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Posts Tagged ‘Fonda’

movie_posterIt’s iconic.  “A man went looking for America and couldn’t find it anywhere.”

Forty years later Sony Pictures prepares to re-release (on October 13th) a newly digitized version of “Easy Rider” on Blu-ray disc and leverage movieIQ technology which allows fans to access relevant cast and crew trivia online.   At the same time, Kerr Leathers, a Salem, MA., company has an exclusive contract to produce replicas of the Captain America leather jacket which Fonda (Wyatt) wore. As one of only a couple American leather makers left,  Kerr also has the contract to produce other anniversary memorabilia, including Fonda’s vest and T-shirt, a CD of the movie songs, and commemorative posters.

The original leather jacket was designed and manufactured by Clarice Amberg of ABC Leathers in South Gate, California.  In 1971, ABC Leathers was bought out by Bates Manufacturing and later the company was renamed Bates Industries.  Currently its Bates Custom Leathers.  Bates is owned by two women, Dawn and Dana Grindle. At the time, ABC Leathers made two jackets and one set of pants for the movie.  The movie secured private financing of $440K and grossed over $19 million.  You can hear Fonda speak about the jacket HERE (.wmv file)

Kerr Leather "Captain America" Clothing

Kerr Leather "Captain America" Clothing

Millions of baby boomers who relate to the movie will undoubtedly line up to obtain one of only 3,000 Captain America jackets to be made.  All are signed by Fonda, and will retail for $459. In a brilliant coup d’état, all of the gear will be sold by Harley-Davidson dealers worldwide.  In addition, each of the dealers will receive a Fonda autographed American flag on one jacket, which will be raffled off for the dealer’s favorite charity.

And speaking of the American flag — the original, one-and-only American flag patch worn on the back of Wyatt’s motorcycle jacket, was sold in 2007 for more than $89,000 by Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas, TX.  The flag was featured prominently throughout the movie.  Fonda kept the jacket after production wrapped, and wore it until the jacket wore out. He then saved the patch, framed it, and then decided to make some of the memorabilia available to fans.  Ironically, for a film so fervently anti-establishment, the Department of Defense pin that adorned the jacket was valued at over $15,000. 

The launch of the re-released movie on Blu-ray is set to coincide with the 26th annual Love Ride during California Bike Week (October 23 – 25).  As the population ages it’s common these days to see commemorative clothing and products hit the market.  Nostalgia sells.  The last time Kerr Leathers first produced an “Easy Rider” commemorative jacket was for the film’s 25th anniversary in 1994.

Photos courtesy of Kerr web site.

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Easy Rider Replica Bike

Easy Rider Replica Bike

Not the fictional character who appears in comic books, but I’m talking about the classic motorcycle movie Easy Rider which marks the 40 year anniversary this week.

About two bikers (Fonda and Hopper) who travel the America landscape to experience freedom of the open road from the seat of their motorcycles.  Fonda played “Captain America” and his bike is one of the most recognizable motorcycles in history.  Stories vary, but according to the H-D Museum there were two choppers used in the film.  There is some irony in that both were created from H-D FLH police motorcycles.  One was destroyed in the making of the film and the other mysteriously disappeared from the movie set.  By some accounts there were a total of 4 motorcycles used which 3 were stolen.

Jack Nicholson played an alcoholic ACLU lawyer, George Hanson.  One of his more memorable comments after observing that Americans talk a lot about the value of freedom, but are actually afraid of anyone who truly exhibit it was:

“This used to be a hell of a good country.  I can’t understand what’s gone wrong with it.”

Ten years ago for the 30th anniversary celebration Fonda and H-D collaborated to build an exact replica of the California chopper which is now featured in the H-D Museum.  In 1998, the movie was added to the U.S. National Film Registry have been deemed culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.

I posted previously about producer William Hayward, his role in the movie and his unfortunate death.

Photo taken at H-D Museum during 105th Anniversary Celebration.

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