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Paul Newman's Wearing of a Sweater: How the Stylish Have Fallen

Updated on December 7, 2017
kenneth avery profile image

Kenneth is a natural-born southerner and grew up his entire life in the south where he has resided now for 63 years in Hamilton, Al.,

 Paul in 1958--even then, he had an attraction for wearing those awful sweaters.
Paul in 1958--even then, he had an attraction for wearing those awful sweaters. | Source

Paul Newman, film idol, icon, the most-super of stars, was born in 1925 and passed in 2008. He was 83. And as much as I would, in most instances, brag about Newman, his films, “Cool Hand Luke,” my favorite, and his various life adventures, I just cannot. Not won’t. Can’t. There is a distinct difference, English grammar students cramming for PhD's and sucking down that black coffee like it was Kool-Aid.

I liked Paul Newman and hated him in the same breath. He could be as subtle as Satan and sincere as The Apostle Paul. Wouldn’t you agree? From his teen-hood until his demise, no woman married, single, or just looking around was safe from those glazing, glaring blue eyes that he used to touch so many lives during his career. My eyes are hazel and no woman alive cares if I use my eyes on them for anything.

If, one of the most-powerful words in English Grammar, I had not been surfing my TV channels late last night when I viewed a news-bit where Paul Newman, before his death, directed a certain theater play in some high-level living district. I should have applauded, but I did not. Not won’t. Didn’t. There is a distinct difference for all English grammar students who are now on their third pot of black coffee sucking it down before they float to class in a few hours.

Don’t people who drink use this verb, “suck,” as in: “Bob is such a proficient drinker that he can suck down eight beers at any time he likes.” Well, anyway. When I was listening to this girl talk about Newman’s love of the theater, I saw the photo that some intern used (called a ‘still’) to go with her story and it looked awful. The photo of Newman wearing spectacles and a heavy sweater. And to top it off, he had that mushy, gushy smile on his mug that made my stomach tie in knots.

Yes, this was the best ‘still’ that “Bobby,” the intern, probably the nephew of the network’s uncle who only hired him to get his sister off of his back, used to show us a latter view of Paul Newman. What has happened to real taste in celebrity news? I can recall when celebrity news was classy, jazzy, and had a zing with the copy and the photo, have you missed those lovely cheesecake photos of Ann Margaret, Tina Louise and what about Barbara Eden? Va! Va! Va-Voom!

Am I a sexist pig? No. Just honest. And this narrative is not about the beautiful legs that are attached to the talented women that I just listed. You best hurry. I am on a tight schedule—coffee to drink and naps to take. Oh, didn’t the HubPages staff tell you that I am a busy guy? Well I am. And even if you agree with me, I don’t want this hub to sound like a commentary, but I still don’t like Paul Newman in a sweater.

But his wearing a sweater is neither here or Cardigan. But I can assume that Newman’s wife, Joanne Woodward feel something about him wearing a very heavy sweater and spectacles appearing on a showbiz news-bit show. I would. I sure would. You can count on me, Paul. But you see? I wasn’t there. I would have had a ‘still’ of you dressed in a three-piece suit, tuxedo, with matching Italian leather shoes and even have your matching tie untied. At any rate, you would have looked dynamite with a lit fuse with these suggestions . . . but no! That stupid intern, “Bobby,” put your photo with you wearing a sweater that to me was nothing short of an insult to you and an insult to all manhood of the world.

I can only sit here, sip hot black coffee in the wee hours of Dec. 7, (Pearl Harbor Day—I still hate that date in history), and ask myself why? Why did someone have such lack of knowledge on how a Hollywood icon such as yourself is really designed to look in public? And if I were any judge, I would go as far as to say that even when you and Joanne were leisuring at one of your many homes in this continent or Europe, you never stooped so low and lax to wear a sweater. Please say that you didn’t.

But alas, there was a time when I really thought that Ozzie Nelson, the “Godfather of Sweaters,” really owned a few sweater factories in China and imported them here for sale in the U.S.A. He might have. We have no records to the contrary. Do you?

