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Boys Costumes Depicted in Television Shows: Alphabetical "L" Listings

Figure 1.--One of the longest running TV adventure show was Lassie. It was first telcast in 1954 and continued through 1971. The central story of this series was the relationship between a boy and his faithful dog collie--Lassie. Over such a long period the show went through two child cactors (Tommy Rettig and Jon Provost) and an unknown number of Lassies. Unlike his Yorkshiere owner, Lassie's American ownes always wore long pants--usially jeans. Notice Jon's jeans and Keds.

HBC will list TV series alphabetically here to make them easier to find. TV shows, except for American TV shows, are generally not well know in countries other than in the countries in which they were made. They are also much more current than movies. Almost all TV shows date from the 1950s at the earliest. Costume dramas have the same problems as in the movies, but a great deal of useful information is avialible from TV shows set in contemporary periods. As non-American TV shows are not as widely distributed as movies, often little information is available on these shows outside each country. Movies are often widely distributed in foreign countries. TV shows, with the exceptiion of American programs, are generally not. As an American, we have, for example, never seen German, French, and Italian TV shows. Thus the TV pages provide a much-needed source of information on foreign programing.

Lassie (U.S., 1954-71)

One of the longest running TV adventure show was Lassie. It was first telcast in 1954 and continued through 1971. The central story of this series was the relationship between a boy and his faithful dog collie--Lassie. Over such a long period the show went through two child cactors (Tommy Rettig and Jon Provost) and an unknown number of Lassies. Lassie, although a major prime-time program of the time, it is rarely seen in sindication, in sharp contrast to other contemporary programs with much shorter runs. As the show lasted for such a long time, you would think it would be a showcase for changing boys' fashions, but the costuming seems stuck in the late 1950s. The main character Heff and then Timmy as well as their friends always seems to wear a colored shirt, jeans with a cuff, and keds. Timmy always wore long pants jeans. The only time HBC knows that a boy on Lassie wore short pants was when Timmy's family hosted a boy from England. Lassie - (US, 1954- ) Rather maudlin show, but the various incarnations had an amazingly long run. Interestingly the show has not done well in syndication. The first master was Jeff (Tommy Rettig), 1954-57-58?. In particular I remember a kind of shout that he an his friends had, "E-Aw-Kee". As Tommy was getting older, he was replaced by Timmy (John Provost) in the third year of the show about 1957?. Typical 1950s presentation of a cohesive family. The boys always wore long pants, usually jeans. The only exceptions I can recall were some nicely mannered foreign boys. Certainlly Lassie's American owners and their friends never wore shorts.

(The) Last Electric Knight - (US, 1986)

A Disney movie spinoff has Gil Gerard playing guardian to a half-pint size karate champ. The show name was changed to "Sidekicks." The boy sometimes wears shorts, especially for his karate workouts. Several friends are woven into the story.

Laurie Hill - (US, 1992)

I never saw this, but it was a family sitcom with a little guy about 6 or so. It must not have been popular as it didn't last long.

(The) Lawrenceville Stories - (US, 1986)

"The Lawrenceville Stories" (1986) was a TV mini-series shown on PBS as an American Playhouse Production directed by Robert Iscone. The Lawrenceville School is a famous eastern prep school in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, with quite a long tradition behind it. The school was founded in 1810 as the Maidenhead Academy and after various vicissitudes refounded in 1883 with its present name. One of its graduates was the novelist Owen Johnson (1878-1952) who wrote a number of much-beloved stories based on the schoolboy pranks of his own boyhood

(A) League of Their Own - (US, 1993)

Based on the film about a woman's baseball league. I found it a particularly poor sitcom, just a series of sarcastic lines. Incredibly there is a horrid little blond boy about 6. For some reason he appears in shorts, white knee socks, and strap sandals. It is highly unusual for the kids in American sitcoms to appear in shorts, but outfits like this are particularly rare.

