Indiana Jones' leather jacket in an English field - and no snakes!

Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:02am EST
 
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By Jonathan Cable

SWANLEY, England (Reuters) - It's not quite like finding the grail but in their quest for the perfect jacket for Indiana Jones, props procurers for Hollywood director Steven Spielberg tracked down leather coat maker Peter Botwright to a small barn in the English countryside.

And just like a Hollywood happy ending, nearly a quarter-century on from the movie whose hero played by Harrison Ford can deal with anything but snakes, Botwright still sells between 1,000 and 1,500 replicas a year.

"It is one of 'the' jackets, it's an iconic jacket. There are only about half a dozen jackets that are like that," Botwright said.

"The Brando motorcycle jacket is probably the top one but I wouldn't put the Raiders' jacket far down the list."

Marlon Brando's image as an outlaw biker in the 1953 film "The Wild One" inspired a craze for sideburns, tilted caps - and leather motorcycle jackets.

Based in the county of Kent, southeast England, Botwright's Wested Leather made the jacket Ford wore in Spielberg's 1981 film "Raiders of the Lost Ark" the first in the franchise.

Orders are filled for customers as far afield as Australia and the United States, with around 80 percent of them sold on the Internet.

"Customers are always surprised the jackets are made here, but we stitch in a 'Made in England' label and a Union Jack flag, just so they know," said Botwright, who made the original coat himself.   Continued...