The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles

The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles

"Before the world discovered Indiana, Indiana discovered the world."
Also known as 'The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones'
Genre Adventure
Created by George Lucas
Developed by George Lucas
Starring Sean Patrick Flanery
Corey Carrier
George Hall
Ronny Coutteure
Narrated by George Hall
Theme music composer Laurence Rosenthal
Composer(s) Laurence Rosenthal
Joel McNeely
Country of origin USA
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 24 & 4 TV movies (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) George Lucas
Producer(s) Rick McCallum
Cinematography David Tattersall
Camera setup Single-camera setup
Running time approx. 45 min. per episode
Production company(s) Amblin Television
Paramount Network Television
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Disney-ABC Domestic Television
Original network ABC
The Family Channel
Picture format 16 mm film (1.33:1 aspect ratio)
Audio format Dolby Stereo
Original release March 4, 1992 (1992-03-04) – July 24, 1993 (1993-07-24) (series)
October 15, 1994 (1994-10-15) – June 16, 1996 (1996-06-16) (movies)

The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles is an American television series that aired on ABC from March 4, 1992, to July 24, 1993. Filming took place in various locations around the world, with "Old Indy" bookend segments filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina and on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. The series was an Amblin Television/Lucasfilm production in association with Paramount Network Television.

The series explores the childhood and youth of the fictional character Indiana Jones and primarily stars Sean Patrick Flanery and Corey Carrier as the title character, with George Hall playing an elderly version of Jones for the bookends of most episodes, though Harrison Ford bookended one episode. The show was created and executively produced by George Lucas, who also created, co-wrote and executively produced the Indiana Jones feature films.

Due to its enormous budget, the series was canceled in 1993. However, following the series' cancellation, four made-for-television films were produced from 1994 to 1996 in an attempt to continue the series. In 1999, the series was re-edited into 22 television films under the title The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones.



During the production of the Indiana Jones feature films, the cast and crew frequently questioned creator George Lucas about the Indiana Jones character's life growing up. During the concept stages of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Lucas and director Steven Spielberg decided to reveal some of this backstory in the film's opening scenes. For these scenes, Lucas chose River Phoenix to portray the character, as Harrison Ford believed that Phoenix most resembled Ford as a young man (Phoenix had appeared as Ford's son in The Mosquito Coast). This decision to reveal an adventure of a young Indiana led Lucas and crew to the idea of creating the series.


Lucas wrote an extensive time-line detailing the life of Indiana Jones, assembling the elements for about 70 episodes, starting in 1905 and leading all the way up to the feature films. Each outline included the place, date and the historical persons Indy would meet in that episode, and would then be turned over to one of the series writers. When the series came to an end about 31 of the 70 stories had been filmed. Had the series been renewed for a third season, Young Indy would have been introduced to younger versions of characters from Raiders of the Lost Ark: Abner Ravenwood ("Jerusalem, June 1909") and René Belloq ("Honduras, December 1920"). Other episodes would have filled in the blanks between existing ones ("Le Havre, June 1916", "Berlin, Late August, 1916"), and there would even have been some adventures starring a five-year-old Indy (including "Princeton, May 1905").

During production of the series, Lucas became obsessed with the crystal skulls.[1] He originally called for an episode which would have been part of the third season involving Jones and his friend Belloq searching for one of the skulls.[2] The episode was never produced, and the idea ultimately evolved into the 2008 feature film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.[3]


