1940s, Culture, Fashion, Hair, History, Humor, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Style, Vintage

Flat Tops and the Fate of the Free World


Mercy, I could take this post in any direction with this hodgepodge group of adolescents. Instead, I want to use this forum as an opportunity to discuss industrial sites and illegal waste dumping and just get a dialogue going. No, not really. I want to talk about hair. Particular the boy in the Florence Henderson top middle spot there. That is fuh-lat. A flat top, to be precise–not to be confused with a hi-top fade.


This little guy’s would-be bangs are like little frosted gravity-defying daggers. No wonder he has such swagger. He knows he’s got game.


Men from Simon Cowell to Dolph Lundgren would later sport flat top hairstyles, but not to this extent. This stiff cut brings to mind a bed of nails.


In this group, there is an obvious loser (I’m talking to you, Gay), and it’s not because she doesn’t have a flat top. John’s smiles betrays the truth and the shame of locks gone flaccid. But Larry is the boy with the flat top, and consequently–the bright future.

57Hornet-005But Larry’s look doesn’t just happen; a cut this tight demands vigilance, constant maintenance, even weekly visits to Floyd’s Barber Shop. Otherwise, he, too, could become like John. And those are their real names.

Ever heard of the Hindenburg? The airship that caught fire? “Oh, the humanity?” Anyway, it was named after Paul von Hindenburg, the German president who was considered the only candidate who could defeat Hitler in 1932, due in part to the power of his flat top.


Hindenburg was in fact re-elected but eventually appointed Hitler Chancellor the following year, at which point, the Nazi Party began its rise to power. If his flat top had been maintained, WWII would never have happened.

And that, my friends, is one to grown on.

18 thoughts on “Flat Tops and the Fate of the Free World”

  1. Flat top haircuts were perfect for landing those small motorized planes of our youth, Kerbey. You could pretend Larry’s hairstrip was on a battleship, there to save your plane from becoming the next Hindenburg.


  2. This is one honest piece of Historical trivia. Everyone knows that men in flat tops are always above normal; or as they say in Science “aby-normal”. Look at John Glenn or Tab Hunter. I tried to get a flat top at 10, but my hair was too fine, so it failed. No matter how much pink goop I used.


    1. Fortunately, different styles came around later for you. I wouldn’t want to go to the barber every couple of weeks to maintain that. I guess that’s what hippies thought, too. When I picture John Glenn, I don’t see any hair at all. I’ll have to find him w/ hair!


      1. Good luck. I mis- spoke. I think John Glenn wore his hair high and tight all the time. I’m not sure who I was talking about. Even Alan Shepard’s doo wasn’t a true flat top. It was more a modified Hollywood. Color me FOS.


  3. I heard a comedian make this observation and I have to say it seems to ring true. Men choose their wallets and haircuts and then normally stick with them for what sometimes seems like centuries. Go to any local Walmart and check out any older man. Chances are good he Is still sporting the same style of hair cut (sometimes you get a bonus of seeing a flat top) that he had when he was 20 years old and if you ask him about his leather wallet he may even tell you its the one he made when he was trying to earn his leather tooling badge in the Boy Scouts.


    1. I guess if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Of course, Willie Nelson is the only man in his 70s who can get away with wearing braids. Unless of course you are a Cherokee leader or something.


  4. What’s with all the eyeglasses? So many of the young people back then wore them. I was supposed to wear them, still have a pair of classic cat’s eye glasses from the fifties that I never wore because I was too vain. Now I’m in my late sixties and I still won’t wear my glasses (except for drugstore reading glasses) and I think I see better than ever. Maybe you could do a post on eyeglass wearing. There certainly is enough material out there.
    Ruth from At Home on the Road


  5. Interesting and good post. At one time for my work, I was required to have a Flat top. One of 2 barbers (Jack and Jack and Uneven Steven) would trim me up every 2 weeks.


      1. I just never knew how my haircut would turn out after my visit to the Barber shop and heard flat tops are one of the most difficult styles to cut. But enough about me, have you ever sported a flat top?


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