duffy28. Crushing on Patrick Duffy.

 

Dallas, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal29. Crushing on Victoria Principal.

 

Beauty Principal, Body Principal, Dallas, Diet Principal, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal30. Wanting to have Victoria’s body, beauty and diet.

 

Dallas, Jhirmack, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal31. Washing your hair with Jhirmack because Victoria did.

 

Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, Justin boots32. Wearing Justin boots because Jim Davis did.

 

BVD underwear, Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman33. Wearing BVDs because Larry did.

 

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman34. Hating J.R.? Nope. Never.

 

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman35. Just loving him.

 

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman36. Always.

What are your favorite “Dallas” memories? Share them below and read more “Dal-Lists.”

The Dal-List: Classic ‘Dallas’s’ 13 Most Harrowing Kidnappings

Ann Ewing, Boxed In, Brenda Strong, Dallas, Emma Bell, Emma Ryland, TNT

Your turn, Annie

The Ewings discover Ann and Emma (Brenda Strong, Emma Bell) have been kidnapped in “Boxed In,” TNT’s latest “Dallas” episode. Fortunately, our favorite TV family has plenty of experience dealing with this kind of thing. Here’s a look at the 13 most harrowing kidnappings from the original series.

Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Greg Evigan, Lucy Ewing, Willie Gust

Far out!

13. Lucy (1978). When the Ewings refused to let Valene come to Lucy’s birthday party, Lucy ran away from Southfork and hitched a ride with Willie Gust (Greg Evigan) — and who can blame her? Willie had the tightest jeans, the most feathery hair and the grooviest custom van in Texas, right down to the wall-to-wall fake-fur carpeting. Too bad Willie was also a lunatic who ended up taking Lucy (Charlene Tilton) on a cross-Texas crime spree. Bobby rescued her, of course, but we never found out what happened to Willie. Was he really as psychotic as he seemed? Or were those jeans merely cutting off the circulation to his brain?

Dallas, John Ross Ewing

J.R. Duncan

12. John Ross (1979). Hey, remember when Sue Ellen nipped a little too much from her “special bottle” of Scope, escaped from the sanitarium, wrecked her car and gave birth to John Ross? And remember how Priscilla Duncan (Sheila Larken) quietly snatched the baby from the hospital? And then remember how happy we all were when Pam figured out what happened and reunited J.R. and Sue Ellen with their son? Well, hindsight being what it is, am I the only one who now thinks John Ross might have been better off with Ms. Duncan? Sure, she was nuts, but think of all the daddy issues the kid would’ve avoided.

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Who shut up J.R.?

11. J.R. Ex-mobster Joseph Lombardi wanted answers when his son Nick Pearce plunged to his death after tussling with J.R. (Larry Hagman) on a high-rise balcony, so Lombardi sent his goons after our hero. They bound and gagged J.R. and brought him to a cheap motel, where Lombardi grilled him about the night Nick died. J.R. insisted it was all an accident — and fortunately Sue Ellen confirmed his account, prompting Lombardi to release him. It was cool to see Hagman act opposite the great Joseph Campanella, and we have to give Lombardi props for stand up to ol’ J.R. But would I want to see him kidnapped again? Fahgettaboudit.

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Patrick Duffy

Cuff him if you can

10. Bobby. “Dallas” has given us a lot of credibility-stretching storylines over the years (cough, cough Haleyville), but you know what I’ll never believe? I’ll never believe that Bobby James Ewing (Patrick Duffy) — that strapping, hunk of Grade A Texas beefcake — could be outmuscled by the clowns who kidnapped him during the middle of the show’s second season. For goodness sakes, Bobby is the kind of guy who can take on a barroom full of drunk cowboys and walk away without a scratch. The only thing more ridiculous than seeing him abducted is seeing the Ewings turn to Cliff Barnes to rescue him!

Dallas, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing

Darlin’ detained

9. Sue Ellen. Oh, for the love of Pete. Sue Ellen, what have you gone and done now? Did you really allow that creep B.D. Calhoun to slip you a mickey so he could photograph himself with you and send the pictures to J.R.? Didn’t you learn not to trust strange men during Pam’s dream the previous season? Actually, even though Sue Ellen should have known better, this subplot marked the beginning of a turning point in her marriage: Once J.R. vanquished Calhoun, he felt so bad about what happened to his family, he finally kicked that Winger tramp to the curb. Hmmm. On second thought, maybe Sue Ellen knew what she was doing all along.

