Buster Keaton’s Hat ↑

Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, and Charlie Chaplin wore derby hats. Harold Lloyd rocked a straw boater. If blurry black and white film made it hard to tell the actors apart, hats helped. Film critic Roger Ebert called Buster Keaton “the greatest actor-director in the history of the movies,” and millions of fans continue to agree. The stoic stunt comic made his own modified porkpie hats by cutting down a Stetson fedora, then soaking it in sugar water before shaping it into a Keaton original. “I’ve used up thousands of them through the years.” The actor remembered in 1964. Fans snatched them off his head, theater ushers asked to borrow them during premieres, and some flew off during stunts never to be seen again. This hat, in the collection of the Natural History Museum, is inscribed to Sam Barant, insurance agent to the stars.

Photograph by Henry Leutwyler

Source: Los angeles magazine

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