Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Shortly before publication, received word of the death of J.R. Ewing after a long battle with cancer. He was the villain that TV viewers loved to hate and will deeply be missed by many.

Things are always bigger in Texas, and Southfork Ranch has always been portrayed as one of them. Starting in 1978, this was home to the Ewings and the rest of the world arrived as weekly guests on Dallas. Here guests could dream of life as an oil millionaire, including shady dealings and dysfunctional family dynamics.

Today a tour of the set for the TV show is destination for many fans of Dallas, both the old show and the recent revival.  In Parker, Texas, guests can tour the Visitors Center and the pillared Ewing Mansion to hear stories and see memorabilia of the extravagant 340-acre Southfork Ranch.

Re-live some of the memorable moments from  Dallas, at one time the world’s most popular TV show, in the “Dallas Legends” Exhibit. See the gun that shot J.R., Lucy’s wedding dress, video clips from the series, interviews with the stars, and other memorabilia that will make you feel right at home with the most infamous Texans of them all, the Ewings.

Take a tram from the Visitors Center en route to the Ewing Mansion. You’ll hear a history of the ranch, and see Texas longhorns and American quarter horses. As you approach the Ewing Mansion, the driveway seems much shorter than it did on the TV show. A special filming technique, or perhaps camera magic, was used to make it appear much longer, thus more elegant. Actually the entire ranch was much smaller than the show portrayed.

At the famed Ewing Mansion, a tour guide will give interesting tidbits about the years of filming, and insight into the character of the Ewings. J.R. seems to be the name that first comes to mind when Dallas is mentioned.  His ethic for the business world was one word – win, but he had an equal passion for women. Guests are given a full guided tour of the “most famous White House west of D.C.” where they even get a glimpse of J.R.’s bedroom !

Found it interesting that Miss Ellie’s kitchen had a window to the entire ranch. Southfork Ranch originally belonged to the family of Miss Ellie. When they were about to lose it, she wisely married Jock Ewing to save the ranch, but came to care about him deeply as the years progressed. Here the mother of the Ewing family could keep an eye on what was happening. Many interesting conversations regarding business and family took place with Miss Ellie in this kitchen.

Rest at the pool in the beautiful Southfork gardens where Dallas was filmed. On the right side of the picture you can see the edge of the balcony where J.R. was shot…the end of a season that made viewers eager for the fall season to return.

As you depart the Mansion, feel free to stroll through the ranch grounds, and stop and visit “Lincolns and Longhorns,” displaying Jock Ewing’s original 1978 Lincoln Continental. Guests can shop here for “Dallas-inspired” men’s and ladies’ apparel, decor, and accessories.

Return to Dallas today, the show and Southfork, as some original members of the cast are back to fight the next generation of Ewings for power. As John Ross said at the end of episode one for the new Dallas, “The fun is just beginning.” But now the question will be, can the show continue without the outrageous and compelling J.R.?

Southfork Ranch is located in Parker, Texas just north of Dallas. Take US 75 north to exit #30, Parker Road. Travel east on Parker Road for five and a half miles, then take a right on FM 2551, also known as Hogge Road. The entrance to Southfork is immediately on your left. 

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