By Bennett Owen
It’s said the world is divided into men who can wear a cowboy hat and men who can’t. Still, most of Tinseltown’s elite has donned one at least once in their careers and sometimes the headgear became just as legendary as the person wearing it. Even Fred Astaire got in on the act…
…although he probably should have stuck with the tails and top hat. Cowboy hats have been an integral part of Hollywood since 1903 and what’s commonly referred to as the world’s first feature film, The Great Train Robbery.
The folks at ‘The Last Best West’ have replicated some of the most famous cowboy hats in movie history, right down to the sweat in the band if you desire. But be warned. If you go to the site, be prepared to spend some time because it is a treasure trove. Here’s our personal short list of favorite Hollywood headgear:
Clint Eastwood – Pale Rider
Said to be a mockup of the original Stetson “Boss of the Plains” hat. This preacher’s method of conversion was to shoot first and let God sort ‘em out.
Money Quote: Coy LaHood: Do you imbibe?
The Preacher: Only after nine in the morning.
Brad Pitt – Legends of the Fall
Widely considered the movie that put Pitt on the A list. His role as Tristan has been described as ‘female Viagra.’ For my money the hat should have won an Oscar…
Money Quote: Samuel Ludlow: Still hung over?
Tristan Ludlow: Still drunk!
Val Kilmer – Tombstone
Kilmer channels Doc Holliday in one of my favorite westerns. The experts’ take on the hat: “The fedora working to the crown suggests culture and education, and the left turn up on the brim infers a dangerous bent to his personality.”
Money Quote: Why Johnny Ringo, you look like somebody just walked over your grave.
Clint Eastwood – Outlaw Josey Wales
The hat might not quite fit the Civil War era but it sure does fit Clint’s head to a Tee. Eastwood has said this is his favorite western and it certainly makes my top five.
Money Quote: Jamie: I wish we had time to bury them fellas.
Josey Wales: To hell with them fellas. Buzzards gotta eat, same as worms.
Robert Duvall – Lonesome Dove
Simply the best western movie, adapted from the best western book ever written. Duvall’s hat actually started a western cowboy craze with the up front crease.
If you’re a My-West regular you’ve seen the following clip before and you’ll see it again. Humor me.