Thursday, June 22, 2006

Boxers or Briefs?

"Life is like a B movie: It's stupid, it's strange, it's a directionless story, the dialogue is lame, but in the 'he said, she said' sometimes there's some poetry, if you turn your back long enough and let it happen naturally."

-Ani Difranco

I think I have shared here on Ellipsis that I love old movies, especially the classic, black/white comedies. There is nothing like that humor, it is certainly difficult to find movies today, that can carry off the simplicity of those wonderful old films. It totally makes my day to relax in front of a good black & white comedy, or maybe sometimes, something kind of spooky depending on my mood. So, it wouldn't be a big surprise to learn that while I was up in the wee hours of the morning, the other day, working on my blog and making some forward progress on my book, I was also tuned into Turner Classic Movies watching one of my very favorite of the old movie comedies,"Abbott And Costello Meet The Invisible Man."

The popcorn was popped, and I was sitting back enjoying the very best of all worlds. A slightly spooky movie, that also contained some wonderful humor. What more could a movie buff ask for? :) I was in classic film bliss. About a third of the way through the movie however, something occurred to me. It was a curious thought to be sure. I wasn't even sure why I had noticed it this time,as opposed to the dozen or more times before that I had seen this film, but there it was, plain as the nose on one's face. Was it a censor thing? Was it an oversight on the part of the screenwriter? I wasn't quite sure, all I really knew was that I had found a new element within that film to laugh about, and a whole new layer to consider. See, I all of a sudden realized that the Invisible Man, that Abbott and Costello met, walked around commando.

Now by commando, I don't mean he walked around with large, intimidating weaponry in his hands, no I mean he didn't wear any underwear underneath his finely tailored slacks. Now in all fairness, he was being pursued by the police after being falsely accused of a murder he didn't commit. So he did have a lot more on his mind then remembering to put on his, Hanes or Fruit of the Looms. After all, Madison Avenue didn't have catchy little advertising jingles for undies back then like, "You Can't Over Love Your Underwear." If they had, he probably would have put some thought into what he wore underneath it all. Especially since after he swallowed the potion that made him invisible, he was going to be undressing in front of private eye, Lou Francis, played by, Lou Costello.

It is quite the mystery don't you think? What do you suppose a well dressed man, such as the invisible man, would have worn back then? Do you think he was a briefs man or a boxers kinda guy? Or did he in fact go around commando? I know there are more important questions in the grand scheme of things, but I am kinda curious about this one, because it presents an interesting question about censorship, and what may or may not have been considered acceptable in 1951.

If in fact it did have to do with censorship, and there was some rule about what articles of clothing were deemed unreasonable for removal back then, why stop with the undies? Why not simply have the invisible man step behind a curtain or maybe a screen? Wouldn't watching the invisible man's silhouette slowly disappear behind a screen be kind of eerie to watch? Maybe, maybe not. Still, I wish I knew the answer either way. I know one thing for sure...I will probably never think of the invisible man the same way again. Isn't that great, to be able to find something new, and of interest from a fine old film that was already wonderful...just the way it was? :)

During the deluge of boring summer repeats and silly reality programs, try something different, try picking out a fine old film, and enjoy it for all the reasons that make classic films CLASSIC! And don't forget to tell me what you think. What do you say...Boxers or Briefs?

Turner Classic Movie Schedule June 2006



Dakota said...

Certainly an intriguing question, and one which I look forward to pondering for weeks to come. That said, I'd definitely cast my vote for boxer briefs over anything else.

DesLily said...

lol, do i really want to know where your mind was when you discovered this little known fact? LOL!..

I watch TMC often, although I have most likely seen every movie at least once, for some reason I always feel like I am watching "a new movie".. maybe because they are seen less frequently..but i love love love when they dig deep and pull one out that hasn't been on in years!!

Wil said...

Way too much time on your hands, young lady. The answer has more to do with history than anything else. During WWII, the rubber needed for elastic was in short supply, so almost every male wore boxers, and droopy ones, at that. Many of the stay at homes never switched, either.

In order to pull off the invisible special fx, your invisible man had to wear a light blue body suit, much like a union suit.

There -- more than you wanted to know.

Carly said...

Hey Wil :)

I love it when folks come by with accurate information from a historical perspective. :) Being a history buff I always prefer the actual explaination to life's fun little mysteries. This film was released in 1951, so I am not quite 100% sure that the studio would have had a hard time finding undies with elastic that long after the conclusion to WWII, but the blue suit explains a lot. LOL
While I am quite the history buff, I admit I don't look into the genre of entertainment too often to discover how it's secrets were accomplished. You have inspired me to broaden my horizons. :-)

Always, Carly

Suzanne R said...

I think I would have been wide awake after noticing that little detail in a movie I was watching in the early morning hours! LOL! Very interesting information, especially for a widow deprived of having a man around who wears either boxers or briefs. ;-)

fdtate said...

I think you should do a study of all the Invisible Man movies...boxers, briefs, or commando, then brief us (pun intended) on the results.