Sunday, September 7, 2014

Geekdom Madness: TRG - ...*Blank Stare*....


Let's reacquaint ourselves with the...umm...combatants


Henry "Indiana" Jones Jr. was created by George Lucas for a 1973 treatment script entitled "The Adventures of Indiana Smith" as a tribute to the 1930's-40's adventure serials he grew up with (alongside the Buck Rogers serials that inspired Star Wars). After numerous failed starts, Lucas shelved the idea to work on Star Wars. Escaping his success on the latter picture, Lucas met with his friend Steven Spielberg who wanted to do a James Bond film. Lucas one-upped him by showing him the script for what would become 1981's "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Spielberg loved it, suggested changing the name "Smith" (eventually settling on "Jones,") and signed on to direct the picture and its eventual sequels while Lucas bounced back and forth between this franchise and Star Wars

Several writers were brought on to flesh out the scripts for the four-film-and-counting franchise: Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders), Willard Hyuck and Gloria Katz (Temple of Doom, 1984), Jeffery Baum and Tom Stoppard (Last Crusade, 1989), and David Koepp (Crystal Skull, 2008, which due to its long time gap was a pastiche of 1950's adventure tropes more than 30's/40's).

Aside from the serials' often rugged protagonists, other inspirations for Indiana's character included Allen Quartermain and the aforementioned James Bond. Indiana was named after Lucas' Alaskan Malamute, who also provided the inspiration for the character of Chewbacca in Star Wars.

Indiana Jones is portrayed as an adult by Harrison Ford. Similar to his acquisition of the Han Solo role, Ford was not originally interested in the part and was initially only called in to help read supporting actors (Lucas also didn't want to be accused of casting Ford in everything, after he was in both American Graffiti and Star Wars). It was only after Tom Selleck was cast and then subsequently dropped out to film Magnum P.I. that Ford stepped in and made cinema history again. 

River Phoenix played a young Indiana Jones in the prologue of Last Crusade, and studied Ford closely. In the early-1990's TV series "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles", he was portrayed by Sean Patrick Flanery, Corey Carrier, and as an old narrator by George Hall.


Raggedy Ann was created by Johnny Gruelle. Patented as a toy in 1915, he wrote the first accompanying book in 1918.

Originally a faceless doll his daughter Marcella found in the attic, Gruelle painted a face on it, named it Raggedy Ann, and combined elements of the classic poems "The Raggedy Man" and "Little Orphant Annie" (both of which would eventually become associated with popular characters in their own right, the latter being the inspiration for a franchise and the former providing a motif for another's more recent incarnation). Seeing how much she loved it, Gruelle decided to share that joy with children around the world. Marcella's death at age 13 after receiving a smallpox vaccine without parental consent prompted Gruelle to use the character as an anti-vaccination symbol, though this is largely forgotten by the public at large.

Raggedy Ann toys and books continue to be produced long after Gruelle's death as a testament to the character's enduring legacy.

Raggedy Ann was portrayed by Cecil Roy in the 1941 Fleischer short "Raggedy Ann and Andy," Didi Conn in the 1977 feature film "Raggedy Ann and Andy: A Musical Adventure," June Foray in several late 1970's Chuck Jones shorts, and Christina Lange in the 1988 TV series "The Adventures of Raggedy Ann and Andy."

Final Thoughts
I'm actually rooting for the rag doll, half out of nostalgia and half out of amusement. Seriously, I did not expect her to get this far and am really interested to see how much farther she'll go. But, of course, Indy's likely a bigger hit with this crowd. Still, I've been wrong before.

As always, make sure you're viewing the WEB version of the site and vote in the poll on the right-hand side of the screen. Poll closes Friday, and results posted on Saturday. Feel free to discuss your pick in the comments below.

1 comment:

  1. When I was a child, I had two Raggedy Ann dolls. One giant one that belonged to one of my relatives, and a small one for me I got at a local toy store. We would later end up selling them at a summer yard sale. When we were on our way out of town, guess what we saw-our giant Raggedy Ann on the side of the street! Only a few blocks from our house. My dad had to bring her back home. We suspect it was some kind of prank. Poor girl.