I can still remember the first time I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark. It was just after my birthday in June, and I had some time to kill on a weekday afternoon. I didn’t recall seeing a lot of hype, and it seemed no one knew just how huge the film was going to be. My expectations were not really high. The film looked interesting, and I was just looking to escape for a couple of hours. By the time I left that theater, I felt a little bit like Indiana Jones himself having made some grand discovery. I had to tell my friends. I even managed to drag a friend who hadn’t liked a movie since 1972 to see it with me the very next day. Of course, the film was followed by The Temple Of Doom, and my faith in old Indy Jones was shaken somewhat. Along came The Last Crusade, and I was born again into the world that was Indiana Jones. All of us are now gearing up for a fourth film after what seems like decades, because it has been. However, the decades have not been a complete Indiana Jones blackout. For a short time Indiana Jones could be found in the most unlikely of places… network television. Enter The Adventures Of Young
Like most folks I was skeptical. Could Indy be played by anyone other than Harrison Ford? What about those pesky network budgets and censors? As the series played out I made another discovery. Indiana Jones was now an American icon. He was our James Bond, and just as 007 had survived many incarnations, so too could Indy. As long as the actor remained faithful to the part and the production lived up to tradition, Indy could live far beyond Harrison Ford. As
Indiana Jones is portrayed by two actors here. Some of the shows depict Indy at ages 8-10 and feature Corey Carrier. The kid’s a little too cute, but I found he has the mannerisms down pretty well for such a young actor. Most of the time Indy is played by Sean Patrick Flannery, who doesn’t have the same flare River Phoenix had as a young Indy in The Last Crusade. He’s not always as assertive as we’ve come to expect from our Indy, but he does manage to get himself into a lot of jams. This series ends up involving Indy in many historical events that, while it stretches credibility beyond belief, offers some very interesting backdrops for adventure. The series was shot in locations all over the globe, from Africa to Europe and here in the
All I can say is WOW! This 12 disc set is packed with stuff. If it were packed any tighter it would likely explode on the shelves. The documentaries are newly created pieces just for this release.
I will break down each disc for you and talk about this wealth of extras in some detail.
Archeology: Unearthing Our Past: Of course, there are clips here of Harrison Ford from Raiders of the Lost Ark as this 20 minute feature looks at the scientific study of archaeology. You’ll see some honest comparisons with
Howard Carter and the Tomb of Tutankhamen: Few archaeological finds have been as dramatic as the discovery of King Tut’s tomb. The find single-handedly propelled the field to the fore and influenced many a young boy to enter the field. I was one of those youngsters who read Carter’s journals with nail biting suspense, dreaming of mummies and ancient Egyptian curses. It’s hard to believe that before this discovery Tut was an obscure child king very few outside the field had even heard of. Now his name is synonymous with Egyptology and Archaeology. Learn why in this 22 minute real life adventure story.
Colonel Lawrence’s War: T.E. Lawrence and
From Slavery To Freedom: This half hour piece examines the historical institution of slavery. While most of us are familiar with the American incarnation, slavery has a history that goes back beyond the Greeks and Romans, and it meant different things to different peoples.
Ecology: The Pulse Of The Planet: One might expect this piece to be preachy, and it is, but not so much that it isn’t worth watching. Here we get a look at the environmental movement through history. If you look beyond the sermons, there is a ton of information packed into this 24 minutes.
American Dreams – Norman Rockwell and The Saturday Evening Post: Norman Rockwell captured the American lifestyle on Saturday Evening Post covers for decades. His work came to be known as a stereotype of the American landscape. It endures today, offering a stylistic look at a simpler time. This 24 minutes is a nice look at the man, his work, and the legacy it is today.
Art Rebellion – The Making of the Modern: This rather dry piece examines the modern Impressionist art form. Plenty of names and paintings left me a bit numb. However, if art is your thing, you’ll get a large dose of this painting style here.
Braque and Picasso: A Collaboration: Another art piece that put me to sleep. Again, if you’re fans, I’m sure there’s a lot to love here.
The Perils Of Cupid: This film combines the episodes
Giacomo Puccini: It’s no secret that the heart of the opera is in the Italian composers and singers. Puccini only did 12 operas, but his La Boheme has become one of the most popular of all time. Say, didn’t Lewis have tickets to that one when he was busted in Trading Places? Opera talking heads literally explode with their praise. A couple of these women look like 1960’s teen girls who’ve just seen the Beatles play on Ed Sullivan.
It’s Opera: No kidding. This half hour attempts to explain exactly what opera is. Trust me, you’ll know it when you hear it. If you’re not a fan, this 30 minutes is as tragic as most of the characters that populate these things. Hey, when they started talking about famous Sopranos they didn’t even mention Tony, and nobody got clipped. Go figure!
The Archduke’s Last Journey – End of An Era: We all know the significance of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. His death would be the spark to ignite the powder keg of extreme nationalism and a complicated web of alliances that was
Powder Keg – Europe 1900-1914: The years leading up to World War I were actually some of the most peaceful
Sigmund Freud – Exploring The Unconscious: Freud was and still is a rather controversial figure, but no one can deny the impact he had on what was once a fledging field of study. His terminology invades our own culture, and his methods are standard procedure in therapy sessions around the world today. This 24 minutes explores the man that would change forever how we think about ourselves.
