Those films and many others are legends, a normal part of popular culture. That's what Hollywood is known for: creating and changing popular culture.
Something Hollywood is not well know for is destroying vintage clothing but it is second to none in that regard.
It may or may not be common knowledge that Hollywood regularly uses original vintage clothing in the making of its films and TV shows. There are two main reasons for this: first, modern reproductions are often unable to capture the look and feel of Golden Era clothing and, secondly, real vintage clothing is often much cheaper to buy or rent than it is to reproduce. And that second part, the price, is the main reason Hollywood opts for the real deal.
And here's the rub: film and theater are rough business and things get destroyed, especially 70-year-old clothing. Look at the recent movie "Hugo" by director Martin Scorsese. According to the costume designer for that movie, Sandy Powell, hundreds of vintage pieces were destroyed during filming:
"There were literally over 1,000 costumes, so it took us a long time. We contracted costume rental companies, and we actually did a lot of buying, we sort of scoured markets and secondhand stores both in London where it was filmed and also in Paris; there are great flea markets there. And then we were filming so long, some of the extras were wearing the same clothing for weeks on end, and a lot of the original vintage pieces actually ended up falling apart, disintegrating."
The movie "Titanic" was just as bad, using many original vintage pieces during filming, especially dresses and gowns. These were unfortunately shredded by the end of filming, just like the pieces used in "Hugo".
History disintegrating and being destroyed just to make a movie. If an architecturally important building or a valuable piece of artwork were purposely destroyed for the filming of a movie there would be an outcry from the media and the public. Yet when hundreds of historical pieces of clothing are allowed to fall apart for the same reason there is nothing.
Vintage fedora ruined in "Boardwalk Empire".
That is unacceptable.
Vintage is a non-renewable resource. Once it's gone, it's gone. Reproductions will always be around and plentiful but collectors of vintage clothing are like the Hollywood studios: we prefer the real deal. And while vintage is still fairly easy to find it is getting more difficult. Eventually it will be impossible to find. The days of large costume departments are gone: it's much easier (and cheaper) to buy 'new' costumes for a movie and throw them out at the end of filming. It's the result of our disposable society.
What can be done to stem the destruction that Hollywood is sowing? Little if anything. No one really cares, except for those few vintage nerds like ourselves. All we can do is watch history disappear piece by piece, right before our eyes.
And all of it caught on film...