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Californian Leather "Styled by Ronnie Reagan"

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Baron Kurtz, Mar 23, 2010.

  1. Anyone know about ol' Ronnie's deal with California Sportwear Co.? He's described on the label as "Warner Bros First National Star". Apparently Warner Bros stopped referencing First National (Who they took over) in the early 40s.

    The jacket I own is late '30s to early '40s and is the absolute epitome of the jacket the '70s harked back to. This date would be right for the brief moment when Reagan could truly be considered a "Star".

    So, who can tell me more?

  2. Creeping Past

    Creeping Past One Too Many

    Reagan was a sports announcer on the radio in the 30s. Maybe it's a throwback to his sporty past during the Warner years.
  3. Not likely. RR's radio years were 1933-'37 - not only in the depression, but in the midwest, a stubbornly marketing-resistant region that neither Hollywood nor New York media cared to appeal to.

    Re First National, it was a theater chain that went into studio production in the mid '20s. It was a Warners subsidiary from 1928-'36. After '36 it ceased to be a separate entity; I believe it served as a brand name for B-features.

    RR's breakout leading-man role was Kings Row (1942), billed as WB-First National. Before that I don't know whether he was big enough for national merchandising purposes or not.
  4. From the wiki for First National. (But i'm really interested in when Reagan may have collaborated with California Sportwear Co. and whether he actually styled a line of leather jackets, as is claimed per label. I have seen one other jacket and it was vaguely similar in style to mine, but quite different, if that makes sense.)

    Merger With Warner Brothers

    With the success of The Jazz Singer and The Singing Fool, Warner Bros. purchased a majority interest in First National in September 1928.[6] Warner Bros. acquired access to the First National's affiliated chain of theaters, while First National acquired access to Vitaphone sound equipment. But the trademarks were kept separate, and films by First National continued to be credited solely to "First National Pictures" until 1936. Although both studios produced "A" and "B" budget pictures, generally the prestige productions, costume dramas, and musicals were made by Warner Bros., while First National specialized in modern comedies, dramas, and crime stories. Short subjects were made by yet another affiliated company, The Vitaphone Corporation (which took its name from the sound process).
    In July 1936, stockholders of First National Pictures, Inc. (primarily Warner Bros.) voted to dissolve the corporation and distribute its assets among the stockholders, in line with a new tax law which provided for tax-free consolidations between corporations.[7]
    From 1941 to 1958, most Warner Bros. films bore the combined trademarks "A Warner Bros.-First National Picture."[8]

  5. AlanC

    AlanC My Mail is Forwarded Here


    (of the jacket, not RR)
  6. If you insist. But the jacket is unimportant. I want to know about Reagan's association with California Sportwear Co. Alan Ladd had a connection that's documented; but the Reagan one i can't find anything about.





  7. Navin323i

    Navin323i Practically Family

    Beautiful jacket, Baron!

    On a separate note, it was a good thing that AlanC made the clarification point that he did, otherwise this thread would be flooded with pics of Ronald Reagan. :D
  8. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Great looking jacket.... I've long been one to prefer my leather either short, motorcycle and flying style, or long - think trench coat. I'm coming aroun the thes mid length types, though. I think the half-belt back helps the style a lot -too boxy, and they look like a cut-down, long overcoat to my eye. This one looks to me like something of a relative of the WW1 era flying jackets - somewhere between the Aero Barnstormer and the Bootlegger in style...?
  9. That jacket has some interesting features that I quite like- the offset zipper continuing up into the lapel, wide side panels, nice hourglass taper in the back. Looks like a very solid design. If you were in the states I'd be asking to borrow it for a pattern.

    Californian jackets really seem to be some of the best I've seen for half belts, design-wise.
  10. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Ah, context.... now that's an interesting point. Certainly, as leather, and in particular black leather jackets evolved into the 'bad boy' uniform of choice, it probably is true that more conservative (small 'c') leaning folks might shy away from such associations.... Actually, I don't recall, now I think of it, seeing any high ranking US politician in leathers (though I'm sure photos exist!) outside of flying jackets, a la Bush Jnr, wich obviously have very different connotations (patriotism, support for the troops, etc). Struggling to place that image with thhe Brits either.... lol
  11. Just like now, it was actually pretty common for celebrities to endorse garment brands back in the day. Bob Hope's name appeared on a lot of casual wear labels - which range from really cool to just awful! If I remember correctly Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis "styled" some garments when they were a comedy duo that were pretty sweet.

    I wonder how much hands on influence Regan had on this design? It's definitely a good looking jacket, and he was always a pretty snazzily dressed fellow.
  12. H.Johnson

    H.Johnson One Too Many

    Mr. Reagan used to wear a G-1. As I understand it all US Presidents (as Commander in Chief) and (at least in the case of Mrs. Nancy Reagan) First Ladies are 'issued' with a G-1.

  13. The real issue

    Is...where did you find it? What a score!
  14. JFK really liked his G-1. So did Father Bush. I think that Junior Bush, being a former Air National Guard pilot, wore a current issue A-2.


  15. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Interesting, I had assumed Bush II's jacket was a nod to his time in the services - though as Atticus notes, it could be something other than a G1. I probably don't recall the other presidents' jackets as I wasn't really interested in flying jackets back pre 2000ish.
  16. Ronnie, rather than Ronald*, suggests he wasn't a leading man quite yet.

    *I kept typing Roland.
  17. Portobello market stall. Fits me very nicely which is a bonus!

  18. I just found this from the Orlando Sentinel, 1987. No image fo the ad, unfortunately.

    And there is this of him wearing leather. It doesn' look unlike the one i have …

  19. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Really can see, from that photo, what they revived in the Seventies look, even if they didn't get it quite 'right'.
  20. The photo of the ray gun is pretty much how i wear the jacket: wide collared wool Pendleton and casual air …


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