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Indiana Jones: It’s Not the Years, Honey, It’s the Mileage

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost ark premiered in 1981.

I, Natasha, am taking over the helm of Fandom Friday for the first time this week to tell you all about my interest, obsession, die-hard love for all things Indiana Jones. 

Raiders features Indy on the trail of the Ark of the Covenant.In 1981, the creators of Jaws and Star Wars set out to make their next big movie. Steven Spielberg had said that he always wanted to do a Bond-like film and George Lucas approached him with a character that was “better than James Bond.” It’s hard to believe that the Indiana Jones franchise is only thirty years old as Indy is one of the most iconic characters in American film. The series has been parodied, referenced, and paid homage to countless times, but was an homage in itself. The film was based on the black and white serials from the 1930s and 40s which Spielberg had grown up with. 

From the hat and whip to John Williams’ famous “Dun-da-dun-tah”, the persona of Indiana Jones is ingrained in our national consciousness. Raiders of the Lost Ark opened on June 12, 1981 and became an instant sensation grossing $384 million worldwide and receiving 9 Academy Award nominations with five wins. Raiders came together quickly as George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Lawrence Kasdan all contributed the ideas that they wanted to see make it in the script. However, Raiders almost ended up a completely different film than we know it today. Dr. Jones was nearly Indiana Smith. Spielberg said that the name didn’t sound right and suggested Jones instead. Harrison Ford almost didn’t get cast as Henry Jones. Tom Selleck was up for the role, but had commitments with Magnum P.I. and wasn’t able to be in the film. Harrison Ford was Steven Spielberg’s pick. He’d seen a screening of Star Wars and said that Han Solo was Indiana Jones. The rest is history.

The first Indiana Jones movie that I ever saw was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the third of the series. We still have my Grandpa’s VHS tape of it somewhere. So, not only does the movie’s subject matter interest me greatly because of its subject matter, there is also a sentimental attachment. My 21st birthday party had an Indiana Jones theme since it occurred just after the year that Crystal Skull came out, though really, let’s try to forget about that abomination. We had paper fedoras and the little Indy and his pit of snakes that was a centerpiece for my cake resides in my cubicle at my day job. Back in 2011, I even did my first full-fledged cosplay at Fandom Fest in Louisville, a pop-culture convention in Louisville, Kentucky. I played a character named Joan Harrison, my own homage to Indy, for a Call of Cthulhu campaign. She was going to be an archaeology major at Miskatonic University. Yes, my obsession runs deep.
My Indy cosplay character named Joan Harrison.
Examining an archaeological find.

Last year, I had the rare opportunity to buy a special print from LucasArts artist Matt Busch, who designed a special world map of all of Indy’s archaeological discoveries for the thirtieth anniversary of Raiders. Including adventures from the films, Young Indiana Jones television show, comics, and video games, the map measures. This year, I bought a new Raiders of the Lost Ark poster so that I may have one wall in my living room devoted to Indiana Jones. I plan on having prints of favorite images from the movie made so that I can create a better display. Have you gotten a sense of my interest yet?

Just this past week, Raiders of the Lost Ark came back to the big screen for a special one week engagement in IMAX. I just could not pass up the chance to see my favorite movie in all its digitally enhanced glory. I even wore my fedora for the occasion. There were a couple of occasions where parts of the image on the edge were a bit blurry, since the film had to be enhanced for the large format. However, I was so pleased with the experience that I was able to get past any technical issues. The cinematography, the audio, the cracks of Indy’s whip. For the very first time, I was seeing Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark – a film that had been my favorite for as long as I can remember – in theaters. It was simply breathtaking and it not only lived up to all of the expectations that I had; it exceeded them. Watching the film, I felt like I had come to meet an old friend, someone whom I have treasured for so long.

 

Indiana Jones trivia:

  • R.L. Stine penned a series of Indiana Jones adventure books similar to Choose Your Own Adventure
  • A character with great resemblance to Indiana Jones appears in the MMORPG World of Warcraft. Harrison Jones is a integral part of the zone Uldum in the Cataclysm expansion.
  • Had Sean Connery not been available, Gregory Peck was being considered for the role of Henry Jones, Sr.
  • In Raiders, OB-CPO was the call-sign for the sea plane that Indy hires to get out of the South American jungle. This is a joke aimed at Star Wars fans and was a combination of two characters from another universe created by George Lucas: OBi Wan and C3-PO.
  • A series of Indiana Jones novels was published in the 1990s. One shares a name with the first Harry Potter book. It is called Indiana Jones and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Images courtesy Google Image Search

About the author

Natasha Collier

2 Comments

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    • I wanted to like it, Liz. I really did, but I just didn’t buy the Ancient Aliens style that they were going for here. Ark of the Covenant I get, Holy Grail I get, glass Alien heads? No way, man. Much <3 to you.

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