A number of actors connected to the Indiana Jones films and/or George Lucas's Star Wars franchise made guest appearances. Harrison Ford appeared as a middle-aged Indy (age 50) in the episode "Young Indiana Jones and the Mystery of the Blues", which aired in March 1993. Paul Freeman, who played Rene Belloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark, portrayed Frederick Selous in a couple of episodes, while Roshan Seth, who played Chattar Lal in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, played a North African sheikh in "Morocco, 1917" (later re-edited into "Tales of Innocence"). The late William Hootkins (Major Eaton from Raiders of the Lost Ark) played Russian ballet producer Sergei Diaghilev and Wolf Kahler (Colonel Dietrich in Raiders of the Lost Ark) played a German diplomat in "Barcelona, May 1917". In the episode Attack of the Hawkmen, Star Wars veteran Anthony Daniels played François, a French Intelligence scientist (in the mode of James Bond's "Q") who gives Indy a special suitcase filled with gadgets for a special mission in Germany. Clint Eastwood was approached to play the elder brother of Indiana Jones, but he turned it down despite a $10 million offer.[4]


A variety of filmmakers wrote and directed many episodes of the series, including Frank Darabont, Nicolas Roeg, Mike Newell, Deepa Mehta, Joe Johnston, Jonathan Hensleigh, Terry Jones, Simon Wincer, Carrie Fisher, Dick Maas and Vic Armstrong. Lucas was given a 'Story By' credit in many episodes, along with his input as a creative consultant.

Old Indiana Jones in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.

The series was unusual in that it was shot on location around the world. Partly to offset the cost of this, the series was shot on 16mm film, rather than 35. The series was designed so that each pair of episodes could either be broadcast separately, or as a 2-hour film-length episode. Each episode cost about $1.5 million and the filming with Young Indy usually took around 3 weeks. The first production filming alternated between "Sean" and "Corey" episodes. The segments with old Indy were referred to as "bookends." Filming a pair of them typically took a day and most were shot at Carolco Studios in Wilmington, North Carolina and on location in Wilmington. The show also featured footage from other films spliced into several episodes.

The series was shot in three stages. The first production occurred from 1991 to 1992, and consisted of sixteen episodes; five with younger Indy, ten with older Indy, and one with both—for a total of seventeen television hours. The second production occurred from 1992 to 1993 and consisted of twelve episodes; one with younger Indy and eleven with older Indy, for a total of fifteen television hours. The third and final production occurred from 1994 to 1995, and consisted of four made-for-television movies, for a total of eight television hours. In 1996, additional filming was done in order to re-edit the entire series into twenty-two feature films.


The series' main theme was composed by Laurence Rosenthal, who wrote much of the music for the series. Joel McNeely also wrote music for many episodes; he received an Emmy in 1993 for the Episode "Scandals of 1920". French composer Frédéric Talgorn composed some music for the episode set in World War I France ("Somme, Early August 1916", "Verdun, September 1916"). Music for "Transylvania, September 1918" was composed by Curt Sobel.


Map of countries Indiana Jones visits in the series

The series was designed as an educational program for children and teenagers, spotlighted historical figures and important events, and used the concept of a prequel to the films as a draw. Most episodes feature a standard formula of an elderly (93-year-old) Indiana Jones (played by George Hall) in present-day (1993) New York City encountering people who spur him to reminisce and tell stories about his past adventures. These stories would either involve him as a young boy (10, played by Corey Carrier) or as a teenager (16 to 21, played by Sean Patrick Flanery). In one episode, a fifty-year-old Indy (played by Harrison Ford) is seen reminiscing. Initially, the plan was for the series to alternate between the adventures of Indy as a child (Corey Carrier) and as a teenager (Sean Patrick Flanery), but eventually the episodes featuring Flanery's version of the character dominated the series. The series' bookends revealed that the elderly Jones has a daughter, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. There is no mention if he had a son, though he was revealed to have a son in the movie Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Many of the episodes involve Indiana meeting and working with famous historical figures. Historical figures featured on the show include Leo Tolstoy, Howard Carter, Charles de Gaulle, and John Ford, in such diverse locations as Egypt, Austria-Hungary, India, China, and the whole of Europe. For example, Curse of the Jackal prominently involves Indy in the adventures of T. E. Lawrence and Pancho Villa. Indy also encounters (in no particular order) Edgar Degas, Giacomo Puccini, George Patton, Pablo Picasso (same episode as Degas), Eliot Ness, Charles Nungesser, Al Capone, Manfred von Richthofen, Anthony Fokker, Annie Besant, Charles Webster Leadbeater, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, Norman Rockwell (same episode as Degas and Picasso), Louis Armstrong, George Gershwin, Seán O'Casey, Siegfried Sassoon, Patrick Pearse, Winston Churchill, a very young Ho Chi Minh, Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, and Carl Laemmle; at one point, he competes against a young Ernest Hemingway for the affections of a girl, is nursed back to health by Albert Schweitzer, has a passionate tryst with Mata Hari, discusses philosophy with Nikos Kazantzakis, and goes on a safari with Theodore Roosevelt.

