The Dal-List: Jock Ewing’s 15 Greatest Moments

Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing

We still miss you, Daddy

Last month, Dallas Decoder critiqued “The Search,” the episode where “Dallas” bids farewell to the great Jim Davis. Here’s a look at 15 memorable moments featuring the actor and his mighty character, Jock Ewing.

Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, John Ewing III Part 2,

Naming rights

15. Naming John Ross. The Ewings are in a waiting room at Dallas Memorial Hospital, where Sue Ellen has gone into labor. A nurse enters and tells J.R. his wife has given birth to a son, prompting a beaming Jock to declare, “John Ross Ewing III!” Did it ever occur to the Ewing patriarch that J.R. and Sue Ellen might want to choose their child’s name themselves? Do you think it would’ve mattered to him if they did? (“John Ewing III, Part 2”)

Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, Lucy Ewing, Prodigal Mother

Grandaddy knows best

14. Advising Lucy. The Ewings didn’t always want to hear Jock’s opinion, but usually he was right. Example: When Lucy (Charlene Tilton) was brooding after a spat with Mitch, Jock told her, “He’s a nice enough boy [but] you can do a lot better.” Lucy ignored Jock’s advice – she and Mitch got hitched – but she probably should’ve heeded Granddaddy’s wisdom. After all, the marriage lasted just 12 episodes. (“The Prodigal Mother”)

Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing,  Julie Grey, Julie's Return

Friends with no benefits

13. Leaving Julie. After Jock suffered a heart attack, the Ewings began treating him like an invalid, causing him to turn to flirty ex-secretary Julie (Tina Louise) for comfort. It looked like their relationship might become a full-fledged affair – but Jock knew his limits. “I appreciate your friendship,” he told Julie, adding that things couldn’t go further because it would “hurt Miss Ellie too much.” Smart man. (“Julie’s Return”)

Barbecue, Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing

Family man

12. Comforting Pam. During her first few weeks as a Ewing, poor Pam (Victoria Principal) was bullied, blackmailed, offered a bribe and held hostage. By the time J.R. caused her miscarriage, Bobby and his bride were ready to get the hell off Southfork – until Jock persuaded them to stay. “I want to keep my family together,” he told Pam as he sat at her bedside. It was our first glimpse of the tough Texan’s tender side. (“Barbecue”)

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, Pam Ewing, Patrick Duffy, Victoria Principal, Reunion Part 2

Best. Screencap. Ever.

11. “Buying” Pam. Jock was chilling on the Southfork patio when drunk Digger roared into the driveway, demanding $10,000 for Pam. “Ten thousand! There’s a hundred,” Jock huffed as he tossed a C-note at his ex-partner, who eagerly scooped it up and pronounced his daughter “sold.” If Pam felt insulted, she shouldn’t have. When a Ewing is willing to negotiate your purchase price, you know they truly care. (“Reunion, Part 2”)

Barbara Bel Geddes, Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, Miss Ellie Ewing, No More Mr. Nice Guy Part 1

You were thinking it too, Mama

10. Scolding Sue Ellen. Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) has just arrived at Dallas Memorial, where the Ewings are keeping vigil after J.R.’s shooting. Surely Jock will comfort his frantic daughter-in-law, right? Um, no. He accuses Sue Ellen of “gallivanting” while her husband is dying, prompting Kristin to defend Big Sis. “Sue Ellen was sick,” she says. Snaps Jock: “Sick? You mean drunk!” Harsh, but not untrue. (“No More Mr. Nice Guy, Part 1”)

Dallas, Dove Hunt, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing

Stare master

9. Confronting Owens. On a hunting trip, the Ewing men were ambushed by Tom Owens (Richard J. Wilkie), a farmer who claimed Jock ruined him decades earlier. Owens cocked his gun and aimed it at his wounded enemy, who didn’t blink. “If you’re gonna do it, do it!” Jock shouted, moments before the defeated Owens lowered the weapon and declared, “I’m not a killer.” You’re also no match for Jock Ewing, mister. (“The Dove Hunt”)

Dallas, David Wayne, Digger Barnes, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing

Frenemies forever

8. Destroying Digger. When Bobby and Pam announced her pregnancy at the Ewing Barbecue, Jock and Digger (David Wayne) shook hands and called a truce – which lasted all of three minutes. Digger broke the peace by criticizing Jock’s parenting skills, which prompted the Ewing patriarch to deliver a devastating takedown of his ex-partner (“He’s been a loser every day of his life.”) Yeah, it was cruel, but remember: Digger started it. (“Barbecue”)

Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Silent Killer

Guts and glory

7. Joshing J.R. Jock spent a lot of time chewing out J.R. (Larry Hagman), but they had nice moments too. During one cocktail hour, when J.R. joked baby John Ross was becoming a “little fatty,” Jock playfully patted his eldest son’s belly and said, “Just like his daddy.” It was a reminder: Not only was Jock the only Ewing capable of reigning in J.R. – he was also the only one who could get away with razzing him. (“The Silent Killer”)

Daddy Dearest, Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Ghost writer

6. Inspiring J.R. Virtually every “Dallas” episode after Jim Davis’s death seems to depict one Ewing or another taking inspiration from Jock’s memory. In one instance, J.R. stands in front of his daddy’s portrait and reads one of his old letters, which offers classic bits of wisdom like, “Never let the bastards get you down.” This is what makes Jock so cool: He doesn’t need to be alive to keep his family in line. (“Daddy Dearest”)

Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, Survival

Call waiting

5. Dispatching Ray. Another glimpse of Jock’s softer side: When the Ewing plane went down in Louisiana swampland with J.R. and Bobby aboard, the Ewing patriarch sent ranch foreman Ray (Steve Kanaly) to find his sons. The family kept vigil at Southfork until Ray finally called with good news: J.R. and Bobby were alive. “Bring them home,” Jock said. Davis’s eyes were wet when he delivered the line. So were ours. (“Survival”)

Dallas, Fourth Son, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, Ray Krebbs, Steve Kanaly

Daddy issues

4. Accepting Ray. In another beautiful performance from Davis, Jock tells Ray he just found out he’s his daddy. The humble cowboy offers to keep this a secret to spare Jock grief from his family, but instead Jock summons everyone to the living room and proudly announces Ray is his son. This was a hard truth for some to accept (cough, cough J.R.), but it demonstrates how Jock never took the easy way out. (“The Fourth Son”)

Dallas, Gary Ewing, Jock Ewing, Jim Davis, Return Engagements, Ted Shackelford

Hug it out, fellas

3. Celebrating Gary and Val. When Jock learned Gary and Val (Ted Shackelford, Joan Van Ark) were getting remarried, he declined to attend; there was too much bad blood between father and son. But moments before the ceremony began, in walked Jock. “I believe I have a son getting married here today,” he said. “I’d like to attend … if I’m welcome.” Awww. You’re always welcome, big guy. (“Return Engagements”)

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Executive Wife, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, Patrick Duffy

Power tip

2. Teaching Bobby. When Bobby (Patrick Duffy) felt Jock was undermining his authority at Ewing Oil, he loudly reminded his daddy that Jock “gave” him the power to run the company. In one of the all-time great “Dallas” scenes, Jock set his “boy” straight: “Nobody gives you power. Real power is something you take!” With those 10 words, Jock established the creed that would define the Ewings for generations to come. (“Executive Wife”)

Barbara Bel Geddes, Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, Mastectomy Part 2, Miss Ellie Ewing

Jock the rock

1. Loving Ellie. Few things move me more than the way Jock stood by Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes) when she had her mastectomy. While Ellie struggled to deal with the loss of her breast, Jock never left her side, offering her the support and comfort she needed. Jock may have been a rich oil baron and a stern father, but above all, he was a devoted husband and Ellie’s best friend. The way he loved her made us love him. Ellie never stopped missing him. Neither have we. (“Mastectomy, Part 2”)

What do you consider Jock Ewing’s greatest moments? Share your choices below and read more “Dal-Lists.”