Dallas, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal

Welcome to the jungle

8. Pam. When an old back injury flared up during “Dallas’s” ninth season, Victoria Principal took a break from the show, leaving the writers scrambling to explain her absence. Their solution? Have Pam kidnapped by jungle mercenaries, of course! The subplot proves surprisingly effective, especially when we see Cliff’s determination to rescue his sister. (Their reunion after the bad guys release her is one of many great scenes between Principal and Ken Kercheval.) Looking back, I can’t help but wonder: Why couldn’t “Dallas” come up with a good storyline to explain Principal’s absence when she left the show for good two years later?

Dallas, Daniel Pilon, Jenna Wade, Priscilla Beaulieu Presley

Take her. Please.

7. Jenna. When Jenna (Priscilla Beaulieu Presley) fled Dallas on the day she was supposed to marry Bobby, she left behind a note that explained she had fallen in love with someone else and was running away. Except that wasn’t true: Jenna’s ex Renaldo Marchetta (Daniel Pilon) had kidnapped her and forced her to pen the letter to throw the Ewings off their trail. When this storyline aired during the winter and spring of 1985, I spent weeks on the edge of my seat, anxious to see how it would turn out. Little did I know things would end on such a tragic note, when Dreadful Jenna™ returned to Southfork. Oh, the humanity!

B.D. Calhoun, Dallas, Hunter von Leer, John Ross Ewing, Omri Katz

Captive audience

6. John Ross (1986). Here we go again. After B.D. Calhoun (Hunter von Leer) kidnapped and released Sue Ellen, he set his sights on John Ross (Omri Katz), J.R. and Sue Ellen’s son. Calhoun snatched the kid from a hotel pool in Los Angeles, where J.R. and Bobby sent their wives and boys to protect them from the threat Calhoun posed. The crazed mercenary forced little John Ross to make a hostage tape, which turned Sue Ellen into a blubbering mess when she watched it. Fear not, honey: The Ewing brothers eventually rescued John Ross, who would grow up to star alongside Emma Ryland in a much different kind of video.

Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Lucy Ewing

Gagged, reeling

5. Lucy (1982). Well, what do you know? Lucy’s been kidnapped yet again. This time, the culprit is Roger Larson, the photographer who helped turn her into Texas’s tiniest top model. Unlike most of the other kidnappings on this list, Roger didn’t abduct Lucy for ransom or revenge — he was obsessed with her. He kept the Ewing heiress locked in a room plastered with the pictures he took of her. (Do stalkers do this in real life, or only on TV?) Bobby and Pam eventually rescued Lucy, but not before Pam told off Roger in one of Principal’s best scenes. Gee, like Sue Ellen, maybe Lucy should’ve gotten kidnapped more often too.

Joan Van Ark, Knots Landing, Valene Ewing

Feet first

4. Lucy (Early 1960s). Lucy’s first kidnapping is an integral part of “Dallas” lore. It’s mentioned in the first episode, when Lucy recalls how J.R.’s “old boys” snatched her from Valene’s arms when she was a baby and brought her to Southfork to be raised by Jock and Miss Ellie. We finally saw the kidnapping in a “Knots Landing” flashback, where we learned the ugly mess probably could’ve been prevented: No, I’m not referring to the fact that Lillimae refused to let Val (Joan Van Ark) into her shack when J.R.’s henchmen were chasing her. I’m talking about the fact Val was barefoot when she was trying to outrun them. Good grief, Val. Buy some shoes.

Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, Tyler Banks

Carry on

3. John Ross (1981). When Sue Ellen and John Ross went to live at the Southern Cross, J.R. was determined to get his boy back. He saw an opportunity when Sue Ellen took the child with her to Kristin’s funeral in New Mexico. Mother and son were gliding through a Love Field terminal when two of J.R.’s thugs approached. While one man distracted Sue Ellen, the other snatched the child. Suddenly, Dusty Farlow and a trio of Southern Cross cowboys swarmed the dude holding John Ross. “Give us the boy,” Dusty demanded — and of course the guy did. This might have been “Dallas’s” briefest abduction, but wasn’t it exciting!

