Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Union Suits - YesterYear 
Astronaut Underwear 

Mercury 7 Astronauts in Union Suits
and Homemade Garments - Survival Training
 America's first astronauts: Walter M. Schirra Jr. , Donald K. "Deke" SlaytonJohn H. Glenn Jr.Scott Carpenter, Alan B. Shepard Jr.  (middle)Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom and L. Gordon Cooper. Image credit: NASA 

Astronauts Made Outer Clothing Out of Parachutes 

The selected seven astronauts go through survival training in the Nevada desert. The astronauts were left there for four days in just their union suits and boots with a mock-up of a Mercury spacecraft, a parachute and a survival scenario. Image credit: NASA.

The Mercury Program was the beginning of United States’ manned, exploration of space. The seven men chosen to be the first astronauts came from many different backgrounds, but soon would become heroes of their country and the world. The men went through a meticulous selection process and a very vigorous and fast paced training program. All of the astronauts, except for one, flew in the Mercury missions and returned to Earth safely. These men were the first test subjects for flights to the Moon, and in the future, Mars and beyond.

On Monday April 27, 1959, the seven astronauts began their training. In 1960, the astronauts spent four days in desert survival training. This was incorporated into their training program because of the remote possibility they could land in Africa. This training was completed at Stead Air Force Base near Reno, Nevada. During this training, they were left in only their long underwear to learn how to “protect themselves from the sun, how to utilize the limited water supply, and to build clothing and shelter from their parachutes” 

To this day, astronauts wear a type of Union Suit under their space suits.

Thanks to Rich of Buffalo, NY, Union Suit Fan, for this topic contribution!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Richie Cunningham: 
                   Union Suit Fan  

In a 1975 Happy Days second season episode, entitled "Cruisin", Richie (Ron Howard) and his friends bet their nemesis that they can come up with dates by midnight. If not, they agree to run around Mel's Diner in just their underwear. In due course, the boys lose their wager. Richie figured that they would not win their bet. He strips down to his union suit which he had worn for the cool late night run. The other boys strip to their boxer shorts.

The Boys Strip to their Underwear

Notice the Boys' Argyle Socks

Richie Remembered to Button His Flap

The Boys Finish Their Underwear Run

Monday, November 14, 2016

             Our Gang - Union Suit Fans

Alfalfa loses his boxer shorts to Butch in a rip-roaring boxing match!  He must then finish the fight in just his long-handled Union Suit! Photos are from 1938's "Came the Brawn."

Carl Dean Switzer 
(August 7, 1927 – January 21, 1959) 
One of Our Gang's most popular characters

Poster Announcing the Big Contest
Thanks to Hal Roach Studios

Thanks to Russell of Hays, Kansas 
for sending me this poster:
(March 1, 2017)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

         Union Suits - YesterYear

Duofold of Mohawk, New York Ad:

Union Suits - Yesteryear is a new post category that I will be adding to this Blog from time to time. Articles, photographs, and advertisements from yesteryear. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Mike's Winter Underwear Hike

Mike, a native of Ohio and now a resident of Lakewood, Colorado, emailed me these photos of himself taken during a hike in the Rocky Mountain foothills southwest of Denver.

He had bet several of his buddies that the Cleveland Indians would defeat the Chicago Cubs in the 2016 World Series. Having lost the wager, he was required to strip to his Union Suit for their five mile trek.

Hikers he met on the trail had various and humorous reactions to seeing a fellow pedestrian decked out in long, bright red, winter underwear! 

Thanks for the photos, Mike, a true Union Suit Fan. 

Be sure to send me your favorite Union Suit Photo along with your first name and hometown: cayersnd@gmail.com  

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Long Johns Weather In Nebraska

By Chuck Hinman *

These cool mornings we've been having remind me of dreaded winter weather when I was a teen-age boy growing up on a farm in Nebraska. It was dreaded by me for an unusual reason; cold weather was synonymous with "long johns weather."

Long Johns was the name for winter underwear, long with regard to the sleeves and legs. They were a one-piece "suit" of heavy cream-colored cotton knit material that buttoned up the front from the crotch to the neck. In addition, they had a vertical slit (trap door) in the back so you didn't have to totally undress to go to the bathroom. They were intended to keep you warm on cold days.

Boys' fashion and peer pressure!

So what's to be dreaded about being warm on a cold day? Well, I'll tell you. Teen-age boys in those days decided long johns made you look "hokey" what with your underwear creeping out from under your shirt sleeves or around the neck. How "rural"! I learned the power of peer-pressure (vs. parental pressure) before I learned anything academically at remote Liberty High. No teenage boy would be caught wearing long-johns. Isn't it interesting how fast boy's fashion news travels.

I learned what was keen (cool) and what wasn't keen the first time I undressed in the locker room before the other boys to put on my gym clothes. I was laughed at when everyone saw and pointed at my long-johns at a time in my life when I still enjoyed carrying bugs in my overall pockets.

Mom's "no option" changes Chuck's mind!

When I told Mom I wasn't going to wear long johns anymore, she changed my mind and said that it wasn't an option so "get used to it." Case closed!

Oh Lord, I didn't know which was worse, taking the scorn of the other boys in the locker room or facing the X-ray eyes of a Mom who sees and knows every thing! Do you know what I mean?

Solution to home versus school long underwear wearing!

So I decided on a solution and kept it from Mom, my best friend, all those cold, teeth chattering years. Here's how it worked. I rode a bicycle to school every day -- eight miles round trip. I wore the long johns around home, but on my way to school, I dropped by the outdoor toilet at the country-grade school where I went to elementary school the first eight years. I undressed in the outdoor toilet, took off my long johns, placed them in a paper bag and went to school without any underwear on. On the way home from school, I took a detour by way of the outdoor privy at New Hope grade school and put my winter underwear back on and appeared at home as if nothing had happened.

I was so cold from December until April each of those years I don't have much enamel left on my teeth from chattering. But it seemed worth it at the time. 

Chuck was a good friend of mine who wrote for a number of publications in the mid-west. The above story was one of my favorites. Rest in Peace, my friend.