Drill Bits: TNT’s ‘Dallas’ Wins Cable Ratings Gold

Dallas, Family Business, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, TNT

You should see the other guys

“Dallas” brought ratings gold to TNT this week: Despite tough competition from the Olympics, “Family Business,” the show’s latest episode, debuted to 3.2 million viewers on August 1, becoming the evening’s most-watched cable program.

The “Dallas” audience included more than 1 million viewers between the ages of 18 and 49, the demographic advertisers pay a premium to reach. Ratings in this demo were up 8 percent from July 25, when roughly 850,000 18-to-49-year-olds watched “No Good Deed,” TNT’s previous “Dallas” episode.

This makes “Dallas” one of the few shows to get a ratings boost in the crucial demo during NBC’s Olympics coverage, which has delivered blockbuster numbers each night since the games began last week.

J.R. Ewing, Superlative Senior

Younger viewers may love “Dallas,” but the show is making waves among older audiences, too.

TNT’s depiction of J.R. as an elderly man who is nonetheless full of life is smart and refreshing, writes Elizabeth Newman, senior editor for McKnight’s, a trade publication for caregivers.

“[I]n all our pop culture portrayals of either lauding saintly grandmother types, trying to make people cringe laugh at the idea of old people being sexual (I’m looking at you, Betty White), or introducing the wacky grandfather, it’s refreshing to see a complex character in his 80s get a new lease on life,” Newman writes.

The Woman Who Saved J.R.’s Life

Speaking of superlative seniors: The Star Newspapers of Plano, Texas caught up this week with Barbara Kain, who was a stand-in for Barbara Bel Geddes on the original “Dallas” series and also played the nurse who treats J.R. after his shooting in “No More Mr. Nice Guy, Part 1.”

“I always say that I helped save J.R’s life,” Kain tells the publication.

The Double-Crosser’s Double

While we’re nosing around community newspaper websites: The Abilene Reporter-News recently profiled Gregg Dickerson, a J.R. Ewing lookalike who hires himself out for parties and other events. By the way: The Reporter-News has a long history of finding local angles in its “Dallas” coverage.

Department of Misleading Headlines

Dallas, Elena Ramos, Jordana Brewster, Last Hurrah, TNT

She loves it

The Toronto Star and a handful of other news outlets carried the following headline this week: “Brewster: I couldn’t live in Dallas.”

What’s this? Is “Dallas” heroine Jordana Brewster dissing show’s namesake city?

No, silly. Read the whole story.

“I love it there,” the actress says, adding that she met her husband while filming a movie in Texas.

Here’s the rest of Brewster’s quote: “We would love to be able to have a house there, but I don’t know if I could live in Dallas. I live in California, where you can basically wear whatever you want and be pretty casual and the lifestyle is laid back. In Dallas the women are dressed up at 7 a.m. and they’re always in heels and if you go out to a restaurant they’re never in jeans.”

See? Brewster likes Dallas just fine, thank you very much.

Line of the Week

“No, J.R., your lapses aren’t when you do wrong. Your lapses are when you do right.”

Bobby (Patrick Duffy) to his older brother in one of the many moving scenes from “Family Business.”

A Twist, But No Zing

The latest “Dallas Drinks” recipe from Cook In/Dine Out: The Sue Ellen. To honor Linda Gray’s reinterpretation of her classic character, this drink is a fresh take on an old standard: the Cosmopolitan.

And yes, it’s a “mocktail.” Who do you think we are, Harris Ryland?

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

The Art of Dallas: ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy, Part 1’

Miss Ellie and Jock (Barbara Bel Geddes, Jim Davis) confer with Dr. Pearson (Peter Donat) about J.R.’s condition in this 1980 publicity shot from “No More Mr. Nice Guy, Part 1,” “Dallas’s” fourth-season opener.

Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘The Company Isn’t Worth My Family’

Barbara Bel Geddes, Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing. Miss Ellie Ewing, No More Mr. Nice Guy Part 1, Who Shot J.R.?

That’s that, Jock

In “No More Mr. Nice Guy, Part 1,” “Dallas’s” fourth-season opener, Miss Ellie and Jock (Barbara Bel Geddes, Jim Davis) talk while leaving Dallas Memorial Hospital.

ELLIE: Jock, now that Bobby’s back, you’ve got to find a way to keep him here.

