* Spielberg's props crew found jacket maker in English barn
* Jacket maker Botwright says still sells three a day
* Also makes Elvis impersonator costumes
By Jonathan Cable
SWANLEY, England, Jan 31 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,"
"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
"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
Having taken 165 pounds ($270) for the jacket, Botwright's
staff can kit out customers in matching shirt, trousers and
belt, as well as a whip similar to the one used by Ford's
relic-hunting professor in the movie.
His name may not be on many people's lips, but Botwright's
work has featured on the silver screen for decades.
His list of credits is diverse, including making the German
army uniforms for the submarine disaster thriller "Das Boot",
elf costumes for a Santa Claus movie, outfits for super-spy
James Bond and clothes for the "Mission: Impossible" films.
With more than 30 years of movie work under his belt,
Botwright has recently made costumes for the Marvel comic Thor
films and the second series of the television fantasy biopic "Da
Wested's barn, as well as housing the workshop, hosts a shop
containing a treasure trove of leather goods, ranging from iPad
covers to saddle bags to custom-made trousers.
And Wested has a somewhat surprising sideline - a roaring
trade selling hand-made costumes to Elvis Presley impersonators.
"They've got to fit right, it's not something you can just
wear off the peg. They come down, we fit the jacket and then
they stand in front of the mirror for about an hour like an old
tart, going 'unh-huh-huh', bending down, getting up, doing all
"There's not one of them doesn't do it - if you are an Elvis
you have to give it the full treatment."
($1 = 0.6090 British pounds)
(Editing by Michael Roddy and Gareth Jones)