The Amazing Archaeology of Indy’s Hat
Delighted remains an understatement. In the seconds following my middle guy’s leap off my bed, somersault through the doorway wearing the Indy hat I recently profiled; well, let’s just say I was flummoxed.
When, as the hat flipped off his head, he purposely closed the door with one hand and reached with the other hand to grab the fedora before the portal closed, I was floored.
With my mouth agape, I asked Scott — my most sensitive child — when he had seen Indiana Jones do that move; because I am pretty sure it wasn’t while I was watching the film (as he doesn’t do scary).
He said he didn’t remember, jumped up, and ran through the exercise once again.
Scott may not know where his connection to Indy’s fedora began, but I know when mine did.
I was Scott’s age, watching the Raiders of the Lost Ark with the rest of St. Bernard’s School in the all-purpose room behind the church. I loved the movie and “darn” was that hat cool.
I even bought my own a few years later when I worked a few shifts of package-pick-up at JC Penney; adding my own ribbon and everything.
Indy’s Own Artifact: His Hat
Anyway, fast forward to earlier this June, when Jake Kring-Schreifels posted, “How Indiana Jones’s Fedora Became an Artifact With a Life of Its Own.”
In it, the writer tracked down Deborah Nadoolman Landis to ask about THE Indiana Jones hat.
And I am jealous of Mr. Kring-Schreifels.
As the only true authenticator of Indiana Jones’s first khaki attire, Landis stretched her memory 30 years and began sorting through fedoras, hoping one might resemble the original Raiders hat. Each had been stamped with a gold “IJ,” making them impossible to differentiate. But eventually, one hat in particular caught her eye. Unlike the others she’d inspected, this fedora’s interior lining had the original label of Herbert Johnson, the British hatmaker that had supplied the Raiders inventory. Surrounded by Indy paraphernalia, Landis let out a sigh of relief. “I couldn’t imagine that I would find anything from the first film,” Landis admits. “That was Harrison’s no. 1 hat, that was the holy grail. … It was a tingling, hair-on-the-back-of-the-head moment.” After a couple more hours of searching, she found two original jackets with brass zippers and D rings at the hip, which differed from the supply’s other European styles, to complete her dig. The trip, and specifically the hat’s uncovery, “really was cathartic,” she says.
The whole article is like the above paragraph, which reads — stunningly — like the narration on any of the National Geographic specials narration on Disney+. You must read it.
Hat History Repeating
Oh, and Jake also mentioned the exact scene my boy was recreating:
In one famous sequence in Temple of Doom, Indy narrowly escapes death by sliding underneath a closing boulder door, nearly sacrificing his arm just to snatch his fedora, which had fallen on the other side.
Can you hear the song? I can: da da da daaaaah. Dah da dah…