Indiana Jones is a fictional character, a bullwhip-toting archaeologist with an overdeveloped fear of snakes, played by Harrison Ford in a series of films by George Lucas. Jones is modelled after the strong-jawed heroes of the pulp magazines and matinee serials that Lucas and Spielberg enjoyed in their childhoods.
The film series includes:
A television series, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, aired from 1992 to 1993, with the 17-year-old Indy played by Sean Patrick Flanery , 93-year-old Indy by George Hall, and 10-year-old Indy by Corey Carrier. This inspired a number of made-for-TV and made-for-video movies featuring Flanery as young Indy. One of the last Young Indiana Jones TV movies featured a cameo appearance by Harrison Ford, reprising the role of Indy as a man in his 50s.
The proposed fourth Indiana Jones movie, once again to star Harrison Ford, has been in the planning stages for several years; if made, it is not expected to be released until 2006 at the earliest.
There is also a series of original paperback novels about the adventures of Indiana Jones other than those in the films, and another series of novels about Young Indiana Jones for younger readers. In addition, there was a comic book published by Marvel Comics in the early 1980s featuring the talents of John Byrne among others.
Various video and computer games have also been produced. The games include:
In 1995, Disneyland opened a ride called Indiana Jones Adventure, based on the franchise and set in the "Temple of the Forbidden Eye"; Tokyo Disneysea has a similar attraction, set in the "Temple of the Crystal Skull". Also, Disneyland Paris has a rollercoaster called Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril.
Indiana Jones was born as Henry Jones, Jr. to Scottish-born medieval archaeologist Henry Jones Sr. and his wife Anna on July 1, 1899, in Princeton, New Jersey. He accompanied his father on his travels throughout Europe, where he learnt to speak, read, and write 27 languages, including French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Swedish, Greek, Arabic, Turkish, Vietnamese, Swahili, Latin and Chinese, apart from English. Henry Jr. adopted the name of his beloved dog Indiana for himself, insisting he be referred to as Indiana Jones. It's not known for sure when he first did this, except that he was referred to as Indiana from childhood.
His father wanted Indiana to go to Princeton University. To escape this, he ran away from home by train. He ended up in Mexico and was kidnapped by Mexican revolutionaries. He joined this army of revolutionaries, playing a part in the Mexican Revolution in 1916, under Pancho Villa. It is here that he also met his friend Remy, a Belgian. With Remy, he left Mexico and eventually made his way to Africa at the beginning of World War I.
He and Remy intended to join the Belgian Army, where Jones was commissioned as a Lieutenant. Jones' inability to read maps properly caused him to lose his unit, and he instead fought along side a team of old men under the British Army. Among missions depicted in the television series, the team destroyed a giant cannon mounted on a train, and they kidnapped the (real-life) German military genius Paul Erich von Lettow-Vorbeck in a balloon, but were forced to release him.
Eventually Jones joined the Belgian army in Europe with Remy, in 1916 and participated in the Western Front of World War I. He was taken prisoner by the Germans, escaped, encountered Mata Hari, worked as an intelligence officer, took ill, and was treated by Albert Schweitzer, vied with Ernest Hemingway for the affections of a young nurse, and as a translator working on the Treaty of Versailles saw the war come to its conclusion but lay down the groundwork for a second conflict. Sometime after the war, Jones returned to the United States, where he studied archaeology at the University of Chicago under Professor Abner Ravenwood. At the same time, he became romantically involved with the Professor's daughter Marion. Jones abruptly left the Ravenwoods in 1926 and did not contact them for 10 years. He divided his time between teaching and archaeological expeditions, including a journey to China and India where he faced the gangster Lao Che and the followers of the cult of Kali (Temple of Doom). He was eventually contacted by the United States government to retrieve the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis (Raiders of the Lost Ark). He continued to take on infrequent missions for the government over the ensuing years. In 1938, Indy rescued his father from the Nazis and became embroiled in the search for the Holy Grail (Last Crusade).
When last seen in 1993, Jones was living in New York City with his daughter and her family. Sporting an eyepatch and cane, he was stopping anyone within earshot to regale them with tales of his exploits. He seems remarkably spry for a man in his 90s—whether that is because of his drinking from the Grail is unknown.
Spielberg and Lucas have said that the adventures were inspired by some of their favorite fiction from when they were growing up, such as Republic Pictures serials. Spielberg wanted Indiana to be a James Bond-like figure that got into difficult situations and worked his way out.
Many people have been called the real-life inspiration of the Indiana Jones character. Probably the most cited person is famous paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews. Archeologist Vendyl "Texas" Jones claims that he was the inspiration, citing his names (he also notes that his first name trimmed becomes Endy — very similar to Indy). Other people called Indy inspirers include explorer Gene Savoy  and University of Chicago archeologist Robert Braidwood . But the most likely inspiration was the fictional character Alan Quatermain.
The character was originally named Indiana Smith, but Spielberg disliked the name and Lucas casually suggested "Indiana Jones". The name was thus changed early in the production of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The origin of the name "Indiana" is the same in the real world as in the fiction: It was the name of an Alaskan malamute Lucas had in the 1970s. His name is also said to be derived from the character "Nevada Smith", played by Steve McQueen in the 1966 film of the same name.
Last updated: 09-03-2005 18:37:12