From craftmen of fine hats to international appreciation in Hollywood
It is a story that even Hollywood couldn’t have written any better: on the evening of the 30th of April 2007 I received a call from Peter Botwright
of Wested Leather
– who had made the leather garnment for several Hollywood stars in the past, for example James Bond, Alien, Star Wars as well as Raiders of the lost Ark. Peter told me, that he was in contact with the costume designer of Harrison Ford for the fourth part of the Indiana Jones movies: Bernie Pollack
! Bernie and Peter had been chatting for a while and somewhere down the road Bernie asked Peter, if he would know of someone who would be able to create the hats for Indiana Jones – given the fact that the hatter of the former movies had retired in the meanwhile. Peter knew of someone: Adventurebilt Hat Co. or rather, my friend and business partner Steve Delk and I.
Already the very next day the phone rang and I heard Bernie’s voice for the first time. We had delightful conversation in which Bernie asked several questions regarding which brim width I would use for Harrison Ford, how high I’d make the crown, which ribbon etc. etc. etc. Having several other hatters who weren’t up to create the hat that Bernie had in mind, we were now the ones challenged to create a convincing hat. We made several samples with various brim widths, creasings and crown hights and finally the incomprehensible happened: during a test fitting with Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg – on which several samples of various hatters were tried on – Mr. Spielberg is said to have shouted „That’s it!!! That’s Indy’s hat!!!“ in excitement.
It was one of our samples and we got the order to make all the hats for Harrison Ford and his stuntmen!
We worked for weeks and weeks, up to 18 hours a day, to not only create a piece of costume, but much more a hat that Indiana Jones – had he truly existed – would have been proud to wear! We always thought that a guy like „Indy“ would have chosen a high quality hat for his adventures and with that said we used solely finest 100% beaver fur felt – as it was used on the finest hats during the 30’s of the 20th. century already. Of course we were using the traditional techniques
of that time era as well, to be as authentic as humanly possible. We were even able to use the exact same ribbon as it was used during the former Indiana Jones movies. The international coorperation between Steve and I for the probably most famous adventurer worldwide was truly the icing on the cake. In total we made 36 brown and 2 grey hats.
When done, Bernie made a compliment that we’ll never forget. He told us that our hats had performed so well
during the tough making of the film, that he’d have enough for yet another movie. If you have seen the movie, you will understand why we were thrilled by this statement.
We want to thank Peter in due form for his commendation and of course we want to thank Bernie for his trust, the pleasant coorperation and that we are now a small part of the Indiana Jones film history. Bernie, you’re the best!
Marc Kitter and Steve Delk