“It’s Not the Years, It’s the Mileage”: An Indiana Jones Chronology, Part 3 — The Young Archaeologist

Remarks in italics are not taken from explicitly-stated events in the canon material. They are my own speculations, logical inferences, gap-fillers, and extrapolations based on fragmentary references and passing mentions in the original sources.

June 1925 — The newly-minted “Professor Jones” gets his first job after graduating — teaching a summer course on Britain’s megalithic monuments at the University of London. 

He discovers he has a brilliant but difficult student, Deirdre Campbell, who is the daughter of his department head, Dr. Joanna Campbell.[1]

IndianaJonesAndTheDanceOfTheGiantsMid-August, 1925 — At the conclusion of his summer course, Indy is invited by Dr. Campbell to join her and Deirdre on an excavation of St. Ninian’s Cave on the southwest coast of Scotland to look for a golden scroll that proves the legend of Merlin the wizard had basis in historical fact. After a series of violent run-ins with unknown assailants, Indy, with the help of Deirdre and Jack Shannon, gradually uncovers a plot by a modern day druidic cult, the Hyperboreans. The leader of the Hyperboreans, Albert Powell (wealthy member of Parliament and, it turns out, Deirdre’s half-brother) plans on using the scroll in a ceremony to unleash the power of the Omphalos, which he recently arranged to have stolen from the museum in Chicago. The scroll is not at St. Ninian’s Cave, but they find a clue as to where it actually is — in an old convent near Stonehenge. Powell heads out to recover it, leaving Indy, Shannon, and the Campbells to die in the cave he has filled with toxic gas. Three of them escape, but Joanna Campbell succumbs. They actually find the scroll in the convent ahead of Powell, but are captured by him not long after, and discover that the midnight ceremony Powell is planning includes a human sacrifice in the form of Deirdre. It turns out the Omphalos that Powell stole is a replica, and the ceremony fails. Powell perishes by falling into a massive bonfire.

Under the pressure of these few weeks, Indy and Deirdre find themselves in a passionate romance.

In Scotland, Indy is presented by the townspeople with a Webley .455 revolver. In freeing Deirdre from the cult ceremony, Indy makes his first peacetime self-defense kill with the Webley, and it “sickens” him, but from this point on, he rarely ventures out on his expeditions without a handgun.[1]

Fall 1925 — Indy begins teaching full-time at University of London, mostly courses in Celtic archaeology. He admits it’s not his favorite area, and he struggles with the Celtic language despite his facility with other languages. (Perhaps it’s all too closely associated with his father’s Holy Grail obsession.) He spends his off hours rambling around the English countryside, for which he develops a deep affection.[2] It is around this time, in the New Forest, that Indy meets Gale Parker, an academic and adventurer, basically a female version of himself (except she can fly a plane.)[3]

January 1926 — Indy finds out he is not scheduled to teach any classes for the upcoming semester, but will instead assist on a major University of London expedition to Tikal, Guatemala.[4]

February 21, 1926 — Under the leadership of the new head of the archaeology department, Dr. Victor Bernard, the expedition begins moving from the coast to the Guatemalan interior. Deirdre Campbell, whose relationship with Indy has cooled in the aftermath of the previous summer, is also on the expedition.[4]

March 7, 1926 — After some exciting initial discoveries in a Mayan pyramid, the expedition is disrupted by graverobbers, and they are lucky to escape alive.[4]

March 8-14, 1926 — Indy receives treatment for a gunshot wound suffered in the robbery attempt (it wouldn’t be his last), and the failed expedition makes its way back to New York via train.[4]

Mid-March, 1926 — Indy, arm still in a sling, attends the opening night of Marcus Brody’s highly controversial National Museum exhibition displaying evidence that ancient Old World civilizations had been to the Americas long before Columbus. Brody shows Indy several pages from a journal written by his old friend, noted explorer Jack Fawcett, who has gone missing in the midst of searching for a lost city, Ceiba (popularly known as “El Dorado”), deep in the Amazon jungle. Fawcett believed it was inhabited by fair-skinned people of Celtic origin. Indy and Deirdre decide to go in search of Fawcett.[4]

Late March, 1926 — On the eight-day ocean voyage that takes them to Brazil, Indy and Deirdre rekindle their romance. As the ship arrives in the bay at Rio de Janeiro, Indy and Deirdre are married by the ship’s captain.

Various clues and encounters with practitioners of the mysterious Candomble religion indicate that Fawcett is being held captive as “breeding stock” in the lost city of Ceiba. The inhabitants of the city have the ability to “veil” — to become like shadows, effectively invisible. High-ranking members of their society (which does appear to have Celtic origins) also have the ability to veil the city itself from outsiders.[4]

Early April, 1926 — After days of traveling by seaplane and on foot deep into the Amazon IndianaJonesAndTheSevenVeilsjungle, Indy and Deidre are taken captive by Ceiba’s inhabitants. The veiling causes everyone in Ceiba to exist in a semi-dream state. While their fate is being decided in shared dream with the Ceiban High Council, their physical bodies are busy escaping, plunging off a cliff into the river below. Pursued by the Ceibans, Indy, Deidre, and Fawcett make it back to the lake with the plane. After taking off, they discover the fuel tanks have been drained by a hostile tribe, the Morcegos — the plane plunges into the jungle, killing Fawcett and Deirdre. Indy is rescued from the jungle after several days, suffering from multiple injuries and typhus. He has no memory of his time in Ceiba or the crash that killed his wife of only a few weeks.[4]

Summer 1926 — Indy is still grieving for Deirdre. At some point during time away from his university duties, he examines the work of the ancient American Mound Builders along the Missouri River.[5]

He also pays an extended visit to his old mentor, Abner Ravenwood in Chicago, perhaps assisting Abner in his work. During one of their discussions, Abner cautions Indy that in the overlapping areas of mythology, occult, and archaeology that they both specialize in, it is important to remain skeptical and rational in front others, no matter what one may witness with his own eyes Under the circumstances, Indy is grateful to have to distraction of working with Abner, and basks in the hero worship Abner’s teenage daughter, Marion, lavishes on him. In a complete lapse of judgement, Indy seduces Marion. Abner finds out, and this leads to a permanent break in their friendship.[6]

