Monday, July 25, 2011

3 decades of Indy: It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage.

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. 

The Holy Grail is in the bag, by the way.
From the hat and whip to John Williams' famous Dun-da-dun-dah, 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 interest me greatly because of its subject matter, there is also a sentimental attachment. My 21st birthday party had an Indiana Jones theme and it was the year that Crystal Skull came out. We had paper fedoras and I still have the little Indy and his pit of snakes that was a centerpiece for my cake. I even did some Indy cosplay for this year's Fandom Fest in Louisville. 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.

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 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. OBi Wan, 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.
Which of the Indiana Jones films is your favorite? Have you ever donned a fedora for some Indy cosplay? Share your story and post a picture on our Facebook!

No comments:

Post a Comment