The tams in this photo remind me of the many convivial evenings I spent hoisting a flagon of ale in the bar at the Tam O'Shanter Inn in Atwater, California. The fellows in this photo look like they're mightily enjoying their wee drop which was richly deserved.
After work, back in the dark ages when we would actually drink and drive, I, with my coworkers, used to stop at the terrific bar in the Tam from time to time, enjoying the ambience, the company and of course the drinks. Gulp. I lived nearby so it's not as bad as it sounds.
The Tam O'Shanter Inn has been around since 1922 and has a fascinating history. I think it's remarkable that they still have their first utensil - somebody has been diligent about watching over the artifacts.
I found one of their drink menus on-line from way back. Three brands of ginger ale and the reference to the "Scotch Drink" aka water, leads me to believe alcohol had been outlawed, but there's a Budweiser listed, so perhaps not. I doubt the bar was quite as much fun with everyone drinking buttermilk, "Eastsides" or "Golden Glows", whatever they were.
The Tam was a long time celebrity hangout and has been used frequently in films and TV shows. Just a few of the film stars who frequented the place over the years include Mary Pickford, John Wayne, Fatty Arbuckle, and Tom Mix. My brother-in-law spotted Jamie Lee Curtis there not too long ago. Walt Disney loved the place and ate there on an almost daily basis. At one point, Disney executives dined there so often that the place became known as “Disney’s studio commissary”. Apparently Walt’s favorite table was #31, while John Wayne preferred #15.
What a digression - the hat, the Tam O'Shanter hat is my point here.
On Wiki I found that the pom-pom or "toorie" is what distinguishes a Tam O'Shanter from other similar hats such as the beret; the TOS also has an external hatband which holds it snugly onto the head.
Perhaps the tam is best-known as an article of military attire, as in our photo prompt, worn in a khaki color by the Scottish infantry, and by some Canadian and Australian regiments too. The toorie, in different colors, distinguishes regiments; also often seen on the military hats is a tartan badge with a hackle feather. Another aside: a hackle feather is one of the shiny feathers found on the necks of many birds. They're erectile feathers and will stand up when the bird is ready for a fight, thus the expression we use "to get your hackles up".
|General Sir Neil Ritchie wearing the Tam o' Shanter in France during World War II.|
Birds parts and feathers are frequently artfully incorporated into Sottish jewelry, like this grouse foot pin I bought in Edinburgh last year. I clamped it to my jacket for the Military Tattoo but doubt if I'll find another suitable opportunity to wear it.
One final note about the Tam O'Shanter hat is that Mary Tyler Moore wore one in the opening
credit sequence of her television series, the Mary Tyler Moore show from 1970-1977. She really popularized the hat over those years and countless thousands were sold.
|Statue of Mary and her famous hat toss, Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis|
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