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Public Enemies - Johnny Depp

Outfitting "Public Enemies"

Tigard’s Ted Blocker Holsters makes the holster that packs Johnny Depp’s heat

By Christina Cooke

The Times, Jul 2, 2009, Updated Oct 30, 2009

Public Enemies - Johnny Depp

PACKIN’ HEAT – Ted Blocker Holsters' owner Don Brown produced the holsters, like the one he is wearing, for the upcoming movie “Public Enemies,” starring Johnny Depp as John Dillinger.

Jaime Valdez / The Times

PACKIN’ HEAT – Ted Blocker Holsters' owner Don Brown produced the holsters, for the movie “Public Enemies,” starring Johnny Depp as John Dillinger.

Jaime Valdez / The Tigard Times

In the action-thriller “Public Enemies,” which opened Wednesday, Johnny Depp’s character John Dillinger holds up banks and fights off FBI agents — all while wearing a holster made in Tigard.

Ted Blocker Holsters on Tigard Street produced the leather holsters worn by Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Jason Clarke and several others in the movie about bank robbers in the Depression era.

Public Enemies - Johnny Depp

Don and Shelley Brown, who have owned the holster company since 1999 and produced props for several other movies, stay cool when they talk about seeing their handiwork on the big screen. But it does make them proud, they say.

“We like seeing our stuff out there,” Shelley said. “The general public is thrilled about it, and it’s good business for us.”

California prop house Independent Studio Services contacted Don and Shelley in January about producing 1930s-style holsters for “Public Enemies.”

The couple produced a sample, which they then adjusted to fit under the actors’ snuggly tailored suits. Once the design was finalized, they produced about 60 more in less than a week.

“I worked some 16- to 18-hour days,” Don said, “but you do what you have to do.”

The finished product, constructed of leather dyed reddish to match Depp’s shoes, fits over the shoulder and fastens to the belt so it doesn’t swing around.

Public Enemies - Johnny Depp

Independent Studio Services buyer Marsha Dennis says she works with the Tigard holster makers on a regular basis because she can count on them to produce high-quality leatherwear — and fast.

“They’re perfectionists,” Dennis said. “They do beautiful stuff… I could call Shelley today and tell her I’m out of something, and they’d work on it immediately.”


Fast-draw enthusiasts Ted and Jean Blocker started Ted Blocker Holsters in California in 1972 and began working with Hollywood moviemakers soon after. They moved the company to Blocker’s home state of Oregon in the early 1990s.

Over its 37-year history, the company has provided holsters for Don Johnson’s character Sonny Crockett in “Miami Vice,” as well as the movies “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” “The Changeling,” “Alien Nation” and “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension” and the television shows “Saving Grace” and “Southland.”

“This is the most fun one,” Shelley said of “Public Enemies,” adding that she regrets not being able to meet Depp in person because she was at a trade show in Arizona during his fitting.

These days, Ted Blocker is one of the larger holster companies in the United States, grossing between $380,000 and $425,000 a year, Don said.

Public Enemies - Johnny Depp

In addition to prop house work, the company produces holsters and magazine pouches for law enforcement officers, hunters, competitive shooters and concealed carriers.

It counts the Los Angeles Police Department, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the U.S. Department of Energy and members of the National Park Service among its clients.

On a recent afternoon, Don and Shelley’s four employees worked at various projects in the facility’s 4,500-square-foot workroom.

To make each holster or pouch, the men cut, stitch, glue and dye the leather, attach metal hardware and then sand, bevel, buff and finish its edges.

Unlike other companies, which mass-produce more generic-shaped holsters, Ted Blocker has aluminum molds of over 500 gun types, and it tailors each holster to the type of gun it will carry.

“It’s kept us in business,” Shelley said. “It’s what we like to do.”

It has also stayed true to leather.

“Leather, if it’s taken care of, will last you forever,” Don said. “Nylon they say is a bit lighter, but it wears out.”

Don said he plans to go see “Public Enemies” soon after it comes out in the theater.

“I haven’t seen a movie with Johnny Depp yet that wasn’t good,” he said.


'Public Enemies' plot

In the action-thriller “Public Enemies,” filmmaker Michael Mann directs Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, and Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard in the true story of legendary Depression-era bank robber John Dillinger (Depp). J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup) names Dillinger America’s first Public Enemy Number One as a way to elevate his Bureau of Investigation, which later becomes the FBI, and he puts his top agent, Melvin Purvis (Bale), on the case. Wild chases and shootouts ensue as Purvis’ men chase Dillinger and his gang.

Source: www.publicenemies.net
public enemies holster