The Universal Jacket

Twenty years ago, my dad and I went to Universal Studios in Orlando for spring break. Yes, you read that right—my idea of a good time was to hang out with my dad. If you knew my dad, you’d know why. He is supremely cool.

We had a great time. The Back to the Future ride was our favorite. And Universal was doing a special Mardi Gras parade with floats that night. But my prize—my chief souvenir—was my Universal Studios jacket.

It was a navy blue waterproof nylon shell lined in gray sweatshirt material. It had a hood (also lined) with drawstrings so you could pull it tight against wind. The pockets zipped so your stuff stayed safe and dry. It was, quite simply, the best jacket ever.

I lived in Austin at the time, and it’s not like I needed a heavy coat. This jacket, though, was perfect for the couple months out of the year when it was cooler out. And it was really perfect for the rain. Over the course of five or six years, I wore the thing out (wearing it even when I was working for 20th Century Fox, much to my producer’s irritation), only reluctantly getting rid of it after I could no longer ignore the holes in it.

Since then, I’ve searched for similar jackets, but I could never find one I liked as much. Most weren’t as sturdy, or the hoods weren’t lined, and few I found had zipping pockets. I have in the interim amassed an impressive collection of hoodies and jackets, but none to truly replace the Universal jacket.

And then, a few days ago we took a family trip down to Universal Studios Hollywood.

I had little to no hope they still made this jacket. It had been twenty years! But there, on a rack in the Jurassic Park gift shop, like the Holy Grail . . . The jacket! THE jacket!

My precioussss . . .

It is mine again, the greatest jacket of all time.

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