Friday, September 14, 2012

Totally Texas -- Return to Southfork

Southfork Ranch

3700 Hogge Drive

Parker, Texas


I had to remind my daughter how long it had been since she and I last visited the TV home of the Dallas TV series’ infamous Ewing family. She was almost too young to remember it. And now we were here again, drawn by the fame of the new series -- and new generation of feudin’ Ewings.

Southfork is easier to get to than I remembered, with the North Texas town of Parker joining the line of suburbs with multilane highways. But the big white house itself still fronts a small farm to market road.

The 6,000-square foot mansion was the family home of the original owners, who only allowed filming outdoors and during the summer to avoid distracting their children during the school year. Interiors were -- and are -- shot on a sound stage -- originally in California, but in Dallas for the new series.

No longer a family home, the interior has been redecorated to reflect the tastes of the characters of the original series, although not the design of the original sound stage. The room decorated as caddish J.R. Ewing’s bedroom overlooks the pool where a pistol-packing assailant floated face down after the cliffhanging “Who Shot J.R.” episode.

There’s a tram tour of the grounds, a museum dedicated to the original series and its cast, a sandwich and snack shop, and a gift shop displaying the 1978 Lincoln Continental Mark V actor Jim Davis (Jock Ewing) drove on the show. I hadn’t seen a car that big in decades -- even today’s Hummers can’t come close to the beautiful old Mark V’s nearly 20-foot length. Of course oil magnate Jock didn’t have to worry about gas prices.

The “Dallas” museum displays memorabilia, including return cast member Charlene Tilton’s (Lucy Ewing) on-screen wedding gown, artwork from Larry Hagman’s (J.R. Ewing) home, and handprints of the stars. When on-site shooting for the new series
resumes late this month, visitors may even get in-person peeks at the new series’ stars.

Southfork is normally open daily except Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. However, its site advises that it will close early this Saturday, September 15, for a private reservation. For prices and additional information, see

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