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The Hard Hat

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He's a metal head, but not a metalhead.

One good way to protect your hat (and, in turn, your head) is filling it with something dense. Or perhaps you've got a steel plate in your skull from a long-ago injury, that happens to be just what's needed to deflect a bullet or psychic attack.

See also Pocket Protector, Disability Immunity, Hard Head and Use Your Head.

This trope contains marked spoilers due to the Unspoken Plan Guarantee.


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     Anime and Manga  
  • Gauron of Full Metal Panic! is revealed to have installed a titanium plate in his forehead due to an earlier injury, and hence is the reason he survived Sousuke's bullet to the head and lives to terrorize poor Sousuke some more.
  • Bean Bandit from Gunsmith Cats tops his bulletproof ensemble with an impact resistant headband. That apparently weighs at least twenty pounds. He wears this on his forehead.
    • It greatly helps in the Riding Bean OVA where Semmerling shoots him in the head point blank. Although however it does leave Bean a bit delirious due to the impact.
  • Jotaro Kujo from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure gets stuck by a bunch of knives from multiple directions while he's fighting DIO. It's revealed that at some point he shoved a bunch of magazines under his clothes and hat, which kept the knives from doing deep damage.
  • Shishio Makoto from Rurouni Kenshin wears a headband lined with steel - the only piece of armor he wears. The reasoning lies in the events of his original 'fall', when he caught a bullet to the forehead, paralyzing him for a while, and giving his enemies time to burn him. He wears the headband to ensure that it never happens again, and it does indeed prove remarkably effective...

     Comic Books  
  • In one Batman comic, the Caped Crusader is saved from a bullet to the back of the head at point blank range by a magnesium crash helmet (essentially a skullcap) he was wearing under his cowl.
  • Played for laughs in a Cattivik story where the person he just hammered on the head happens to have a 10 cm thick steel plate under his hat.
  • Beachhead from G.I. Joe is said to have a metal plate in his head during a crossover with Trans Formers. In order to sneak through the Decepticon base the Joes cannot have any metal on or in them. Beachhead is unable to go because of his plate.
  • JFK Secret Ops: John F. Kennedy has a metal plate in his head, placed there after he survived the bullet that hit him.
  • Judge Dredd's iconic helmet has deflected gunshots on several occasions. He usually doesn't even flinch. Averted in "The Day The Law Died" when an SJS sniper shoots through his helmet. Luckily, medical science is advanced enough to revive him.
  • During Walter Simonson's run on The Mighty Thor, during "The Surtur Saga" story arc, Thor fights The Fair Folk with the assistance of an army veteran who turns out to have partial immunity to their glamor because of the steel plate in his head.
  • Miner Smurf in The Smurfs comic books wears a hard miner's hat version of a Smurf hat.
  • The truck driving super hero US 1 (Or US Ace in latter incarnations) uses this to his advantage in a truckstop fight in the second issue.

     Film - Live Action  
  • The A-Team: in the movie, Lynch tries to shoot Morrison (who's wearing a hood). Instead it's Murdock, and the hood is actually filled with melted ceramic plates.
  • Bullet Proof has Jack Carter, who is shot in the head (accidentally) by his friend Archie. He uses the steel plate on Archie when he's pissed. Later he uses it as a surprise weapon against bad guys.
  • Faster. Driver has a steel plate which he got after being shot in the head by the men he's now hunting down in his Roaring Rampage of Revenge. At the end of the movie it saves his life after Cop shoots him in the back of the head.
  • Kick-Ass. After his disastrous first attempt at being a superhero the protagonist ends up with a lot of metal in his body, making it a little difficult to knock him out.
  • Inverted in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Eddie used to have a metal plate in his head, but would forget things when his wife turned on the microwave, so it was replaced with plastic. He doesn't believe the plastic is as strong as his skull.
  • Scanner Cop: The Big Bad initially resists the protagonist's psychic attack because of of the steel plate on his head, though it peels away the hair around it. The cop then concentrates really hard and gets the desired result.
  • "Chop Top" Sawyer from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Is probably one of the more iconic instances of this trope. Especially with the whole Autocannibalism thing. note  It's revealed when Leatherface barges in on Chop Top and Stretch, accidentally knocking off Chop Top's wig and having his chainsaw scratch against the metal plate.
  • In the old B-Movie They Came From Beyond Space, a character's metal plate prevents him from being psychically controlled by the aliens like all his colleagues.

