The Pendleton ’49er for Fall 2018.

The Pendleton ’49er is a perfect illustration of the adage that quality never goes out of style.

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This American classic is still going strong after more than sixty years. But where did it come from?

The answer starts with the changes for women in World War II, when American women proclaimed, “We can do it.” This iconic WWII image was used in countless posters and bond drives during WWII. A serious woman dressed for hard work with her hair in a kerchief, the image still fixes us today, gazing out at onlookers over a flexed bicep.

She was a symbol of women stepping up to fill the need for factory workers during wartime, but she was also part of the emergence of one of Pendleton’s most enduring items of womenswear: the 49er jacket.

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Twin Peaks and Pendleton

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Yes, there’s a new one, but this is the old one. It arrived with muted fanfare and a creepy score by Angelo Badalamenti. Twin Peaks, that is. With its overhung skies, tall trees and abundant Pendleton clothing, it briefly took the national psyche by storm. It also stormed right to the top of the Nielsen ratings. Remember those? Well, that’s okay. Nielsen ratings used to mean a little more than they do now.

Twin Peaks was a phenomenon. We all wandered around the day after an episode, confused and asking each other, who were these people? What happened to Laura Palmer? Was that really the blonde chick from Mod Squad? And exactly why was that lady carrying around that log?

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We’d like to give you a little tour of Twin Peaks territory, especially the Pendleton aspects.

Let’s start with Audrey, because Audrey was so…timeless. Oh Audrey, your nature was obvious. Your taste in men was terrible. But your taste in skirts was impeccable.

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For reasons no one understood, even though the show was set in the late eighties, Audrey wore a 1950s bad girl ensemble of sweaters and reversible Pendleton skirts. No one complained. No one at all.

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Audrey, we were never sure why you were dancing. Or really sure why we were watching. But you always held our attention.

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Not much happened in the diner, but it was clearly the heart of the town.

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One of our favorite shots. Leo, Shelly, Bobby. Leo’s bad attitude is just barely contained by his vintage Pendleton shirts.

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Bobby was bad, and the shirt, well, it was badder, man. His hair is a little extreme, but the Pendleton shirt is on point.

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Again, the nineties never arrived in Twin Peaks. The bad boys were Brando-esque, and the bad girls seemed more tired than wild.

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This dude was scary. Even in a Topsman, he was scary.

But the good guys liked plaid, too. Agent Dale Cooper was straight arrow upon his arrival, but soon he was blending in with the locals in his fine Pendleton shirt. And he was impressed by the local coffee, as we recall.

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We were contacted by the costumers for the new show about this particular jacket, worn by Sheriff Harry S. Truman. It was a vintage Pendleton, and they were hoping we had one in our archives. Sadly, we did not.

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Men, mystery, and wool shirts. But even in Twin Peaks, men’s shirts were not safe from girls who insisted on stealing them.

 

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Mr. David Lynch, the twisted mind behind the show, rocking his own plaid.

 

 

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Yes, Twin Peaks was a place of Pacific Northwest mystery. To be honest, it wasn’t really the Pacific Northwest that most of us have ever lived in. There was more to life in Twin Peaks than we could ever understand. We still don’t quite understand it.

But when we hear that music, we will always think of plaid shirts, tall trees, misty skies and a damn good cup of Joe.

 

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Thanks to Miss Arrow for the collage; read her post here.

 

 

Disneyland and Pendleton Woolen Mills: Happy Birthday, Pardner.

Disneyland is 60 years old this year! Who can believe it?

The history of Pendleton Woolen Mills and Disney began when Walt Disney extended a personal invitation to be retail partners in the Park. Mr. Disney was a fan of Pendleton’s “fleece to fashion” vertical manufacturing, which at the time included ownership of our own flocks and scouring facilities. He saw a fit for us in Frontierland as part of his vision of America’s Wild West.

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frontierland2We were more than excited to be part of Disneyland. Pendleton established a ‘Dry Goods Emporium’ that opened for business right along with the rest of the park on July 17, 1955.

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photo courtesy of daveland.web.com

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The store was a rustic wonderland of Pendleton’s woolen products, along with belts, wallets, hats, and other Western-themed merchandise.

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Much of the clothing sold in Disneyland had its own special labeling that featured the spires of Cinderella’s castle.

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It seems that a new plaid Pendleton shirt was part of the vacation for many young men in America, and the store set a record for sales of Turnabout reversible skirts in the late fifties. Our Disneyland store was phenomenally successful. We had a unique way to share the bounty of the Disneyland store’s sales. Visitors were asked for their postal codes, and credit for the purchase was awarded to their nearest Pendleton store back home.

It’s said that the family that plays together stays together. Well, what does a family who plaids together do? Whatever it is, this family from 1963 is doing it in Pendleton style.

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Holiday_Magazine_Oct_65_Pendleton_11963 was the year that Clarence M. Bishop took his own Gold Ticket tour of Disneyland. The Bishop family is a hardworking bunch, and when they vacation, they tend to gravitate towards places where they can ride or fish. But Mr. Bishop had a great time in Anaheim, according to all reports.

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Photo courtesy of Regions Beyond

We’re glad that a trip to the old store remains a favorite memory of so many of Disneyland’s long-time guests. We have been asked, “What happened?” by Disney guests who remember our store with nostalgia. The partnership dissolved amicably when the Disneyland Resort shifted their merchandising focus to more Disney-oriented goods. The store closed in April of 1990. Today, the Bonanza Emporium does carry some Pendleton merchandise, as does Ramone’s House of Body Art.

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In our Heritage Hallway, you can find a framed letter from Walt Disney about the partnership, and a small bronze of Jiminy Cricket. The letter came to invite us to the official press and television premiere on July 17th, 1955.

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The bronze was a gift to us from Disney.

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Jiminy stands on a matchbox wearing a medallion that says, simply, “30.”

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The statue’s inscription reads: “PENDLETON WOOLEN MILLS in commemoration and appreciation of 30 years of association with DISNEYLAND 1955-1985”

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We’re proud of our history with Disneyland, and want to say Happy 60th Birthday to our friends there, and thanks to all the guests who made us part of their visit.