The Paradox of Jughead’s Hat
The strange reason Riverdale star Cole Sprouse wears a cap from a bygone era
If you’re a fan of Archie Comics, you know Jughead Jones: Lanky, laconic, and obsessed with eating. If you’re a fan of Archie’s TV adaptation Riverdale, you know that Jughead, too: brooding, a gang leader, and the show’s theatrical narrator. The two bear little in common but their name; their deep, abiding friendship with Archie; and, most important, a strange hat they never take off — a hat that represents one of comics’ most bizarre dilemmas.
In case you’ve never read the comics or seen the show, Jughead wears a strange, crown-like hat. He’s been sporting the hat ever since the character debuted along with Archie in 1941’s Pep Comics #22. It is — rather, it was — called a “whoopee cap,” a fedora with the brim removed and triangles cut into the bottom edge, which was folded up to create a vaguely crown-like appearance. (There’s a wonderful history of it here if you want to know more.) After the 1950s, the fad faded away, but Jughead kept his cap on.
The longer Jughead wore the hat, the more impossible it became for him to take it off.
The publishers of Archie Comics could have given Jughead new headgear at some point in the 1960s or ’70s, but for whatever reason, they didn’t. And then something strange happened. The longer Jughead wore the hat, the more impossible it became for him to take it off. As the whoopee cap completely faded from memory, it morphed into something more closely resembling an actual crown — no less bizarre and no less irrelevant — but it never left his head.
Here’s how closely linked Jughead and his weird hat became: In 2015, when Archie Comics went through its massive, first-ever reboot — when the characters were finally modernized, the stories serialized, and the classic Archie art style abandoned after 74 years — Jughead kept the hat. More astoundingly, when Jughead made the leap to TV in Riverdale, actor Cole Sprouse sported a more beanie-esque version and has worn it nearly every minute he’s been on screen in the show, just like Jughead has in nearly every comic panel he’s graced.