Barbara Bel Geddes, Dallas, Miss Ellie Ewing

Trunk show

2. Miss Ellie. Look everybody, Donna’s here! What’s wrong, Donna? You seem upset. What’s that, you say? Jessica called Dusty and told him Clayton’s wedding to Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes) is off? And then Jessica knocked you out with the phone? And then she stole your car? And then she took Mama?! Geez, Donna, couldn’t you have given us that last bit of information first? No matter. Between Susan Howard’s pained delivery and Richard Lewis Warren’s tension-building score, the scene where the Ewings discover Mama has been abducted by loony tune Jessica is positively thrilling — even if Donna did bury the lede.

April Ewing, Dallas, Sheree J. Wilson

Grand theft auto

1. April. Every abduction on this list ends happily for the victim — except this one. The original “Dallas” kicked off its final season with the kidnapping of April (Sheree J. Wilson) during her Parisian honeymoon with Bobby. The storyline was a little complicated — the culprit was Hillary Taylor (Susan Lucci), a mystery woman who took April so she could assume her identity and make a big speech at an OPEC conference — and yet it was also a dramatic thrill ride. Fans expected Bobby to get his bride back by the time all was said and done — and so imagine our surprise when she was gunned down at the conference. It was a hell of a way to start the original show’s last season, telegraphing to the audience that this would be the year anything could happen on “Dallas” — and damn near did.

Which kidnapping did you find most harrowing on “Dallas”? Share your thoughts below and read more “Dal-Lists.”

Dallas Drinks: The Lucy

To honor Charlene Tilton’s performance on “Dallas,” Dallas Decoder and Cook In/Dine Out offer a Lucy-inspired “Dallas Drinks” cocktail. Enjoy!

Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Dallas Drinks, Lucy Ewing

#DallasChat Daily: Who Stayed Too Long or Left Too Soon?

April Stevens Ewing, Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Donna Krebbs, Holly Harwood, Jenna Wade, Jeremy Wendell, Kristin Shepard, Lucy Ewing, Lois Chiles, Mary Crosby, Mickey Trotter, Priscilla Beaulieu Presley, Ray Krebbs, Sheree J. Wilson, Steve Kanaly, Susan Howard, Timothy Patrick Murphy, William Smithers

Let’s face it: “Dallas” didn’t always know when to say goodbye. Some characters hung around long after their storyline possibilities were exhausted, while other favorites still had lots of untapped potential when they were written out.

Consider the group pictured here: Lucy, Ray, Donna, Jenna, Kristin, Jeremy, Mickey, Holly and April. (I’ll let you decide which character belongs in which category.) This is just a sampling; you’re welcome to name other characters too.

Your #DallasChat Daily questions: Which “Dallas” characters stayed too long? Which characters left too soon?

Share your comments below and join other #DallasChat Daily discussions.

The Dal-List: Classic ‘Dallas’s’ 5 Hottest Rolls in the Hay

AnnaLynne McCord, Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Heather, Jesse Metcalfe, Lifting the Veil

Barnburner

The only thing the Ewings love more than a dip in the pool is a roll in the hay. In “Lifting the Veil,” TNT’s most recent “Dallas” episode, Christopher and Heather (Jesse Metcalfe, AnnaLynne McCord) got romantic in the Southfork barn, continuing a tradition that goes back to “Dallas’s” earliest days. Here’s a look at the five hottest hayloft scenes from the original series.

Charlene Tilton, Dallas, James Canning, Jimmy Monahan, Lucy Ewing, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal

Pammus interruptus

5. Lucy and Jimmy. Lucy (Charlene Tilton) was hot to trot for Camaro-driving Jimmy (James Canning) when he attended a Ewing Barbecue with his Uncle Digger. But as soon as she lured Jimmy to the hayloft, killjoy Pam arrived and told Jimmy he had to take Digger home before he drunkenly belted out any more verses to “The Yellow Rose of Texas” on the dance floor. Pam then hung around the hayloft for some alone time, which turned out be a big mistake: J.R. showed up and tried to mend fences with her, which ended in a different kind of hay roll for poor Pammy.

Dallas, Jenna Wade, Priscilla Beaulieu Presley, Ray Krebbs, Steve Kanaly

Power tools. Grrr.

