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  1. #1

    Thoughts and Realizations: Botwright didnt make the original Raiders Jacket

    Well, after starting the “Nowak Registry Thread” and all the fiasco it led to, I thought I would drop another bombshell (nah, Im kidding). I actually have thought seriously about this topic for some time and I just thought I would bring it up.

    When I first ventured into this hobby, I (like most of the rest of you) went to google and typed in “original Indiana Jones leather jacket” and then, of course, WESTED leather appeared. Like you, I ordered it thinking this was it. This guy made the originals and what I’m getting will be exactly what Ford wore in Raiders.

    The Box arrives and I open it. My first impression (like most of yours) was “wait…this isnt it”. The cut was wrong, the leather was wrong. Plain, plastic like leather with a poor cut. The next two decades featured many of us spent hours scratching our heads wondering what was wrong. We spent hundreds of man hours distressing, dyeing, washing, soaking, and generally just beating the shit of out these jackets, trying to manipulate them to what we see on screen. We even began to search out new vendors, tweak the patterns but still something was missing until Tony Nowak came out with his Raiders copy.

    What happened. Peter made the originals so why did they leave us wanting more. Why were we so convinced that the Wested jacket we had just was not it? My answer: Peter Botwright was not as involved with the production of these jackets as he says he was.

    I’ve never said he wasn’t involved but I think he oversells himself. I think he was definitely there but was it his “brainchild” or his sole creation, no way. In fact, I argue that he was involved only in some “off-to-the-side” aspect in the production of the jacket for these reasons:

    a.) If Deborah N. doesn’t know who the guy is, that gives me serious pause. A custom designer not meeting the manufacturer of one of the signature pieces of the outfit of their HERO character just blows my mind. She picked up the Fedora from Herbert Johnson. Why not the leather? According to the Indygear writeup, she has no recollection of meeting Botwright. Now, Noel Howard states Peter was involved but did he ever actually state that “yes, Peter B. created the jacket himself and it was all his original idea”? I mean, seriously? Someone involved in the production does not deserve to be a figurehead for it or claim creation of it 10 or 20 years later.

    B.) All the Westeds (up until the the HERO which he copied from TN) have never felt or looked the part. People only seem to defend them simply because they were the sole option for nearly two decades. Peter’s reason; I lost the patterns. I just don’t buy it. Spielburg stated in interviews that if He and George made Raiders, that it would be in a series of three so sequels were almost garanteed (yes, box office played a factor but the decision to do the Indy series in a set of three was made before the film opened). It seems like a simple design, which according to Indygear, Peter just basically used another one of his designs (James Dean pattern) as a template and then added some details. Why would it be so hard to replicate?

    C.) The smoking gun: The Keppler Jacket was horribly off in so many areas. Produced by Botwright in 1986, this jacket was, in production/timeline/history terms should have been the closest to the film and the truest jacket in Botwright’s mind (because NO input/alterations were requested by legion of fans and at that particular time only two movies had been made). So, if this jacket which was supposedly made by the original maker using the original patterns (which I thought he lost…wait?..), why did it have “numerous authenticity” issues (e.g. cant remember exactly, maybe a member could chime in? I think the cuffs were wrong, the gussets, I cant remember exactly what) In fact, this jacket was so horribly unlike what Lee saw on screen that lee had to send him a copy of his jacket in order for Peter to get it right.

    So, my theory is this:

    Peter worked for Bermans and Nathans but does that mean he actually made the jacket? No. He was involved with the production but only from a distance. It wasn’t until Lee Keppler called him did he blatantly just blurt out “oh yeah, I made that jacket”

    Now, this is amazingly similar to what happened with the Layer Cake jacket on filmjackets in this thread featured here


    On page 4, Peter posts a scanned picture of a invoice that states he made three jackets for layercake. That’s it. No text. Nothing. No, he never actually said he made the original (something he probably learned after the Keppler incident) but when you post something like that in a jacket specific thread, fans are automatically going to think (logically right to do so) that you made the original. All of a sudden, Peter B did make the jacket for the film. Great, right? No. The original jacket was made by DUNHIL (its label can be seen in the film and an original was found by a fan only AFTER numerous people were displeased with supposedly “authentic” jacket made by the original creator as their jackets were not cut right, missing details, just like the Raiders). Peter’s response:

    Sorry Folks, looks like I have to apologize. As I have said before I was not even aware that we made this jacket until I found the pattern with the Ska films order on it.

    And that was that. Back to Indy

    Perhaps he didn’t realize that their was such a huge fan base attached to this jacket and once he did, he realized he would have to make good on his assertion. If Lee had never sent him the prototype he crafted after spending numerous man hours watching Raiders, Botwright would have never been able to “reproduce” his supposedly own original creation. And now, he finally produces his “original” HERO simply because he directly copied one of TN’s jackets (all the while vehemently critizing and smudging Tony, calling him “top copier”, etc).