January 1927 — Indy travels to a conference in Dublin to present a paper on Celtic influences in New England.[7]

May 1927 — Depressed over recent events, and still feeling that Celtic archaeology is a bad fit for him, Indy resigns from the University of London and returns to Chicago to investigate possible employment at his alma mater. He finds his old friend Jack Shannon running a jazz club, and reluctantly involved in the organized crime that comes with the territory.[8]

IndianaJonesAndTheGenesisDelugeJune 1927 — Jack Shannon, due to the pressures of his new lifestyle, has found religion and invites Indy to his church to hear a lecturer, Dr. Zobolotsky, who claims to have discovered Noah’s Ark, and is still in possession of a small piece of it. After the job possibility at the University of Chicago falls through, Indy finds himself agreeing to join Zobolotsky and his daughter, Katrina on an expedition to Mount Ararat in Turkey to document the existence of the Ark. After Shannon’s brothers are murdered in a mob hit, he decides to go on the expedition as well.[7]

June 21, 1927 — Indy and Shannon leave Chicago by train to join the Zobolotsky expedition. They are trailed the whole time by Bolshevik agents, who feel that proving the Ark’s existence would undermine the anti-religion Bolshevik government.[7]

Early July, 1927 — The expedition arrives in Istanbul and heads for and heads for Mount Ararat.[7]

Mid-July, 1927 — Partway up the mountain, the two tailing Bolsheviks shoot and kill Zobolotsky, and are themselves killed by the local Kurds. Indy, Shannon, and Katrina continue up the mountain, and finds the Ark — and a bunch of Janissaries, a fanatical Turkish religious group who believe finding the Ark will trigger the apocalypse. Gunfire ensues, causing an avalanche which buries the Janissaries and the Ark, probably forever. [7]

August 1927 — Shannon and Katrina become engaged and head off to California. Indy is hired by a small, unnamed college in New England.[7,8]

Continue reading

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“It’s Not the Years, It’s the Mileage”: An Indiana Jones Chronology, Part 2 — Risks and Rewards

Remarks in italics are not taken from explicitly-stated events in the canon material. They are my own speculations, logical inferences, gap-fillers, and extrapolations based on fragmentary references and passing mentions in the original sources.

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Early 1915 — Professor Henry Jones, Sr. returns to teaching at Princeton full-time, and Indiana completes his sophomore year of high school.

Indy, who as a youth never met an odd job he didn’t like, hires himself out as an errand boy for busy Princeton students.[1] Indy probably loathed asking his father for spending money, and liked to be out of the house as much as possible.

Summer 1915 — There is likely a round of summer school for Indy after missing his entire fall semester last year, and hopefully a trip to the New Mexico ranch he has grown attached to. His Uncle Fred and Aunt Grace provide the emotional stability his father does not, his similarly-aged cousin Fred, Jr. is one of his best friends, and ranch work agrees with him.

At some point this summer, Indy works shoveling coal at a train depot, either in Princeton or New Mexico. [2]

Autumn 1915 — Indy begins his junior year of high school. He gets a job as a soda jerk at the drugstore downtown. He also begins dating Nancy, the daughter of famous author Edward Stratemeyer, creator of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. Stratemeyer bases a lot of Nancy Drew on his daughter, who is independent and intelligent and loves mysteries.[3]  

February 1916 — Indy begins spring training for his high school baseball team.[3,4]

SpringBreakAdventureLate February, 1916 —  Indy is desperate to borrow Mr. Stratemeyer’s electric Bugatti car to take Nancy to the prom, but it needs a new generator. Indy takes the generator to an acquaintance of his father’s at Edison Laboratories in West Orange, N.J. Important plans for a long-lasting, powerful battery are stolen (along with, accidentally, the Bugatti generator). At first, German spies are suspected, but Indy and Nancy discover that a big oil company is behind the theft.[3]

February 26, 1916 —  Indy and Nancy attend the prom in triumph, much to the consternation of Indy’s rival, Butch.[3]

March 5, 1916 — Indy arrives at the New Mexico ranch for his spring break, accompanied by his father.[3]

March 8, 1916 — Indy and Fred, Jr. leave for a camping trip, promising to be back in time for Indy’s departure for Princeton on Sunday the 12th. What they actually intend to do is hitch a ride to the border town of Columbus, N.M., and visit the brothels. They arrive to find Columbus seemingly abandoned, but really just anticipating a violent raid by Pancho Villa and his Mexican revolutionaries. Indy and Fred get caught in the crossfire when the raid actually happens. Fred escapes, but Indy is taken by Villa’s men.[3]

Mid – Late March, 1916 — Inspired by Villa’s dedication for fighting for “the people,” Indy 2004c800-6554-11e4-871e-1b62bfda1b3c_young-indiana-jones-chronicles-sean-patrickquickly goes from hostage to participant. He meets Remy Baudouin, a hedonistic and temperamental Belgian ship’s cook several years his senior, who had jumped ship and settled in Mexico. Remy joined Villa after the federales raided his cantina and killed his wife. Indy also notices that one of the people Villa is trading with for weapons looks vaguely familiar and speaks Arabic. After spending a few days with Villa and his men, and observing their tactics which include theft and looting, Indy decides the revolution is hurting the people as much as helping. Upon seeing newsreel footage of the ongoing Great War, Remy decides to return to his homeland and fight for Belgium. Indy agrees to join him, but before he can do that, he finally recognizes Villa’s arms dealer as Dimitrios, the man who stole the jewel from the Egyptian tomb back in 1908. Indy recovers the jewel and rides to meet up with Remy in Veracruz and find a ship going to Europe.[3]

Early April 1916 — On the ship steaming from Mexico to Ireland, Indy and Remy have hidden themselves as stowaways. They are found out and put to work in the engine room. Indy gets them back in the captain’s good graces by overhearing a German saboteur attempting to induce the Mexican crew to mutiny. He tips off the captain, but not before nearly being tossed overboard.[5]

Indiana the dog dies in Princeton of old age as Indy is on his way to Ireland.[6]

Charming_Remy

Remy Baudouin

April 1916  Upon arrival in Dublin, Indy and Remy go to work as barmen in the local pub to afford the remaining fare to London, where they intend to enlist with the Belgian army. Indy’s flirtation with a young Irish girl, Maggie Leamass, prolongs their stay as he keeps spending his money on outings with her rather than saving it. Her brother Sean, who gradually builds a friendship with Indy, is a militant Irish Republican.[7]

April 24, 1916 — Indy witnesses the Easter Rebellion, a failed attempt to end Britain’s rule of Ireland and establish a free Irish republic. Many of the people known to Indy from his work at the pub and friendship with Sean and Maggie Leamass are involved.[7]

May 13, 1916 — Indy and Remy leave for London as soon as the final executions of the Irish Rebellion ringleaders are complete. (They had stayed to offer the Leamasses moral support.)[7]

Mid-May, 1916 —  In London, Indy and Remy officially enlist in the Belgian Army. Indy gives his age as 22, and his name as “Henri Defense.” (Remy indicates they would have taken him no matter what.) While waiting to be called up for service, Indy begins a relationship with a well-educated, outspoken English suffragette, Vicky Prentiss.[7]

Late May, 1916 — Indy thinks enough of Vicky to invite her to Oxford to visit his old tutor, Helen Seymour. Miss Seymour does not approve of Indy’s recent life choices, and insists Indy write his father (who still thinks he is in Mexico) and update him. Miss Seymour invites Indy and Vicky to a dinner party with Winston Churchill, who has words with Vicky on the topic of votes for women. Back in London, Indy proposes marriage to Vicky, who declines. Indy and Remy’s call-up papers arrive, and they set off for the battlefield.[7]

June 1916 — “Henri Defense” and Remy are now privates in the 9th Belgian Infantry, and participate in basic training at Le Havre, France. During his downtime, Indy acquires an old soprano saxophone and teaches himself how to to play it.[8]

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July – August 1916 — The 9th Belgian Infantry goes into combat in Flanders. Indy and Remy get their first taste of vicious trench warfare, seeing heavy action, witnessing the death of several comrades, and losing all of their company officers. Indy, at some point having been promoted to corporal, is in charge of the decimated unit when it is finally pulled from the front lines.[9]

Trenches_of_HellAugust 1916 — The much-reduced Belgian 9th are attached to the 14th French Infantry, and thrown into the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles in the history of warfare. Their first assault on the high ground ultimately fails in the face of heavy German machine guns, poison gas, and flamethrowers. The second assault (after a two-day break), initially succeeds, but they don’t have enough troops to hold the position, and the Germans counterattack. Remy is severely wounded, and Indy is taken prisoner. At the prison camp, he participates in a tunnel escape, which fails. Because he is caught wearing a coat with the ID of another soldier (a repeat escapee), Indy is sent to Dusterstadt, a fortress on an island in the Rhine River being used as a maximum security prison for “incorrigibles.” There he meets Charles De Gaulle, another incorrigible repeat escapee. They devise an escape plan (leaving the prison inside the coffins of two dead prisoners). DeGaulle is re-captured, but Indy makes it to freedom.[9]

September 1916 —  Indy has returned to the Belgian Army, and is now working as a f1fa00ce56d3ea54aeef369d8e02882c--indiana-jones-sean-patrick-flanerymotorcycle courier, taking messages from the trenches to the high command in their palatial estates far from the front lines near Verdun. He witnesses yet another failed frontal assault across no man’s land. The French generals are growing increasingly desperate. Indy, who speaks fluent German, volunteers for a dangerous mission — sneaking over to the German lines under cover of night, and eavesdropping to see what intelligence he can glean from conversations in the command bunker. He discovers that two massive railway howitzers (“Big Berthas”) are being brought to this position in advance of another French attack. When the French high command are informed of this, they fall to squabbling among themselves, ordering, cancelling, and re-ordering the attack. Indy finally “loses” the written orders in a staged motorcycle accident. He is sent back to the trenches, where he reunites with a recovered Remy.[10]

October 1916 — Indy and Remy are granted a two-week furlough in Paris. Indy stays with a colleague of his father’s and, out of politeness, is forced to attend a high society dinner party rather than carouse in the bars and brothels with Remy. There he meets the exotic dancer Mata Hari, and he begins a passionate affair with the older woman. They are clandestinely followed wherever they go. Indy struggles with the fact that she is obviously seeing other men. He is finally confronted by British and French authorities, and warned to stay away from her. His two-week furlough is cancelled. (Mata Hari is later revealed to be a spy for Germany, and is executed the following year.)[11]

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Leading a charge on the African front

November 1916 — Indy and Remy are promoted to lieutenants and transferred to the African front. They get lost on their way to their new posting near Nairobi, and stumble onto an Allied camp in the middle of the savannah. They are the 25th Royal Fusiliers, made up mostly of older veteran soldiers, and they have been tasked with destroying a massive German railroad gun that seems to be able to disappear at will. Reconnaissance by Indy and the Fusiliers uncovers a tunnel hidden behind an artificial cliff face. After a complicated hijacking of the train, they succeed in their mission. The Fusiliers then agree to escort Indy and Remy to back their unit. They are captured and get taken to the German camp commanded by the legendary General Von Letow-Vorbeck. Indy and the Fusiliers manage to turn the tables on Von Letow-Vorbevk, and take him hostage. Indy, Remy, and their hostage accidentally take flight in a hot air balloon. After traveling many miles, the balloon crashes in the wilderness. They escape an encounter with hostile tribesmen, and facing a rapidly approaching German unit, Indy and Remy let their prisoner go in order to make a quick escape. They are soon picked up by the Fusiliers.[2]

PhantomTrainOfDoomLate November, 1916 — Back with his unit, Lt. “Defense” leads his mixed Belgian-African unit against an entrenched position under heavy fire. When Indy notices the enemy’s machine gun has jammed, he goes against Major Boucher’s withdrawal orders and continues the attack, which succeeds. Indy earns a promotion to captain, and the enmity of Major Boucher. Indy and the major are then ordered to lead a large expedition 2000 miles through the Congo region to retrieve a shipment of heavy machine guns that has foundered on the west coast of Africa, near Port Lopez. [11]

December 3, 1916 — The expedition across the Congo begins.[11]

Mid-December, 1916 — The trans-Congo expedition encounters a village wiped out by smallpox, except for one small boy, who seems healthy. Major Boucher orders the boy be left behind to die, but the company defies his orders.[11]

December 24, 1916 — Most of the company has perished from disease, and those that remain alive are very ill.[11] Continue reading

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“It’s Not the Years, It’s the Mileage”: An Indiana Jones Chronology Part 1 — Childhood

Remarks in italics are not taken from explicitly-stated events in the canon material. They are my own speculations, logical inferences, gap-fillers, and extrapolations based on fragmentary references and passing mentions in the original sources.

1898

Dr. Henry W. Jones and Anna Mary Jones, wedding day, 1898

July 1, 1899 — Henry Walton Jones, Jr. is born in Princeton, New Jersey, to Henry Walton Jones, Sr., a Scottish-born Oxford graduate and professor of medieval studies at Princeton University, and Anna Mary Jones, who comes from a respected Virginia family. [1,2] 

IndyBirth

c.1900 — The Jones family acquires an Alaskan malamute dog, and names him Indiana. Young Henry Jr. is already demonstrating a penchant for risk-taking behavior. [1,3]

c.1901-1904 — At some point during this time, Henry and Anna Jones have a second child, a daughter Susie, who dies as an infant. [4]

Summer 1905 — Henry Jr. spends the first of many summers on his Uncle Fred and Aunt Grace’s ranch in New Mexico. [5]

IndyInfant

1906 — Henry Jr. first sees a bullwhip in action at a traveling circus, and is fascinated by it. [6]

1906 – 1907 — By now insisting on being called “Indiana” or “Indy” out of his love for the family dog, Indy develops a restless streak. He is frequently getting into trouble or being truant from school. He becomes a baseball fan and passionate baseball card collector. He begins receiving tutoring in foreign languages, becoming conversant in French, German, and Spanish, at the insistence of his father, whose mantra is “language is the key to understanding mankind.” [1,4,7].

He continues to spend summers in New Mexico. [8]

1907 — Henry Jones, Sr. publishes a book on medieval chivalry that is a huge success. He is invited by universities and lecture halls around the world to come and speak. [1]

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May 1908 — Henry and Anna Jones announce to Indy their plans for a two-year world tour, beginning that summer. Henry will be giving lectures, meeting foreign scholars and donors, and gathering various manuscripts and translations relating to the Holy Grail legend, which is his passion.[1]

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Helen Seymour

Early July 1908 — The Jones family arrives in London just after Indy’s ninth birthday. Henry catches up with several of his Oxford friends, and engages the services of his former tutor Miss Helen Seymour (“the best there is”) to accompany them on the tour and provide tutoring for Indy. The now elderly Miss Seymour is initially resistant to the idea, saying she is used to tutoring university students, and is not a “governess,” but is ultimately convinced. On the tour, in lieu of fourth and fifth grades, Indy is expected to observe and record as much as he can, complete a lengthy reading list, write essays, and learn ancient Greek and Latin. [1,9]

Late July 1908 — After nine days’ sail from London, the Jones party arrives in Alexandria, and then travels to Cairo. Henry kicks off his lecture series at Cairo University, leaving Indy and Miss Seymour to their studies and explorations. While investigating the pyramids of Giza, they meet up with another former pupil of Miss Seymour’s, T.E. Lawrence, who invites them to observe famous archaeologist Howard Carter’s excavation of a tomb in the Valley of the Kings further down the Nile. The day after the tomb is opened, it becomes clear that a jewel has been stolen overnight from among the artifacts, and the man guarding the tomb’s entrance is killed. Investigation by Lawrence and Indy lead them to Dimitrios, the camp’s demolition expert, as the thief. Dimitrios manipulated the local crew’s superstition about a “mummy’s curse” to aid him in his theft. Despite Indy and Lawrence’s solving of the mystery, Dimitrios manages to escape with the jewel. [1]

indianaJones_youngIndianaJones_12-1b58eda5b602

It is in Egypt that Indy first expresses interest in being an archaeologist. Lawrence supports his ambition, but suggests studying languages to begin with. Indy is torn between archaeology (his true passion) and linguistics (a more practical skill, and a path supported by his father) for the next fourteen years. T.E. Lawrence becomes a close friend and frequent correspondent until his death in 1935. [1,10]

the_adventures_of_young_indiana_jones_tv_show_image

Indy and T.E. Lawrence

August 1908 — Indy and family leave Egypt for Morocco, where they will be staying with former Oxford classmate of Indy’s father, Walter Harris, a prominent journalist for the London Times. Indy befriends a household slave boy, and, taking a cue from Harris, disguises himself as an Arab to freely explore the city with his new friend. They are captured by slave traders and brought to the market, where they are rescued by the timely arrival of Harris, who buys their freedom, and Indy is returned to his family. [1]

September 1908 – May 1909 — The activities of the world-touring family group during this lengthy period is unknown, although it seems they remained in the North Africa/Middle East area. Indy may have actually buckled down and studied, as his facility with languages continues to grow. [11]

June 1909 — When the touring party visits Jerusalem, Indy meets another noted archaeologist, Abner Ravenwood of the University of Chicago, who is looking for clues to the location of the lost Ark of the Covenant around the Temple Mount. It is not known whether Ravenwood mentions having an infant daughter back in Chicago. [12, 13]

August 1909 — Indy, now ten years old, and family join up with the Smithsonian-Roosevelt African Expedition, led by former president Theodore Roosevelt, in British East Africa. Roosevelt professes himself a great admirer of Henry’s book on medieval armor. The expedition’s purpose is to gather specimens for the Smithsonian Institute, but they are having trouble finding a certain sub-species of oryx. Indy meets up with a young Maasai boy named Meto. As they learn to communicate with each other, Meto tells him where to find the onyx. Indy guides the expedition to where the onyx can now be found, but is disturbed by how many have to be killed to ensure a proper supply of specimens. [14,15]

