Sunday, June 12, 2011

*Raiders' Opened 30 Years Ago Today

30 personal Indiana Jones anecdotes from the past 30 years (or 30 completely useless boring factoids about me)...
  1. Before I saw Raiders, I didn't want it to be too good. I was such a big Star Wars fan that I feared it would replace it as the #1 grossing film of all time (which Star Wars was then and one reason I hate Titanic).
  2. I saw Raiders' for the first time 2 weeks after it opened with my younger brother Ted at the Movieland theater on Central Ave. in Yonkers NY (I then did want it to be the #1 grossing film of all time).
  3. Months later, needing a good excuse to watch it again, we convinced my Mom she'd love the movie and had to see it. Which she actually did and became an Indy fan as well.
  4. My aunt Joan and uncle Joe gave me a Indy style fedora for Christmas in 1981.
  5. I got Raider's of the Lost Ark on VHS as a Christmas gift in 1983 (which still may be in a box somewhere). 
  6. My college's Resident Director borrowed my VHS for a student movie night held in the Freshman dorm lounge. Only 5 people showed up (including myself).
  7. My brother and I received vintage looking WWI styled leather jackets similar to Indy's for Christmas in 1984.
  8. My younger sister Monica around 8 or 9 years old did a great Satipo (Alfred Molina) impression which became a often requested family performance sitting around the dinner table.
  9. I owned an 8mm camera in hopes of creating my own animated cartoons in high school, but the first thing I filmed was an Indy inspired adventure starring my brother as the hero and sister Monica as you guessed it: Satipo. I hope to get it digitally transferred soon.
  10. Monica wrote Harrison Ford a fan letter when she was a kid and got back a signed photo. Sadly now a lost artifact.
  11. One of my favorite early pencil drawings was of Indy based on a publicity still. It ended up being published on the back cover of my high school's literary magazine one year.
  12. My first formal training in the arts was in the summer of '82 attending a six week program at SUNY Fredonia (in between my junior and senior year of high school). My first creation in painting class when instructed to just "play" and get a feel for the materials was a large 3' x 4' canvas of Indy's iconic shadow on a wall.
  13. My high School yearbook quote was "It's not the years, it's the mileage"
  14. The very same day I got home from my freshman year of college, I went to see Temple of Doom even before I unpacked my bags (at the same theater I saw Raiders)
  15. I later saw Temple of Doom a second time when I took a date to see it at the Ziegfeld Theater in NYC.
  16. I had a giant Raiders' movie poster (known as a three sheet) which hung on my bedroom wall in high school and then all 4 years of college. It became so torn and beat up I eventually threw it away. I've seen that poster priced close to $1000 online these days. Who knew?
  17.  I've been Indy for Halloween twice in my life (although a far less svelte archaeologist).
  18. My family and I went to see Last Crusade the first weekend it opened. We were part of a large ticket holder line that turned ugly once we were let in. As the crowd bottle necked at the theater door. Some people started to swarm forward actually pushing others out of the way. My parents, siblings and I literally got shoved aside and separated from each other in a growing frenzy. Ushers started yelling for all to calm down. For a few seconds I honestly had fear of folks being crushed or trampled. Needless to say, not a fun movie experience.
  19. Many years ago when I was a PA, I had to drop off a package to someone on the Universal Studio lot. I got lost and walked into the wrong office bungalow. Raiders' producer Frank Marshall happened to be standing there and gave me directions to the one I was looking for.
  20. I tried to weave my own prop bullwhip once from strips cut from a garage sale found leather couch cushion cover. The end result looked more like a Ren Faire costume sash than anything Indy would of used.
  21. I worked with a guy who claimed to be an uncredited scenic artist on Temple of Doom (among other things). Unfortunately he didn't realize I was a big fan and I pestered him with excited questions. His story sort of fell apart and I suspected he just made it up to impress, but to this day I give him the benefit of doubt, because it's fun to believe I worked with someone who worked on a Indy movie.
  22. I once saw the most amazing custom Raiders' replica fedora ever made at a hat store here in Los Angeles. It was perfect, including dusty well worn aging. It was a solid real hat, not some cheap costume version. And it fit my head as if made for me. It cost $400.00. I went to that hat store numerous times over the course of a month just to look at it and try it on, debating whether to buy it. Then one day it was gone. Someone saved my bank account from myself.
  23. The leather jacket I wear now is a 7 year old replica Indy style one from Gibson & Barnes. I've gotten a few compliments on it, but only once has anyone realized it is Indy's (as far as I know). One winter I was wearing it at Disneyland. While on line for a ride I noticed another visitor ahead of us smiling at me. He tugged on his jacket which was also an Indy replica and gave a knowing nod. I smiled and nodded back. Nerdy secret club fun.
  24. One of the cutest things I ever saw was after seeing Crystal Skull. A father with his small son both dressed as Indy leaving the theater.
  25. Years back, a producer and I during a very long and exhausting shoot day got into a heated argument. We were both just blowing off steam. Angry at me he said he'd just get the PA's to do my job. I said "Too bad the PAs don't know you the way I do Belloq". He started laughing and all was good.
  26. At least once a month since 1981 (long before I became an occasional prop guy) I've thought about building my own Ark of the Covenant. One day.
  27. I once spent days making a large diorama with sugar cubes of the Well of Souls to be a backdrop for an old Horizon vinyl model figure of Indy I had. I even spent hours carving in hieroglyphics. Unfortunately I failed to remember that sugar dissolves in water when I went to paint it using thinned acrylic washes.
  28. Although Raiders' is one of my favorite films I haven't watched it as often as you might think. In 30 years, I can only count 16 times beginning to end (give or take one or two forgotten viewings).
  29. I once found a dog-eared copy of the Raiders' novelization at an old book store that someone had obsessively highlighted all the times Marion was written. Creeped me out.
  30. I think I've just used up everything I was going to post about for the rest of the month.
    * Although this post is dated the 12th, I know it never showed up then. The weekend turned out to be a busy one and I'm behind schedule.

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