“The Real Indiana Jones” is a series that explores the man behind the fedora. Indiana Jones is many things to many people in his world, from a friend or enemy, to an esteemed professor or rival treasure hunter. As viewers of Indy’s big screen and television adventures, we have a unique perspective on the life of this hero, whose own weaknesses are often as important as his strengths.
Moviegoing audiences first met Indiana Jones tramping through a South American jungle in search of an ancient temple. But during the opening sequence of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, the man himself remains a mystery. Hidden from clear view, only details of his costume are visible, providing vague impressions of this elusive character.
Pulling back a clump of vines to reveal a terrifying face carved in stone, a member of Indy’s crew runs away in fear. The archaeologist calmly observes the discovery, and moves on. He manages to find a lone poison dart stuck into a tree, a veritable needle in a haystack. Then pausing to carefully review a crumbling map, he notices the faint click of a revolver, and manages to stop another member of his crew from ambushing him with only moments to spare.
Only then does the audience finally meet Indiana Jones face to face. His entrance is ambiguous. This is a man equally alluring and threatening. With each moment, an increasingly complex personality is revealed. With one last crew member in tow, Indy enters the temple. He anticipates each booby trap, calmly assessing one challenge after another, until he manages to get a little in over his head, and runs for his own life.