During the club’s initial years, members would wear uniforms to the meetings that they had put together on their own. Over time, what we now know as the club uniforms were defined and codified. Here is how Neil Cowan’s 1993 club history describes the development of the club’s uniforms:
Meeting regularly we displayed the latest acquisitions from the thrift stores and the enormous warehouses in downtown Los Angeles that exported used clothing overseas for remanufacturing. We liberated many a wool uniform shirt from the fate of becoming a rag rug by rummaging around in containers stacked high over our heads, filled with old uniforms worn by officers for years. It was tough work, but somebody had to do it. Meeting every two months sufficed to do our business of assembling various uniforms, and the sacred name of Dehner made its first appearance as a source for Police Boots. One member discovered the Dehner factory, which had a supply of unclaimed orders from motor officers, whose names were still in the boots in gold letters, and were sold for fifteen to twenty dollars a pair. Many of these pairs became what we now call the Universal Boot, size, 13EEE, one size fits all EZ on EZ off. Average sizes were not readily available, but soon we had the foundation of our uniform, Dehner Police Boots.
When a scion of a landed South Texas dynasty (a reference to one of our early members who was in fact a scion of a famous South Texas ranch dynasty) got binked by a female CHP for wearing frivolous bits of a uniform while riding buddy with a portly manguy it became imperative to find a way to wear a uniform without incurring the wrath of the constabulary. Creative spurts, which come so easily to Hollywood types, produced delectable combinations for our discriminating eye. As Disney had designed the LAPD (Los Angeles Police Dept.) uniform, we turned our attention to every motor officer we saw riding by on the streets. Many of those fine men must have wondered why we had such interest in them, but it was only for the selfless purpose of further refining our fashion sense. We settled on Navy Blue with lots of silver and gold scatter pins and adopted the patch of the State of California from the American Legion. In order to get patches, we had to fly to San Francisco and buy them at the Post Supply, but such hazardous duty was considered part of the responsibility of being in the B&B Corps. We bought uniforms alongside other cops in downtown uniform stores in Los Angeles, alas now no longer in business, and many of us fantasized about owning a uniform shop to better serve the Men In Blue and get them a better fit in the crotch. At that time the TV show, CHiPs, had not had its deleterious effect on the breeches of the motor officers and they still had a vestigious and flatter flare. We found red stripe at a trim shop and well they might have wondered at our constant parade to obtain six feet of the precious carmine ribbon for our breeches. Several members experimented with the Dehner Boots. Many preferred a smooth instep without laces, but it was decided to use the Motor Patrol Boot style of the LAPD and wear our tall Dehners with lacing on the instep. All agreed that the top should be as high as possible to the knee. Our badge made an appearance after a CHP officer left his cap with badge on the seat of a restaurant booth. We then surreptitiously had it duplicated, adding the words California B&B Corps.
As the work on the uniform progressed, it became apparent that certain contingents were advocating parts of the uniform based on the fact
that they had already obtained that item at a significant savings. Thus it became necessary to codify the uniform and we embarked in 1973 upon the task of creating a Constitution to guide our fledgling organization and set the code of dress once and for all.
It must be said that in keeping with Disney’s involvement in the design of the uniform of the LAPD, our Constitution was for the most part written
in the magnificent wood paneled library of the home of such Hollywood luminaries as William Haines, Tallulah Bankhead and John Garfield and a B&B Officer (a reference to the Hollywood Hills home that founding member Neil Cowan owned at the time). Unfazed by our grandiose surroundings, we were nevertheless able to complete our work in a rapid year. A sample:
(k.) Highly polished silver whistle chain attached to right epaulet button with soundless whistle in right pocket at outside edge, shall be worn by all members. The burgeoning membership took relief in having a shopping list to complete the uniform, and the general mayhem of the meetings, exacerbated by each member being designated an officer, subsided into genteel Robert’s Rules of Order harmony. The uniforms that were defined and formally codified in the club constitution in the early 1970s are still worn today. The winter uniform, which was inspired by the uniform worn by LAPD motorcycle officers, is made of navy blue wool, with a long sleeve shirt worn with a tie and with breeches with a red stripe. The summer uniform, modeled on the CHP motor officer uniform, is made of tan wool with a short-sleeve shirt worn with an open collar, and tan breeches with a brown stripe. The uniforms are worn with the club badge, which features a flying wheel. Both uniforms are also worn with police duty gear and tall, highly polished Dehner- style motor boots. The club uniforms were modeled on police motor uniforms out of practical necessity because most of the early members rode motorcycles, in some cases, coveted Harley-Davidson Police Specials. Because of the boots and breeches that are signature components of the club’s uniforms, the club became known as the B&B and more formally, the California B&B Corps.
Early members turned out in the formal dress blue uniform.
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