Sunday, July 5, 2009
Black Rebel Jacket Club
“Hey Johnny What Are You Rebelling Against?”
The Answer: “What Have You Got?”
In the 20th century the black leather jacket achieved iconic status, in major part through film. Specifically Marlon Brando's Johnny Strabler character And his free-spirited motorcyle gang, the Black Rebels Motorcycle Club in The Wild One (1953). The sale of black leather jackets and motorcycles reached new heights after the film's release, and motorcycles became a symbol of youth rebellion. The film's poster of Brando leaning on his motorcycle remains a best-seller. Here’s a clip form “The Wild One”:
As such, these all served to popularize leather jackets in American and British youth from the "greaser" subculture in the 1950s and early 1960s. In the 1970’s this style of jacket was popularized by Henry Winkler’s character "The Fonz" in the television series "Happy Days". The Fonz's leather jacket is now housed in the Smithsonian Institution, and the Grease movie duo has also since popularized leather jackets with their T-Birds male clique. In The Who’s movie version of the rock opera ‘Tommy’ the cousin Kevin character wears a black leather motorcycle jacket that is heavily embossed with studs. With the explosion of punk rock the black leather jacket became a potent symbol for many punk stars including the Ramones and Sid Vicious.
The rock star leather jacket
There are many more examples of iconic leather jackets worn in popular culture, such as the one worn by the T-800 character of The Terminator movies and the longer ¾ length trench coat style worn by action heroes such as Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne in The Matrix films. Another example is the leather jackets worn by Brad Pitt in the movie Fight Club, where the antagonist Tyler Durden constantly appears with different variations of his 'red' leather jacket. Other famous leather jacket icons include those worn by members of the Black Panthers in the 1960s and 1970s and punk rock groups such as the Ramones, Patti Smith and Sex Pistols Sid Vicious and Steve Jones. Jones actually swapped his leather jacket with Sid, hence Sid’s jacket has ‘Steve’ written on it a la Marlon Brando’s ‘Wild One’ jacket.
Famous leather Jacket quotes.
-Sid Vicious suicide note:
WE HAD A DEATH PACT.
I HAVE TO KEEP MY SIDE OF THE BARGAIN.
PLEASE BURY ME NEXT TO MY BABY.
BURY ME IN MY LEATHER JACKET JEANS AND MOTORCYCLE BOOTS GOODBYE”
-Nicolas Cage in Wild At Heart:
“This is a snakeskin jacket! And for me it's a symbol of my individuality, and my belief... in personal freedom”.
“Long hair minimizes the need for barbers, socks can be done without: one leather jacket solves the coat problem for many years”