Carl Jung – The Journey of the Self: Jung’s classification of personalities has invaded every aspect of our lives. Educators attempt to create curriculum to meet the various learning styles. Employers use tests to find out what kind of people prospective employees might be. Many companies use these concepts to create team building exercises in an attempt to increase productivity. Learn about the man who started it all in this half hour presentation.
Travels With Father: This film incorporates the original two part episode of the same name together. As a runaway in
Speaking Truth – The Life of Leo Tolstoy: Tolstoy is, of course, renowned for the epic novel War and Peace. His life is one of incredible changes, both in his personal sphere and the entire Russian Empire. This journey combines these two elements to demonstrate how they each influenced the other.
Unquiet Voices – Russian Writers and the State: The history of Russian literature and the government is an uneasy one to be sure. Russian people turned to these writers for hope and inspiration. This 25 minute look explores some of the most influential writers from the late 1800’s and beyond.
Ancient Questions – Philosophy and Our Search For Meaning: What is the meaning of life? Every Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Universe fan knows the answer to the question is 42. The answer is simple. The question, on the other hand is a whole other matter. Philosophy is the study of these questions that have no clear answers. How can you flunk a philosophy exam, I wonder. Some of these profound musings are explored here, along with some of the better known musers. They don’t, however, touch upon the Blu-ray/HD-DVD question
Journey of Radiance: This film combines the episodes Benares 1910 and
Jiddu Krishnamuqui – The Reluctant Messiah: Groomed as a savior from childhood, he turned against his destiny. Instead he attempted to preach self-reliance and wean his people from the need of leaders. In the end he could not truly escape his destiny as the people followed him anyway. Examine this contradiction of lives in a 26 minute biography.
Annie Besant – An Unlikely Rebel: The Industrial Revolution in
Medicine In The Middle Kingdom: Traditional Chinese medicine is practiced today all over the world. From acupuncture to herbs and spices, this alternative form of medicine has found a niche that continues to grow in the most modern societies and facilities. This 27 minute feature examines some of these traditional healing modes and the science being discovered that supports them.
Eastern Spirituality – The Road To Enlightenment: When the Beatles made their famous pilgrimage to
Spring Break Adventure: This film combines the episodes
Thomas Edison – Lighting Up The World: No one has more US patents than Thomas Edison. From electric lights to the phonograph and the motion picture, hardly an hour of our waking lives is untouched directly by his inventions. This is a quite enlightening feature that while it focuses on the light bulb, looks at Edison himself and his many contributions to our lives.
Invention and Innovation – What’s Behind a Good Idea: They say necessity is the mother of invention. I can still sing the schoolhouse rock song. For 26 minutes, amaze yourself at the swift pace of 20th century innovation and discovery.
The Mystery of Edward Stratemeyer: The writer took the children’s book out of the ages of primers and senseless cuteness and created a genre fit for the adolescents. Tom Swift, Nancy Drew, and The Hardy Boys are all creations of Stratemeyer under various pen names. Collectively he’s written more best selling books than anyone in history. You just might not have ever known his name. Now learn all about this pioneer who paved the way for such creations as Harry Potter today.
Wanted Dead or Alive – Pancho Villa and the American Invasion of
General John J. Pershing and His American Army: It’s how we Americans always like to think of ourselves. If it weren’t true, someone would have had to make it up. It’s the final years of World War I and
George S. Patton – American Achilles: Most of us think of George C Scott standing in front of a huge American flag spitting out those tough guy phrases and calling on his troops to reach higher and go further. Patton might not have been quite that image, and he certainly didn’t play well with others. Still, when the chips were down, he proved to be the most talented military strategist in modern history. This is 30 minutes of blood and guts like you haven’t seen before.
Love’s Sweet Song: This film combines the episodes
Easter Rising – The Poet’s Rebellion: It was Easter 1916 in
The Passions of William
Sean O’Casey vs.
Winston Churchill – The Lion’s Roar: One of the larger features at nearly 34 minutes, this piece centers on a man who was at the center of the second World War. Once written off as a washed up politician, Churchill would regain dominance over British politics. This piece shows how tragic circumstances often create greatness. Did the times create Churchill, or was he a man made for the times? The rise and fall and rise of Winston Churchill is an interesting story, told well here.
Demanding The Vote – The Pankhursts and British Suffrage: This 27 minute feature covers the women’s suffrage movement in
Fighting For The Vote – Women’s Suffrage in
Historical Lecture – The Promise of Progress: This 41 minute talk by Professor H.W. Brand is in essence an overview of the 20th Century. Brand teaches history at the
There are some interactive timelines and a game, but I had a lot of trouble getting them to work on two different PC’s. On one the DVD-ROM elements froze up my system more than once. Frankly, none of this stuff seems worth the trouble. You get plenty of value from the documentaries and episodes.
I have to say that the tremendous collection of documentaries alone is worth the price of this set. Never in the history of TV on DVD has a set contained so much rich material. These are not cheap quick nods to history, but rather are loaded with vintage footage and photography that make them a worthy historical videography to any student of history. Some of them, particularly the art pieces, were a tad boring to me, but it’s easily forgiven for what all is there. I could have simply listed these extras and considered my job done. Instead I decided to spend time with each feature so that you might fully appreciate all you’re getting in this set. Certainly I would have liked some more behind the scenes stuff, but I suspect that’s coming by the third and final collection. One thing is for certain with a fourth Harrison Ford Indy film coming next spring and two more packed sets of these Young Indiana Jones stories: there’s a long ride ahead for Indy fans. This is going to be a fast Indiana Jones year, so “just hold on”.