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

Figure 1.--This looks like A.J. Wentworth, a fun commedy set in an English preparatory school.

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.

Walt Disney - (US, 1954- )

Of course Disney has now has an entire cable network for its programing, but it began in 1954 with "Disneyland". It was an instant hit and helped to nguarantee the success of the stugglind ABC network--which it eventually purchased in the 1990s. "Disneyland" and the many other manifestations of Disney is the longest running primetime series on American television. Walt himself would introduce many of the programs until he died in 1966. It was a relevation at the time, a prime-time TV show for kids. It also respresented the first plunge into television by a major Hollywood movie studio. Disneyland was an anthology. Ther were segments built around the themes of the original Disneyland Park: Adventurelamd, Frontierland, Futureland, and Natureland. {I'm not sure about the precise names here.] The best known was undoubtedly "The Adventures of Davy Crockett"--starting a coonskin sensation in the 1950s. A series in which there was suprisingly a good bit of historical accuracy. Not mentioned, however, was the fact that Davy's father sold hom into servitude when he was 12 years old. There were quite a number of programs with Western themes in the initial Disney programs. Gradually the emphasis shifted to nature, often stieies about animals. There were several programs about animals which often had a human side kick. A good example was, "Sammy the Way Out Seal">. Another series was "Gallagher" which appeared on the "Wonderfull World of Disney". There were many presentations of classics, like "Trasure Island" and "Babes in Toyland". The various maifestations of Walt Disney include: "Disneyland" (1954-58), "Walt Disney Presents" (1958-61), "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color" (1961-69), "The Wonderful World of Disney" (1969-79), and "Disney's Wonderful World" (1979- ). The Disney channel used to run many of its classic TV programs. For some reason in 2003 Disney had decided to stop running these older shows.

(The) Waltons - (US)

A reasonable look at children's clothing in the 1930s and 40s. The boys usually appeared in overalls.. They never wear shorts, although if I remember right, they are sometimes seen in knickers when they dressed up a bit. Once a German Jewish refugee family moves into the county. The boy is seen in shorts and knee socks.

Watch Mr. Wizard - (US)

Excellent early kids TV show where Don Herbert (Mr. Wizard) instructs kid about science. Remade years later as "Mr. Wizard's World". This was a wonderful show, but I can't recall how the boys dressed.

(AJ) Wentworth, BA - (UK, 1982)

"AJ WEntworth" was an amusing British sitcom set in a British prep school. The boys are quite charming. They all wear traditional uniforms, including short trousers and kneesocks. I don't remember any episodes that actually dealt with clothing. There were only six episodes made. The series was based on stories written by H.F. Ellis, which first appeared in the satirical English magazine Punch. The tories were then compiled into two books, The Papers of A J Wentworth, BA (1949) and The Papers of A J Wentworth, BA (Ret'd) (1962). The series were the misadventures of math master (teacher) of dodling A.J. Wentworth BA. He taught at a boys' preparatorty school--Burgrove. A British prep school is school for children 8-13 years of age. The stories are set in the 1940s at which time these schools were mostly single gender schools, usually boarding schools in rural settings. Wentworth was liked by the boys, but often had trouble maintaing discipline. He had an obsession with the up-keep of the school's honour and amusingly the high cost of pen nibs. He was forever matching wits with boys. His real nemesis, however, was the humorless Matron who ws less popular with the boys. The series rather reminded one of Jennings, although not set around one of th oys as the main character. The Wentworth series had a sad footnote. The series was the final one for the masterful, Arthur Lowe who was best known for his part of Captain Mainwaring in Dads Army and previously Mr Swindley in Coronation Street during the 1960s. The Wentworth series was recorded just a few weks before Lowe's untimely death.

