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Continued: The T-shirt turns 100: A retrospective

  • Article by: KIM ODE , Star Tribune
  • Last update: July 17, 2013 - 4:10 PM

Hooray for Hollywood

T-shirt sales reportedly took a swan dive in 1934, when in the movie “It Happened One Night,” Clark Gable took off his dress shirt only to reveal that he was bare-chested. No undershirt? A trend was born.

Then in 1951, Marlon Brando seethed in “A Streetcar Named Desire” while practically bursting out of his T-shirt. Sales soared.

In 1954, Brando took the look full throttle in “The Wild One,” and James Dean followed in 1955, sneering through “Rebel Without a Cause” in a white tee and leather jacket.

Why Oscar statues are still bare-chested, we’ll never know.

P-interest in T-shirts

Search on Pinterest for boards named “recycled T-shirts.” Witness what inventive minds come up with. Be amazed.

Teeing up a good investment

The top price currently sought on eBay for a concert T-shirt is $5,000 for a Metallica 1983 T-shirt from the “No Life ’Til Leather” era. (There’s also a Herman’s Hermits T-shirt for 99 cents.)

You talkin’ to me?

Among the more famous message T-shirts:

“I (heart) NY,” created in 1977 to promote the city.

Free Winona, by Winona Ryder when she was facing shoplifting charges, spawning a trend of “Free (somebody)” shirts.

“Vote for Pedro,” from “Napoleon Dynamite.”

Che Guevara’s image, symbolizing the underdog, or someone willing to die for a cause.

The Rolling Stones’ tongue.

Show us your favorite T-shirt

Everyone has a T-shirt they just love to wear. Take a selfie of your best tee and send it to We’ll feature a collection of the best reader T-shirts in a future publication.

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