It Happened Last Night

We were watching our daily dose of DVR’d TV last night when in between recorded shows was Turner Classic Movies on live TV, the  channel it’s usually parked on and “It Happened One Night” with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert was on and it just so happened it was during the famous scene where the two of them are in that hotel room getting ready for bed and off comes Clark Gables shirt and there he is, in all his celluloid manly glory, bare chested and that quickly brought to mind the question we had about the rumor of undershirt sales as a result of this scene. Well, we had it backwards, because we thought it was the presence of his undershirt that boosted sales, but apparently it the lack of one that caused sales to plummet. So, I looked it up.

Before I go on, as you can see, being Tuesday, it’s Baby Picture Monday. 2 years old. The lamb!

So, the T shirt. It has its dubious beginnings across the big pond, when Queen Victoria (or a member of her royal entourage) was due to inspect the fleet and the commanding officer ordered the sailors to sew short sleeves onto their undershirts to spare royal eyes from having to look at sweaty hairy underarms.

But the more likely inception of the T-shirt was on this side of the Atlantic when in 1913, the US Navy adopted the undergarment to be worn under the sailors’ jumpers to cover their chest hair. In the 1930’s a garment similar to today’s tank top, known then as an A-shirt (I’ve used that term on occasion) was becoming popular.

Then in 1934, it’s alleged that the King of Hollywood, Clark Gable brought the undershirt industry to its knees by appearing without one in the aforementioned scene in “It Happened One Night”. There is no real substantial evidence he was the sole cause of the sales decline, but if the movie viewing public was as fickle and easily  influenced then as it is now, I think it would be safe to assume that would have been the case.

World War II and future movie leading men are said to bring back the trend of wearing the T-shirt. During the war, the Navy once again ordered them for the sailors to work in and the men found them comfortable enough to wear off-duty as well and during the 40’s and 50’s the need for the working man to have a tee grew as rapidly as cities and suburbs. Marlon Brando who flexed his way through “A Streetcar Named Desire” in a skin tight tee brought the undershirt to a heightened stature and James Dean, a few years later in “Rebel Without A Cause” appealed to teens, and a new fad of jeans and T-shirts was born.

I’m not exactly sure why I’m posting this video, other than that it would spark some sort of emotion. It’s rather long and painfully repetitious.

What gets me though, after watching it a few times, is how the kicker does an almost exact mirror tuck and roll as the guy he kicked, like a synchronized dance of the wounded “area”. My guess is it’s sheer empathy and solidarity, even though he’s the one who inflicted the painful blow.  Even as I watch this video I find myself typing in a higher octave and remembering the time I fell off the seat of my bicycle when I failed at trying to pop a wheelie to get over a curb.

And with that, I’m off to work. Have a teriffic day.

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One Response to “It Happened Last Night”

  1. Melissa Says:

    1. One thing I have never been able to figure out – why DO they put that “bar” up so high on guy’s bikes but it’s low on girl’s bikes?? You know the bar I’m talking about, right? The one that connects the seat to the handle-bars, right in the middle of the bike. Again, why?

    2. I have recently learned about soccer that they do an awful lot of “fake injuries.” Those guys are falling down all over the place! Trying to get a foul called on the other player. But goodness gracious, it’s just shameless and ridiculous. Check out some vidoes on youtube.com – search “soccer fakes” or something like that.

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