In Memoriam: Our 2016 ‘Dallas’ Tributes

Barry Jenner, Dallas, George Kennedy, Jim Gough, Maj Hagman

Dallas Decoder remembers the “Dallas” actors, crew members and other contributors who died in 2016. Click on each person’s name to learn more about his or her career at IMDb.com.

 

Anthony Addabbo, Dallas, Jeff Peters

Anthony Addabbo

Anthony Addabbo

Died October 18 (age 56)

In the 14th-season episode “Smooth Operator,” Addabbo played John, a Hollywood wannabe who pitched Bobby on a TV series that sounded suspiciously like “Twin Peaks.” Eight episodes later, in the series finale “Conundrum,” Addabbo appeared as Sue Ellen’s slimy Hollywood agent, Jeff Peters.

 

Dallas, Janine, Patricia Barry

Patricia Barry

Patricia Barry

Died October 11 (age 93)

Barry made guest appearances on many episodic series from the 1950s through the early 2000s. In the 14th-season “Dallas” episode “Lock, Stock and Jock,” she played Janine, a married woman who refused to provide Carter McKay with an alibi after his arrest for Johnny Dancer’s murder.

 

Dallas, Peter Brown, Tom Flintoff

Peter Brown

Peter Brown

Died March 21 (age 80)

In the fifth-season episode “Denial,” Brown, a veteran of the 1960s western “Laredo,” played Tom Flintoff, the creep who tried to force himself on Sue Ellen shortly after her divorce from J.R. Brown’s nephew, Phillip Brown, played architect Brian Johnston on “Knots Landing.”

 

Dallas, Dr. McWright, Paul Comi,

Paul Comi

Paul Comi

Died August 26 (age 84)

Comi played Dr. McWright, the pediatrician who examined baby Christopher in “Waterloo at Southfork.” Comi logged many other TV guest shots during his 50-year career, including three episodes of “Knots Landing” and a memorable turn in the “Star Trek” classic “Balance of Terror.”

 

Dallas, Lydia, Ronnie Claire Edwards

Ronnie Claire Edwards

Ronnie Claire Edwards

Died June 14 (age 83)

Edwards, who is best known for her role as Corabeth on “The Waltons,” appeared in the eighth-season “Dallas” episode “Barbecue Five” as Lydia, the tarot card reader that Pam consults during her search for Mark. Edwards also did guest spots on “Falcon Crest” and “Dynasty,” among many other shows.

 

Knots Landing, Zsa Zsa Gabor

Zsa Zsa Gabor

Zsa Zsa Gabor

Died December 18 (age 99)

Gabor played herself in “Svengali,” a 1982 “Knots Landing” episode in which Valene appears on Mike Douglas’s TV talk show to promote “Capricorn Crude,” her fictionalized book about the Ewings. In real life, Gabor and Larry Hagman once appeared together on a 1979 episode of “The Mike Douglas Show.”

 

Congressman Oates, Dallas, Jim Gough

Jim Gough

Jim Gough

Died June 7 (age 85)

Gough appeared on “Dallas” as Senator Lee in “Barbecue” (Season 1), Congressman Oates in “Runaway” (Season 2) and the rodeo announcer in “Close Encounters” (Season 9). His other notable credits include a role in the film “JFK” and a guest spot on the Leonard Katzman-produced “Walker Texas Ranger.”

 

Dallas, Rick F. Gunter

Rick F. Gunter

Rick F. Gunter

Died August 31 (age 65)

Gunter served as “Dallas’s” cinematographer during most of the original show’s final three seasons. He later served as director of photography for several other series, including “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Charmed” and “The Wizards of Waverly Place,” for which he received an Emmy nomination in 2011.

 

Dallas, Maj Hagman

Maj Hagman

Maj Hagman

Died May 31 (age 88)

Hagman was married to Larry Hagman from 1954 until his death in 2012. Their daughter Kristina appeared in several episodes on the original “Dallas” and this year wrote a book, “The Eternal Party,” about her family, including her mother’s talent as a fashion designer, hostess extraordinaire and devoted spouse.

 

Dallas, John Hostetter, Paul Derber

John Hostetter

John Hostetter

Died September 2 (age 69)

Hostetter appeared in the 11th-season episode “Lovers and Other Liars” as Paul Derber, a poker buddy of Nicholas Pearce. He also did two guest spots as police offers on “Knots Landing,” was a semi-regular on “Murphy Brown” and voiced Bazooka on the 1980s “G.I. Joe” animated series.