4. Ray and Jenna. Not long after Jenna (Priscilla Beaulieu Presley) started shacking up with the newly divorced Ray (Steve Kanaly), she went roaming around his house and eventually wound up in the barn, where she found him doing manly Ray things. The next thing you knew, these two were undressing each other in one of the stables. Was it the sight of the shirtless Ray working with power tools that turned on Jenna? Or was this her way of thanking him for taking in her and her two bratty kids? We never found out. Maybe it’s better that way.

Dallas, Dusty Farlow, Jared Martin, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing

Stacked

3. Sue Ellen and Dusty. Hey, look everyone: Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) is home from the sanitarium — and just in time for the annual Ewing Rodeo. Hooray! How is she going to celebrate her return to Southfork? Well, for starters, she’s going to tell off J.R.’s latest tramp, Mandy, and then she’s going to head over to the barn for a little extra-marital lovin’ of her own with Dusty (Jared Martin). Good plan, Sue Ellen! I suppose it’s kind of shocking to see this uptown lady cavorting in such a down-home setting, but let’s be honest: When Sue Ellen rolls in the hay, she makes it look classy.

Bethany Wright, Dallas, Dallas: The Early Years, J.R. Ewing, Kevin Wixted, Laurette

Virgin territory

2. J.R. and Laurette. “Dallas: The Early Years” is full of historic moments, but the biggest event of all might be when the teenaged J.R. (Kevin Wixted) loses his virginity to his poodle-skirted girlfriend Laurette (Bethany Wright) in the Southfork barn. It’s a kick to see J.R. learning how to charm a lady — he calls her “sugar” and brings along a bottle of beer to get her in the mood — and even though this isn’t exactly the kind of romantic setting we’re used to seeing our hero in, it beats that time he seduced a different floozy (cough, cough Afton) in his own marital bed.

Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Lucy Ewing, Ray Krebbs, Steve Kanaly

Head games

1. Lucy and Ray. “Dallas’s” first roll in the hay is still the kinkest — and the ickiest, in retrospect. On the day Bobby brought home his new bride Pam, Lucy was in the hayloft getting chummy with Ray, who was still carrying a torch for Pam, his ex-girlfriend. Naughty Lucy even made Ray call her by Pam’s name during their encounter, which is pretty darn twisted. Years later, the audience discovered Ray is Lucy’s uncle, which rendered their past relationship into the Storyline No One Dare Speak of Again. Maybe the producers forgot about it, but the fans never did. (Do we ever?)

What’s your favorite “Dallas” hayloft scene? Share your comments below and read more “Dal-Lists.”

Critique: TNT’s ‘Dallas’ Episode 29 — ‘Lifting the Veil’

Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, Lifting the Veil, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

Long time coming

“Lifting the Veil” reveals new truths about several “Dallas” characters, beginning with John Ross. We’ve always known he was as ambitious and as charming as J.R., but in the scene where Sue Ellen confronts him about his infidelity and he treats her cruelly, we discover the son can also be as mean as the father. This episode offers fresh insight into Sue Ellen’s psyche as well. It’s clear now that she’s having trouble letting go of the past, although to be fair, every time she takes a nip from her flask, we’re reminded that the past has a pretty firm grip on her too.

The confrontation between mother and son is the hands-down highlight of “Lifting the Veil,” an hour that brims with history and heartache. The scene begins when Sue Ellen enters John Ross’s bedroom while he’s getting ready for his wedding and tells him she knows he’s been cheating with Emma. John Ross dismisses the relationship as “just business,” which only disgusts Sue Ellen further. “Just like your daddy, finding a way to explain infidelity,” she says. John Ross responds by pointing out the smell of alcohol on his mother’s breath, but she doesn’t back down and threatens to tell Pamela about his affair. John Ross is nonplussed. He brushes past Sue Ellen and delivers his lowest blow yet: “You have looked the other way you’re whole life, Mama. One more time’s not going to hurt.”

Josh Henderson does a nice job bringing John Ross’s dark side into the light, just like Larry Hagman used to do with J.R. For Henderson, though, this amounts to a creative risk: Until now, he’s played John Ross as a (mostly) likable rapscallion, but in this scene, the actor shows us he’s equally adept at making his character seem like an unapologetic jerk. Henderson makes John Ross’s ever-growing hubris feel believable throughout this episode (including during his pre-wedding visit to the brothel), but especially in this scene. Linda Gray, in the meantime, is as magnificent as ever. You can feel Sue Ellen’s pain when Gray delivers that “just like your daddy” line; it’s the character’s saddest moment since her graveside eulogy for her ex-husband in “J.R.’s Masterpiece.” In some ways, “Lifting the Veil” serves as a kind of companion piece to the funeral episode. The first one shows Sue Ellen grieving the loss of J.R.; in the second, she mourns his “return” through the sinful nature of their son.

