In Have Space Suit--Will Travel, by Robert Heinlein, the POV character Kip says, after spending some time immobilized in an alien hospital:

There was a mirror ... It showed me with enough hair to warrant a guitar (I wear a crew cut) but somebody had shaved me. (end of ch. 9; p. 192 in 1977 Ballantine mass-market paperback edition)

We just had a bunch of discussion in the media of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' 1964 appearance on the Ed Sullivan show, and from the reactions in 1964, it seems like their haircuts were considered outlandish. People were apparently selling Beatles wigs, which implies that the style was so new that teenagers hadn't yet had time to grow out their hair naturally. What's up, then, with Kip's reaction, in a story written in 1958? E.g., in old photos of Elvis from the 50's, he has a DA, but not long hair like what was popular in the 60's and 70's in the US.

1 Answer 1


Consider this photo of Eddie Cochran:

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Compare that with a crew cut (1943):

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Heinlein doesn't mean Beatles long.

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He means rock star long which was still much longer and puffed up than the average well-dressed business man of the age.

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    And for those who have never grown out their hair: It took me almost 2 years to go from Beatles-length (as in that picture) to shoulder-length.
    – Izkata
    Feb 24, 2014 at 3:28
  • Couldn't find your original Beatle's pic, link was dead. I uploaded a new one, hope it fits.
    – user31178
    Mar 11, 2017 at 18:27
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    Actually, the Beatles pic that is here now, shows them post 1970; WAAAAY shaggier than they would have been when they were on the Ed Sullivan show in '64. Think Chekov on Star Trek TOS (who is said to have been modeled on the Beatles to attract young women to the show). So long hair in '58 would be probably not be able to support bangs and only cover the very top of the ears if at all.
    – Bob
    Apr 21, 2019 at 7:06

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