Between the third and fourth movies, Lucasfilm and Amblin Television tried their hands at making a big-budget live-action television exploring the backstory of the adventuring archaelogist, starring Corey Carrier and Sean Patrick Flanery as young versions of the title character. (The show itself would be narrated by an elderly version of the character played by George Hall, while Harrison Ford would play the character again in a guest appearance in one of the final episodes.)
Parents need to know that this show isn't just a TV version of the immensely popular Indiana Jones movies -- although, like the films, the series features plenty of excitement as young Indy pursues adventure (and sometimes romance) around the world; there's plenty of action (including fights with weapons); and the series does a decent job of emulating the films' mix of thrill-a-minute drama and light comedy. But with the show's stronger focus on Indy's involvement in historical events and interactions with major historical characters, there's less of a feeling of wall-to-wall escapades. The fight scenes are less polished, and the plots are sometimes thinly developed. But, on the flip side, there's more time for Indy to discuss important ideas about politics, love, friendship, and life.
Indy's adventures typically place him in opposition to some rival -- whether they're both on the hunt for some kind of ancient artifact or on different sides of a battlefield -- and generally try to paint the other side as the "bad" side. But the show sometimes gives short shrift to explaining why these opponents are actually in the wrong; just because another adventurer is seeking the same prize as our hero, he's not necessarily a villain. Some early 20th-century conflicts are clearly seen from the Western point of view, which seems to automatically assume that the European or American forces are the good guys, while rebellious ethnic tribesmen must be the bad guys. Failing to explain the larger background of these conflicts does a disservice to viewers, especially younger ones, who may get a skewed perspective of history. That said, one of the joys of this show is watching Indy interact with an extensive roster of important historical characters, ranging from a young Ernest Hemingway to T.E. Lawrence.
In the beginning of the film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, young Henry Jones Jr. is on the run from a gang of graverobbers. He finally hoofs it to his childhood home and the relative safety of his father. The real house where this scene was filmed has leaned into its cinematic legacy and become the Indiana Jones Home Bed & Breakfast.
If you remember, the film opens up with a young Indy doing battle with some thugs, after coming across some grave robbers stealing a golden crucifix that belonded to Francisco Vazquez de Coronado. Indy steals it from the robbers, wanted to get the piece into a museum.
Over the years, people have attached themselves to the famous, "We named the dog Indiana" and dog-related content has sprung up with Indiana Jones themes. One of the most popular plays on words is "Indiana Bones." One such pup bearing this name stole hearts in his short YouTube film, Indiana Bones and Raiders of the Lost Bark. In this short film, a small, seemingly helpless puppy goes on an adventure to uncover the Lost Bark, a play on the Lost Ark of the Covenant. In less than five minutes running time, the Boxer puppy known as Indiana Bones finds a golden bone and activates the famous boulder chase scene from the first movie and discovers an evil plot masterminded by cute kittens to steal the knowledge and power from the Lost Bark. Indiana Bones saves the day and returns home to his cushy couch just in time to see his human come home with a cup of coffee, none-the-wiser of his Boxer's wild adventures.
During the production of the Indiana Jones feature films, the cast and crew frequently questioned creator George Lucas about the Indiana Jones character's life growing up. During the concept stages of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Lucas and director Steven Spielberg decided to reveal some of this backstory in the film's opening scenes. For these scenes, Lucas chose River Phoenix to portray the character, as Harrison Ford believed that Phoenix most resembled Ford as a young man (Phoenix had appeared as Ford's son in The Mosquito Coast). This decision to reveal an adventure of a young Indiana led Lucas and crew to the idea of creating the series.
Lucas wrote an extensive time-line detailing the life of Indiana Jones, assembling the elements for about 70 episodes, starting in 1905 and leading all the way up to the feature films. Each outline included the place, date and the historical persons Indy would meet in that episode, and would then be turned over to one of the series writers. When the series came to an end about 31 of the 70 stories had been filmed. Had the series been renewed for a third season, Young Indy would have been introduced to younger versions of characters from Raiders of the Lost Ark: Abner Ravenwood ("Jerusalem, June 1909") and René Belloq ("Honduras, December 1920"). Other episodes would have filled in the blanks between existing ones ("Le Havre, June 1916", "Berlin, Late August, 1916"), and there would even have been some adventures starring a five-year-old Indy (including "Princeton, May 1905").
The series was designed as an educational program for children and teenagers, spotlighting historical figures and important events, using the concept of a prequel to the films as a draw. Most episodes feature a standard formula of an elderly (93-year-old) Indiana Jones (played by George Hall) in present day (1993) New York City encountering people who spur him to reminisce and tell stories about his past adventures. These stories would either involve him as a young boy (10, played by Corey Carrier) or as a teenager (16 to 21, played by Sean Patrick Flanery). In one episode, a fifty-year-old Indy (played by Harrison Ford) is seen reminiscing. Initially, the plan was for the series to alternate between the adventures of Indy as a child (Corey Carrier) and as a teenager (Sean Patrick Flanery), but eventually the episodes featuring Flanery's version of the character dominated the series. The series' bookends revealed that the elderly Jones has a daughter, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. There is no mention if he had a son, though he was revealed to have a son in the movie Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Many of the episodes involve Indiana meeting and working with famous historical figures. Historical figures featured on the show include Leo Tolstoy, Howard Carter, Charles de Gaulle, and John Ford, in such diverse locations as Egypt, Austria-Hungary, India, China, and the whole of Europe. For example, Curse of the Jackal prominently involves Indy in the adventures of T. E. Lawrence and Pancho Villa. Indy also encounters (in no particular order) Edgar Degas, Giacomo Puccini, George Patton, Pablo Picasso (same episode as Degas), Eliot Ness, Charles Nungesser, Al Capone, Manfred von Richthofen, Anthony Fokker, Annie Besant, Charles Webster Leadbeater, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, Norman Rockwell (same episode as Degas and Picasso), Louis Armstrong, George Gershwin, Sean O'Casey, Siegfried Sassoon, Patrick Pearse, Winston Churchill, a very young Ho Chi Minh, Carl Jung, and Sigmund Freud; at one point, he competes against a young Ernest Hemingway for the affections of a girl, is nursed back to health by Albert Schweitzer, has a passionate tryst with Mata Hari, discusses philosophy with Nikos Kazantzakis, and goes on a safari with Theodore Roosevelt.
The show provided a lot of the back story for the films. His relationship with his father, first introduced in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, was further fleshed out with stories about his travels with his father as a young boy. His original hunt for the Eye of the Peacock, a large diamond seen in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, was a recurring element in several stories. The show also chronicled his activities during World War I and his first solo adventures. The series is also referenced in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, when Indy describes his adventures with Pancho Villa (chronicled in the first episode) to Mutt Williams. 2b1af7f3a8