Ah, the 1970s – it was the best of times and the worst of times. In terms of good clothes and decent style, it was perhaps more of the latter. While I suspect many would agree with this assessment, the 70s were not a complete loss. Take the slowly disappearing art of the roast. Style may have been on the decline but the classic roast was alive and well.
I’ve embedded a YouTube clip of a Dean Martin Roast of the Hour featuring the comedian Don Rickles. The broadcast is undated but circa early 1970s I believe. The dress code is black tie albeit with the exaggerated proportions of the 70s in full force.
Other celebrities and personalities on the dais in this clip: Joe Namath, Angie Dickinson, Paul Lind, Gene Kelly, Jimmy Stewart (in a shawl collar dinner jacket), Bob Hope, Orson Welles, John Wayne (in a 3 piece dinner suit), Muhammad Ali, Sen. Hubert Humphrey, Howard Cosell. Rickles’ one-liner on Namath and Dickinson contains a double entendre for the ages.
A few restrained standouts can be found. Gene Kelly and Jimmy Stewart were the sartorial standouts along with the arch-conservative Sen. Barry Goldwater. Make a note at 1:24 and 1:56 in the clip of Barry Goldwater wearing a blue OCBD shirt with his tuxedo. You might remember the very same blue shirt idea mentioned in my earlier entry on creative black tie.
The following clip is from the documentary Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project: