Hall of Fame: Indiana Jones
If you asked 100 people who their favorite archaeologist was I would venture to guess at least 81 of them would say Dr. Henry Jones, Jr. or as he is better known Indiana Jones. The funny thing is Indiana Jones is not even an actual archeologist or even an actual person. But Indiana Jones is an iconic character and he also happens to be the first inductee in the 2017 class of the prestigious Bulletproof Action Hall of Fame…
The Indiana Jones character came from the collaborative efforts of two Hollywood heavyweights, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. By the time Indiana Jones makes his first appearance in 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, Spielberg and Lucas were responsible for the top two grossing films of the previous decade. You don’t pull box office numbers like that by accident, so the idea that these two creative geniuses that possessed an almost Midas touch and had their finger on the pulse of what the movie going public wanted created a lot of hype, a lot of buzz and a lot of anticipation.
But the dynamic duo of Lucas and Spielberg still needed a star who could bring Indiana Jones to life. It has been said that Steven Spielberg’s first choice for the role was always Harrison Ford, but it was George Lucas (who had already worked with Ford on three separate occasions) that wanted to go with Tom Selleck. Selleck was in Hawaii about to embark on his role as Thomas Magnum in the hit TV series Magnum P.I. and was unavailable, so Harrison Ford got the nod.
Looking back now it is hard to imagine anyone but Harrison Ford in the role of Indiana Jones. Harrison Ford’s charm and charisma connect with audiences and it is one of the reasons that Indiana Jones is only one of the iconic characters Ford has portrayed over the course of his illustrious career. The fact that Indiana Jones battled The Nazis certainly did not hurt Indy’s popularity either.
Indiana Jones resonated with movie fans of all ages… I can vividly remember 7 year old me, running around the backyard make believing that I was Indy. I had a fedora that I found in my grandfather’s basement, a vine for a whip, a bag filled with sand and a gold Frank Sinatra medallion my grandparents received when they saw Ol’ Blue Eyes in concert at the first event held at the now defunct Richfield Coliseum. Indiana Jones had moved to the number one spot on my list of heroes.
And I am sure I am not the only one who wanted to be Indiana Jones. Indy took what has to be a tedious profession and turned it into an adrenaline filled thrill ride with one swashbuckling cliffhanger after the next. I would like to see if there was an uptick in the number of college students who chose archeology as their major after experiencing Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981.
The Indiana Jones character was spun off into television when The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles ran for two seasons on ABC. The continuing adventures of Indiana Jones have been written about in novels and comic books. There have been Indiana Jones toy lines and Indy has appeared in a number of video games over the years too.
Indiana Jones did not just spawn an entire money making franchise with three sequels… 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The success of the films spawned more than a few wanna be adventurers too. Movies like Romancing the Stone, Firewalker, King Solomon’s Mines and The Mummy (1999) would probably have never been made if not for the box office success Raiders of the Lost Ark achieved and each proved that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
It is with great honor that I induct the greatest archeologist adventurer of all-time, Indiana Jones, as the first member of the 2017 Bulletproof Action Hall of Fame class.