 

Barry Jenner, Dallas, Dr. Jerry Kenderson

Barry Jenner

Barry Jenner

Died August 9 (age 75)

From 1984 through 1986, Jenner appeared on “Dallas” as Dr. Jerry Kenderson, Mark Graison’s physician and a Sue Ellen’s suitor. He also appeared in four “Knots Landing” entries as Jeff Cunningham, Abby’s ex-husband, and he was a semi-regular on “Family Matters” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” among many other roles.

 

Carter McKay, Dallas, George Kennedy

George Kennedy

George Kennedy

Died February 28 (age 91)

Kennedy, who won a best supporting actor Oscar for his role in 1967’s “Cool Hand Luke,” played villainous oil baron and Southfork neighbor Carter McKay during “Dallas’s” 12th, 13th and 14th seasons and two reunion movies, “J.R. Returns” and “War of the Ewings.” Dallas Decoder published a tribute to him in March.

 

Archie Lang, Dallas

Archie Lang

Archie Lang

Died February 17 (age 95)

Lang played a banking associate of Franklin Horner in the fifth-season episode “The Big Shut Down,” then returned for a five-episode stint in the 13th season as Senator Lee, a member of the panel that investigated the Ewing Oil tanker accident. Lang’s other credits include guest spots on “Knots Landing” and “The Waltons.”

 

Dallas, Leslie H. Hartinson

Leslie H. Martinson

Leslie H. Martinson

Died September 3 (age 101)

Martinson directed four episodes during “Dallas’s” early years: the classic “Julie’s Return” and the campier “Call Girl,” “The Heiress” and “Power Play.” He also helmed episodes of many other series, including “Maverick,” “Batman,” “The Brady Bunch,” “Eight is Enough,” “Wonder Woman” and “Small Wonder.”

 

James Sheldon, Knots Landing

James Sheldon

James Sheldon

Died March 12 (age 95)

Sheldon directed two episodes of “Knots Landing,” including the second installment, “Community Spirit,” which featured Larry Hagman. His many other directing credits include “Echoes of Love,” a “Family” episode written by David Jacobs, and episodes of “M*A*S*H” and the Katzman-produced “Petrocelli.”

 

Agnes, Barbara Tarbuck, Dallas

Barbara Tarbuck

Barbara Tarbuck

Died December 27 (age 74)

Tarbuck played Agnes, Cliff’s secretary at the Office of Land Management, in three episodes during the 1978-79 season. Her many other credits include guest spots on “Knots Landing” and “Dynasty” and recurring roles on “Falcon Crest,” “General Hospital” and “American Horror Story: Asylum.”

 

What do you remember about these individuals? Share your memories below and read our tributes from 20152014 and 2013.

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 120 — ‘Crash of ’83’

Bobby Ewing, Crash of '83, Dallas, Patrick Duffy

Welcome to the dark side

At the beginning of “Crash of ’83,” the corrupt energy commissioner George Hicks tells Bobby he’ll “never” vote to revoke J.R.’s permission to pump more oil than anyone else in Texas. Bobby’s response: “Hicks, never say never.” The line, which Patrick Duffy delivers with his trademark breathy seriousness, sets the tone for the rest of the hour. Bobby does things in “Crash of ’83” that he probably never dreamed he’d have to do, like using a hooker to snoop into Hick’s private life and then blackmailing the man when his secret addiction to cocaine is discovered. It makes me wonder: Does the title of this episode refer only to the climactic crash of the Wentworth jet, or is it also meant to describe Bobby’s descent into moral morass?

It might seem surprising to see Bobby pulling dirty tricks, but when you think about it, this isn’t altogether out of character for him. Remember when “Dallas” began, Bobby was Ewing Oil’s “roadman,” specializing in spreading around the three “b’s” — broads, booze and booty — to help the company curry favor with state politicians. Bobby also demonstrated a flair for wheeling and dealing when he took control of Ewing Oil after J.R.’s shooting, including turning the tables on devious Sally Bullock after she cooked up an insurance fraud scheme with J.R. That incident reminds me a lot of Bobby’s blackmail of Hicks in “Crash of ’83.” Yes, Bobby sets up a public official, but Hicks isn’t exactly a saint. Bobby is merely reshuffling a deck that J.R. stacked against him.

Indeed, it’s pretty easy to forgive Bobby his trespasses in this episode, even if Bobby has trouble forgiving himself. But even if you don’t like Bobby’s behavior, you can’t deny that Duffy delivers another outstanding performance. Like Barbara Bel Geddes, Duffy has mastered the ability to let us know what his character is feeling with a mere sideways glance or furrowed brow. In this episode, watch his face when Hicks tells Bobby, “Ewing, I gotta give you credit. You’re just as dirty as your famous brother.” Duffy’s pained expression lets us know how much these words sting Bobby. By the way: It’s terrific to see Duffy perform opposite Arlen Dean Snyder, whose smarminess as Hicks contrasts nicely with Bobby’s indignation. (Snyder made a career of playing sleazy southerners. Besides Hicks, my favorite Synder role is Ray Don Simpson, the gold chained jerk who makes the mistake of trying to pick up Julia Sugarbaker in the “Designing Women” pilot.)

Other “Crash of ’83” highlights include the scene where Bobby confesses his sins to Pam, who offers him no sympathy. Victoria Principal is especially good during this exchange, which mirrors a recent scene from TNT’s “Dallas” when Elena expresses her disappointment in Christopher after he crosses over to the dark side. I also admire how Linda Gray ever-so-subtly lets us know that Sue Ellen is a little jealous of Ellie’s friendship with Clayton, as well as the sense of desperation that Audrey Landers brings to the scene where Afton rushes to Southfork to tell Pam the Wentworth jet has crashed with Rebecca aboard. It’s also fun to see J.R. conduct a clandestine meeting with Walt Driscoll alongside a Texas back road; I wonder if this is the same gravelly path where J.R. and Alan Beam used to scheme together?

My other favorite “Crash of ’83” moment occurs when Pam and Rebecca bring Christopher to Cliff’s new townhouse. Pam holds aloft the child and reminds Cliff that he’s never met him (although didn’t Cliff show up at Southfork with an oversized stuffed animal under his arm for his nephew during the fifth-season episode “Waterloo at Southfork”?). Ken Kercheval then picks up little Eric Farlow, the child actor who plays Christopher, and proceeds to mug his way through a scene of Cliff feeding the baby his bottle. This moment is utterly charming, and also very revealing: Only Ken Kercheval could upstage a baby.

Grade: A

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Christopher Ewing, Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Eric Farlow, Ken Kercheval

Say uncle

‘CRASH OF ’83’

Season 6, Episode 17

Airdate: February 4, 1983

Audience: 20 million homes, ranking 5th in the weekly ratings

Writer: Howard Lakin

Director: Bill Duke

Synopsis: Bobby blackmails Hicks into voting to rescind J.R.’s variance. J.R. rejects Driscoll’s offer to get involved in an illegal oil deal. Miss Ellie grows closer to Clayton, who decides to sell the Southern Cross ranch. Lucy defends Mickey to Ray. Cliff is outraged to discover Afton slept with Thurman. Rebecca takes Cliff’s place on a flight aboard the Wentworth jet, which crashes.

Cast: Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Roseanna Christiansen (Teresa), April Clough (Wendy), Jack Collins (Russell Slater), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Eric Farlow (Christopher Ewing), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Susan Howard (Donna Krebbs), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Howard Keel (Clayton Farlow), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Kenneth Kimmins (Thornton McLeish), Audrey Landers (Afton Cooper), Timothy Patrick Murphy (Mickey Trotter), Charles Napier (Carl Daggett), Ben Piazza (Walt Driscoll), Priscilla Pointer (Rebecca Wentworth), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), John Reilly (Roy Raltson), Albert Salmi (Gil Thurman), Arlen Dean Snyder (George Hicks), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing)

“Crash of ’83” is available on DVD and at Amazon.com and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 115 — ‘Barbecue Three’

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

Mr. Right

In “Barbecue Three,” J.R. finally reveals his plan to win the contest for Ewing Oil: He begins flooding the market with cut-rate gasoline, hoping to drive up his half of the company’s profits. This ignites a firestorm within the cartel, prompting Cliff and a band of angry oilmen to come to the annual Southfork barbecue and demand J.R. stop lowering prices. The Ewings don’t like what J.R.’s doing either, but to everyone’s surprise, they close ranks around him when the confrontation with the cartel threatens to turn violent. “If you want to get to J.R., you’re going to have to come through us,” Bobby tells the group.

