what hat does chico marx wear?
January 1, 2010 9:35 PM   Subscribe

What hat does Chico Marx wear? Is it an Alpine Hat? A phrygian cap?
posted by rebent to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Chico always played an Italian so I am guessing it is an Italian style hat? He also might have modified it and punched out the top to be round.
posted by OrangeSoda at 9:46 PM on January 1, 2010

It is neither of those two. Looks like a small-brimmed fedora to me.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:53 PM on January 1, 2010

To me it looks a felt hat, maybe a fedora or a trilby, that's so old and battered and rain-damaged that the crown and peak have lost their shape. You can see the remnants of the peak in some of those photos.

I imagine to the original audience it signaled being down on your luck pretty effectively.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:18 PM on January 1, 2010

Response by poster: I don't think it is a fedora or trillby. Check out this video
posted by rebent at 10:39 PM on January 1, 2010

Looks most like one of the Alpine hats from your link.
posted by Taurid at 10:44 PM on January 1, 2010

Looks like an Alpine hat, like what an Italian from the mountains might wear.
posted by charlesv at 12:47 AM on January 2, 2010

This page is cracking me up. Look at those hat guys.

Anyway, they have loving and intimate photos of a series of velour hats that look a lot like the classic Chico chapeau.

And here they claim it is a Borsalino, which gets you a maker, if not a model.
posted by Sallyfur at 1:07 AM on January 2, 2010

I've always known the "alpine hat" as a Tyrolean hat. That said, I don't think that's what he's wearing -- too much brim in a number of the pictures. Fedora, says I.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 5:19 AM on January 2, 2010

Remember that their gimmick was that they (at least Chico and Harpo) were always very poor. So whatever hat he's wearing will have been beaten up and missing all the "correct" dimples and whatnots.

It might not be any particular style. Some hatmaker just made a hat that looked good to him. I've always had the impression that a lot of these specifications were post-facto.
posted by gjc at 6:17 AM on January 2, 2010

Response by poster: I've never seen a fedora with a top that pointed, even if it was worn out.
posted by rebent at 8:28 AM on January 2, 2010

I always thought it was just supposed to be and old fedora that had been soaked in the rain and hung to dry on a bedpost or somewhere.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:52 AM on January 2, 2010

Best answer: Notably, it's a green hat, which to me suggests an Alpine/Tyrolean type of felt hat rather than a mis-shaped fedora.

This contemporary review (i.e. from the era of hats) calls his costume "his familiar green velvet hat and jacket".

This critical biography of the Marx brothers says

Chico developed his Italian immigrant character early in vaudeville, supposedly by imitating his Italian barber ... [and] always wore the same costume: a pointed green felt hat (like a dunce cap); a closely fitted, short jacket; and corduroy pants.

I found a photo of a 1920s Italian immigrant society that shows 90% of them wearing a fedora of some type, from the broad Capone style to the battered Indiana Jones. Of interest is that even a beaten-up fedora still retains its characteristics including a roughly horizontal brim and a depressed peak. There's also a guy with you-know-who-else's hairstyle including mustache. It really was a "look"! Just for context -- Chico was representing an outlier.
posted by dhartung at 11:00 AM on January 2, 2010

Best answer: He wears different hats. Here's one with a depressed peak. This is not the same. Nor is this.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:15 PM on January 2, 2010

Response by poster: I am still not satisfied.

Take a look at their videos: http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=marx%20brothers#

Oneirodynia, this one, this one, and this one all look the same (or close enough) as the hat(s) he wears in movies aka his 'iconic' hat. This hat and this hat look look different - i think that someone just gave him a hat to wear for stock photos, for whatever mysterious reason.
posted by rebent at 1:35 PM on January 5, 2010

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