Bobby Ewing’s leather motorcross jacket isn’t as well known as J.R.’s Stetsons or Miss Ellie’s sack dresses, but it’s every bit as durable.
Patrick Duffy is sporting the snap-collared jacket when we meet Bobby in Act I, Scene I of “Dallas’s” Episode 1, “Digger’s Daughter.” The jacket, like the red convertible Bobby is driving, lets the audience know this is a cool young dude.
The jacket is metaphorical in other ways, too. We hear Pam’s famous line in this scene (“Your folks are gonna throw me right off that ranch”) and we wonder: Are the Ewings going to tan Bobby’s actual hide when they discover he has married a Barnes?
The jacket pops up periodically after “Digger’s Daughter,” including during the sixth-season episode “Caribbean Connection,” when Bobby sneaks into a motel room to gather dirt on one of J.R.’s cronies. This is a very un-Bobby thing to do, so the leather jacket becomes the perfect prop to telegraph his rebellious streak.
Interestingly, even after Duffy leaves “Dallas,” the jacket doesn’t.
Dack Rambo seems to sport the same brown leather during the Duffy-less dream season, a subtle hint to the audience that Rambo’s character, cousin Jack Ewing, was supposed to fill Bobby’s role as “Dallas’s” resident hero.
Duffy wears a leather motorcross in “Dallas’s” final two episodes, “The Decline and Fall of the Ewing Empire” and “Conundrum,” including in the latter’s last freeze frame. The color of this jacket isn’t warm, so I’m not sure it’s the same one Duffy wore during the previous seasons.
The color change is fitting: By the time “Dallas” ends, the show has faded considerably. Why shouldn’t Bobby’s jacket do the same?