Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Converse celebrates 100 years in the shoe business this year. Their shoes have been cool for all of my life. Have you owned a pair? Anyone doing anything for 100 years deserves kudos.

Then: In the '70s, The Ramones helped Converse become associated with rock 'n' roll, even though The Beatles and Beach Boys had sported the shoes earlier. Last year, Converse honored the punk pioneers by releasing a line of Ramones-themed Chuck Taylors.

Now: Pop-punk songstress Avril Lavigne is a Converse fan, as is rapper Common, rockers Green Day and Grammy winner Amy Winehouse. Paul McCartney also has been spotted in Chucks; he wore them in a 2007 iTunes commercial.


Then: Punky Brewster was known for her mismatched Chuck Taylors in the '80s, but the sneakers surfaced much earlier on the small screen. Viewers glimpsed Converse in the '50s on "The Donna Reed Show" and "Lassie." "Happy Days," "Northern Exposure" and "Felicity" are a few of the many series that have shown the shoes.

Now: Chuck Bartowski from NBC's "Chuck" wears Chuck Taylors. Other Converse fans: BBC America's "Doctor Who," played by David Tennant; characters on NBC's "Heroes"; and Shane on Showtime's "The L Word."


Then: Sylvester Stallone trains in black Converse throughout 1976's "Rocky." Peterson cites "Hoosiers" (1986) and "West Side Story "(1961) as significant films featuring Converse. "That was sort of an interesting phenomenon, the fact that they were identifying gangs by their athletic shoes," he says of "West Side Story." "The Sharks wore the black hi-tops and the Jets wore the white (shoes)."

Now: What does the young wizard wear in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix?" You guessed it. The title character in the recent teen flick "Charlie Bartlett" also sports Chuck Taylors. In 2006's "Marie Antoinette," director Sofia Coppola made headlines when she inserted a pair of pink Chucks into her period piece.

Celebrity life

Then: "Gonzo journalist" Hunter S. Thompson was a fan of Converse. His image appears in the company's new "Connectivity" anniversary ad campaign alongside James Dean, the Sex Pistols' Sid Vicious, hip-hop artist M.I.A. and others.

Now: Ellen DeGeneres dances in Chuck Taylors on her talk show and on the red carpet. Other stars frequently seen in Converse: Johnny Knoxville, Natalie Portman, Elijah Wood and Ellen Page.

Have a good day.....Ric