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Monday, August 17, 2020

Guest Series by Larry K. - Weigh-Ins


Editor's note:  Once again, we have Larry K. to thank for an amazing guest series.  This time the theme is weigh-in for boxing and wrestling matches.  You may have seen one or two of these before, but Larry has added context and dates to them.  Enjoy!

In the early days, fighters weighed in without a modesty towel.  This 1912 photo by Maurice Louis Branger depicts American boxer Billie Papke weighing in for a fight in France.

15 comments:

  1. Love this series. I always like getting details about a photo, especially the date it was taken. This photo of Billie Papke is my favorite. Hope he won his fight (without too much damage to that handsome face). Thanks Larry K.
    Nick

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    1. Larry reads the comments, so he'll know you liked it.

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    1. Glad you liked it, but Larry K. did the real work.

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  3. These were the days when nudity in all-male company was simply a "non-event", because every man was heterosexual and happy. In sartorial contrast to Mr Papke, a man of the time was not considered properly dressed if he was not hatted.

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    1. With the notable exceptions of cowboy hats and baseball caps, the men's hat industry in America collapsed in the 1950's, never to return.

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    2. The sales of men's hats started their decline in the 1950s. When President John F. Kennedy removed his hat at his inauguration -- and did not put it back on for the ride to the White House -- it was said the younger generation took this as an "OK" for guys to go without hats. It's part urban legend, but an old uncle of mine who owned a men's clothing store back then said there was a little truth in that statement. I quote from memory...he said "Jackie was the fashion setter, but John had some impact on the sales of men's hats."

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    3. Indeed. JFK did influence younger men, but Jackie was profoundly big on the women's fashion scene. Pillbox hats and tailored ladies' suits became de rigeur.

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  4. Two men are alone responsible for this revolution in men's attire. The first, the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, and lastly the Duke of Windsor - better known as the husband of Wallis Simpson - of whom the Poet Laureate, Sir John Betjeman CBE, wrote on the death of his father, King George V:

    Old men who never cheated, never doubted,
    Communicated monthly, sit and stare
    At the new suburb stretched beyond the run-way
    Where a young man lands hatless from the air.

    The second, John Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States of America, who never wore one in public, in defiance of custom - although his successor still did. He would be the last.

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  5. Joseph Brian ScottAugust 17, 2020 at 10:39 AM

    The gentlemen of France didn't take many pains to hide their appreciation of the young men parading around in their birthday suits in front of them, lol. But then the French have always had a reputation for being less uptight than Americans about things like that.

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    1. Right. The man in the right foreground seems to be gazing at Billie's crotch.

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  6. Delightful image. Nude weigh-ins standard procedure, nobody embarrassed by this. A pity the boxing itself wasn't done naked.

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    1. I've always wondered if they considered nude athletics when the revived the Olympic Games in the late 19th C.

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    2. I suspect some did. We know swimming in YMCAs and universities was almost always nude. Gentlemen's sports clubs of the time often had swimming, steam baths and associated gymnasia. I assume at least some of the men would exercise nude. With their widespread celebration of the Greek ideal male body would, I hope have lead to thinking that the revived Olympics should be held nude. If only they had...an opportunity sadly missed...

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    3. Like you, I'm sure some thought of it, but the idea never went anywhere.

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