El Dorado Rig
pattern will make its debut early in 2012! Be the first kid on your block to pick it up at your local Tandy Leather Factory store!
Since the completion of the pattern, I've received new photographs that will help to recreate a more accurate "El Dorado" rig.
Jerry Neman sent me photographs he took at an auction in Las Angles in October of 2011. In the auction were John Wayne's personal possessions. One of them was a gun rig labeled as being from the movie "El Dorado".
The first photo Jerry sent shows a good detail of the chape that holds the buckle. But, notice the holster. Right at the tip of the buckle tongue, you can see a slot in the skirt under the holster. You can also see the wear on the holster that shows where the loop use to go around the holster. The bottom of the holster is tied to the skirt with a wang.
You'll notice this holster is not lined, but made of one layer of heavy skirting leather. It has a full skirt that extends below the holster. It's not overly wide but still a full skirt.
Jerry indicated the auction label states this holster was from "El Dorado". The photo on the table would indicate it was worn by Duke in the movie. Since there are usually equipment doubles for each main actor, this is quite possible, even though another holster is seen in stills from the movie.
Here we have a still of Duke with actress Michele Carey during the filming of "El Dorado". You get a good view of the "classic" Duke holster, with its lining and uniquely shaped loop. Notice you cannot see the "half-breed" skirt that folds over the belt, and the skirt is completely hidden by the holster. This is the holster that is widely replicated, and in so much demand among John Wayne fans.
However, if the holster photographed by Jerry had a similar shaped holster loop, and was also used in the movie, it would be hard to see the difference of the full skirt during the action and movement of the movie.
Another possibility would be the holster photographed by Jerry was in "El Dorado", but wasn't worn by Duke, but by another actor.
If anyone owns a DVD of "El Dorado", and wants to spend the time, I would be interested in seeing if the holster can be spotted in other scenes.
In this second photo from Jerry, we can see clearly the adjustment holes in the belt, as well as how the billet is laced on.
The contours of the cut-down belt are evident, as the belt body blends into the laced-on billet.
I wish I had these photos when I was makin' the pattern! As it is, there wouldn't be much modification to the pattern to replicate the billet in this photo.
In this photo, the full skirt of the holster is more evident. You can see the lighter color where the loop was, along with the dark spot where the holster body rubbed against the inside of the holster loop.
The tip of the billet on this belt is identical to the tip on Duke's personal folded suede money belt. No one is completely sure of who made these rigs, because there are no maker's marks on them.
In this second still from "El Dorado", we clearly see the classic "Duke" holster, on what looks like the same belt in Jerry's second photo.
Since Jerry's photos are of Duke's personal affects, and the belts seem to be identical in both set of photos, it got me to thinkin'. In the October 2007 Issue of American Rifleman, they had an article on one of Duke's personal rigs as well.
In that article, they photographed a rig Duke gave to Gary Hess, who worked for Wayne's gas and oil exploration company. The holster in those photos is identical in every way to the photos of the holster worn by Duke in "El Dorado". I submit, that since both rigs were in the possession of Wayne, at some point, the holster from "El Dorado" got taken off the belt from "El Dorado" and put on the suede money belt that was eventually owned by Hess. This would explain why Jerry's photos of the belt from "El Dorado" matches, but the holsters don't.
This would also explain the auction label identifying the rig as being used in "El Dorado". It is interesting to note the photo they used to identify the rig as being from "El Dorado", was of a still that only showed the belt, not the holster. Having had some dealings with Hollywood types, and auction houses that deal with movie memorabilia, I don't find this a bit odd.
If you have any research on this movie you would like to share, I'm sure everyone would find it interesting.