Like Ellie’s defense of J.R. in the fifth-season classic “Waterloo at Southfork,” this is another example of the Ewings circling the wagons against outsiders, one of “Dallas’s” hallmarks. There’s another reason this scene is satisfying: For once, J.R. isn’t wrong. Sure, he pulled some dirty tricks to get his hands on the crude he needed to produce all that cheap gas, but the cartel has no right to complain about it. J.R. is selling his product at a lower price than his competitors. Who are they to tell him to stop? (On another note: Why doesn’t Marilee Stone join her fellow cartel members in confronting J.R.? Surely it isn’t because she’s a woman. If you ask me, Marilee is much more intimidating than mild-mannered Jordan Lee, who stands alongside Cliff in this scene.)

To be fair, the other characters’ objections to J.R.’s scheme feel a little more justified than the cartel’s. Before the barbecue, Bobby complains J.R. will show “huge short-term profits and deplete our reserves,” which seems like a reasonable concern. Meanwhile, Donna, now a member of the Texas Energy Commission, becomes irritated when her fellow regulators backtrack on their opposition to J.R. As Donna explains to Punk Anderson, “Some of the members of the commission have political ambitions. They’re not about to vote against lower gasoline prices, even if it means conserving our oil reserves.” Fair enough, although the comment feels a little hypocritical coming from the widow of a governor and the stepmother of a senator.

Indeed, Arthur Bernard Lewis’s script covers so many different reactions to J.R.’s cheap gas gambit — his family, his competitors in the cartel and the politicians all weigh it —“Barbecue Three” feel like a lesson in capitalism. Lewis even manages to reflect the consumers’ point of view, albeit subtly. J.R. announces his cut-rate gas plan at the opening of the first J.R. Ewing-branded gas station, where we see a couple of attendants lowering the per-gallon price from $1.21 to 89 cents. Later, the TV news coverage shows long lines of motorists waiting to fill up. There’s also a scene where Sly, J.R.’s secretary, tells her boss she thinks what he’s doing is “terrific” and hopes he can “keep it up.” (Seeing Deborah Rennard deliver this line, I couldn’t help but imagine Sly’s everyday working-class drudgeries: fighting traffic during morning rush hour, standing in line at the bank to deposit her paycheck, shopping for bargains at The Store.)

“Barbecue Three” also delivers two Lucy/Mickey scenes that showcase the nice chemistry between Charlene Tilton and Timothy Patrick Murphy. In the first, Mickey asks Lucy on a date, only to be introduced to her cold shoulder. Later, at the barbecue, he tries again to charm her and begins to realize her snobbish demeanor masks deeper problems. Patrick Duffy also has several good moments in this episode, including a monologue in which Bobby promises Pam he won’t lose the fight for Ewing Oil: “Daddy taught me a lot of tricks in my early days with the company. Things that I hated doing. But I learned. And I learned real good. And I can get right down in the mud if I have to.” It’s a nice reminder that Bobby’s recent discovery of his inner junkyard dog on TNT’s “Dallas” has precedence.

I also appreciate the details in “Barbecue Three.” The scene leading up to the first Texas Energy Commission meeting is expertly executed. Director Leonard Katzman shows us Ray and Donna (looking chic in her red hat) arriving at the municipal building and being greeted by a throng of news reporters, which helps lend the moment a sense of drama and suspense. You get the feeling something big is about to happen, a notion that’s reinforced by the sight of so many familiar oil industry leaders in the audience. And even though the “Dallas” producers actually make us sit through the commission members reciting the pledge of allegiance, it really doesn’t slow down the momentum. Later, when J.R. is planning his press conference, I like his brief exchange with his public relations chief. Sometimes you get the feeling Ewing Oil has no other employees besides the people who work in J.R. and Bobby’s executive suite, so it’s nice to see the show acknowledge that the Ewing brothers don’t do everything themselves.

There are a couple of nice touches during the barbecue sequences too. Debra Lynn Rogers, who played Toni, the woman Ray flirted with during the previous season’s “Barbecue Two,” plays the role again in this episode, except now she’s dancing with Mickey. Meanwhile, Peyton E. Park, who played Larry, the Ewings’ caterer in “Barbecue Two,” reprises the role here. In “Barbecue Three,” we also meet a woman who appears to be Jordan’s wife. He introduces her as Evelyn, although in the third-season episode “Paternity Suit,” Jordan seemed to refer to his spouse as “Sara.” Is this a continuity error, or are they two different women? If it’s the latter, I have to wonder: Between Sara, Kristin and now Evelyn, is Jordan trying to give J.R. a run for his money as “Dallas’s” biggest lothario?