Ozzie wore a variety of sweaters; Rick wore sweaters and even Dave, the rowdy brother, wore sweaters—but that was only because Ozzie, I found out via Dave on The Robert Downey, Jr. Talk Show years ago that Ozzie beat him and cursed him unmercifully so much that Dave almost had a mental break down. But in Oz’s hey day, Child Abuse was so secretive that even if Dave had squealed, no one that famous and powerful as Ozzie would serve one day in jail. And we call this a free and fair democracy. In a pig’s eye.

Wish I could say that I am sorry for that last paragraph, but I am not. I just do not like every man who breathes—especially the Paul Newman’s of the world who are so wealthy and influential that they can or think that they can wear a sweater and it be cool. Hey, Joanne, it is not cool now or ever for your late husband to be seen in a photo or film wearing a heavy sweater and spectacles. Maybe your love for Paul was just too deep to care how he looked. Was that the real reason you did not complain? Or was it society that suddenly went soft when it came to men wearing men clothing such as suits, jeans, slacks and shoes? Someone please settle me down for I need to know.

And if the Nelsons’ wearing sweaters all in tow with Ozzie, on CBS, another conspiracy was brewing. That Sweater Conspiracy was spawned by Fred MacMurray also known as “Steven Douglas,” aeronautical engineer and widower with three sons. Oops! I said it trying to be cute. “My Three Sons.” By the way, the “Douglas” family had a live-in uncle named, “ Bub,” played by a grumpy, short-tempered Hollywood man’s man: William Frawley also known as “Fred Murtz,” in those “I Love Lucy” sitcoms. And in no show of “My Three Sons” or “I Love Lucy,” did Frawley/Bub ever show up in public with a slack-jawed sweater. (To keep myself out of trouble, I acknowledge that phrase, “slack jawed” used by Jesse “Blain” Ventura, in the film, “Predator.” Thanks, Jesse, for allowing me to use that great line). But uh, oh! I did see maybe twice that Desi “Ricky Ricardo” Arnaz, did wear a sweater when he and the gang were smoking cigarettes and having coffee. Ethel, played by Vivian Vance, never smoked or wore a sweater.

Can you tell by now that I am upset? Angry? Tipping from mildly-overcome with irritation? If you can answer yes by one or two of these questions, you are a sharp-minded reader. And one who appreciates the purity of life. And the purity and realism of Paul Newman who now is being laughed at somewhere in dark places in Hollywood, probably in Abilene, Texas, for wearing a dumpy sweater. I wish if “Bobby,” the nervous intern were going to mess up, why didn’t he give Paul a ‘still” with him wearing a plain white tee-shirt with a cigarette in the left of his mouth and a cold beer in his right hand? A real man’s man. The general public is now very tolerant. And very non-judgmental. But little “Bobby”has made his mark in Hollywood alright. Even if Paul Newman really faked his death and wants to see Joanne, he had best not show up in a sweater.

Oh, before I retire for bed, I have proof that even the hard-working genius, Bill Bixby wore a sweater. Yep. Right there in public and did not say I am sorry. He just put it out there. I think that I had a piece not so long ago about Perry Como being the “Prince of Sweaters,” but that was about Perry. Not Paul.

Perry has had his day in the sun. So has Paul. But of the two, I would bet you right here and now that if he were to come back to life by some miracle we will never see him donned in an ugly sweater anymore.

At least as long as I am alive.

P.S. I do NOT own any sweaters.


Paul Newman in Carnation, Washington June 2007. In this photo, he is wearing shades--very cool look in my judgment.
Paul Newman in Carnation, Washington June 2007. In this photo, he is wearing shades--very cool look in my judgment. | Source

© 2017 Kenneth Avery

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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      9 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Kari -- Here at 2:06 a.m., CST., Dec. 13, thank you sincerely for your nice and sweet comment. Paul does look better with his shades--more manly than with the sweater in the above photo. He looks a lot like a brat in that photo, but I had better be quiet before I start up again. Thanks, Kari, for your Friendship. Write me anytime and Merry CHRISTmas to you and Yours.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      9 months ago from Ohio

      LOL, Kenneth, I love reading your rants! I would agree, Paul looks better with his shades than with his sweater. :)

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