There’s no grey area when it comes to mustaches. Some people like them, while others dislike them to the point of being reviled by them.
As someone who has never been able to grow a decent mustache for better or for worse; and if you ask my girlfriend it’s the former, I’ve always been fascinated by mustaches. Whether they’re thick bushy caterpillars crawling across the recipients upper lip, to the long, thin and waxy varieties to be twirled like in some old timey steampunk western, or to be questioned as to why the person who grew it thought it was a good idea to begin with, I can’t turn away from a good mustache, or even a bad one.
Soup strainer, cookie duster, lip foliage, however you wish to refer to them for todays listicle on PopLurker we’re going to examine fourteen mustaches across pop culture history.
14) Gomez Addams
Let’s dance the dance of brotherly love! MAMUSHKA!
I’m old enough to remember watching both the John Astin version of Gomez Addams in syndication on tv as well as going to see the Raul Julia film version, and while I’ve always loved John Astin for his exuberant, almost boyish charm in just about everything he’s done, being a pre-teen in the 90’s I connected more with Raul Julia’s portrayal of the patriarch of the Addams family.
While John Astin laid the groundwork for the character, Raul Julia gave Gomez an even greater sense of swagger and sex appeal that can’t be denied and made his version much more of a heartthrob than his 1960’s counterpart.
13) Cesar Romero’s Joker
Speaking of heartthrobs, Cesar Romero made his career being a Latin heartthrob to a generation of fans, so it was an interesting choice when he was cast as the Joker in the campy 1966 Batman television series.
While many of us Batman ’66 fans love the show because of its campiness, we also love Romero’s steadfast refusal to shave the mustache that contributed to much of his previous success sitting front and center despite how vainly the makeup department tried to hide it.
12) Lando Calrissian
With the news that Billy Dee Williams was returning to reprise his role of Lando Calrissian for Star Wars Episode IX, a list of pop culture mustaches wouldn’t be right if we left off the rightful owner of the Millennium Falcon and administrator of Cloud City.
While it remains to be seen until opening day how large or small Lando’s role in the film will be, and while Donald Glover turned in a respectable and at times interesting performance in Solo: A Star Wars Story, I’m stoked to see how the man who also portrayed Harvey Dent in the 1989 Tim Burton directed Batman will fit into this generation’s iteration of the Star Wars universe.
11) Cheech Marin
We’ll be talking more about classic comedy teams further down this list, but Cheech and Chong were and to many still are the quintessential comedy team of the stoner generation during the nineteen seventies.
While Marin doesn’t rock the ‘stache these days and is just as legendary without it, the image of Cheech with his trademark mustache, red suspenders and beanie and that infectious grin alongside partner Tommy Chong will always be timeless.
10) Vincent Price
Speaking of timeless, Vincent Price has always been a handsome devil, but much like how Cheech isn’t quite the same without that strip of hair on his upper lip, the man who gave us The Abominable Dr. Phibes, House of Wax and House on Haunted Hill just isn’t quite the same clean shaven.
Price had a successful career pre-mustache thanks in large part to that distinguishable voice and the hypnotic, Svengali like way he would deliver a line, but once he changed his look and grew in his facial hair, he went from just simply Vincent Price to one of the true legends and all-time greatest masters of horror.
9) Ron Swanson
Ron Swanson is a man’s man but without the gross stink of misogyny attached to him and his portrayal by Nick Offerman has been called this generations Lou Grant to Amy Poehler’s Mary Tyler Moore, and from all accounts Ron Swanson is the greatest mustache the Libertarian party has ever known.
Just give him all the bacon and eggs you have and keep your skim milk and frozen yogurt away from him, do you understand?
8) Hulk Hogan
Hulkamania was everywhere in the 80’s. Even if you weren’t a wrestling fan back then, there was no avoiding the Hulkster.
He was instantly recognizable for his larger than life persona, his red and yellow attire and making the Fu Manchu style of facial hair famous (or maybe it was infamous), and while he was telling us kids to train and take our vitamins he did once threaten to lay the smackdown on some Gremlins and also promised to take a would be wrestling opponent on a “mustache ride of terror”.
With a promise like that and it being the 80’s, I get the feeling Hulkamania was running wild on a very special form of vitamin C, if you catch my drift…brother!
7) Weird Al
Another staple in the pop culture diet of just about every kid in the 80’s was Weird Al Yankovic.