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Indy and Theodore Roosevelt

September 1909 — The touring party sail from Africa to Nice, in southern France, and from there by rail to Paris. Henry has full calendar of academic and social obligations, and Indy is supposed to stay busy studying and visiting museums, but he can’t help sneaking away and investigating slightly seedy artists’ cafes, where he interacts with Edgar Degas and Pablo Picasso, who is beginning to experiment with cubism. [14]

November 1909 — Indy attends horse riding school while his family stays at the U.S. embassy in Vienna. At the school, he meets Princess Sophie of Austria and develops his first romantic feelings for her. They slip out from under their governess’ supervision to ice-skate. This nearly causes an international incident, and Indy is sternly reprimanded. He later tries to give her a snow globe, but is rebuffed at the gate by the palace guards. Indy and his parents attend a dinner thrown by the US ambassador to celebrate the “First Psychoanalytic Conference,” with Sigmund Freud, Karl Jung, and Alfred Adler as the guests of honor. Spurred by some of Indy’s remarks at the table, the three eminent psychiatrists get into a debate — and criticize the notion of romantic love as a human construct. But they agree that repressing one’s feelings is bad. Taking them at their word, Indy returns to the royal palace and is actually granted a brief audience with Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The duke patiently but firmly declines Indy’s offer to marry his daughter (when he is old enough), and denies him an opportunity to say good-bye, saying she is already in bed. After leaving, Indy sneaks back into the royal quarters, where he presents Princess Sophie with the snow globe, and she gives him a locket with her portrait. Indy wears the locket for many years thereafter. [2,16]

During a brief stay in Florence, Indy attends his first opera, La Bohemie, composed by Giacomo Puccini. Puccini dines with the Joneses and their host family after the performance, and is attracted to Indy’s mother. While Indy’s father is away for a week in Rome, Anna begins an intense flirtation with Puccini. She feels neglected by Henry, Sr., who is single-mindedly focused on his lectures. (He does not send a single letter when in Rome.) Puccini invites her to meet him at the train station and go away with him. She goes to the station…but only to walk by him and welcome her returning husband home instead. [2]

December 1909 — The touring party returns to Paris for a second visit. [2]

Young_Henry_Jones

Henry Jones, Sr. c. 1910

Winter – Early Spring 1910 — The Jones party travels through Murmansk and St.Petersburg, Russia. After causing mayhem at a wedding held on a large Russian estate, Indy is rebuked more fiercely than he’s ever been before and banished to his room. He decides to run away, and as he is making his way through the Russian countryside, he encounters the elderly Leo Tolstoy, who has also run away from his materialistic and aristocratic family. After encountering a brutal round-up of gypsies by the Cossack military, Indy and Tolstoy decide to head further east, but Tolstoy’s health clearly is not up to it. They convince each other to return to their respective families. [17]

The family travels from Moscow to Greece. Anna Jones, fearing that Henry is too distant and distracted to spend as much time with Indy as he should, leaves them to have a weekend together. Henry teaches Indy about various schools of Greek philosophy, and a narrow escape from a damaged cliffside elevator at the “hanging monastery” of Kalabaka creates a bonding moment between Indy and the normally stern and reserved Henry. [17]

Spring 1910 — While in the city of Benares, along the Ganges River in India, the toruing party is lodged at the Hindu National College. There they encounter members of the Theosophical Society who are in the process of grooming a new “world teacher” — a young boy named Jiddu Krishnamurti. Miss Seymour, a typical Victorian Christian, is suspicious of the “free love/socialist” theosophists and their claims, but comes to realize that faith is faith. Indy gains a deeper understanding of philosophy and different approaches to religion. The family’s stay in India is a fairly lengthy one. [4]

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Anna Jones, c. 1910

On the train trip from India to China, Anna Jones falls seriously ill, but has recovered by the time the touring party arrives in Peking. Henry is looking forward to meeting with a famous Chinese scholar (who has completed Chinese translations of the Grail legend). The rest of the group decide to explore the Chinese countryside with the help of their guide, Mr. Li. There is some concern about Anna’s health, but it’s Indy who comes down with typhoid fever in a remote Chinese village. With the nearest American doctor three days away, Anna reluctantly agrees to allow a local Chinese doctor to treat Indy with traditional methods. He recovers. [14] There is some indication that Anna Jones’ health never fully recovers.

The Jones party also spends some time in Vietnam, where Indy picks up some of the Vietnamese language. [18]

June 1910 — The epic Jones world tour concludes in Australia, where Indy meets Harry Houdini and gets the opportunity to fly in an early airplane. [19] Continue reading

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“It’s Not the Years, It’s the Mileage”: An Indiana Jones Chronology (Introduction)

Working with the James Bond novels last year got me thinking about compiling another 91XTKfFZ3kL._SL1500_chronology for a great period adventurer of the last century — Dr. Henry Walton Jones, Jr., better known by the name he swiped from the family dog, “Indiana.” If you piece together his entire life story, as the Holy Bee has just done, you know that he’s not just Indiana Jones, professor of archaeology, expert on the occult, and obtainer of rare antiquities. He’s also Indiana Jones, Titanic survivor, World War I veteran, boy-toy of the notorious spy Mata Hari, romantic rival of Hemingway, roommate of Eliot Ness, amateur jazz musician (adept at piano and soprano sax), widower at 26, highly-decorated Army Reserve Colonel, and much, much more.

As we know, the movies, and most other Indy media, generally start off with a year written right on the opening scene, or first page. That has pretty much taken all of the detective work out of assembling a base-level chronology…unlike the James Bond stories, which may only hint at a year once every few books.

There’s also the “Indycron.” The Indycron is a private database maintained and curated by Lucasfilm to ensure story and character continuity across media platforms. Every novel author, every game designer, every comic book writer has to check with the Indycron to prevent contradictions and repetition.

