01 May 2009

What Do Jughead, Goober, and Bim Have in Common?

Oz and Ends is not about to institute an award for Archie comics research to go along with its occasional honor for Batman research. Nonetheless, the editorial board feels a need to recognize the work at the "I'm Learning to Share!" blog on the history of Jughead's hat.

Though pictured these days as a crown, that hat originally had a crown, and covered more of Jughead's pate. It was, in other words, a recognizable version of the hats that other characters wore in the 1940s and even, in the case of The Andy Griffith Show's Goober Pyle, well into the 1960s. In American culture at the time the Archie comics launched, such hats were a marker of youth, and thus appropriate for the Jughead character.

The In Crowd has collected many examples of such hats, including one worn by Leo Gorcey in the Dead End Kids' finest film, Angels with Dirty Faces (1938). And that indefatigable blogger has gone further to theorize about how such hats were created:

It appears that the first people to wear the original 'Jughead'-styled caps were auto mechanics, welders and other workmen who found they could get the same 'safety' function of a factory worker's beanie by altering an old worn-out fedora.

The method was to turn a fedora upside-down, push the hat's crown inside-out, then turn up the brim and trim away its excess with a scalloped cut.
Oz and Ends breathlessly awaits further research on these questions:
  • Can we confirm the In Crowd's hypothesis by, for example, unearthing magazine instructions on how to make such a hat when they were cool?
  • What term people did use for such headgear before it became nearly exclusive to Jughead? Were such caps seen as a simple variation of the 1920s "whoopee hat"?
(Tip from Good Comics for Kids.)

No comments: