Missing Any Hair?

January 5th, 2010

Yesterday afternoon, I was perusing some books that I haven’t looked at in awhile, though I have lugged them with me from house to house.   There are a few books that I just will never give up, as they are from a time when I was a sound designer for the theater and I have fond memories.

The following is from an instructional book on Theatrical Makeup.  Richard Corson’s Stage Makeup has a line drawing reference that includes the hairstyles of ladies and men throughout the years to help the makeup crew finish off the look for historical plays and film.    Do you notice anything amiss with this?


A few of you may have pointed a finger at the gentleman from 1962 with his faux handlebar mustache.  That could have been considered something that was just plain wrong, though it was actually not an error.  Just picture him with a natty tweed jacket and a pipe to transform him into everyone’s favorite college professor.  He could also be a sitcom eccentric uncle.

While this illustration is not meant to be exhaustive of all the possible hairstyles that someone could have had throughout history, there is one glaring omission. It appears, according to this, that there was only one hairstyle for men during the entire 1940s!   It was a slightly parted down the middle style full of pomade.  I definitely recall the style from a variety of early 40s films.  But wait…aren’t they leaving out one hugely iconic hairstyle?

During WWII, the short cuts of the enlistees was everywhere.  Of course, on the stage of war, but back home, too.   In fact, my grandfather has maintained this hairstyle since he was a private in the Army.   There were a couple of dicey years in the 70s where it was about 1 1/2 longer and his sideburns were 7 millimeters longer, as that was the decade of letting it all grow out.  Maybe it wasn’t the times, but because his grandchildren, like me, drove him crazy, and he was too busy to go to the barber.

Since the illustrations end with an entire page of styles from 1989, which is entertainment all its own, perhaps the author decided that the 40s were not a banner decade for hair.   Perhaps, it was felt that it was just “more of the same” and the decade was just a holdover from the 1930s.  I would like to think that it just didn’t have its heydey with reenactors until the 90s, as surely there was much more to talk about than what the chart lets on.

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