A Word About the Porkpie

porkpie hatMy fictional private eye, Eddie Collins, wears a porkpie hat, a specific type of headwear that dates back to the 19th Century. They’re called “porkpies” because of their similarity to a type of meat pie. But there the similarity ends. As to why I chose to have Eddie wear a porkpie: the argument could be made that since he often views life through the prism of the movies, he was influenced by Gene Hackman’s Oscar-winning portrayal of the legendary Popeye Doyle in The French Connection. I won’t dispute the influence, but in the long run, I think Eddie just likes wearing hats. Other notable people famous for wearing a porkpie are Buster Keaton, the great stone-faced comedian of early silent films. The irrepressible Ed Norton, played by Art Carney on the landmark television series “The Honeymooners” topped off his usual tee shirt and vest with a porkpie. The hat has also been a cherished wardrobe piece for Fozzie Bear of the Muppets. Actor Bryan Cranston, in his alter-ego mode of “Heisenberg” in the classic AMC television show “Breaking Bad,” relished his solid black porkpie. As quoted in Wikipedia, fashion writer Glenn O’Brien says, “the porkpie hat is the mark of the determined hipster, the kind of cat you might see hanging around a jazz club or a pool hall, maybe wearing a button-front leather jacket and pointy shoes.” Eddie is no stranger to a game of pool now and then, but as for the pointy shoes and button-front leather jacket, his secretary Mavis would probably veto those wardrobe choices.

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