Flashback Friday: When Bobby loved Pam … and Jenna Wade.
When Christopher Ewing confided to his father on the June 27 episode of Dallas that he was torn between his new bride Rebecca and former flame Elena Ramos, Bobby must have experienced a major case of deja vu. Bobby knows very well the agony of being caught between the loves of two beautiful women who were special to him in their own ways. One of the greatest challenges to the classic love story of Bobby and Pam Ewing was the recurring presence of Bobby’s first love Jenna Wade. The daughter of a family with ties to the Texas oil industry, Jenna was Bobby’s childhood friend who blossomed into a willful beauty who managed to tame the handsome Ewing playboy only to literally leave him at the altar when she got cold feet. Not ready to commit, Jenna fled to Europe to live the glamorous life of an American heiress abroad and married the dashing but shifty Naldo Marchetta. After divorcing the Italian lothario, Jenna returned to the United States and popped up intermittently in Bobby and Pam’s lives, usually at times when their fragile marriage was under pressure. J.R., who hated Pam for being a Barnes and giving Bobby the impetus to get more involved in Ewing Oil, relished the possibility of Jenna causing a permanent rupture in his brother’s marriage. When Jenna first appeared on the show, played by serial TV vamp Morgan Fairchild, Pam was unafraid to compete against her for Bobby, woman to woman, but dreaded the long-held speculation that Bobby was the father of Jenna’s little girl, Charlotte, who was referred to as Charlie. Although Jenna denied the rumors, the nagging doubt lingered with Bobby through the years, even when he again enountered Jenna (now played by Francine Tacker) during another time of tension between him and Pam.
Bobby never cheated on Pam with Jenna, but their complicated history took a new turn in 1983 when Elvis Presley’s famous ex-wife Priscilla Presley was cast as Jenna after Bobby and Pam had divorced due to the machinations of JR and Katherine Wentworth. Presley’s soft, classic beauty was a great fit with Patrick Duffy’s leading-man looks and Jenna finally emerged as a serious rival to Pam as she and Bobby took a second chance at love. When Naldo Marchetta reappeared in Jenna’s life, the mystery of Charlie’s parentage was finally resolved as Jenna admitted she had listed Bobby as Charlie’s natural father on her birth certificate to keep Naldo from having a claim on his daughter. Although well-intended, Jenna’s deception hurt Bobby deeply and caused a brief rift between them that they overcame but Bobby eventually realized that Pam was his one true love and returned to her waiting arms. When Bobby and Pam remarried in 1987 after the infamous dream season, Jenna discovered she was pregnant with Bobby’s child — for real, this time — and gave birth to a boy she named Lucas in honor of her father. Jenna made a new life for her family with Bobby’s half-brother Ray Krebbs and rode off into the sunset when the couple became too boring for primetime. Although Ray hasn’t had much to say — or do — during his recent appearances on TNT’s Dallas revival, the writers will eventually need to acknowledge that Christopher has a brother somewhere out there with blood ties to the Ewing legacy. One has to wonder what kind of young man Lucas Krebbs has turned out to be. If Dallas gets a second season, we may find out.
THE MANY FACES OF JENNA WADE