Find That Prop!: Janye’s Cunning (and Controversial) Hat

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A four part-look at the props of Firefly.

janeshatJayne Cobb, portrayed by Adam Baldwin, is one complicated guy. A tough-talking mercenary with a sensitive side, he has plenty of humor where he (seemingly) lacks in compassion.

Although he has little tolerance for those can’t or won’t keep step up the fight, it has also been indicated in the show he is man of quiet faith and love of family. This is where his assumed lack of compassion is a front, as his mercenary funds go home to help his mother care for a little sick girl named Mattie.

It is Cobb’s mother who made the infamous yellow and orange knit tuque complete with those attractive ear flaps and pom pom. Cobb loves not only the hat’s practicality, but the fact his mother made it for him. In his own words, this head topper is “pretty cunning, don’t you think.”

However, for the rest of the Serenity crew it is a source of friendly ridicule. The most famous line comes from Wash, who told Cobb: “A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he’s not afraid of anything.”

Cobb, of course, replied:
“Damn straight.”

Every Browncoat seems to want to be seen sporting this hat, or be seen with someone in it, including fans of all shapes, jaynesotherstuffsizes, ages and species, as well as a few celebrity fans. And why not? It really is an awesome hat.

This hat is the center of controversy, because after Fox released an “official” version of the hat a couple of years ago, created by Ripple Junction, they claimed intellectual rights on the hat stifled the creative efforts of many Firefly-loving crafters who had already been selling their own version of the item. This included hats from many popular artisan sites like Etsy.

On a good note, Baldwin, a strong supporter of the military, auctioned the original hat from the show. It sold for more than $4,700 to raise money for the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, making Jayne a real-life “big damn hero.”

Where to find or (shhhh) even make one: FOX’s claim on the hat may rankle a few feathers, and for good reason, but at least they make it easy to find. The “officially licensed” hat, by Ripple Junction, is available through several dealers of pop culture related items including, ThinkGeek, and Entertainment Earth will be selling the hat as well starting this summer.

The ThinkGeek price for this cunning piece is around $25, but thanks to holiday and summer sales, it can be found cheaper on sale sometimes, and Amazon had the hat for $19.48, as well as a limited amount of cute little Christmas ornament versions for around $11. The forthcoming Entertainment Earth version will also be around $20.

othershatsThere are still “unofficial” out there, but not marked as actual Jayne’s hats. The sellers keep it legal by giving it other distinctions unofficial indicators including “Firefly-inspired” hats or “cunning” hats.

This ban on sales hasn’t also stopped Browncoat fiber artists from making their own hats for personal use, and when all that is needed is light orange, dark orange and yellow wool yarn, plus the ability to knit or crochet, there’s nothing stopping them. And knit they have, everything from Firefly-inspired hats, to scarves, cup cozies, cupcakes, jewelry and gloves, not to mention some very uncomfortable-looking bras.

What did this “outlaw” cast say about this hat ban? Well, they wanted to remain diplomatic to their bosses business decisions, while celebrating the freedom of expression and enterprise of the independent artist.

Captain Mal, Nathan Fillion, tweet to fans, was “I like to think there’s a little bit of Malcolm Reynolds in all of us…But especially me.”

And there certainly is could be a little Jayne on all of us in the form of a very bright hat.

Except for Baldwin, who tweeted to his fans on the importance of free enterprise said: “I don’t have a ‘Jayne’ hat. I have an Adam Baldwin hat.”

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