JOCK: I don’t know how. He was mad as hell at me when he left.

ELLIE: Well, that was because he felt you’d given him a job to do and then you didn’t stand behind him.

JOCK: Well, I couldn’t. When he opened Ewing 23, he made Cliff Barnes a partner in the profits. After what that man’s done to us, no way.

ELLIE: Does Ewing Oil have to cost us another son? Jock, I know how important the company is to you, but I’ve lost Gary and now, unless you stop him, Bobby will leave again.

JOCK: Ewing Oil has been my life, Ellie.

ELLIE: And J.R. may be dying because of it. [Jock puts his hand on her shoulder.] I don’t think the company is worth my family. I want Bobby home, no matter what it costs Ewing Oil.

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 55 – ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy, Part 1’

Dallas, Dr. Miles Pearson, No More Mr. Nice Guy Part 1, Peter Donat, Who Shot J.R.?

Hurry up, doc

The Ewings go through “No More Mr. Nice Guy, Part 1” not knowing who shot J.R. or whether he’ll survive the attempt on his life, and this uncertainty lends the episode a paranoid, almost Hitchcockian vibe. Poor Sue Ellen looks positively dazed. What frightens her more: the possibility that her husband will die – or that he’ll live?

I also can’t help but wonder if some of the worried looks on the actors’ faces aren’t real. Production on this episode began during the summer of 1980, when Larry Hagman was in seclusion while his agents renegotiated his contract. In Hagman’s absence, the “Dallas” set buzzed: If the actor’s salary demands weren’t met, would J.R. succumb to his gunshot wounds? Would he come out of surgery looking like Robert Culp? Either way, could “Dallas” survive without its biggest star?

No wonder Patrick Duffy is visibly sweating when Bobby arrives at the hospital.

The anxious atmospherics in “No Mr. Nice Guy, Part 1” help distract me from some of this episode’s flaws, beginning with the campy opening, when the shrieking cleaning lady discovers J.R. (By the way: Where’s the blood?) Also, the episode’s action sequences are curiously lethargic: The police car that arrives at the crime scene isn’t moving very fast, the paramedics who bring J.R. into the emergency room aren’t in much of a hurry and the doctors and nurses who treat him are downright plodding.

Of course, “No More Mr. Nice Guy, Part 1’s” biggest weakness is the void Hagman leaves. He appears in just two scenes, which were filmed after his contract was settled and he returned to work. (Extras fill in for Hagman in the scenes where J.R. is seen laying on ambulance stretchers and operating tables.) This makes the episode a kind of precursor to TNT’s “Dallas,” where Hagman’s role is similarly limited.

So even though I appreciate the raw honesty of Valene’s response to her brother-in-law’s shooting (“If J.R. was dead, I honestly could not mourn him.”), I can’t help but think she should bite her tongue. After all, if this episode proves anything, it’s that “Dallas” without J.R. just isn’t the same.

Grade: C


Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, No More Mr. Nice Guy Part 1, Who Shot J.R.?

Invisible man


Season 4, Episode 1

Airdate: November 7, 1980

Audience: 29.7 million homes, ranking 2nd in the weekly ratings

Writer: Arthur Bernard Lewis

Director: Leonard Katzman

Synopsis: J.R. is rushed to the hospital, where the Ewings keep vigil. Sue Ellen can’t remember what she did the night he was shot, but Kristin tells her she came to her condo, vowing to kill J.R. After J.R. has life-saving surgery, a detective asks who shot him and J.R. looks at Sue Ellen.

Cast: Michael Alldredge (Detective Don Horton), Tyler Banks (John Ross Ewing), Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Sarah Buchannan (Beth Forrester), Christopher Coffey (Professor Greg Forrester), Karlene Crockett (Muriel Gillis), Mary Crosby (Kristin Shepard), Maureen Crudden (candy striper), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Peter Donat (Dr. Miles Pearson), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Nik Hagler (Detective Frost), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Barbara Kain (Nurse), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Virginia Peters (cleaning lady), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Ted Shackelford (Gary Ewing), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing), Joan Van Ark (Valene Ewing)

“No More Mr. Nice Guy, Part 1” is available on DVD and at and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.