The show provided a lot of the back story for the films. His relationship with his father, first introduced in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, was further fleshed out with stories about his travels with his father as a young boy. His original hunt for the Eye of the Peacock, a large diamond seen in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, was a recurring element in several stories. The show also chronicled his activities during World War I and his first solo adventures. The series is also referenced in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, when Indy describes his adventures with Pancho Villa (chronicled in the first episode) to Mutt Williams.


Sean Patrick Flanery as the young adult Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones was played by no less than four actors all playing the character at different stages in his life in the series.

The other major characters were:

Guest appearances

Most episodes of the series depicted famous and not-so-famous historical figures, including T.E. Lawrence, Leo Tolstoy, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Al Capone, Pablo Picasso, Frederick Selous, Princess Sophie of Hohenberg and Mata Hari.

Notable guest stars (playing either fictional or historical characters) include: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Daniel Craig, Christopher Lee, Clark Gregg, Peter Firth, Vanessa Redgrave, Beata Pozniak, Jennifer Ehle, Elizabeth Hurley, Timothy Spall, Anne Heche, Jean-Pierre Castaldi, Jeffrey Wright, Jeroen Krabbé, Jason Flemyng, Michael Kitchen, Kevin McNally, Francisco Quinn, Ian McDiarmid, Max von Sydow, Douglas Henshall, Sean Pertwee, Terry Jones, Keith David, Lukas Haas, Frank Vincent, Jay Underwood, Michael Gough, Maria Charles, Elsa Zylberstein, Isaach de Bankolé, Emil Abossolo-Mbo and Haluk Bilginer.

"The Daredevils of the Desert" episode focuses on the Australian Imperial Force's famous last cavalry charge, at Beersheba in 1917, Palestine- and anyone familiar with the 1987 Australian film The Lighthorsemen, will recognise several scenes as being from this movie.



Season Episodes Originally aired
Season premiere Season finale
1 6 March 4, 1992 (1992-03-04) April 8, 1992 (1992-04-08)
2 18 + 4 unaired September 31, 1992 (1992-09-31) July 24, 1993 (1993-07-24)
TV films 4 October 15, 1994 (1994-10-15) June 16, 1996 (1996-06-16)

The pilot episode was aired by ABC in the United States in March 1992. The pilot, the feature-length Young Indiana Jones and the Curse of the Jackal, was later re-edited as two separate episodes, "Egypt, May 1908" and "Mexico, March 1916." Eleven further hour-long episodes were aired in 1992 (seven in the first season, four were part of the second season) - during the second season, it was placed as the lead-in to Monday Night Football, just as fellow Paramount series MacGyver had done for the previous six years. Only 16 of the remaining 20 episodes were aired in 1993 when ABC canceled the show. The Family Channel later produced four two-hour TV movies that were broadcast from 1994 to 1996. Though Lucas intended to produce episodes leading up to a 24-year-old Jones, the series was cancelled with the character at age 21.[5]

Home video re-edits

The revised and updated edition of the book George Lucas: The Creative Impulse, by Charles Champlin, explains how The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles series would be re-edited into the new structure of twenty-two Chapter TV films, for the 1999 VHS release. New footage was shot in 1996 to be incorporated with the newly re-edited and re-titled "chapters" to better help it chronologically and provide smooth transitions. The newly shot Tangiers, 1908 was joined with Egypt, 1908 from the Curse of the Jackal to form My First Adventure, and Morocco, 1917 was joined with Northern Italy, 1918 (now re-dated as 1917) to form Tales of Innocence. Also included in the home video release were four unaired episodes made for the ABC network, Florence, May 1908, Prague, 1917, Transylvania, 1918, and Palestine, 1917. The series itself was also re-titled as The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones.