Who's the Boss - (US)

Danny Pintarro plays Jonathan. He wears contemprary fashions. As a younger boy he had bangs, a popular hair style at the time. He rarely has a big role. He did appear once in a Boy Scout-type uniform. There are only a few episodes that touched upon clothing. One is a flash back to the old housekeeper, a real monster of a German woman who Jonathan is terrified of. His grandmother comes in and asks for him. The housekeeper replies, "Don't go near him. I just cleaned him." He is wearing a white shirt and bow tie. Grandmother knocks grape juice on him and he is terrified that the housekeeper will see the stains on his shirt. He acts it up quite nicely. In another episode, Jonathan his being bullied at school. His mother offers to go to school to complain. Tony and her mother talk her out of it. Jonathan finally makes friends and gets in with the wrong crowd. His mother objects to his new hairstyle. "But he looked so darling before," she complains. Her mother offers, "You can't dress him like the little Dutch boy for the rest of his life." With his new friend, he gets into trouble at school. I was watching the football game on Thanksgiving and fell asleep. When I woke up there was an Opreh Wenfrey interview on with children on TV shows. They were mostly girls, but also two boys. One boy was Jonathan, from "Who's the Boss". There was another TV boy, but I not sure what show he was on. Both were a real pleasure to listen to. The "Who's the Boss" boy was asked about girl friends. He said he had one and took her to the movies. The interviewer asked him jokingly if he was involved in any heavy action (what a question!). You should have seen the poor boy blush and the amazed expression he had on his face. The other boy answered a question about any costume they objected to. Apparently he had to appear in underwear and a long shirt. It seems he was really embarrassed about it. In another episode on his series, he tried to get Tony and his mother to marry. They try to explain the difficulties, but he couldn't understand them.

Weird Science - (US, 199?-??)

A HBC reader reports that two teenage boys are turned into girls I have, however, little information on the program.

Figure 2.--Was an early evening comedy centred on Chiselbury School (‘For the Sons of Gentlefolk'). This was good family entertainment and stared ‘Professor’ Jimmy Edwards. His best friends were the cane and a glass of beer.

Whacko! (UK, 1950s)

Was an early evening comedy centred on Chiselbury School (‘For the Sons of Gentlefolk'). This was good family entertainment and stared ‘Professor’ Jimmy Edwards, who played a sort of headmaster equivalent of Sergeant Ernie Bilko in that he was always looking for a means to finance his horse-betting among other things. His best friends were the cane and a glass of beer. Co-staring was Arthur Howard (brother of actor Leslie) who played Oliver Pettigrew the long suffering assistant headmaster. Whacko! Also featured a group of boys who were unfortunate enough to have been sent to the school by their parents. Their uniform consisted of a grey blazer, long grey trousers and the obligatory school cap.

Wild Palms - (US, 1993)

Surrealistic sci-fi TV show about America in the year 2007. A senator and his virtual reality TV are taking over America. There are two boys in the show (Cody and Peter), both are about 12 years old. They wear shorts nearly all the time, although Cody's shorts are sometimes long below the knee shorts. Cody, is in with the Fathers--i.e., the bad guys. He has a sailor suit with shorts, albeit long ones that come down nearly to his white knee socks. The sailor suit is more of a officer's cap which he wears with a blue blazer, but still it is a sailor suit. Cody appears in other shorts outfits, including a grey suit jacket and matching shorts. The one time that he appears in a really dressy black suit he wears longs. Peter is in with the Friend--i.e., the good guys. He always appears in the same outfit a tan shirt worn with light grey shorts. Interestingly both he always wears dark ankle socks and brown leather shoes. Considerable thought must have been given to these outfits as dark socks and leather shoes are not normally worn by kids nowadays.

Wind At My Back (Canada)

Wind at My Back is as the producers say is set in "The Dirty 30s". This show is not to bad but the older episodes were more accurate than the newer ones. In the newer episodes it becomes more of a soap. There is a site link on that will take you to the "Wind At My Back" site. This currently airs on Sunday nights between 6-8 pm on the CBC.

