Who can forget Colin Firth absolutely OWNING that bowler hat-look in The King’s Speech. He wore it in the fine style that only an Englishman could. I’m torn about all the contexts beyond Mr. Firth’s head, as his character, King George VI, was a respected man of state, no doubt, but was also suffering from a speech impediment. After thinking about the net effect here, I would say that a King with a speech impediment is pretty much equal to a regular American that has worked at an H&R Block for two years, but has never been promoted.
Not great, not horrible. I don’t feel as though this bolsters the bowler’s credibility as a hat of stature and dignity, but I don’t feel that it does much to sully the storied legacy of it, either.
For those unaware, Mr. Ernst was the city slicker-cum-ranch owner in the Nickelodeon TV program Hey Dude. I didn’t want to expand this list to television as well, but I would be remiss if I was to hold a discussion about the most important hats in entertainment and didn’t cite the Hey Dude patriarch’s dutiful adornment of the most American of headwear, the cowboy hat. No actor personifies the cowboy persona onscreen more than David Brisbin did during the 63-episode run of the seminal western.
Many have tried to wear the cowboy hat with aplomb before and since, but none have captured the look the way that Benjamin Ernst did for three glorious years.
Forget what I said about Asians not being allowed to wear hats. I changed my mind. Perhaps no hat is more iconic in film than Short Round’s baseball cap. It’s hard to divorce the character from the hat, as both are ingrained in our minds, indicative of the spirit of adventure in a way that no other prop or article of clothing from The Temple of Doom (or any othe Indiana Jones film) could ever possibly do.
If I’m not mistaken, it’s on display at the Smithsonian, forever tied to American culture.