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Marc interview i SPIEGEL magasinet

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Marc interview i SPIEGEL magasinet

Indlæg  Ace on Man apr 07, 2008 10:10 pm

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Ace
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Re: Marc interview i SPIEGEL magasinet

Indlæg  Ace on Tors apr 10, 2008 9:56 pm

Her er artiklen oversat til engelsk


Indiana Jones
Raiders of the Lost Hat

The headwear that Harrison Ford will wear in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” is an international project. And the story of the creation of the felt hat is a tale of passion, honor and true friendship.

Marc Kitter first saw “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in 1989, on video. At the time the film was already eight years old and Marc just 13. It was love at first sight.

But it wasn’t Indy’s girlfriend Marion Ravenwood, played by Karen Allen, with whom Marc had fallen in love; neither was it the adventurous life of a Nazi-fighting archeologist, like most of the boys his age.

It was the hat that dazzled him. From that moment on, Marc started delivering newspapers in his southern Danish hometown of Tingley, 18 kilometers north of Flensburg [home of a great pilsner - ed.]. The Jyske Vestkysten, for half a year. Until he had saved enough money to travel with his parents to Hamburg, the big city, and buy a hat – just like the one Indiana Jones wore.

When the fourth installment in the series, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” opens on May 22, Marc Kitter will be the first one to see the film. And again he’ll mainly be paying attention to the hat. Because the hat that Harrison Ford and his stunt doubles will wear were made by Kitter. At least half of them. The other half were made by his best friend, Steve Delk.

Delk is 57 years old and lives in Mississippi. When he speaks, one hears the cotton in his deep voice. Delk’s Southern accent is distinctive, the vowels long, the flow of speech slow, like the great river that gave its name to the state.

He saw “Raiders of the Lost Ark” for the first time in 1996 [!? – ed.], also on video, like Kitter.
“I couldn’t go to the cinema back then. We had small children, there was no time for the movies,” he says. And exactly like Kitter he couldn’t take his eyes off the felt hat on Harrison Ford’s head. At the time Delk was a furniture maker. Today, he is a hat maker.

They met each other in Club Obi-Wan. That’s the name of the nightclub in which the opening scene of the second part of the series, “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” takes place – Steven Spielberg pays homage to his “Star Wars” saga [sic – ed.] by naming the club after the instructor of Anakin and Luke Skywalker. Club Obi-Wan is also the name of an Internet forum, in which Indiana Jones’ gear is discussed: the leather jacket, the bullwhip, the revolver, the holster – and, yes, the hat.

It’s no wonder that the two got on so well from the beginning. “We spent countless hours on the telephone and wrote thousands of emails discussing the hat,” says Kitter. “It sounded somewhat like this: ‘You think the ribbon is still a millimeter too narrow? Maybe, but the brim could be at least two millimeters wider…,” he adds with a trace of self-mockery.

The bad copy of the Indiana Jones hat that Kitter purchased with his newspaper money didn’t really satisfy him for long.

And Delk also searched and searched for the perfect hat. “I spent $7,500 on hats,” he says. Finding an original hat had become impossible. Richard Swales, who in 1981 made the hat for “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” had retired. The London company for whom he had worked, Herbert Johnson, was by that time making hats by machine – not an option for someone who wanted exactly the kind of hat that hat makers had made in their workshops in the 1930s. And the old blocks, which Swales had once used to make his legendary hat, had disappeared without a trace.

Kitter and Delk thus began to experiment on their own. They bought old hats on ebay, took them apart, reformed them and sewed them back together. It finally became too much for Delk. It became clear to him. If he wants this exact hat, then he’s going to have to make it himself.
In the Library of Congress in Washington D. C. he found an old book, “Scientific Hat Making.”
For Delk and Kitter, it became the bible. Delk worked on the block for the hat for ten months.
“Hey, I was a furniture maker,” he says. “I figured I could make anything out of wood.”

He then made a block for himself and one for his friend Marc. But that’s just the beginning of the story. Kitter and Delk delved into magazines from museums in order to study old hats. They called old hat makers who today are over 90 years old. Kitter in Europe, Delk in America. “Some of them were really happy for the chance to speak to someone about their work,” says Kitter. Hat-making is a kind of secret science. Trade secrets and tricks were never written down since a competitor could have used them to make hats just as good. “But now, at the end of the lives, some were very happy to pass that knowledge on and not take it with them to their graves.”

Delk finally made a hat he was happy with. And he presented it on the Internet. “The next thing I knew, hundreds of people wanted to buy this hat,” he says, “but I wasn’t a hat maker. I was a carpenter.”