The 93-year-old Indy bookends for the original series were removed, as well as Sean Patrick Flanery's bookend for "Travels With Father"; however, the Harrison Ford bookend, set in 1950, from "Mystery of The Blues" was not cut.[6]

VHS and Laserdisc

The series received its first home video release on April 21, 1993, when a Laserdisc box set was released in Japan containing fifteen of the earlier episodes and a short documentary on the making of the series. The discs were formatted in NTSC and presented with English audio in Dolby surround with Japanese subtitles. In 1994, eight NTSC format VHS tapes with a total of fifteen episodes from the first two seasons were released in Japan.

On October 26, 1999, half of the series was released on VHS in the United States for $14.99 each, along with a box set of the feature films. The series was labeled as Chapters 1–22, while the feature films were labeled as Chapters 23–25. In an effort to promote the series, the episode "Treasure of the Peacock's Eye" was included with the purchase of the movie trilogy box set in the US. The episode was chosen for the fact that its plot continues into the opening of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which was labeled as the first film chronologically in the film trilogy.

In other countries different chapters were included, for example in the UK The Phantom Train of Doom was included. The twelve VHS releases were released worldwide over the course of 2000, including the UK, Netherlands, Hungary, Germany, Mexico, France and Japan. The UK, German, French, Hungarian and Netherlands tapes were in PAL format, while the tapes released in the rest of the countries were in NTSC format.


In 2002, series producer Rick McCallum confirmed in an interview with Variety that DVDs of the series were in development, but would not be released for "about three or four years".[7] At the October 2005 press conference for the Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith DVD, McCallum explained that he expected the release to consist of 22 DVDs, which would include around 100 documentaries which would explore the real-life historical aspects that are fictionalized in the show. For the DVDs, Lucasfilm upgraded the picture quality of the original 16 mm prints and remastered the soundtracks. This, along with efforts to get best quality masters and bonus materials on the sets, delayed the release.[8] It was ultimately decided that the release would tie into the release of the fourth Indiana Jones feature film.

Two variations of Volume 1 were released by CBS DVD, one simply as "Volume One", and the other as "Volume One — The Early Years" in order to match the subtitle of Volume 2.

The History Channel acquired television rights to all 94 of the DVD historical documentaries.[9][10] The airing of the documentaries was meant to bring in ratings for the History Channel and serve as marketing for the DVD release and the theatrical release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.[11] The History Channel and History International began airing the series every Saturday morning at 7AM/6C on The History Channel, and every Sunday morning at 8AM ET/PT on History International. A new division of was created devoted to the show. As Paramount and Lucasfilm had already reserved solely for news and updates related to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, temporarily served as the official site for the DVDs—providing regular updates, insider looks and promotions related to them.[12] However, Lucasfilm and Paramount soon set up an official website proper for the series—[13] Paramount released a press kit for the media promoting the DVDs, which consists of a .pdf file[14] and several videos with interviews with Lucas and McCallum, and footage from the DVDs.[15] A trailer for the DVDs was also published on, with a shorter version being shown on The History Channel and History International.