Wishbone - (US, 1995- )

Nice PBS production about a boy and his dog, Wishbone. The show is about classic books and is narrated by Wishbone. Two boys are involved in the plot, both about 12 or 13. Both boys usually wear shorts-- the long baggy type. The real science stealer, however, is Wishbone--a little Jack Russell Terrier.

Wives and Daughters - (UK, ??)

A HBC reader reports, "I just finished watching "Wifes and Daughters" by ???? on PBS Masterpeice Theater. In the last episode the grandson of one of the characters appears. He looks to be about 3 years old. In the first scene he wears a dress. In the second scene he wears trousers and a jacket and in the last scene in a green dress that is laced up the back. The last scene is at a party so maybe the dresses were for formal wear." This is interesting because one of the questions we have about the breaching process is whether all a boys clothes were hanged when he was breached or if boys for a while wore both skirted garments and trousers. And if this was the case what determiined which garment was selected for different occassions.

Women! - (US, 1959)

CBS sponsored a series of programs entitled 'WOMEN!' The programs as the title indicated was focused on women's issues. It was not a prime-time series. It did not air in prime time, but in the late-afternoon after school. It was not a series I was aware of even though I was watching a good bit of television at the time. One of the programs was 'You can't raise your children by the book'. It aired December 16, 4:00-5:00 PM EST. It was spoonsored by Dow Chemical's Saran Wrap. Opera singer Patrice Munsel, her son Rhett, 4, and Mrs. Gladyse Russel and her son , Biff, 6, pose at a Bronx (N. Y.) film studio. Mrs. Russell and her boy are the central figures, in the case study of 'You can't raise children by the book', the next 'WOMAN!' program, Wesnesday. Miss Munsel is hostess. The boys are dressed differently. Rhett wears a casual long pants outfit. Biff wears a snappy short pants suit.

Wonderworks - (US)

Series on PBS, but sometimes carrying foreign shows. I've entered the individual shows in "TV Specials".

*(The) Wonder Years - (US, 1988-93)

A delightful TV show about boyhood. It depicts a boy growing up in suburbia during the turbulent 1960s. The main character is a delightful 12-yearold, brilliantly played by Fred Savage. He even wears shorts when he is playing with his friends, unusual for American TV kids who very rarely appear in shorts. There is a nice scene where Fred and his whimpy friend Paul are sitting on his bed, both in short pants, reading a facts of life book. The quickly hide it when mom comes into the room. He has a big brother who bullies him and a big sister who is a pre-hippy. It really deals realistically with a boy just passing into adolescence as he is entering junior high school. A real delight to watch. The pilot ended with a very tender kiss between the boy and his first girl friend. By 1991 Fred is definitely growing up. There was a rather scene in a 1992 episode about his American rite of passage--getting his driving license. He had trouble with parallel parking. In his imagination he saw him self as Little Bo Peep, outfitted in a frilly dress, pinafore, long blond curls, and girlish hat.

Wonderwoman - (US)

Lance Kerwin

Worzel Gummidge - (UK, 1978-8?)

A HBC reader reports that he loved the program Worzel Gummidge as a kid. HBC at this time, however, has little information about this program. Worzel Gummidge was a scaregrow. The story begins when John, Sue and Mr. Peters are all driving to their new home, a Romany (gypsy) Caravan at Scatterbrook Farm, John sees a Scarecrow in a field.He claims that it move. Later John persuades his sister to go back to the field, called Ten-Acre field to have a closer look at the Scarecrow, but it starts raining. With no other option, other than to get soaked, John asks the Scarecrow if they can borrow his umbrella. The Scarecrow replies with a deep ‘OO - AARR!’ and the terrified children run off home. Later that evening Worzel heads off for Scatterbrook Farm to get umbrella back and anything else he can find.

Worzel Gummidge - (UK, mid-1980s)

A new series of Worzel Gummidge was produced in New Zealand in the mid-1980s. We have no details on the production at this time.


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Created: June 2, 2001
Last updated: 12:31 AM 1/13/2020