When film actress Veronica Lake (1919–1973) appeared in I Wanted Wings in 1941 she started a craze for a new hairstyle, the peek-a-boo bang. Her long blonde hair was parted on the left side, softly curled under at the ends, and often slipped in front of her face to cover her right eye. Her on-screen beauty quickly made her a box office star and inspired many American women to copy her hairstyle.
The peek-a-boo bang was a sexy style but very impractical, even for Lake herself. According to Richard Corson in Fashions in Hair: The First Five Thousand Years, Life magazine informed readers that "her hair catches fire fairly often when she is smoking." Working women found the style a real nuisance because it constantly blocked their vision as they bent over their work. For factory workers the style was actually dangerous; their dangling hair would often get tangled in machinery and cause work stoppages. But it took the government to end the craze for this impractical hairstyle. The fad became so disruptive to work in war plants in 1942 that U.S. government officials asked Lake to stop wearing her hair long for the duration of World War II (1939–45). Women switched to wearing more practical shorter styles or swept back pompadours.
Corson, Richard. Fashions in Hair: The First Five Thousand Years. London, England: Peter Owen, 2001.
Trasko, Mary. Daring Do's: A History of Extraordinary Hair. New York: Flammarion, 1994.