I also like how Bethany Rooney, a first-time “Dallas” director, stages John Ross and Sue Ellen’s confrontation. The conversation unfolds while he’s fastening his cuff links and putting on his jacket; the casualness of his actions makes his words seem even more devastating. This is one of those times I wish TNT’s Southfork sets more closely resembled those used on the original “Dallas.” J.R. and Sue Ellen’s old bedroom was such a battleground; how cool would it have been to see John Ross and Sue Ellen clash in that setting? On the other hand: the newer bedroom has become a consequential place in its own right. This is where Sue Ellen once slapped J.R. and where she got drunk on the night before his funeral. It’s where John Ross defended his relationship with Pamela to his father and now, it’s where he defends his unfaithfulness to her to his mother.

Speaking of Pamela: I also like the “Lifting the Veil” scene where John Ross pleads with her to go through with their wedding, despite the fact that he was missing for much of the day. Henderson is so heartfelt, it almost inoculates John Ross from the anger we feel toward him after he’s mean to his mama. (Emphasis on “almost.”) Julie Gonzalo makes Pamela’s disappointment palpable, and I like how Taylor Hamra’s script gives her a line where she notes how much John Ross’s apologies sound like the ones Cliff used to offer her. It’s a subtle reminder that Pamela is still haunted by her daddy, just like John Ross is haunted by his.

This brings me to a gripe: I wish “Lifting the Veil” played up the old Barnes/Ewing feud a little more. The wedding of J.R.’s son and Cliff’s daughter is a moment of consequence to students of “Dallas” mythology; I’m glad Rooney gave us a glimpse of the framed photograph of J.R., but I would’ve also loved a shot of Cliff, stewing in his Mexican jail cell, knowing his daughter was marrying a Ewing back home. Likewise, “Dallas” does such a nice job of incorporating Audrey Landers into the narrative whenever she guest stars — Sue Ellen and Afton’s bitchy exchange was a special treat for longtime fans — so I can’t help but wonder why the show seems to struggle to find meaningful things for Steve Kanaly and Charlene Tilton to do when Ray and Lucy visit.

Additionally, it’s worth noting this episode takes place in a single day — you’d have to dig deep into “Dallas’s” past, all the way back to 1978’s “Barbecue,” to find another — although I wish the focus remained on the doings at Southfork the way it does in the early episode. I could do without most of the “Lifting the Veil” scenes set at the brothel (the fanciest little whorehouse in Texas?), especially the silly bit with the railroad commissioner and his canine fetish. The revelation that Judith Ryland is the madam is also a bit much, especially when you consider the show has already established her as a drug smuggler. Does Mother Ryland rob banks too? On the other hand: I like the twist that Harris is secretly working with John Ross’s secretary, Candace, although I’m not wild about his scheme to use her to collect, uh, DNA evidence from John Ross in order to frame him for a sex crime.

My reservations about the Rylands aside, you’ve got to love Judith Light’s 1980s lion’s–mane hair in her brothel scene, as well each actor’s pitch-perfect look at the wedding. Since interviewing “Dallas” costume designer Rachel Sage Kunin and hairstylist Charles Yusko, I’ve developed a much greater appreciation for how crucial the wardrobe and hair teams are to establishing each character’s persona. To see what I mean, go watch the wedding scenes at the end of the new show’s first episode, “Changing of the Guard.” Notice how much more sophisticated and womanly Gonzalo’s character looks in “Lifting the Veil” when compared to the earlier wedding? The two sequences were filmed just two years apart, so the change in the actress’s appearance is achieved mostly through Yusko and Kunin’s magic.

In a show that has more than its share of big stars, it’s always worth remembering that some of the brightest work behind the scenes.