The Indycron is a relatively recent development, however, which makes creating a logical timeline incorporating the massive amount earlier material a bit tricky — and at times, impossible. (Sorry, Marvel Comics.) Sloppy mistakes by the actual creators don’t help, either, particularly the novel authors. (All of them are guilty of facepalm-worthy screw-ups, but I’m especially looking at you, Martin Caidin. Your description of Indy as a “professor of Medieval Literature and Studies at Princeton” — when that was his father’s position — is unforgivable. Did you forget Indy is an archaeologist? I know you’re interested in technical details about vintage aircraft far more than characters or story, but at least give the background packet provided for you by Lucasfilm more than a cursory glance, you weirdo.) These errors, inconsequential as they may be within an individual story, collectively made my task very difficult.

Plus, I’m sorry to say, the Indycron actually does a pretty lousy job even with recent material. Indy meets Belloq under at least three different circumstances, and the Lost Journal of Indiana Jones and Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide, both Lucasfilm-approved books released in 2008, contradict each other all over the place.

Also unlike the James Bond novels, you may have noticed that we’re working with more than one medium, which makes for a lot more material to absorb. All of the original Ian Fleming and Fleming continuation novels, along with the “Young Bond” series, numbered around 27 books, all of them pretty slim. It was the work of 4 or 5 months to get through them, and that was at a pretty lackadaisical pace. Yes, watching a movie takes less time than reading a novel, but still — the sheer bulk of the Indiana Jones universe is daunting: four feature films, 22 ninety-minute installments of Young Indiana Jones on DVD, 13 novels, 17 young adult novels, 36 comic books (according to the Holy Bee canon), and various other bits and pieces floating around out there. Even though we’re given a year for almost every story, it can still be a challenge to make it all fit together coherently across all media. It’s enough to make armchair chronologists tear out their hair…but also gives them their rush. I know I’m not alone in this particular pastime. Other websites have attempted it as well.

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So…if the years are already given for pretty much every story at the suggestion of Lucasfilm, and James Luceno’s richly-illustrated coffee table book Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide and multiple websites have already assembled chronologies, then what’s the point of doing this? Continue reading

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Video Store Memories

Sorry, misled voters of West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Coal-mining jobs are not coming back in any appreciable amount. Never. Ever. And any presidential candidate of any party who tells you otherwise is playing you for a fool. But that’s the way of the world. Think of the poor harness and saddle makers when those Model T Fords started rolling off the assembly line. Shit outta luck. No one’s crossing the Atlantic on dirigibles anymore either, putting all those patriotic, hard-working dirigible technicians out of business. Industries die when times change. It’s a fact of life.

I can’t recall anyone carrying signs at political rallies when the humble video rental store circled the drain and gurgled out of existence not long ago. Maybe that’s because most video store employees are…excuse me, were…jaded Gen-X youngsters, not people with families to support and hoping for a pension after forty-five years of inhaling coal dust.

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Everyone knows the big video store chains. Blockbuster Video, with twelve locations still open nationwide as of this writing. Hollywood Video, which died screaming in 2010, never collecting the $23.00 I owed them for a way past-due return of I Love You, Beth Cooper. Less remembered are the independents, the hole-in-the-wall mom & pop places that sprang up all over, circa 1985. They occupied every third strip-mall storefront for a while, usually had a beaded curtain guarding access to untold triple-X delights in the “back room,” and were mostly forced out of existence a decade-and-a-half later by the aforementioned big chains and their corporate ubiquity. Even liquor stores and gas stations often had a small video rental section for awhile. But as the twin behemoths of Blockbuster and Hollywood scaled a mountain made up of the smoking corpses of their competitors, their time was running out, too. Streaming services became the order of the day, and with a little practice, even Grandma and Grandpa could pick a flick from Amazon Video without having to put on their orthopedic shoes and leave their house that smells of dishrags and old soup.

Physical media came with a lot of problems. VHS tapes could get mangled (or melted in a hot car). DVDs could get scratched. But streaming has its limitations, too. Your WiFi can get intermittent. It’s hard to casually browse. You have to actively seek out older movies to stream. You can no longer just randomly spot them on the shelves when you’re out with your friends in the video store, and then shame your friends into seeing them:

“Dude, you haven’t seen Mandingo? We are getting that shit and solving that problem TONIGHT.” So you would get Mandingo, maybe Big Trouble in Little China, and whatever the new release of the week was. And odds are, the rabid Mandingo fan would push to watch that one first, possibly to the total exclusion of the other movies, and to the enlightenment of all viewers.

In my multi-part look back at 90s music, I told a few stories about life behind the counter of a video store, but I didn’t go into the detail this vanished way of life deserves. I was an employee of First Run Video in Yuba City, California from August 1993 (age 18) to December 1995 (just turned 21). First Run was not a national chain, nor was it a standalone. It was a mini-chain, consisting of about six locations in the northern part of the Sacramento Valley. Redding. Red Bluff. Weaverville. Oroville, maybe? I know Yuba City was its southernmost location. I started there on its third or fourth day of operation.

I can find no web evidence of First Run Video. It closed its doors in 1999, I think. As far as the internet is concerned, it never existed. No archived local business articles or ads. No old storefront photos on Google Images. No bitmap image files of its logo (a medal that read “1st” with a forked blue prize ribbon dangling underneath). No YouTube video of its one local TV commercial (which featured the back of my head for .002 seconds). Except for those mentions on my own website, First Run Video is — in the truest sense — gone, even from the internet nostalgia machine.

So all we have left is my description of the place, drawn solely from twenty-plus-year-old memories. Take my hand, Gentle Reader, and I’ll guide you through it…

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A busy shopping center at a busy intersection. Anchored at one end by an Orchard Supply Hardware store, and at the other, a Bel Air grocery store. Just around the corner from Bel Air, facing the palm tree-lined side parking lot, is First Run Video…

It’s big for what it is. A lot of square footage. It seems like there’s an acre or more of alternating blue and white tiled floor. Walk in the double doors. On your left is the Children/Family video section, and the video games. On your right are all other genres. Lining the wall running across the back of the store, and curving around to the right, are the New Releases. If you walk straight ahead, you approach the counter where you receive your rented videos after you’d paid for them. There was a slot in that counter that would receive your returned videos. Above you are bright blue buzzing neon letters that spell out MOVIES. (I think. Maybe it said something else. All I know is that it was covered with a shitload of gnats and lacewings every summer.) But you pick up your movies later. Right now, pass by the Disneyland-style popcorn wagon (popcorn is gratis, but we only fire it up on weekends). Rows of little marquee light bulbs on both sides of the entrance lobby channel you to enter the rental floor to the right or left. Either way, you pass through our security gates. Metallic strips of tape stuck to each and every VHS cassette in the store will set those bad boys off, ensuring you don’t pilfer that copy of License To Drive. They’re also fun to stick on co-workers’ backs right before they leave for the day, so they can exit to the sound of a shrieking alarm system. (Best to pull that gag when the store is pretty empty.)

