A British wax sculptor working for an American waxwork museum on a waxwork of cowboy legend John Wayne was in need of the right kind of stetson for the deceased Hollywood actor’s formidable bonce. Mike Wade, world-renowned Bridport wax sculptor, contacted Roger Snook of Bridport Hatters to seek advice. Mr. Wade was trying to locate the exact hat worn by Mr. Wayne in the film ‘Hondo’.
Mr. Snook advised him to contact various American hat manufacturers, for which he willingly supplied him with contact details. However, when searching for a Stetson Hat called ‘Boss of the Plains’, one American supplier informed him that, yes, they could provide the stetson, but delivery would take up to 20 weeks. This was not acceptable to Mr. Wade’s client, The Hollywood Wax Works Museum.
So Mr. Wade went back to Roger and was told that, yes indeed, T. Snook could provide the exact stetson required, in the rather large size requested. They happened to have some old stock of stetsons, including a Boss of the Plains.
The result was that a classic American cowboy hat was supplied by a small hat shop in Dorset, rather than a large shop in Texas; and that the legend of John Wayne lives on, though with little support from the Land of the Free. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance would presumably have done so in a baseball cap, had that film been made in modern times.
Fans of hats, Dorset and festivals may be interested in attending the
Bridport Hat Festival on 16th-18th September 2011