Grade: B

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Afton Cooper, Audrey Landers, Dallas, Julie Gonzalo, Lifting the Veil, Pamela Rebecca Barnes Ewing, TNT

Like father, like husband

‘LIFTING THE VEIL’

Season 3, Episode 4

Telecast: March 17, 2014

Audience: 1.8 million viewers on March 17

Writer: Taylor Hamra

Director: Bethany Rooney

Synopsis: John Ross blackmails a Texas land-use commissioner into giving him a permit to drill on Southfork, while Harris tells Judith he’s secretly working with Ewing Energies secretary Candace, who’s going to help Harris frame John Ross so he can blackmail him and reclaim his files. Sue Ellen confronts John Ross about his affair with Emma, but John Ross dismisses his mother’s concerns and exchanges vows with Pamela. Christopher returns from Mexico and warns Elena that Nicolas is married, but Nicolas assures Elena he’s getting a divorce. Later, Lucia arrives in Dallas and threatens to expose secrets from Nicolas’s past if he doesn’t reconcile with her, while Christopher and Heather make love.

Cast: Kuno Becker (Drew Ramos), Emma Bell (Emma Ryland), Jordana Brewster (Elena Ramos), Angélica Celaya (Lucia Treviño), Candace (Jude Demorest), Juan Pablo Di Pace (Nicolas Treviño), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Julie Gonzalo (Pamela Ewing), Currie Graham (Commissioner Stanley Babcock), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Josh Henderson (John Ross Ewing), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Audrey Landers (Afton Cooper), Judith Light (Judith Ryland), AnnaLynne McCord (Heather), Jesse Metcalfe (Christopher Ewing), Mitch Pileggi (Harris Ryland), Brenda Strong (Ann Ewing), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing), Denyse Tontz (Chastity), Erika Page White (Sapphire)

“Lifting the Veil” is available at DallasTNT.com, Amazon.com and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.

Drill Bits: ‘Dallas’ Takes a Ratings Dip

Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Lifting the Veil, Linda Gray, Lucy Ewing, Ray Krebbs, Steve Kanaly, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

Gang’s all here

“Dallas” slipped in the ratings this week: “Lifting the Veil,” the latest episode, was seen by 1.78 million viewers on March 17. This is the TNT drama’s smallest audience yet. There’s a bright spot, however: The show drew 595,000 viewers in the advertiser-prized demographic of adults between ages 18 and 49, up from 512,000 viewers in this category one week earlier.

“Dallas” also continues to get a lift from DVR users who record the show and watch it a few days later. The previous episode, “Playing Chicken,” debuted to 1.99 million viewers on March 10, although when DVR users are counted, the audience increased to 2.7 million viewers. This haul includes 1.1 million adults between ages 25 and 54, a demographic that TNT targets, and 889,000 adults between ages 18 and 49.

“Dallas” is averaging about 2.1 million viewers on Monday nights this winter, down from 2.7 million last year. The show is essentially tied with the crime drama “Perception” as the second most-watched drama on TNT’s winter schedule. Only “Rizzoli & Isles,” which is averaging 3.9 million viewers on Tuesday nights, is more popular.

TNT will pull both “Rizzoli & Isles” and “Perception” from its schedule after tonight and bring them back in June, while “Dallas” will continue to show new episodes until mid-April and then take its long-planned midseason break. The second half of “Dallas’s” third season will begin Monday, August 18, TNT announced last week.

How About Some More Retail Therapy?

Buckle up

Buckle up

Since we told you about the Ewing Oil Company Store last month, the independent online retailer has added several new products, including its most exclusive offering yet: a J.R. belt buckle like the one John Ross inherited on “Dallas” a few episodes ago.

The bronze buckle, which measures 3 inches by 4 inches, features a rope twist border and a flowering field surrounding the “JR” initials. The price: $65.95. Stephen W. Phillips, who owns and operates the store, plans to sell 23 buckles in honor of Ewing 23, the oil field that famously blew up on the original series.

The buckles will ship in the summer, Phillips said. Each one will come with a Ewing Oil stock certificate, a J.R. Ewing business card and a replica of John Ross’s black credit card.

Other recent additions to the store’s inventory: new versions of the J.R. liquor decanters (each one named for one of his mistresses; we’re partial to the “Harwood” model), a Braddock County road sign and a Harris Ryland bake oven.

If the store adds green corsets to its lineup, we’ll let you know.

“Drill Bits,” a roundup of news about TNT’s “Dallas,” is published regularly. Share your comments below.