Sunday, November 21, 2010

Give Me Better Cowboy Hats In Movies, Dammit!

November 21, 2010
Okay, here's part II of my diatribe about the sorry state of cowboy hats in modern Westerns. Yes, flat brimmed hats were worn by the majority of Westerners, in the 1880s, and, yes, it pays to try and be authentic, but we have ruined the look of the Western in the process.

Here's an example: a movie costumer approaches the historic consultant hired to insure that the new Western they are making is authentic in every detail.

Costumer: Here is a great hat we found from an old movie. Can we use it?

Historic Consultant: Absolutely not. This is Col. Tim McCoy, and represents a hat style from the 1920s and thirties when hats got ridiculously large. Nobody in the Old West ever wore a hat like this!

Okay, wise guy, then what about this?

This is from Arizona in the 1870s! And while we can't see the top of the crown (it's actually visible in another shot with a group of Apache scouts taken in El Paso, during the Victorio campaign), that is a very large cowboy style hat, with swept up, or, winged sides.

Now, granted this is not a cowboy, but, why can't someone in a Western wear this hat style? Here it is. Authenticated. It's a fact (versus fiction), take your pick. Wouldn't Westerns be cooler if we had a wider display of hat styles? Now you have to be judicious about it (I do not want to see Robert Duvall's 1970s bull rider hat that he wore in Joe Kidd), but at least allow something like the above to be in the mix, so we can get back to the creative fun of it. It is sooooo boring right now. I am so tired of looking at the same damn hats, especially when they go to Sam Spade fedoras. Pal-eeeze! There's plenty more historic images, like this one, to inspire us to widen the horizon of future Westerns.

More examples to follow.

"A good hat makes a big difference."

—Some bald-headed guy

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