One employee, Doug, who bore a striking resemblance to the “Ogre” character from Revenge328ff3d500bd1af7297f0e2145245ead of the Nerds (but was much more good-natured) was actually simple enough to clean the dust out of an empty marquee light socket using his finger. The crack sound was audible, and Doug’s considerable bulk was sent sprawling. He later showed us the black fingernail and the spiderweb of reddened blood vessels that crept up his arm. Doug also once called in sick after falling off a local railroad bridge. He soon moved on to other opportunities.

The store shelves are not real shelves, they are those rubberized wire racks that you would normally find in a budget-line refrigerator. Light, movable, and above all, cheap. Apart from the Customer Service Counter (and the New Member Sign-Up table just to the side of it), everything in the store seems made out of these modular racks. Most people enter to the right, where they would encounter the New Member Sign-Up table with its stacks of membership info cards, and, for a blessedly short period, the “trailer machine.”

InnocentBlood-Warner1The trailer machine was a big console with a video screen, where customers could cue up a preview for an upcoming movie by pushing a button. If no one was around to push the button, and few people exercised this option, the machine would simply cycle through all its trailers on a randomized loop. The problem was, the machine was loaded with far too few trailers, and each one would crop up every fifteen minutes or so. The first two lines of Sinatra’s “That Old Black Magic,” which opened the trailer of John Landis’ Innocent Blood, became permanently embedded in by frontal brain lobe after four months of hearing it every fifteen minutes of an eight-hour shift. The other problem was that no one ever showed up to change out the trailers. The movies featured went from “Upcoming” to “New Release” to “Saturday afternoon on TNT.” The machine was finally removed in the name of employee sanity.

If you’re like most people, you would head right for the New Release section against the back wall. The VHS boxes shrink-wrapped around styrofoam blocks would be the “display models.” Any actual copies of the movie we have on hand would be behind those. How many people bring the display box up to rent, and leave disappointed? More than I’d care to count, despite the myriad of signs around the store explaining the system. No such confusion in the main rental area, where the videos older than three months go to be pretty much never touched again. The box is cut down and slid into the clear sleeve of a traditional plastic VHS case, and the tape goes right inside. When their time comes, a copy of the former New Release is kept for this area (divided by genre), and the dozen or so others–the ones we could barely keep on the shelves for those heady first few weeks we had them–are kicked to our Used Movies To Buy section. When they inevitably fail to sell after a few more months, they are shipped off to some mysterious video graveyard.

New Releases rent for $2.99, and go fast. People with far too much time on their hands hover around, and snatch them as soon as we put them on the shelf. They ask us to go out to the parking lot and check the dropbox, even though it had just been checked twenty minutes ago. Luck plays a big part in going home with the hottest new movie…unless you are a comely young woman, then your odds go up substantially. We always keep one copy of all the New Releases in the “Pretty Girl Drawer” behind the counter. (“One just came in…I was holding it for myself, but you seem nice…” No employee discount for New Releases, either. Once they are in the old movie section, however, they are free for us, and we can and do bring them home by the carload.)

If you are lucky (or attractive) enough to get ahold of your coveted New Release, then you might turn your attention to our back catalog, which takes up the bulk of the real estate. They are subdivided into an exasperatingly pointless amount of sub-genres, as indicated by a color-coded sticker. Here’s what I remember: Action (green), Adventure (orange), Children (light blue), Classic (light brown), Comedy (yellow), Drama (gold), Family (dark blue), Horror (pink), Thriller (red), Romance (white with pink text), Sci Fi (purple), Western (dark brown). There may be more. Documentaries and foreign films are over by the Family section, and sport a layer of dust the thickness of a rabbit’s pelt. This is Yuba City, after all. Continue reading

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The Holy Bee Recommends, #18: Thomas Berger’s “Neighbors”

To a lot of people, the title Neighbors conjures up fairly recent memories of the raucous Seth Rogen/Zac Efron frat boy comedy. To an older generation, it may trigger a dim recollection of the identically-titled flop starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. To colossal shut-in nerd like the Holy Bee, the go-to is the Thomas Berger novel on which the Belushi/Aykroyd film is based.

Berger (1924-2014) wrote about two dozen novels, but he’s probably best known for SUB-BERGER-obit-master180the picaresque quasi-Western Little Big Man. He also wrote one of my favorite Arthurian novels, Arthur Rex. But it’s this seemingly low-stakes, dark comedy tale published in 1980, set in sleepy suburbia, that I keep coming back to. I’ve re-read it many times since I was about fifteen, and it doesn’t seem to get old.

Earl Keese, 49, and his wife Enid live at the end of a cul-de-sac in a semi-rural area near an unnamed “village” where everything closes by six, and within commuting distance of a large unnamed city. (The setting is Staten Island in my imagination, but it could be somewhere in New Jersey. Definitely East Coast.) Keese works at an office in the city, but beyond that, we never learn anything about his occupation. Enid is a housewife. They have a single child, daughter Elaine, who is away at college. He arrives home one Friday evening to the news from his wife that there’s only leftover succotash for dinner — and that the vacant house that they share the end of the cul-de-sac with is now occupied by a younger couple.

220px-NeighborsWithin minutes, Keese is dealing with the female half of the couple, Ramona, who shows up on his doorstep, seeming to want nothing but to make him uncomfortable. She helps herself to Keese’s wineglass he had left on the coffee table, stares fixedly at his crotch for long enough that he believes his fly must be down, and remarks — after knowing him all of three minutes — that “you’re not so old, but you are too fat.” With old-fashioned politeness, Keese invites the couple to dinner, then goes into the kitchen to discuss non-succotash dinner options with his wife. He raises the possibility of going out to a nice restaurant. Enid is totally passive and doesn’t want to do anything (a recurring theme for her.)  When Keese returns, he finds Ramona has vanished, and her partner, Harry, has let himself in without knocking, and — after knowing him all of two minutes — slaps Keese affectionately on the ass.

From that awkward but sort of harmless beginning, things degenerate. At first it’s just that everything Harry and Ramona do is completely foreign to anything in Keese’s experience, and that they do not observe the social cues and forced inane niceties of late-middle aged suburban life. This culture clash spirals downward quickly. Over the course of the next 24 hours, there is psychological warfare, sexual tension, property damage, physical violence, and not a wink of sleep. What’s worse is that the more Keese tries to expose Harry and Ramona as sociopaths, the more these efforts backfire. When he attempts to verify some of Harry’s seemingly bold-faced lies, they almost — almost — check out. Sometimes Keese actually gets the better of them, but usually he is the one humiliated. The ultimate humiliation is that Enid and Elaine (who has arrived home unexpectedly) repeatedly come to their defense, implying that Keese is close-minded and paranoid. The more harried he becomes, the more calm and dismissive they become.

If it were merely a back-and-forth of retaliatory hijinks, it would be more of a kind with the shallow-but-entertaining Seth Rogen movie. Berger goes darker and deeper. The twist here is that even though the book is not written in the first-person, everything in the story is filtered through Keese’s perception — and that perception is not to be trusted. If the novel were in first-person, Keese would be an “unreliable narrator.” It is revealed in the first few pages that his eyes and mind often play tricks on him, causing him to see things that aren’t really there, or rather, to twist things that are there into bizarre hallucinations. When he first sees Harry and Ramona’s dog, a large wolfhound, he mistakes it for a naked human being on all fours. That sort of thing. How much of this affliction affects Keese’s perception of his neighbors is for the reader to decide. There are moments when Harry and Ramona aren’t around that his wife and daughter admit the new neighbors are indeed creepy people and that they are just trying to placate them. But there are also moments when they are not there that Enid and Elaine continue to defend them, or at least shrug off Keese’s concerns. What is to be believed? What the hell is going on? Continue reading

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The Weirdest Thing I Ever Saw

We all watch stupid shit. Although terms like “golden age” and “peak TV” have been thrown around quite a bit in the last few years, referring to the acclaimed offerings of HBO, AMC, Netflix, et al., sometimes you just want to look at garbage. I’m sure there are people with advanced degrees and high-paying jobs who get through the day just to race home to their tastefully decorated domiciles to gorge on Real Housewives on their DVR.

Me? I’m hooked on paranormal shows. And thanks to the wealth of cable channels, I ghost-adventures_ep_magnolia-plantation.rend.hgtvcom.616.462can feed my addiction on a pretty much constant basis. It’s only a matter of time before there’s an all-paranormal channel. (Destination America comes close, but it’s been having audio problems the last few days. And I’m on my summer staycation! I’m almost ready to put a bullet through the screen, Elvis-style, because the sound keeps dropping when I’m trying to watch Monsters & Mysteries in America.) If there’s someone wandering around in an old abandoned hospital, turning the screen green with their infrared cameras, and asking each other “did you hear that?”…then I want to watch them doing it.

I don’t believe a second of it, of course. But that wasn’t always the case. Where did my abiding interest in this subject come from?

A much younger Holy Bee had quite a scholarly interest in the paranormal, and took it pretty seriously. Maybe because by studying it, I could control my fear of it. I was the kind of kid who always slept with his bedroom door open and the hall light on, when I wasn’t actually bringing my Garfield sleeping bag onto the floor of my parents’ bedroom after a particularly unsettling episode of In Search Of. ISO, hosted by Leonard Nimoy, was the first TV show to seriously investigate mysterious phenomena. Running from 1977 to 1982, it popped up in syndication on Sunday afternoons a lot. 

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My earliest recollection of a non-Halloween “true” ghost story was my grandmother relating a tale involving a friend or relative who late one night observed, through a bedroom window, a spectral woman roaming her front yard and gradually fading from sight. She wasn’t telling the story to entertain or frighten me. She was matter-of-factly telling it to someone else when she thought I was already asleep on the daybed in the living room. That did quite a number on me.

Another big subcategory of the paranormal is cryptozoology — “hidden animals.” Bigfoot/Sasquatch, Yeti, Loch Ness Monster, etc. My first major exposure to this was an old 1970s documentary Bigfoot: The Mysterious Monster, which I saw on TV while staying up way too late when I was about seven. Hosted and narrated by a Very Serious Peter Graves, it was full of dramatic recreations of Bigfoot encounters and presented everything as bona-fide fact. I knew I was watching re-enactments, but the Bigfoot costume that the special effects department created for that low-budget doc joined my grandmother’s front-yard ghost in my Nightmare File.

(For some reason, I had little to no interest in the third major area of the paranormal — UFOs.)

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The local library was about six blocks away from my house, and I pedaled my bike there a lot during summer vacations (scrupulously mashing the crosswalk button at the lone busy intersection that bisected the journey.) The children’s section was in the basement, and boasted powerful air-conditioning and several beanbag chairs. They also had a robust selection of paranormal books for kids like me, who ate this stuff up. It’s still a thriving realm of children’s publishing, if Amazon is anything to go by. Ghost stuff was in the 133 section of the Dewey Decimal System, cryptozoology in the random catch-all section of 001. A lot of them were by a guy named 51PhG2vKz9L._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Daniel Cohen, who is probably responsible for many grade-school bookworms’ sleepless nights. When I exhausted the children’s section (which took awhile — I had no problem re-reading and re-re-reading), I ventured upstairs and nosed through the adult books on the topic. By the time I was thirteen, I had a subscription to the Time-Life book series Mysteries of the Unknown.

As I grew into my teens, this particular hobby went on the backburner, although I would still occasionally pick up a Hanz Holzer paperback. Continue reading

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