- Entertainment and Media
Hollywood Men Obsessed by Sweaters
You've Seen Them
on television, in publicity shots and in major Hollywood-related magazines. Iconic names like: Robert Young who played "Jim Anderson," on Father Knows Best; Carl Betz who was "Dr. Alex Stone," husband of television wife, Donna Reed and finally, Perry Como, talented singer and whom I have dubbed "King of The Sweater," of course behind his back.
You get my drift, right? If I need to explain my stance on my topic, then my headline did not serve its purpose. But for those who were tardy, I am blowing the lid off of what possibly might be the greatest sociogovernmental cover-up of all time. What's With The Sweater? A sound question. And a question that no one has had the nerve to ask even when this topic was not so controversial.
I am not in opposition to these Hollywood actors wearing their precious sweaters, it's just that why didn't these guys present themselves in more fashion choices than just a sweater? This is a fair question in my opinion.
Sweaters, I gladly admit, look great and I even admit that in my younger years, I was drawn to wearing this good looking brown sweater that my wife bought me for a Christmas present. I looked good when I wore this sweater to work or even church. I secretly began to think that my brown sweater was more of a wear-all piece of wardrobe rather than it being just a sweater.
Robert Young who did such a tremendous job as "Jim Anderson," on Father Knows Best, made the sweater look great when the tail of his sweater would not ride up on his torso like most sweaters worn by non-famous people. Young's character, "Jim Anderson," was an insurance broker on his television sitcom and some times even on the show we could see Young wearing a casual sweater during one of her always-delicious dinners talking about the day's events. But his wearing of the sweater in an open fashion was not only a slick move, but he was so talented, the audience did not notice the sweater as much as they were in appreciation of Young's fine acting skills.
No Matter Where You Seen Them
you had to see the sweater. In the park, patio, even mowing the lawn with the old, non-gasoline type lawn mower, the sweater was standard clothing for the celebrities mentioned above. Let's face it. You didn't see this the first time around. You, much like me, thought that for famous men to wear sweaters all the day long was just a look forged by a hip society. And by 'hip' I don't mean the body part, but very cool. Very popular.
I know what happened. We cannot punish ourselves anymore for being so gullible. If Carl "Dr. Stone" Betz were to enter the Stone living room to converse with wife, Donna, he would be wearing a smart-looking sweater. So what? Our subconscious murmured until we either dozed off or became mesmerized by the dull thinking of not "making waves" to ask the simple question: Why must these men always wear a sweater?
The late Carl Betz to me, was more of a man's man rather than the pediatrician, "Alex Stone," he portrayed on The Donna Reed Show. But Betz, like Robert Young, was such a remarkable actor, his talents secured the eyes of the audience who loved Donna Reed and her show so much that they didn't think that Betz could ever be a narcissist. No. In fact, audiences loved how Betz could walk briskly to the door after his in-home pediatric clinic was closed just to answer the door.
This brings up another mysterious situation. Why did (just) the males on sitcoms such as Father Knows Best, The Donna Reed Show or The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet answer the door? Were the women stars not physically able to walk to the door dressed in their high heels, party dress and pearls to see who was ringing the doorbell?
Asking this innocent question about whom answered the doorbell might have been lumped into the taboo category as my question of why Hollywood male actors just had to be seen in their sweaters. I could have met with a lot of problems (in my younger days) maybe even being treated as a social outcast.
We Have Grown
so much since the days of the late, productive 1950's and 1960's when television ruled followed by the films made in Hollywood by Hollywood royalty (names mentioned at first of this piece) and paid to be seen by stupid Americans like my family and me. That's true. I can recall how humiliating it was for me at age seven, for my family and I along with my sister and her husband to load up in their car, drive miles from our peaceful rural locale to the big city to the drive-in only to see the Robert Young's, Ozzie Nelson's and other men parade around (on screen) as if nothing was wrong and they were innocent of participating in a government cover-up which cost my family a grand total of $12.50 for the carload of us to sit near a metal pole with a speaker hung on the inside of the driver's side window to see a fictitious film with male celebrities acting in a fantasy role, but all the while, wearing a stylish sweater.
I am now weary of this subject. My exit is coming into view, so before I go, I offer you Hollywood Guys Obsessed by Sweaters.