    So, taking all of this evidence into consideration, I don’t think peter B should be claiming what he is claiming. Maybe reword the Wested website. Was he involved with Production, yes? But did he create the original raiders himself? No.
    "Now you're talkin' nasty"

  2. #2

    Re: Thoughts and Realizations: Botwright didnt make the original Raiders Jacket

    im not sure if Iposted this in the right forum so Mods feel free to move it around!
    "Now you're talkin' nasty"

  3. #3
    Grizzled Grave Robber Knight of the Round Table neutronbomb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Re: Thoughts and Realizations: Botwright didnt make the original Raiders Jacket

    This is a something KT or even some of the other guys who have been around awhile would have the most comprehensive information on. I don't know what's accurate from all that Hayes has said.

  4. #4

    Re: Thoughts and Realizations: Botwright didnt make the original Raiders Jacket

    Maybe address this question to Peter himself and post his response.

  5. #5

    Re: Thoughts and Realizations: Botwright didnt make the original Raiders Jacket

    Hmmm. I might do that Pawn. Dont get me wrong, i dont have it in for Peter but there is plenty of evidence to at least raise reasonable doubt that his claims are not 100% accurate.
    "Now you're talkin' nasty"

  6. #6

    Re: Thoughts and Realizations: Botwright didnt make the original Raiders Jacket

    I never got into the details of the Raiders jacket. I do own one of Nowak's Crystal Skull jackets that I love, and an off the rack Wested that I use when it's not that cold outside. What's story behind Peter allegedly copying TN's Hero jacket? Did he admit it or something? Just curious.

  7. #7

    Re: Thoughts and Realizations: Botwright didnt make the original Raiders Jacket

    On Cow he stated that he got ahold of a TN raiders and a Todds in an effort to hammer out all the inconsistencies of his own jackets. I will repost his post if i can find it.
    "Now you're talkin' nasty"

  8. #8

    Re: Thoughts and Realizations: Botwright didnt make the original Raiders Jacket

    On page 3 of the re: wested's new hero jacket, peter posts a comparison pic of his crispe skin and the nowak in his possesion.
    "Now you're talkin' nasty"

  9. #9

    Re: Thoughts and Realizations: Botwright didnt make the original Raiders Jacket

    I'd have it down more as being a case where Peter makes a jacket for yet another film that he cares very little about, working with a rough design that was presented and some nailing it down... Gets it done and sent off, and then proceeds to lose any interest in it at all until Raiders comes out, at which point he realises that he's lost the original pattern sheets he had, and perhaps has a chance to make some money by selling these to the general public...

    In order to start selling them, he needs a pattern, so uses the films and video to style a jacket as close as he can get to the original he made...that jacket, while not being what he made initially, is close enough for most fans, and so he considers that story "done", and just focuses on selling those, since the smaller details aren't so big that it takes his customers elsewhere, and besides, who else makes them anyway?

    That's fine for several years, until a maker called Tony Nowak decides he could do them fairly well too, and starts bringing his out..Which means fans are now able to chose between a jacket that (while from the original maker) isn't spot on, and one which is, but is higher priced, and not from Wested...For a while this situation is ok too..But eventually Peter sees the need to bring out something that actually FITS the Raiders jacket..So, he borrows a Nowak and recopies the jacket he made a long time back once again....This becomes the Wested Hero...

    We all know that Peter is a little more fuzzy on small details than perhaps we'd like...So while I don't think there's a huge issue, it wouldn't be hard to see that he has always been this way... He did a project he cared nothing for, watched it blow up, decided to sell them, and then because fans were ok with it, continued with a pattern that wasn't so great until the new Nowak design came out...Then updated and improved his design...

    I have no doubt he made the originals...Just that he really doesn't care about Indy jackets as much as WE do....Never has....Although he know realises that this is a major part of his business and can do it better... So does..

    I can't say for sure, of course...But I'd hazard a good guess that that's close to the truth..

  10. #10

    Re: Thoughts and Realizations: Botwright didnt make the original Raiders Jacket

    His website is pretty specific about making the jacket and fitting Ford for said jacket. Also, he's one of the only makers out there that uses the name Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark on his website. I've always thought that if there wasn't something to Peter making the jackets for Raiders, LFL would send him a cease and desist letter regarding both his claim of having made the jacket and his use of the words Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Even Bill Kelso is calling their jacket the Relic Hunter, and you won't see any trademarked names on their website.

    In light of the above, I think fithchamber is probably closer to why the Raiders jacket from Wested took so long to look the part. Peter made it and forgot about it. It was just another of many, many jackets he had made for movies and television.

    Searching for my grail...the perfect Last Crusade jacket.


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