Grade: A

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

Gasman cometh

‘BARBECUE THREE’

Season 6, Episode 12

Airdate: December 17, 1982

Audience: 21.8 million homes, ranking 1st in the weekly ratings

Writer: Arthur Bernard Lewis

Director: Leonard Katzman

Synopsis: The Texas Energy Commission revokes J.R.’s variance but faces public backlash when he opens a chain of popular cut-rate gas stations. Holly asks Bobby to help her get J.R. out of her company. Mickey realizes Lucy is troubled. After angry oilmen confront J.R. at the Ewing Barbecue, Miss Ellie vows to go to court to break Jock’s will and sell Ewing Oil.

Cast: E.J. André (Eugene Bullock), Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Lois Chiles (Holly Harwood), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Ken Farmer (oilman), Fern Fitzgerald (Marilee Stone), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Alice Hirson (Mavis Anderson), Susan Howard (Donna Krebbs), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), James Karen (Elton Lawrence), Howard Keel (Clayton Farlow), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Audrey Landers (Afton Cooper), Julio Medina (Henry Figueroa), Peyton E. Park (Larry), Timothy Patrick Murphy (Mickey Trotter), Priscilla Pointer (Rebecca Wentworth), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Debbie Rennard (Sly), Debra Lynn Rogers (Toni), Kirk Scott (Buchanan), Danone Simpson (Kendall), Arlen Dean Snyder (George Hicks), Don Starr (Jordan Lee), Robert Swick (Ewing Oil employee), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing), Deborah Tranelli (Phyllis), Morgan Woodward (Punk Anderson)

“Barbecue Three” is available on DVD and at Amazon.com and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.

The Dal-List: 15 Great ‘Dallas’ Scenes Featuring Larry Hagman

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Once and future king

Larry Hagman made magic every time he appeared on “Dallas,” so coming up with a definitive list of his greatest scenes feels like an impossible task. Instead, let’s just call this a list of 15 performances I love.

Dallas, Digger's Daughter, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal

The rose and the briar

15. Welcome to the family. On the day Bobby brings Pam (Victoria Principal) home to Southfork and introduces her as his new bride, J.R. cheerfully takes her outside for a pre-dinner tour of Miss Ellie’s garden, where he offers Pam a bribe to “annul this farce.” When Bobby approaches with a concerned look on his face, J.R. explains he’s just “talking a little business” with his new sister-in-law. “Mama don’t like business talk with supper on the table,” Bobby says. “Well, you know Mama. She’s so old-fashioned,” J.R. responds with a chuckle. It was the first time we heard his mischievous laugh, and it signaled the arrival of a different kind of villain. (“Digger’s Daughter”)

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

The smiling cobra

14. Poor Cliff. When his latest underhanded deal goes awry, J.R. is forced to sign over ownership of one of the original Ewing Oil fields to Cliff. “I can’t believe it,” Cliff says as he reclines in his chair. “After all these years, I finally whipped J.R. Ewing.” It’s a measure of J.R.’s power that we don’t feel happy for Ken Kercheval’s character at this moment. We feel sorry for him because we know this is a temporary setback for J.R. To wit: When Kercheval delivers the line about “finally” whipping J.R., Hagman responds with a slight smile. It’s more unnerving – and oddly, more satisfying – than any dialogue the writers might have come up with. (“Five Dollars a Barrel”)

Dallas, Joan Van Ark,J.R. Ewing, Knots Landing, Larry Hagman, Valene Ewing

Friendly enemies

13. There goes the neighborhood. When the residents of Knots Landing decide to fight Ewing Oil’s plan to drill near the local beach, J.R. comes to town to squelch the protest. Seeing this larger-than-life Texan in suburbia is a hoot. In one great scene, a frazzled Valene telephones Gary at work while cucumber-cool J.R. pulls a book off her kitchen shelf and flips through it. “I just love cookbooks,” he says. In another golden moment, J.R. takes a bite of the sandwich Val has just served him. “Hey, that is good. What do you call this?” he asks. “Tuna fish,” she hisses. Rarely have Hagman’s comedic sensibilities – and his crackling chemistry with Joan Van Ark – been put to better use. (“Community Spirit”)

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Secrets cry aloud

12. Here comes Kristin. My favorite Southfork dinner scene: The Ewings are entertaining Sue Ellen’s visiting mother Patricia and younger sister Kristin, who has barely concealed her attraction to J.R. When Kristin announces she’s considering putting off going to college, J.R. suggests she could fill in for his honeymooning secretary Louella. And instead of having Kristin stay at Southfork, J.R. recommends putting her up in the company-owned condo. In other words: J.R. sets up his soon-to-be-mistress with a job and a love nest, right in front of his whole family. No wonder Hagman looks like he’s having the time of his life playing this role. (“The Kristin Affair”)