Leave it to Beaver (U.S., 1957-63)

Beaver and his friends wear "T" shirts. plaid shirts, and jeans. His older brother Wally who after the firstvyears goes to highschool wears slacks. The boys never wear short pants with two exceptions. Aunt Martha who takes care of the boys, unsists that Beaver wear a short panrs suit. Wally in one episode appears in a short pants Scout uniform goung to summer camp. The photograph of Beaver in the linked page is the only still full length picture of Beaver in his shorts suit I've ever seen. A couple of portraits, but nothing of the suit. You know, it's surprising how many "Leave It to Beaver-philes" recall this episode. WTBS about a dozen or so years back ran "Beaver" perennially, and just recently TV Land included this series in its line up. Both networks from time to time have had marathons of Beaver, and other shows, but when it came to a Beaver marathon, you could always depend on "Beaver's Short Pants" to be included.

Life on the Australian Prarie - (Australia, 1996)

"Life on the Australian Prairie" is the Anerican release title of "The Valley Between", an Australian mini-series. Our general approach is to include mini-series under movies.

Life With Lucy - (US, 1986)

Typical Lucy-type show, an embarrassing return for her. The show is worthless. The cast includes her grandson.

Little House on the Prairie - (US)

The first years were full of girls, but Michael Landon eventually added a boy to the series, presumably to broaden its appeal. In one episode was when a spoiled Eastern boy was sent to leave with his uncle, which was the store keeper with his obnoxious wife. The wife of course is the perfect overbearing female to put a boy in the hands of. The nephew arrives in a velvet suit and lace collar. The lady soon has her son in a similar velvet suit, to the boy's great horror. She orders it by mail and rushes up to the boy's room with his new suit so he can try it on. In another scene he gets into a fight with the local boys who rip it off him. Peter Billingsly, Clay O'Brian, Matthew Labrouioux (young Charles).

Little Lord Fauntleroy - (UK, 1994)

The BBC apparently introduced a series based on the Little Lord Fauntleroy story. Cedric was played by Michael Benz who is about 11 or 12. He has long blond hair, although not curled, and appears in a velvet suit with a frilly lace collar--although not short pants. He also wears a sailor suit. When asked about his clothes Michael said, "The clothes are really attractive and smart--and great for cold weather, but seriously, I wouldn't wear them and I can't see the fashion catching on!"

Lost in Space (U.S., 1965-68)

A reader reports that all the characters were well-defined, and developed as the show went on. (Unfortunately, Dr. Smith developed from villain to jerk.) The Robot developed a personality all it's own and it sometimes seemed as though he and Dr. Smith were a space-age comedy team. Milly Mummy played the boy and modeled space age fashions. Lost In Space initialy stayed on the thin line between science fiction and fairy tales-but as the show went on, it crossed over into the fairy tale realm much too often. I rather liked this series, but it was sometimes a bit too flippant. The cast Will (Billy Mumy) who often had important roles in episodes along with Dr. Smith and the robot. ("Danger Will Robinson") Will was always very mannerly, quite a contrast to boys on TV now. I wonder if it would've gotten so corny and silly if it hadn't been on opposite Batman for a year and a half? "That does not compute!"

Figure 2.--Prince John is seen here with one of his brothers, Prince George, to whom in real life he was very close. The image in the BBC production 'The Lost Prince'.

(The) Lost Prince (England, 2003)

The BBC in 2002 produced a fascinating multi-episode series based on thge life of Prince John, the youngest son of King George V and Queen Marry. Prince John is one of the least discussed prince in British history. Another wasr, the prince's uncle had he survived--Albert Victor, the eldest son of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. The two were both quietly burried on the Sandringham estate. Prince John was the sixth and last child of King George V and Queen Mary. John was was born in 1905 and is the least known of George V's five sons because of his tragically short life. John was an epileptic. It is also alleged that he suffered from some form of mental retardation. He was a special favorite of his grandmother, Quenn Alexandra, perhaps because of his handicaps. He was finally separated from the family where he was cared for by his devoted nurse, Lala Bill. He died in his 13/14th year after an epileptic seizure. HBC has not yet seen the BBC production. As a result we do not know how the relatiinship between the Prinve and his parents was handled. Nor do we kmnow how the relationship with his brothers was dealt with. Prince John was especially close to his brother Prince George. His grandmother Queen Alexandra was reportdly espcially close to him. Many portraits show Prince John wearing dresses and kilts. Available image from the program primarily show him wearing sailor suits with kneepants. A HBC reader tells us, "Regarding dresses, there were none. It was sailor suits all the way." The Prince is often shown in Jack Tar caps with his sailor suits.


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Created: May 25, 2000
Last updated: 12:45 AM 2/3/2008