The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones – Volume One (2007)
Also known as The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: The Early Years
Created by George Lucas
Produced by George Lucas and Rick McCallum
Directed by: Various
Written by: Various
Starring: Corey Carrier, Sean Patrick Flannery, Lloyd Owen, Ruth de Sosa, Margaret Tyzack, Ronny Coutteurre
On October 23, 2007, CBS DVD and Lucasfilm Limited released The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones – Volume One (later retitled as The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones – Volume One: The Early Years). This 12-disc set consists of seven feature-length episodes that depict the early years of Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr., the archaeologist-adventurer from Raiders of Lost Ark and its three sequels. These 90-minute long television movies were re-edited versions of episodes from Lucas’s 1992-1993 TV series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.
The Young Indiana Chronicles was based on Lucas’s idea of mixing education and entertainment to get children and teens interested in 20th Century history. The basic concept of the anthology series centered on a young Indiana Jones’ interactions with various individuals who shaped the times in which he lived. In each episode, Indy would meet a famous person (Sigmund Freud, say) within the context of both the fictitious story and the historical period. This format was called “edutainmemt” and was intended to appeal to kids in the sixth grade level and up.
Shot mostly on location in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the U.S., the series was one of the most ambitious and expensive projects (each episode cost around $1.5 million to make) produced for television. The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles boasted a cast of excellent actors, fine directors (Mike Newell, Bille August), acclaimed script writers (Frank Darabont, Jonathan Hensleigh, and Jonathan Hales) and some of the best production values ever seen on TV. However, the series did not get high enough ratings. Consequently, it was canceled by ABC after its second season.
Lucasfilm only shot 24 of 70 episodes that Lucas had outlined for the series, as well as four stand-alone TV movies produced for cable’s Family Channel. However, this was enough material to allow editor T.M. Christopher to re-edit the footage for what eventually became The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones.
The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones – Volume One: The Early Years
Released on October 23, 2007 by Paramount Pictures, Lucasfilm Limited, and CBS DVD, this was the first of three box sets in The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones collection. It consists of seven 90-minute long feature length episodes:
- My First Adventure (Egypt – Morocco 1908)
- Passion for Life (Paris – Kenya 1908)
- The Perils of Cupid (Florence – Vienna 1908)
- Travels with Father (Russia – Greece 1910)
- Journey of Radiance (India – China 1910)
- Spring Break Adventure (Princeton – Mexico 1916)
- Love’s Sweet Song (Ireland – England 1916)
The first four stories feature a young actor named Corey Carrier as a preteen Indy. In this quartet of adventures, Professor Henry Jones, Sr. (Lloyd Owen), his wife Anna (Ruth de Sosa), Indy, and Indy’s tutor Helen Seymour (Margaret Tyzack) are on a round-the-world lecture tour.
The other three stories follow a now-impetuous teenaged Indiana Jones (Sean Patrick Flannery) in various adventures in the U.S., civil war-torn Mexico, rebellious Ireland, and England during the First World War.
The 12 discs also contain 38 documentaries about the historical events and important persons depicted in The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones. Some of the topics and historical figures covered include:
- The Hapsburgs and the Austro-Hungarian Empire
- Pablo Picasso
- Theodore Roosevelt
- Sigmund Freud
- Carl Jung
- Pancho Villa
- The Mexican Revolution
- The Irish Easter Rebellion
- W.B. Yeats
Though The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones – Volume One: The Early Years are geared for young viewers, the seven “movies” of this set can be enjoyed by audiences of all ages. For kids and teenagers, there’s enough action and comedy in each episode to keep them entertained while learning about world history. The scripts for the series strike a good balance between dramatics and educational material, so some young viewers may not even realize that they are learning things suitable for the classroom.
For adults, the main draw is the “origins” story of Indiana Jones, one of the most iconic screen heroes of all time. In the Steven Spielberg-directed features which star Harrison Ford, audiences see Indy as a brainy and brawny archaeologist/soldier of fortune in his late 30s. The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones series examines Indy’s formative years and shows how a bright and spirited kid named Henry Jones, Jr. became the heroic Indiana Jones.
- Seven feature-length episodes: My First Adventure, Passion for Life, The Perils of Cupid, Travels With Father, Journey of Radiance, Spring Break Adventure, Love’s Sweet Song
- 38 companion documentaries
- Historical overview
- Interactive game
- Interactive timeline
- Codec: MPEG-2
- Encoding format: 4:3
- Resolution: 480i (NTSC)
- Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
- Original aspect ratio: 1.33:1
- English: Dolby Digital 2.0
- Twelve-disc set (12 DVDs)
- Region 1
- Rated: NR (Not Rated)
- Studio: Paramount
- DVD Release Date: October 23, 2007
- Run Time: 649 minutes