  • The German pulp series Butler Parker had the protagonist regularly wear a bowler with a steel insert - usually protecting him from being hit over the head or for use as a blunt weapon.
  • The Gods Hate Kansas (published in 1964) may be the Ur-Example of the "metal plate in skull prevents mind control" variant.
  • The Supernaturalist: Cosmo Hill gets a piece of tank armor grafted to his skull from improvised surgery. It allows him to headbutt his way through bulletproof glass.
  • The Tommyknockers by Stephen King. Gardener and Ev Hillman are immune to the Body Horror effects of the spaceship because they have metal plates in their heads (Gardener because of a skiing accident, Ev because of a war wound). Anne (Bobbi's sister) is apparently helped a bit by her extensive metal dental work, but not quite as much as the two with skull plates.
  • In Witches Abroad, Nanny Ogg has a farmhouse land on her head, but is protected by her extremely sturdy hat. Hats that stop farmhouses becomes a running joke, reappearing in later books.

     Live-Action TV  
  • In The Avengers (1960s), Steed's trademark bowler hat was lined with steel, though he more often used it to clonk people than to protect himself.
  • On The Blacklist, after Raymond shot Mr. Kaplan in the head and she survived, it's later revealed that she had a steel plate in her head from a previous shooting.
  • Drop the Dead Donkey: Jerry the Camera has a "suicide by jumping" land on his head (thanks to Damien demanding he get right in underneath for the shot), however he is saved from injury due to the steel plate he has in his head from Damien's piece on why plastic bullets are safe.
  • In the pilot episode of the original Knight Rider, undercover detective Michael Long is shot in the face, but survives thanks to the steel plate he got after brain surgery for a Vietnam War injury. The bullet severely damages his face, but thanks to Magic Plastic Surgery he can now return as Michael Knight.

     Newspaper Comics  
  • One strip of The Far Side had a construction worker standing with a toppled building resting on his helmet, with the foreman mentioning that that's why they wear hard-hats.

     Web Comics  
  • A throwaway gag in a filler strip in Knights of the Dinner Table has Newt claiming his character is crouching real low and taking cover behind his 'Kevlar watch cap'.

     Western Animation  
  • The Dick Tracy animated series from the '50s/'60s had "Joe Jitsu" with a hat with a German WWI Helmet underneath it that protected him from a bonk on the head.
  • In Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Mentok the Mindtaker tries to do his shtick on Ernie Devlin, but only hears static. Devlin reveals that he has a metal plate in his head due to one of his many motorcycle crashes.
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002) it is shown that under his helmet Ram Man appears to have a metal plate grafted to the OUTSIDE of his head. This would certainly come in handy considering his role is to be a human battering ram. It isn't stated if this is because of an old injury but seems plausible considering his teammates Mekaneck and Fisto got their respective metal parts following battle injuries.
  • In the Looney Tunes short "Rabbit's Kin", Pete Puma comes prepared for Bugs Bunny's Hyperspace Mallet with an Acme Stovetop Lid under his hat. The Crazy-Prepared Bugs then produces an Acme Stovetop Lid Remover...
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: "An experienced fry cook always keeps a brick of lead under his hat." In this case, it's to protect the hat from being stomped on.

     Real Life  
  • Truth in Television; Bowler hats were conceived as alternatives to top hats that were better able to protect the wearer's head. A properly made one is quite rigid.
    • The same goes for modern police hats (they look like soft caps, but they're quite hard). Also, the Victorian predecessors to British Coppers' distinctive dome-shaped helmets were simply reinforced top hats.
  • Hard hats, of course. Which were reportedly inventednote  by Franz Kafka, of all people, while he was working as an insurance agent in Prague.
    • Unfortunately, true hard hats actually subvert this trope; the density or toughness of a hard hat isn't the only thing that saves you. It's the suspension inside that spreads out the force of the impact over the rest of the head, which makes a difference between cushioning incoming force from above and a smashed-in head.
  • Before these there was the kettle hat, a late-medieval to early-modern combat helmet that was basically an ordinary hat of the day, but made of iron (the German and French names for the helmet, Eisenhut and chapel-de-fer, both mean "iron hat"). It was most common for commoner foot soldiers, as it could be made cheaply in large numbers (only professional armourers could make a proper helm, but any village blacksmith could make a hat out of iron) and its wide brim afforded extra protection without special fittings (and kept the soldiers from being dazzled in the bargain). They were particularly favoured by the New Model Army, which included a derivative form called the morion as part of the standardised uniform.
    • Armor in general—including helmets—disappeared after the Thirty Years' War, but helmets of this type saw a resurgence in World War I, when the French Adrian and British (and later American) Brodie Helmets were explicitly modeled after the kettle hat.
    • Interestingly, around the same time European lords were decking their footsoldiers in kettle hats, the Japanese daimyo gave their ashigaru (i.e. peasant footsoldiers) conical hats made of iron.
  • Some companies issue baseball caps with a hard (plastic) insert to their employees as a protective device, e.g. for people loading trailers.


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