A noted dyed-in-the-wool disciple of Southern California’s Dr. Demento radio show, Weird Al dared many of us kids to be stoopid, let us know it was ok to not take everything so seriously and taught us the value of the Dewey Decimal System.
Weird Al also taught us that success doesn’t mean you can’t have fun along the way, and to that to be parodied in song is a true homage…except for the rare few who didn’t find his offbeat shenanigans and musical stylings very funny. Though to be fair it can be hard to find the humor in things when your band has been stagnant and not particularly good for over 20 years. Isn’t that right, Flea?!
6) Burt Reynolds
Like many movies of the seventies and eighties, Smokey and the Bandit could never be made today. Whether that’s for better or for worse is open to interpretation.
But, while Burt Reynolds had already achieved fame and notoriety for his part in the film Deliverance, once he grew the mustache and took on the persona of the Bandit who was always one step ahead of old Smokey, his star really skyrocketed across Hollywood.
No matter what you do though, don’t make the same mistake I did and watch Smokey and the Bandit II, unless you want to be depressed some random weekend.
5) Dr. Forrester
FORRESTER! FORRESTER! DR. CLAYTON FORRESTER!
I love all the Mads for various reasons from Frank and Max to Pearl and Kinga they’re all fantastic, but something about Dr. Forrester resonates with me and makes him my favorite of all the Mads to have ever terrorized the Satellite of Love.
Whether it’s the mustache to the green lab coat and glasses to the classic Einstein/Doc Brown mad scientist hairstyle to maybe just Trace Beaulieu’s approach to the character, Dr. Forrester doesn’t have to tell me twice to push the button.
4) Sam Elliott
Sam Elliott is another one of those iconic actors who are great without their mustache sure, but with it they’re damn near godlike.
Think about it, his character in one of the greatest bad movies of all-time Roadhouse dies prior to the third act, perhaps in no small part to rocking an admittedly badass and rugged looking beard…but no mustache. He appears clean shaven in Ang Lee’s Hulk as General “Thunderbolt” Ross, and that film is generally crapped on for how much it seemingly missed its mark.
But in Mask with Cher and Eric Stoltz?! Mustached and badass. As the mysterious Stranger in The Big Lebowski?! Mustached and badass.
The lesson here? Never shave again, Sam! Never shave again.
3) Ned Flanders
Stupid sexy Flanders. It’s like he’s wearing nothing at all, nothing at all, nothing at all.
Flanders has shaved the old soup strainer only once when a miniature golf matchup between Bart and Rod Flanders wound up in a tie. At least I think he’s only shaved it once, I haven’t watched the show regularly since 2002 so if I’m wrong feel free to yell at me in the comments.
To witness Ned without his mustache would be like Simpsons fans of my generation witnessing the show after the late nineties. Weird, disappointing and much like Barney being passed off as Krusty the Clown, still funny just not ha-ha funny.
2) Groucho Marx
Being raised by my grandparents my love and appreciation for classic comedy teams like Laurel and Hardy, the Three Stooges, Abbott and Costello and the Marx brothers came at an early age, and the love has never waned all these years later.
While Harpo has always been my favorite Marx brother, it’s impossible to ignore Groucho. With his trademark cigar, rapier like wit and rapid-fire joke delivery it’s interesting to note that Groucho grew a legit mustache after the brothers had retired the act, but it’s always been the classic greasepaint mustache as part of his trademark appearance that lives on to this day.
The most famous mustache not only in video game history, but likely transcending into pop culture history, Mario has come a long way since he was created by Shigeru Miyamoto and made his debut for Nintendo in 1981’s Donkey Kong.
Across various incarnations from 8-bit to 16-bit to 64-bit and beyond. Whether he’s squaring off against his lifelong nemesis Bowser, being portrayed by Capt. Lou Albano in the Super Mario Super Show or poor Bob Hoskins in the trash heap that was the Super Mario Bros movie of the early nineties, there are arguably fewer mustaches attached to a more meaningful character for a generation of kids like myself than our timeless and tireless plumber, unless your name is Luigi. It’s 2019 and that dude still can’t catch a break to shave his life…
…And, with a joke like that along with my lack of mustache growing prowess, it may be a long time before I can look at myself in the mirror again.
You can find Jonathan ‘staching hard on Twitter.