Spencer Tracy’s rule for acting, number two, is don’t trip over the props. This might be a problem for Jon Hamm. In a bit of slow news day genius, his show leaked the information that the actor has been requested to wear underwear on the set. A rep for Mr. Hamm said: “It is ridiculous and not really funny at all. I’d appreciate you taking the high road and not resorting to something childish like this that’s been blogged about 1,000 times.”
This was an issue when Tallulah Bankhead was making “Lifeboat”. Other performers complained about the thespian not wearing panties. Director Alfred Hitchcock wondered if this was a matter for wardrobe, or a matter for hairdressing.
This concern about foundation garments, conveniently arising during the pre-easter shopping season, made PG wonder when men started to wear drawers. Could this be the result of manufacturers inventing demand for a product? Wikipedia says the loincloth is thousands of years old. A footnote, about the invention of the jockstrap, led to an English article, A brief history of pants: Why men’s smalls have always been a subject of concern.
“In 1935, the first Jockey briefs went on sale in Chicago. Designed by an “apparel engineer” called Arthur Kneibler (working at the time for Coopers Inc), the arrival of the first underpants denuded of any legs and featuring a Y-shaped opening has been compared with the 1913 invention of the bra, or the 1959 debut of tights. In three months, 30,000 were sold. Coopers, now known as Jockey International, sent its “Mascul-line” plane to make special deliveries of “masculine support” briefs to retailers across the United States. When the Jockeys arrived in Britain in 1938, they sold at the rate of 3,000 per week.”
One popular brand of underwear is the BVD. This was originally made by Bradley, Voorhees & Day, hence the name. They are not named for Bovine Viral Diarrhea. Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.