Keep Your Shirt On

Mike Salovesh t20mxs1 at CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU
Thu Jan 18 09:50:01 UTC 2001

Bapopik at AOL.COM wrote:
>    I was looking for my "boxer" shorts.
>    From INSTITUTE NEWS (Underwear Institute), 15 May 1939, pg. 4, col. 1:
> "You will be cooler if you
>    The idea is for the underwear manufacturers to distribute these buttons to retail knitted cotton underwear clerks throughout the country to be worn during Cotton Week.



1939 sounds a little late for the origin of such a campaign by underwear
manufacturers.  "Keep your shirt on", for them, most likely was a
reaction to the 1934 Frank Capra movie "It happened one night", starring
Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert.

The best-known bit in the film is usually called the "wall of Jericho"
scene: Gable and Colbert go to bed separated by a sheet hanging upright
between them. As he sets up the sheet, Gable calls it the wall of
Jericho.  That insubstantial barrier was somehow supposed to protect
Colbert's innocence, or something.

In the scene, Gable removes his shirt and -- (shock!) -- he is not
wearing an undershirt!  WOW!!!  Immediately after the film's release,
sales of undershirts plummeted all over the country.

The film came a little late to have caused the Depression for the rest
of the nation, but it sure was depressing for folks in the underwear

-- mike salovesh                    <salovesh at>

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