Lucas and McCallum hope that the DVDs will be helpful to schools, as they believe the series is a good way to aid in teaching history. Lucas explained that the series' DVD release will be shopped as "films for a modern day high school history class."[16] He believes the series is a good way to teach high school students 20th Century history.[17] The plan was always to tie the DVD release of the series to the theatrical release of the fourth Indiana Jones feature film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which was released on May 22, 2008.[7][18][19][20]

DVD name Region 1[21] Region 2
The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Volume One — The Early Years October 23, 2007 February 25, 2008[22]
The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Volume Two — The War Years December 18, 2007 March 24, 2008[23]
The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Volume Three — The Years of Change April 29, 2008 April 28, 2008


The series was nominated for 18 Emmy Awards and won 6.[24] In 1993, Corey Carrier was nominated for the Young Artist Award in the category of "Best Young Actor Starring in a Television Series". In 1994, David Tattersall was nominated for the ASC Award in the category of "Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Regular Series". At the 1994 Golden Globes, the series was nominated for "Best TV-Series — Drama".[25]

Though the series won many awards, it also received criticism. The New York Times called the pilot "clunky".[26]


Four volumes of music from the series were released on CD. The show also spawned a series of adaptations and spin-off novels, a NES game The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles developed and published by Jaleco, a Sega Mega Drive game Instruments of Chaos starring Young Indiana Jones, trading cards and other products.

Notes and references

  1. Shawn Adler (2007-10-05). "George Lucas Promises 'Crystal Skull' Will Be As Good As First Indiana Jones Flick". MTV News. Retrieved 2007-10-06.
  2. Young Indy That Could Have Been - List of episodes never produced
  3. Scott Huver (2005-04-28). "One-On-One with George Lucas". Archived from the original on 2005-09-07. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
  4. Munn, p. 233.
  5. Weinraub, Bernard (January 27, 1992). "George Lucas on Issues, Ideas and Indiana Jones". The New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
  6. IGN: The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones - Volume 3 Review
  7. 1 2 Hettrick, Scott (October 24, 2002). "Bigger Picture: Producer to Rattle the Sabers". Videobusiness. Retrieved 2006-06-24.
  8. "Star Wars DVD Press Event". 2005-10-07. Archived from the original (mp3) on 2009-02-26.
  9. Nordyke, Kimberly (April 30, 2007). "Web series, Lucas docus are History". Retrieved 2015-02-07.
  10. Developing Digital Originals With Groundbreaking Military Blog and Short-Form Broadband Series
  11. Crupi, Anthony (May 1, 2007). "History Channel site reborn with 94 Lucas docs". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-04-30.
  12. Star Wars: Community | Other Lucas Films Archive
  13. The Adventures Of Young Indiana Jones, Paramount Home Entertainment
  14. Indiana Jones
  15. The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, Vol. 1 12 Discs Video Clips - MovieWeb
  16. TheForce.Net - Latest News - An Evening With George Lucas
  17. Lowry, Brian (March 4, 2007). "Lucas opens up at Paley Festival". Variety.
  18. The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles DVD news: New Update On TV-DVDs Ties Release Firmly To Indy 4 Film |
  19. The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles DVD news: Update on the release timeline |
  20. "Wiest takes part in documentary on Lucas series". Hattiesburg American. June 10, 2005. Retrieved 2006-07-09.
  21. Star Wars: Community | Young Indiana Jones Comes to DVD
  22. The Adventures Of Young Indiana Jones Vol.1 [1992]: DVD: Vanessa Redgrave,Anne Heche,Elizabeth Hurley,Corey Carrier,George Hall,Lukas Haas,Catherine Zeta-Jones,Sean Patrick Flanery
  23. The Adventures Of Young Indiana Jones Vol.2: DVD: Corey Carrier,Vanessa Redgrave,Anne Heche,George Hall,Catherine Zeta-Jones,Elizabeth Hurley,Lukas Haas,Sean Patrick Flanery
  24. Primetime Emmy Award Database |
  25. "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" (1992) - Awards
  26. O'Connor, John J. (March 4, 1992). "Review/Television; Meeting Indiana Jones as a Boy and a Teen-Ager". The New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
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