I Know That You Can See
so please do not be insulted by my question: Take a good, hard look at what Perry Como is wearing. In your opinion and mine, wouldn't he have looked much more suave and sophisticated wearing a suit coat?
Sure. You and I, the non-famous citizens can say yes because we are not an alleged narcissist like Perry Como.
Male Celebrities Who Didn't Wear a Sweater
- Vic Morrow
- Glenn Ford
- Steve McQueen
- James Arness
- Bob Crane
- Cowboy Bob of The Howdy Doody Show
- Martin Landau
- Greg Morris
- Ken Curtis
- Buck Taylor
- Amanda Blake
- Ward Bond
- Robert Fuller
- Clint Walker
- Although my headline, Hollywood Guys Obsessed by Sweaters sounds much like a vintage, black and white horror film of early Hollywood (e.g. The Fork That Ate Nebraska) it is not. Quite the contrary. The obsessive sweater-wearing by the male stars that I have mentioned just might have been closet narcissists and wearing a sweater on and off the studio set was the only way (back then) to protect themselves from the common fans who adored them.
- Ozzie Nelson, Carl Betz, and Robert Young might have been the best actors in their own right, but none of the three were Rhode Scholars. I am not being harsh. Do your Google search and any other means that you have of searching a tough question and you will find that I am right in telling you that these three guys were great actors and warm human beings. I truly believe that to compensate for their lack of wisdom, they all stuck (or hid behind) the sweater which was a symbol of intellectuals in their day as to say to their fans "I am not only a sharp actor, but have a sharp mind."
- The sweaters worn by these stars were in reality sophisticated tools for the C.I.A. to keep check on what foreigners were working at the television networks who gave us the Donna Reed Show, Father Knows Best, and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriett. And possibly there were a few Cubans working as cameramen or other jobs, but with President John F. Kennedy in the Oval Office and not backing down from Russian Premier, Nikita Khrushchev, the C.I.A. had their job to do and that job was keeping a step ahead of The Red Menace.
- Television networks who filmed and sold the sitcoms where Carl Betz, Ozzie Nelson, Robert Young, and Perry Como worked, were secretly taking huge kick-backs from then-secret sweater designers who were not from America, but a foreign country. Kinda like a "Catch 22" existence? Not really. The networks knew that the powerful C.I.A. didn't care who made the sweaters just as long as they used the male celeb's to wear their sweaters of secret reconnaissance.
- The male celebrities who swore by the sweater were all having extra marital affairs and their mistresses demanded that they (the male celebrities) wear sweaters all of time or else the wives would be told everything by the offended mistresses. What an ugly off-camera life these sweater-wearing guys must have lived.
- The executive producers of the shows I have named (and more) actually wanted their main male stars to wear suitcoats everywhere, but on one episode of "The Donna Reed Show" where "Alex Stone" was seen mowing the grass wearing a suitcoat, dress pants and slippers, that allegedly set off a fire storm among fabric producers and wardrobe managers in Hollywood, so when these same wardrobe managers who pushed for sweaters threatened to strike, the suit coat was trashed except for formal scenes on their shows.
- The suit coat gave off the vibe that the man wearing the coat was in the process of going somewhere whereas the sweater was a subtle, casual way of relaxing while on the set on and off camera.
I could go further with my reasons why male celebrities always wore sweaters, but I think that I have shared the main reasons why the sweater ruled Hollywood when it came to men's fashions. Just look at any album cover or photo of singer, Perry Como. He is wearing a sweater the majority of the time. In fact, he has worn a sweater for so long, it grew to be a part of his image as well as his body. Sad, if you want the truth.
And if the truth were known, Como's wearing a sweater allegedly became an obsession and caused him some stinging embarrassment in many areas of his life. Look at the example below.
Perry: Hey, huneee, could you come here for a moment?
Perry's wife: Sure, Perry. What's the problem?
Perry: Well, I have managed to strip off all of my clothing all except this seasonal sweater. I think it has grown to my body! And I have to sing to a group of retired sanitation workers at a big banquet in two hours.
Perry's wife: Wow!
Do you understand now with that example? Although in every photo of Perry Como he is smiling, but on the inside he is crying in desperation for being so consumed by his sweaters.
Working Without a Net, errr, Sweater
From left, Ozzie Nelson, Harriet Nelson, David Nelson and Ricky Nelson promoting their roles on the ABC television series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, circa 1956.
© 2017 Kenneth Avery