Character Makeover: Alan M. Mayberry and Alexander Cabot III.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/WesternAnimation/JosieAndThePussycatsWelcome to the second installment of DG’s Josie and the Pussycats makeover! In a previous article, I discussed the roaring 20’s inspiration and some of the guidelines for this particular character redesign. Last month I unveiled Alexandra Cabot’s new look. Now it’s the boys’ turn for their transformation!

Trying to mimic Scooby Doo’s success, the creators of Josie and the Pussycats chose a style similar to that of the Mystery Machine gang. Perennial voice actor favorite Casey Kasem even voiced both Shaggy from Scooby Doo and Alexander from Josie. This style choice altered some of the characteristics of Alan and especially Alexander from their comic-book personas.  However, their positions in the group didn’t change: Alan is still a roadie and periodic love interest for Josie, and Alexander is the group’s manager. Using these two very basic descriptions of these characters, I’ll next delve into how to fit them into their new 1920s looks.

The History Behind it All

Before I delve into the makeover, here is a bit of historical context regarding the 1920s: As is the routine in post-war periods, there was a marked rise in the amount of conspicuous consumption during this decade. Conspicuous consumption comes in all sorts of flavors, from automobiles and iceboxes, to how much decoration or fabric a person is wearing. Men’s fashion in the 1920s might not have been so blatantly ostentatious as what women were wearing, but it still fell victim in more subtle ways. One example would be the generous cut of men’s suits and sportswear (the term sportswear sometimes actually has nothing to do with, ya know, sports). In terms of, say, trousers, a high rise (that’s how far the waist of the pants comes up your torso. Back then, pants typically came-up to the wearer’s natural waist, or sometimes a little higher), generously-cut hips and wide pant legs with cuffs big cuffs are all indicators of the concept of conspicuous consumption (if you’re interested, related are sumptuary laws).

An assortment of 1920s menswear.
An assortment of 1920s menswear.

Getting back to Alan and Alexander, I’m going to keep the aforementioned information regarding both their positions in the band and how and why men’s fashion in the 1920s was shaped by numerous factors in mind as I redesign their outfits. Feel free to check-out the Pinterest board I created for my internet research images!

Alan M. Mayberry

As a roadie for Josie and the gang, I’ve envisioned Alan wearing something that’s not too fussy and something that college-aged dudes from the 1920s might wear. He’s a working man that wouldn’t want to be encumbered by three-piece suit and all that jazz. Thus, a snappy selection of sportswear (items of clothing purchased separately, but meant to coordinate) should work for Mr. Mayberry. He’ll be wearing some Oxford Bags, a type of pant that notoriously grew to rather ridiculous proportions; the pant legs on some reportedly had a 35” circumference at the ankle. Strangely enough, photographic evidence suggests some fellows liked to wear their sweaters and sweater vests tucked into their trousers. The streamlined feeling of this style would suit Alan.

A 1927 ad for Oxford bags.
A 1927 ad for Oxford bags.

The late 19-teens also saw the creation of the Converse high-top, and as sporting became more accepted in the public eye, some of the fashions started to work their way into leisure wear.

Tennis shoes-- not just for tennis, anymore!
Tennis shoes– not just for tennis, anymore!

Since 1920s fellows also weren’t completely dressed until they had a hat, I’ve selected a jaunty newsboy-style cap for Alan:

alanfinsm

Does it look like Alan is ready for a load-in at the nightclub?

Alexander Cabot III

Moving onto Alexander, since the bespectacled fellow is the manager of JatP, something a little more refined, or at least what his perception of refined would be, would work. His animated outfits were definitely a shade more flamboyant than Alan’s, and it’s not at all difficult to represent that in a 1920’s style. A double-breasted, three-piece suit and schnazzy wingtip oxfords will be my selection right off the bat.

Single-and double-breasted suits were both fashions du jour in the 20s.
Single-and double-breasted suits were both fashions du jour in the 20s.

As I mentioned in an article about my favorite costumes on television shows, one of the things I adore about Boardwalk Empire is a attention to detail regarding men’s suits and accessories, and those little colorful tidbits would work just as well in Mr. Cabot’s new look, too– gloves, pocket square, boutonniere, etc. In the cartoon, he seems like a peacock to me, with all of his bright, clashing colors, so we can definitely add that to the mix.

alexfinsm

Over-the-top? Yes, but it was a lot of fun putting all of those colors and fabrics together!


Do you have characters you’ve personalized through a unique redesign?  Any sketches, drawings or actual costumes? Feel free to share your pictures or drawings down in the comments section!

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