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

Truth and consequences

11. Sock it to him. My favorite Southfork cocktail hour: Ellie worries Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) didn’t get enough to eat at dinner. “She gets all the nourishment she needs from this,” J.R. says, waving around a liquor bottle. Next target: Pam. “She’s cracking up, slowly and surely. And who can blame her? I mean, she finds out that her daddy, Digger Barnes, is no relation at all. … And her mother’s a whore!” Bobby responds by punching J.R., and even though we know he deserves it, we kind of feel sorry for him. This was Hagman’s genius: Despite the awful things J.R. said, the actor delivered his lines with such joy, you couldn’t help but root for him. (“The Wheeler Dealer”)

Barbara Bel Geddes, Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Miss Ellie Ewing

Mama dearest

10. He’s got your back, Mama. Hagman often said he only accepted the role of J.R. after the “Dallas” producers told him they had cast Barbara Bel Geddes as his mother. I believe it. Every time these two appeared together on camera, you could feel Hagman’s reverence for her. (Fun fact: Bel Geddes was just nine years older than Hagman.) In this terrific scene, J.R. stands behind Miss Ellie as she chastises the cartel for taking advantage of one of Ewing Oil’s misfortunes. Hagman doesn’t have a single line of dialogue here, but he doesn’t need one. Sometimes great acting means knowing when to let your co-star have the spotlight. (“Waterloo at Southfork”)

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Call waiting

9. Strike! J.R. is down because he hasn’t hit a gusher in Southeast Asia. The phone rings. “It’s the Associated Press,” Kristin announces. “They want to know something about an oil well.” Line 2 buzzes. This call is from Hank, J.R.’s man in the Orient. “Where the hell have you been?” J.R. demands as he takes the receiver. In the background: A drumbeat builds. Slow, steady. Bum. Bum. Bum. Finally, J.R. exclaims, “Yee-ha! We hit!” This scene is brilliant because it mimics a gusher: The news about J.R.’s strike trickles in before his joyful rupture. Hagman directed the sequence, proving he was just as clever behind the camera as he was in front of it. (“Mother of the Year”)

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

The legacy

8. “This is Ewing Oil.” When J.R. finally goes too far with one of his schemes, the Justice Department forces the Ewings to sell their company. J.R. is giving John Ross one last look around the office when Jeremy Wendell, Ewing Oil’s new owner, enters and orders father and son off the premises. “Take this eyesore with you,” Wendell says as he reaches for Jock’s portrait. “Wendell!” J.R. shouts. “Touch that painting and I’ll kill where you stand.” Hagman takes the picture off the wall, holds it aloft and – with trumpets sounding in the background – says to young co-star Omri Katz, “John Ross, this is Ewing Oil.” The boy smiles. So do we. (“Fall of the House of Ewing”)

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

Lest the truth be known

7. Out of the frying pan… J.R. is fixing his breakfast plate in the Southfork dining room when he notices Jock comforting a distraught Miss Ellie. It seems Bobby has just told them he’s leaving the ranch because he’s fed up with J.R.’s dirty deeds. That’s when Sue Ellen chimes in, pointing out J.R. has driven away another Ewing brother. Dumb move, darlin’. J.R. responds with a vicious tirade, calling his wife a “drunk and an unfit mother” and announcing it’s time to send her back to the sanitarium. This is J.R. at his most menacing – which is remarkable since Hagman holds a strip of bacon the whole time he delivers J.R.’s venom-filled speech. (“A House Divided”)

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, TNT

Sins of the father

6. Another close shave. An adult John Ross is in a barbershop getting shaved while J.R. tells him a story that demonstrates how J.R. loved – and feared – Jock. Quietly, J.R. takes the razor from the barber, holds it to John Ross’s neck, yanks off the towel covering his son’s face and reveals he knows the younger man is planning to double-cross him in their scheme to seize Southfork. Then J.R. says, “I don’t blame you for trying to screw me. I was never much of a father during your formative years. And I’d like to make up for that.” As J.R., Hagman could be tough, but he could also be very tender – sometimes all at once, as this scene demonstrates. (“The Price You Pay”)

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Revelations

5. Tears for Sue Ellen. After J.R. has a very pregnant, very alcoholic Sue Ellen committed to the sanitarium, our heroine escapes, steals a car, wrecks it and goes into premature labor. With the lives of both Sue Ellen and newborn John Ross hanging in the balance, J.R. sits with Bobby at his wife’s hospital bedside and recalls happier times. He concludes his moving monologue by saying, “Oh, Bobby. She’s got to live. She’s just got to.” With this line, Hagman purses his lips, shuts his tear-filled eyes and bows his head. It’s an early glimpse of J.R.’s humanity – and one of the few times the character cries on camera. (“John Ewing III, Part 2”)

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy

The brothers Ewing

4. Mourning Daddy. Jock’s death sends J.R. into a deep depression. He stops shaving, stops showing up for Ewing family dinners and even stops showing up for work. Finally, Bobby (Patrick Duffy) has enough. Barging into J.R.’s bedroom, Bobby yanks him off the bed, drags him across the room, makes him look at himself in the mirror and reminds him their Daddy built the company not just for them, but also for their children. “It’ll never be the same, Bob,” J.R. responds. Hagman’s delivery of this line never fails to move me. Before this moment, we’d seen J.R. break a lot of hearts. This time, he broke ours. (“Head of the Family”)

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Daddy’s little darlin’

3. Welcome to fatherhood. For months after John Ross’s birth, J.R. all but ignored the child because he secretly suspected Cliff is the father. Cliff thought the same thing and eventually filed a lawsuit to gain custody, prompting him and J.R. to take blood tests to determine the child’s paternity once and for all. On the night of one of Miss Ellie’s charity dinners, the results come in and prove J.R. is, in fact, the father. Armed with this knowledge, our tuxedo-clad hero enters the Southfork nursery, picks up his son, holds him close and kisses him. No dialogue is spoken. None is needed. The look on Hagman’s face – pride, relief, joy – says it all. (“Paternity Suit”)

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

The Ewing touch

2. Reminiscing. After a long day at work, J.R. comes home and finds Sue Ellen asleep in John Ross’s nursery, having dozed off while rocking him. She awakens and helps J.R. put the boy in his crib, and then the couple moves into their bedroom, where they recall their courtship. The dialogue beautifully captures the unique qualities Hagman and Gray bring to their roles. (Sue Ellen on J.R.’s eyes: “They always seemed to be hiding secrets. Things you knew about the world that no one else knew.”) The conversation also reminds us J.R. is not a hateful man. He loves many people, and none more than Sue Ellen. Theirs is the greatest – and most complicated – romance Texas has ever known. (“New Beginnings”)

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, TNT

True confessions

1. Brotherly love. J.R. finally does the right thing when he ends the war for Southfork and returns ownership of the ranch to Bobby, but the drama isn’t over: Bobby suffers a seizure and is taken to the hospital for emergency surgery. Standing at his brother’s hospital bedside, J.R. holds Bobby’s hand and pleads with him to wake up. “I’m going to tell you something you never heard me say before,” J.R. says. “I love you, Bobby, and I don’t know who I’d be without you.” With this line, J.R. acknowledges what the audience has always known: He’s incapable of checking his own worst impulses; he needs Bobby to do it for him. This is a deeply moving moment in its own right, but it takes on added poignancy now that we know Duffy was at Hagman’s side when he died. It’s also comforting to know J.R.’s greatest fear – having to face life without his beloved baby brother – will never be realized. How sad for us, though, that we must now face a world without Larry Hagman. (“Revelations”)

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

The Art of Dallas: ‘Waterloo at Southfork’

Mitch (Leigh McCloskey) speaks to a patient in this 1981 publicity shot from “Waterloo at Southfork,” a fifth-season “Dallas” episode.

Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘We’re Ewings. We Stick Together.’

She's got this

She’s got this

In “Dallas’s” fifth-season episode “Waterloo at Southfork,” J.R. (Larry Hagman) stands behind Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes), who has summoned Vaughn (Dennis Patrick), Jordan (Don Starr), Wade (Robert Ackerman), Andy (Paul Sorensen) and Cliff (Ken Kercheval) to J.R.’s office.

ELLIE: I’d like to thank you all for coming.

JORDAN: Well, it’s good to see you again Miss Ellie, but –

ELLIE: But you wonder why you were called here – at this time of night and by me. Is that right?

WADE: You do have us guessing, ma’am.

ELLIE: Well, you can stop guessing. I called you here to tell you that Ewing Oil is now prepared to pay back your loan … with interest.

VAUGHN: [Forced smile] Well … how nice.

ANDY: I knew Ewing Oil would be coming through.

