(Mansfield, TX) Hi 74 Lo 72 – Last night I had a good time at the Texas Rangers baseball game. They have a beautiful stadium. I took these three photos with the camera on my smartphone.
The Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0. Quite a pitcher’s duel, with the only run coming on a home run.
Today we drove a little over an hour north of here to Parker, TX to see the famous Southfork Ranch, home of the TV series “Dallas” and those wily Ewings. Dee and I are big Dallas fans. We never missed an episode in the 80’s, and we’re enjoying the current series (which is on hiatus until January). Remember “who shot J.R.?”
As we got near Dallas we saw this sign. (Click on photos to make them larger.)
In Dallas? Really? We also got a kick out of what was on our Garmin GPS screen when we were in the middle of Dallas.
That looks pretty crazy. But with Dee driving and me navigating (with Google Maps on my smartphone in hand) we manage to negotiate even the biggest cities without much trouble.
We finally got to Southfork, which is about 25 miles north of Dallas. I can’t believe those Ewings drive all that way back and forth to the city.
The first stop is at the Visitors Center, which is a combination gift shop and small museum.
We paid our $9.00 apiece for the tour, then wandered around the small museum until it was time for our tour to start. It had mostly photos and news articles on the walls, and some memorabilia and set props from the series.
The gun that shot J.R. Cool!
J.R.’s cowboy hat, and a script signed by Larry Hagman.
This large Dallas Family Tree was interesting to look at...
...as were these scripts. They all belonged to Larry Hagman, and he made a lot of margin notes on them.
It was finally time for our tour. We boarded a tram like this one for the short trip (about a block) to the Ewing Mansion. (I like the tow vehicle.)
The “mansion” is certainly beautiful, but looks smaller than it’s depicted on TV (although it is almost 6,000 sq ft, which is pretty big to us).
We were herded (all eight of us!) into a small assembly room inside the mansion for a short talk about the ranch by a very knowledgeable lady. The mansion was built in the early 70’s and lived in by a family that originally turned down the production company when they asked to use the ranch for the series. They were finally persuaded by $$$, and they were allowed to film only exterior shots at the ranch. (All interior shots were done on a soundstage in a warehouse at a secret location in downtown Dallas.) And they could only film during June, July, and August (hot, hot time of year!). They did that so their children wouldn’t be distracted during the school year. That family sold the ranch in the early 80’s and moved out, and the house hasn’t been lived in since. The ranch, along with being a tourist attraction, is now primarily a meeting and events center. They hire out their "Cattle Baron's Ballroom" for any type of event you can name… weddings, school reunions, business conventions, etc. And of course they film the current "Dallas" series there.
After the talk, we were turned loose to wander around on our own. This is the long driveway that comes in from the gate on the main road.
It leads to this circular driveway.
The inside of the mansion has been recreated to appear as they were during the series. This is Jock Ewing’s sitting room.
Miss Ellie’s kitchen. Very colorful!
The Ewing family dining room.
Bobby Ewing’s small conference room. I love the bench sitting against the wall.
Here’s a closer look at it.
There are three bedrooms on the first floor. Lucy Ewing’s.
And Jock and Miss Ellie’s.
Upstairs is J.R. and Sue Ellen’s room, with this huge platform bed that sits right in the middle of the room.
The balcony outside J.R.’s bedroom offers some great views of the ranch.
Back down on the ground floor (as Miss Dee descends the grand staircase), we went onto the porch to check out the pool area.
We walked around the grounds, where they have a few “prize winning” longhorm steers. They look a little skinny to me.
All those big oil deals are apparently negotiated here.
In a separate building is Jock Ewing’s 1978 Lincoln Continental Mark V. It sure is in great shape, with only 25,000 miles on it!
We had lunch at Miss Ellie’s Porch Deli. Our sandwiches were good, but of course overpriced.
The tour was a lot of fun. The lady who gave the talk at the beginning of the tour told some stories about how some people thought the Ewings were a real family. They would often show up at the front door asking to meet J.R. We had a good laugh about it, but then on the way home we saw this on the interstate.
Hmmmm. Now we’re not so sure…