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Indiana Jones' Gear
This section is written by Mike French with the support of
Deborah Nadoolman, Costume Designer of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
 

Do the clothes make the man? In old war movies they did, simply so you could tell the Americans and the Germans apart in the heat of battle, although sometimes Americans dressed like Germans on infiltration missions in films like The Dirty Dozen, while Germans often dressed up like Americans to sabotage and confuse in flicks like Battle of the Bulge. So, essentially the clothes don’t make the man.

click to enlarge
Indy at The Raven bar.

Arguably, this goes for Indiana Jones as well. The intrepid Dr. Jones is certainly more than the clothes he wears. Nevertheless, his clothes have become so irrevocably linked to his character that he is known as "the man with the hat," and his dynamic silhouette is instantly recognizable. So recognizable in fact that Indy’s duds have become one of the most popular costumes in film history and easily ranks as one of the most sought outfits by "filmophiles."

For almost a decade now, the Internet discussions on Indy’s "gear" have gone on nonstop. This is understandable because the clothing Harrison Ford wears in the Indiana Jones films is not overtly a costume like Darth Vader or Lara Croft. His clothes are real clothes, and can be worn in various combinations in everyday life, provided you leave the gunbelt and bullwhip at home of course.

The problem is the fact that much of the exact information on how Indy’s costume was created remains a mystery floating in the dissipating wisps of the creators’ memories. You see, Raiders of the Lost Ark was made at the tail end of the film industry’s analog era. With today’s digital databases and organizational systems in place, movie costumes and props are better catalogued now than ever before and nothing simply goes missing like so much did in the past. In fact, these modern systems are now being used to reorganize the past as dusty warehouses are opened and the formerly unorganized film cans and props of classic movies are finally being permanently pinned down like their modern counterparts.

With Indiana Jones’ outfit, thousands of fan hours have been spent researching and going to great lengths to determine the whys, whats and hows of Harrison Ford’s famous clothes. Some fans have personally gotten in touch with costume designers and stuntmen who worked on the Indiana Jones series. What’s the real story? So far, it seems everyone’s tale is slightly different.

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Indy's intro in Raiders.

This section does not attempt to pin down the exact truths, but it does intend to give readers a historical perspective on the various articles of Indy’s outfit and provide them with some answers. For those more tenacious readers bent on obtaining the "real story" behind all the technical details of Indy’s costume acquisition and design, TheRaider.net has recently conducted an extensive interview with Deborah Nadoolman, who conceived and created Harrison Ford’s original outfit for Raiders of the Lost Ark. She provides interesting information on the creation of Indy’s clothes.

There are two sides to every story and some people remember things differently. In the case of Indy’s famous hat and leather jacket, the debate continues to rage as to the exact designers and styles. To hear all sides of these subjects, IndyGear.com provides an exhaustive archive of information on the design of the hat and the jacket among Indy’s other accoutrements.

We at TheRaider.net make no assertions to the accuracy of either Deborah’s accounts or those of the Indiana Jones series’ various creators and craftsmen quoted at IndyGear.com. We do know that Deborah was the sole Costume Designer on Raiders and worked closely with Steven Spielberg on developing the character of Indiana Jones. However, we feel it is invaluable to provide a virtual podium for all of the men and women who worked on the Indiana Jones film series to provide their thoughts and memories of these indelible adventure classics so that all interested parties can partake of their experiences.

Now let’s get down to business…

The Fedora (the Hat) Revolver and Holster
The Jacket The Boots
The Shoulder Bag Shirt and Pants
The Bullwhip The Belts

 

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