ELLIE: Did you, Mr. Bradley? I suppose I should thank all of you gentlemen for the aid you gave my son.

JORDAN: Now Miss Ellie, you know it’s just business.

ELLIE: What I do know is that you are supposed to be Jock’s friend, Jordan. And yet the minute his back was turned, you took advantage of J.R.’s situation to charge an outrageous 25 percent interest to extend your loan.

VAUGHN: Now Miss Ellie, you don’t understand.

ELLIE: I understand perfectly. And what about you, Cliff? How long are you going to perpetuate this stupid Barnes-Ewing feud? Until we’re all dead and gone? Is it worth it to you?

CLIFF: Don’t expect me to apologize because J.R. got in over his head.

ELLIE: I don’t expect anything from you, Cliff. And I don’t apologize for what my son did. It’s a family matter. We may be wrong and we may be right, but we’re Ewings. We stick together – and that’s what makes us unbeatable.

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 88 – ‘Waterloo at Southfork’

Woman of the hour

Woman of the hour

Miss Ellie is the woman of the hour in “Waterloo at Southfork.” She wheels and deals with Clayton, takes the cartel to the woodshed and keeps J.R. from dragging Sue Ellen’s name through the mud in court. Ellie’s only defeat occurs when she tries and fails to oust her eldest son as Ewing Oil’s president, but no matter. By the end of the episode, J.R.’s respect for his mama has deepened. So has ours.

To no one’s surprise, Barbara Bel Geddes is wonderful every time she appears in “Waterloo at Southfork,” which is a lot: This episode has 29 scenes, and Bel Geddes is in more than a third of them. Choosing my favorite is tough because they’re all so good.

In the scene with Clayton, Ellie sits on a patio at the Southern Cross and offers to sell him the oil J.R. diverted from the Farlow refineries. Clayton agrees, telling her he’ll buy it for $33 a barrel. “That’s very fair,” Ellie says, shaking his hand. Taking a beat, she adds: “I would have taken 32.”

The scene with the cartel is just as terrific. With J.R. in the background, Ellie stands in front of his desk and chastises Vaughn, Jordan and the others for taking advantage of Ewing Oil during J.R.’s reckless war against Clayton. “I don’t apologize for what my son did,” Ellie declares. “It’s a family matter. We may be wrong and we may be right, but we’re Ewings. We stick together – and that’s what makes us unbeatable.”

This most revealing moment in “Waterloo at Southfork” comes near the end of the episode, when J.R. promises Ellie he’ll behave when he and Sue Ellen go to court for their divorce hearing. He’s lying, of course, but it seems like Ellie is going to give him the benefit of the doubt. Wrong. When the hearing begins, she enters the courtroom and takes a seat in plain sight of her son. The moment J.R. sees his mama, he abandons his strategy to embarrass Sue Ellen.

I don’t know if J.R. has learned his lesson, but Ellie has learned not to trust her son. Better late than never.

Grade: A

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Mama's watching

Mama’s watching

‘WATERLOO AT SOUTHFORK’

Season 5, Episode 11

Airdate: December 18, 1981

Audience: 22.3 million homes, ranking 1st in the weekly ratings

Writer: Linda Elstad

Director: Irving J. Moore

Synopsis: Miss Ellie sells J.R.’s stockpile to Clayton, persuades Bobby to return to Ewing Oil and chastises the cartel for taking advantage of the company’s misfortune. Pam embraces motherhood. Ray takes a loss on his real estate deal. Sue Ellen leaves the Southern Cross and wins custody of John Ross during her final divorce hearing.

Cast: Robert Ackerman (Wade Luce), Tyler Banks (John Ross Ewing), Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Paul Comi (Dr. McWright), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Don Hamilton (Eric), Wiley Harker (Judge James Berwin), Susan Howard (Donna Krebbs), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Howard Keel (Clayton Farlow), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Audrey Landers (Afton Cooper), Leigh McCloskey (Dr. Mitch Cooper), Patricia McCormack (Evelyn Michaelson), Barry Nelson (Arthur Elrod), Dennis Patrick (Vaughn Leland), Priscilla Pointer (Rebecca Wentworth), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Debbie Rennard (Sly), Herbert Rudley (Howard Barker), Paul Sorensen (Andy Bradley), Don Starr (Jordan Lee), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Cooper), David Tress (Walter Sher), Gretchen Wyler (Dr. Dagmara Conrad)

“Waterloo at Southfork” is available on DVD and at Amazon.com and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.