Drill Bits: For Patrick Duffy, Edits Go with the TV Territory

Ann Ewing, Bobby Ewing, Brenda Strong, Dallas, Patrick Duffy, Price You Pay, TNT

Don’t cut Bobby!

TNT’s “Dallas” has given audiences lots of great scenes this season, but some of the best moments – like J.R. and Sue Ellen’s dance at the Ewing barbecue in “The Last Hurrah” – have been left on the cutting room floor.

As Patrick Duffy sees it, that’s showbiz.

“Several of my favorite scenes didn’t make it to the show,” the actor told me during a conference call with bloggers and critics last month. “These scripts are so compact and so intense and every scene is so brilliantly done. You finish filming and you think I can’t wait to see that – and then it’s edited out. … You just can’t put everything in each episode.”

In some cases, scenes are merely shortened, not completely cut. “I had a scene with Jesse [Metcalfe] in a barn, which they only kept the lead-in scene for that,” Duffy said. “And they eliminated it. It was one of my favorite ones [from] that episode.”

TNT’s “Dallas” is the fourth weekly series for Duffy, who takes a Zen-like approach to the cuts. “I’ve learned to let those feelings go and just enjoy what I see,” he said.

Besides, the footage isn’t really lost. “It still exists somewhere,” Duffy said, adding the deleted scenes could wind up on TNT’s “Dallas” DVD releases.

Red, White and Ewing

TNT’s next “Dallas” episode, “Truth and Consequences,” will debut Wednesday, July 4, at 9 p.m. The cable channel had planned to pre-empt the show on Independence Day, when prime-time viewership levels tend to plummet, but reversed course and announced the schedule change yesterday. No reason was given for the about-face.

Speaking of ratings: “The Last Hurrah,” “Dallas’s” June 27 telecast, was seen by 4.1 million viewers, a small dip from the previous episode’s numbers. This week’s audience included 1.4 million adults between the ages of 18 and 49, the viewers advertisers covet.

Hopefully “Dallas’s” numbers will hold steady on July 4. Before “Truth and Consequences” premieres that evening, TNT plans to show back-to-back reruns of “Dallas’s” first four hours, beginning at 5 p.m.

And in case you’re wondering: No, this won’t be “Dallas’s” first holiday premiere.

The old show aired fresh episodes on at least seven official or “almost official” holidays: “Barbecue Two” (New Year’s Day 1982), “Mama Dearest” (New Year’s Eve 1983), “Ray’s Trial” (Veteran’s Day 1983), “Dire Straits” (Valentine’s Day 1986), “Territorial Imperative” (Halloween 1986), “The Call of the Wild” (Veteran’s Day 1988) and “The Sting” (Inauguration Day 1989).

Line of the Week

“Rebecca, you strike me as an extremely resourceful woman. I’m sure you’ll figure that out.”

I loved John Ross’s comment to Rebecca in “The Last Hurrah” – not just because Josh Henderson’s delivery was so Hagman-esque, but also because the line kind of paid tribute to the enigmatic Rebecca, who is becoming one of my “Dallas” favorites. (By the way: If you thought Julie Gonzalo was terrific in this week’s episode, wait until you see next week’s installment.)

I also couldn’t help but notice John Ross’s line echoed the “compliment” J.R. gave his favorite sister-in-law (“You’re a very clever woman, Pam. You’ll think of something.”) in “Fallen Idol,” an episode from the original show’s second season.

Take a Shot of J.R.

A reminder: This week’s “Dallas Drinks” offering is The J.R., a shot of bourbon, peppermint schnapps and black-as-oil coffee liqueur. It’s mighty delicious – the recipe comes from Cook In/Dine Out – but it has a lot of kick. You’ve been warned.

While I’m shamelessly plugging my own stuff, a reminder that I’m in the midst of critiquing the original show’s “Who Shot J.R.?” episodes. My “A House Divided” critique was posted this week; I’ll get to the “No More Mr. Nice Guy” two-part episode next week, followed by “Nightmare” (Monday, July 9) and “Who Done It?” (Tuesday, July 10).

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