Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hats On

I think I remember my Dad doing this only once before we were ready to drive someplace, but for some reason the incident stuck with me. We were both making sure we had the necessary items for the trip. He patted, in order, his front two pants pockets, then the back. As he patted, he said something to the effect of, “Keys, coins [money], wallet, handkerchief.”

I know there is a cruder addition to the sequence, but that's not the point of this post. The addition I wanted to make is that Dad rarely goes anyplace without a cap or a hat. Air Force cap, Oregon cap, or an 'old fashioned'
brimmed hat. I say old fashioned not to be demeaning, but many people would view that hat as something from decades past. And, in sense, it is.

I once saw a wide angle picture in a book about minor league baseball stadiums. The shot showed the seats out from the third base line. Every single seat was occupied with the 'same' man. In that I mean, each man wore a suit jacket over a shirt with a tie and a brimmed hat. Every single man.
What a far cry from today's yahoos who wear everything from horns to gobs of paint and no shirt.

You don't see hats very often these days. I mean real hats, not baseball caps or the topless cap which is just a plastic band attached to a bill.
Every now and then you'll see some guy trying to look different wearing a cowboy hat, but unless you're a country singer or wrangling cattle...most of the time it doesn't work.

Watch any old black and white movie from the forties on back, one which features metropolitan streets; all of the men wore hats. Westerns were filled with hats; I think westerns were mostly hats, especially in the crowd scenes. Every cowboy wore a hat and anytime a girl hopped on a horse, she donned a hat. I think it was against the law in the Old West to ride a horse without a hat. And unless you were Glenn Ford, you couldn't participate in a showdown without a hat. It used to be the classic tell of who the bad guy was. Jack Palance, the original bad man, wore a black hat, Alan Ladd sported white. Yeah, it was confusing when John Wayne wore a black hat, but for heaven's sake, he wore a pink bandanna most of the time, too, and nobody said anything.

I like the old gangster movies because Mr. Big sometimes wore a hat, but usually his lieutenants wore them. You can just picture Edward G. Robinson, surrounded and dwarfed by his gang of toughs, all sporting the hats, front brim lowered, shadowing their eyes. The hats were bold and black and never moved when they were roughing up somebody. When the hero clocked one of them and the hat flew off, he wiped his bloody lip, and immediately retrieved his hat. Never mind he was just humiliated, gotta get back the hat.

The classic is Indiana Jones who NEVER lost his hat, even during the wildest scenes. The one time he did, it came back to him on a gust of the wind like a faithful canine finding its master.

Hats sometimes will complete a character. Can you imagine Dick Tracy without a hat? How about Sherlock Holmes without the deerstalker?

Personally, I don't like wearing caps/hats. Yes, I have a 'cowboy' hat I picked up at the fair a couple of decades ago and I still wear it if I'm going fishing. It works for me. I'll wear caps if I'm golfing, but usually, I'm fine without them.

Of course, one of the reasons I write this week's post is because Mallory Petersen, the detective in Beta, usually is never far from her hat. If you've never watched Bogart in The Maltese Falcon, you've missed a beauty.
His Sam Spade character wears a trench coat and hat; Mallory, emulating and saluting him, wears similar garb. I think the coat and the hat are part of what makes her different, unique.

I see the absolutely gorgeous actress Maggie Lawson, blonde hair flowing, dressed in a trench and hat. She's the nearest, in my mind, of who Mallory resembles. (Yeah, I know Lawson once played Nancy Drew, but that's not why I chose her.)

Anyway-I apologize to Dad-at one time I thought his constant hat wearing was kind of...old fashioned. His dad wore hats and I never thought anything of it. However, as the years have passed, I kind of enjoy seeing Dad in his hats and wouldn't mind seeing the culture revert back to men wearing stylish real hats.

We could get rid of the neckties in a heartbeat, but that's another story.

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