So he started spending his evenings in his hat workshop. For friends, fans and even strangers, he formed old hats on his new block until they looked exactly like the “Raiders” hat. And he made a whole lot of new ones. At first he earned just enough to cover the manufacturing costs plus shipping. After a few months he called Kitter. “Marc, I can’t keep doing this on my own. Would you like to join me?“

“I was moved,” Kitter remembers. He knew that if he agreed, every second of his free time would be taken up. “You know what,” his wife Isabell said encouragingly, “You’re on the computer all the time anyway looking at hats. If you can earn money with it, that’s even better!”

Since then, Kitter, who in his real life studied business administration, has worked during the day as a buyer for a large tool supplier in Lower Saxony. And evenings and weekends he makes hats.
In order not to compete directly with his friend Steve Delk, he has specialized in the Deluxe Edition [my hat! – ed.].

While they both sell their product under the same name, Adventurebilt, Kitter’s hats are a bit more expensive. “I found a felt supplier who sells very high-quality felt,” he says, explaining the price difference. “He mixes the color specially and applies an extra layer of water protection.” Delk’s hats are also high-quality, however. They both use pure beaver felt. “Hare or rabbit hair is too thick,“ says Kitter. “Only beaver hair is fine enough.“

The raw hat bodies are delivered by the felt maker. The unformed cone is steamed and formed on the block. It is then artificially aged through various means in order to avoid eventual deformations. And then you have to iron. “The more you iron, the better that hat will be,” reveals Delk. Sandpapier provides the final finish and then the sweatband is sewn on and the ribbon attached. “I hate sewing sweatbands on,” Delk admits. That’s why he now employs his nephew to handle the tough work. At the end of the process, he holds in his hands a hat that could not have been made better by a hat maker from the 1930s.

Kitter and Delk have long enjoyed a certain reputation at Club Obi-Wan. They are both known as perfectionists and excellent hat makers. As the fourth installment of the Indiana Jones series was announced, the guessing began: Who would supply the hat? Then, a few days before the start of principle photography, Peter Botwright, a manufacturer of Indy leather jackets, called. The next day he was to meet Bernie Pollack, the costume designer (and brother of director Sydney Pollack) – and he still hadn’t found a hat. Should he give Pollack their addresses?

“We then made a gentleman’s agreement,” says Delk. “In case I get the job, Marc would make half of the hats. And if he got the job, I would make half of the hats.” Pollack called Delk the next day. “But only because there’s just a two-hour time difference between Los Angeles and Mississippi, and not six like Europe,” Delk explains. He ordered two dozen hats and Delk and Kitter began to work night and day.

“We were only able to deliver the last ones after filming had begun,” Kitter recalls. In total they made 48 hats fro “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”: “Nine for Ford, quite a number for his stunt doubles and a few extras for Steven Spielberg, who wanted some to hand out to friends as gifts.”

What kind of hat will gracing Harrison Ford’s skull in “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”? “A cross between the ‘Raiders’ hat and the one Indy wore in “The Last Crusade,” reveals Delk. For real fans the only real hat is the “Raiders” hat. Ninety-nine percent of the hats that he and Kitter make to order are “Raiders” hats. “But Pollack didn’t like it,” he grumbles. “So we had to compromise.”

Both friends wear “Raiders” hats privately. “I’ve never had time to make myself a hat,” says Delk. “So I wear a hat that Marc gave me. Either that one or an old original Stetson from the Second World War era.”

Steve Delk hasn’t had time for the past four years, since he started his hat business. And it’s been nothing compared to the storm that will hit Delk and Kitter once “Crystal Skull” hits theaters. Delk sees all the hubbub with Southern aplomb. A few days ago the New York Times asked him for an interview. “I don’t think I want to speak to them at all,” he drawls. “I have enough publicity.”

His priorities lie elsewhere. “The best thing is, one day my grandchildren will see the film and say: Grandpa made that hat!”

“Age-wise, Steve could be my father,“ says Kitter about Delk. “But he’s my best friend.

“Marc is the best friend that I’ve ever had,“ says Delk about Kitter.

They’ve never met each other in person. It would be a long journey. And Delk has a fear of flying. “When I go to Europe, then in a boat!” he says.

The film premiere would be a good opportunity for their first meeting. But Bernie Pollack hasn’t sent any tickets for Hollywood.

“I’ll probably see the film in Copenhagen,” Kitter says vaguely. And Delk? “I definitely have to see the film twice. I know the first time I’ll only be able to pay attention to the hat. But I also want to know what the story’s about.”
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