Blow: Manhattan Beach, 1968

Johnny Depp as George Jung in Blow (2001)

Johnny Depp as George Jung in Blow (2001)

Vitals

Johnny Depp as George Jung, burgeoning pot dealer

Manhattan Beach, California, Summer 1968

Film: Blow
Release Date: April 6, 2001
Director: Ted Demme
Costume Designer: Mark Bridges

Background

Blow presents the story of real-life drug smuggler George Jung (1942-2021), presented not unlike Goodfellas: beginning in media res at a crucial turning point in our anti-hero protagonist’s life, reaching back into his childhood, and then following his criminal career over the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s until it descends into a cocaine-fueled nightmare of betrayals and bad hair, all set to a packed soundtrack of hits and deep cuts from the era.

After meeting the adolescent George, raised by an attentive Ray Liotta and a neglectful Rachel Griffiths, we skip ahead to young adulthood as a twentysomething George and his oversized pal Tuna (Ethan Suplee) as they relocate across the country from Massachusetts to Manhattan Beach:

I moved to California in the summer of 1968 with the Tuna. We had $300 and a black TR3. There sure was nothin’ like this back home. It was paradise… and everyone was getting stoned.

A carefree haze of pot, surfing, and bikini-clad flight attendants like his eventual girlfriend Barbara (Franka Potente), these are depicted as the halcyon years of George’s life, all the while validating every afterschool PSA that positioned marijuana as a gateway drug for the ambitious “Boston George” to grow his illegal enterprise from local to national, particularly after a chance encounter with a pal from back home and a meeting with a well-connected local hairdresser.

What’d He Wear?

The Arrival

George and Tuna look relatively square as they unload the TR3 into their beachside condo, George in his button-down tattersall and Tuna in a massive sweater vest, but at least George has the shaggy, Brian Jones-esque hair to ease his transition to the local scene.

Franka Potente and Johnny Depp in Blow (2001)

Barbara blows a newly arrived George’s mind.

Patterned in what appears to be a navy and red tattersall check against a white ground, George’s cotton shirt has a contemporary close fit, styled with a button-down collar, front placket, breast pocket, and button cuffs. The shirt’s top button is undone, revealing the top of a white cotton crew-neck undershirt. He tucks the shirt into a pair of cream-colored cotton tapered-leg jeans, held up by a brown leather belt with a gold-finished single-prong buckle. We see little of his black loafers and black socks, but they were surely quick to be discarded as they are welcomed into the sandy domain of flip flops and bare feet.

Ethan Suplee and Johnny Depp in Blow (2001)

The Boston boys will need some new duds to fit in.

The Meeting

After Tuna gets stiffed on some bad weed, Barbara introduces them to her dealer friend, the flamboyant hairdresser Derek Foreal (Paul “Pee-Wee Herman” Reubens), whose connections promise the possibilities of even greater success.

Still relatively new in town, George dresses for the meeting in another button-down shirt, this one a blue oxford cloth cotton with a flapped breast pocket, front placket, and squared barrel cuffs that all close through the same mother-of-pearl buttons that close the collar. Though this may have been cutting-edge casual back home in Ivy-centric New England, it’s still not hip enough to cut it in the dazed and confused world of late ’60s southern California, and the cautious Derek has reason to ask “are you cops? Because if you are, you have to tell me. If not, it’s entrapment.”

Johnny Depp and Ethan Suplee in Blow (2001)

George tasks the Tuna with holding onto their substantial buy. Note that Tuna hasn’t yet gotten the memo to stop wearing crew-neck undershirts under his open-neck shirts.

The Montage

Through the first of Blow‘s many montages, George cycles through a variety of casual short-sleeved high-neck knit shirts in bright shades of green, orange, and yellow, all worn with shorts, denim, and sneakers, illustrating how comfortably he’s adjusted to the life of a popular, pot-dealing beach bum.

In a Fast Company interview following the release of Inherent Vice, another film featuring his costume design, Mark Bridges explained: “I love those kind of funny mock-neck t-shirts, which were, again, popular during a small window of time in the late ‘60s.”

Johnny Depp as George Jung in Blow (2001)

Tuna and George ascend to kings of the beach.

The montage concludes with a somber beach scene at dusk as George and Barbie stroll behind a group of revelers around a campfire, a barge blowing smoke in the distance. It may be later than summer, as both are dressed warmer than usual, suggesting a passage of time. George wears a marled beige cable-knit crew-neck sweater, similar to the Aran jumper that “King of Cool” Steve McQueen himself would have worn earlier that year in the super-stylish caper The Thomas Crown Affair.

Franka Potente and Johnny Depp in Blow (2001)

The Mastermind

Presumably by the start of the following year, “Boston George” has graduated to a kingpin figure on Manhattan Beach: a go-to guy for anyone who needs good pot. He’s now dressing at his most fashionable to date for the era by the time he returns home to find Tuna and Barbie smoking with their hometown pal Kevin Dulli (Max Perlich), who enlightens them on the major demand back home in New England.

Johnny Depp as George Jung in Blow (2001)

George wears a trippy sage-green cotton  short-sleeved shirt with an all-over paisley print, detailed with another button-down collar as well as a front placket and breast pocket. He wears it untucked with what may be the same cream-colored jeans from his arrival, now accompanied more fashionably by a pair of dark brown suede chukka boots.

Johnny Depp as George Jung in Blow (2001)

George works out a new, much-increased partnership with Derek to finance the appetites of New England’s collegiate stoners.

George has even updated his watch, abandoning the plain silver band as seen during his meeting with Derek as he now wears his steel-cased timepiece on a dark brown leather rally-style “bund” strap.

Johnny Depp as George Jung in Blow (2001)

George listens to Dulli rave about the insatiate drug appetites of the bored students from Hampshire to Mount Holyoke.

The Sunglasses

George arrives at the beach in a pair of black wraparound sunglasses, consistent with a style that was popular around the late ’60s and into the early ’70s. However, the shades are clearly branded with the Oakley logo on the temples, despite the fact that James Jannard wouldn’t launch the Oakley brand until 1975. On top of that, Oakley wouldn’t introduce sunglasses for another decade, and the now-familiar logo wouldn’t be added to the frames until 1994.

Johnny Depp and Ethan Suplee in Blow (2001)

No, they’re not cops… nor are they time travelers, despite George’s anachronistic Oakleys.

How to Get the Look

Johnny Depp as George Jung in Blow (2001)

Johnny Depp as George Jung in Blow (2001)

The Bostonian export fresh out of the Marines arrives in southern California clad in the Ivy staples he knows from home, button-down shirts and cream jeans. As he becomes more assimilated into this coterie of pothead beach bums, George sticks to this general approach but with an aesthetic more compatible to his groovy new profession and pals.

  • Patterned cotton shirt with close fit and button-down collar
  • Cream cotton jeans with belt loops, five-pocket layout, and tapered legs
  • Brown leather belt with gold-finished single-prong buckle
  • Dark brown suede chukka boots
  • Oakley black plastic-framed wraparound sunglassess
  • Steel watch with round white dial on brown leather rally-style bund strap

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Check out the movie and read the book too!

The Quote

We’re not cops, we’re from Massachusetts.

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