Most fans don’t know Harrison Ford appeared in Young Indiana Jones in the 1990s. Here’s the story of Ford’s comeback as Dr. Jones on the series.
Harrison Ford appeared in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles but most fans don’t know about his 1993 portrayal of the fedora-wearing archaeologist. Ford starred as Indiana Jones in the blockbuster trilogy directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by George Lucas from 1981-1989. It would take 19 years for him to return to the big screen for 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Ford will play Dr. Jones one more time in Indiana Jones 5 directed by James Mangold, which is targeting a 2022 release date.
After Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade closed out the original trilogy, Lucas was motivated to create a TV series about Indy’s youthful adventures. Last Crusade‘s prologue featured River Phoenix playing the young Indy during a flashback to an early adventure which showed how he received his signature fedora and gained his fear of snakes. The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (AKA Young Indy) premiered in March 1992, and ran for 28 episodes on ABC. The series featured a slew of guest stars while Corey Carrier played Indy at ages 9 and 10, Sean Patrick Flanery played him from 16-21, while George Hall portrayed Indy in his 90s during bookends set in 1992. However, Harrison Ford also made one return appearance as Indy during season 2.
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Harrison Ford’s Indy comeback was in the two-hour episode “Young Indiana Jones and the Mystery of the Blues”, which aired on March 13, 1993. Ford plays a middle-aged Indiana during the episodes bookends set in 1950 Wyoming, while the main story is about young Indy in 1920 Chicago where the future archaeologist gets involved in a murder investigation alongside his roommates Elliot Ness and Ernest Hemingway. The older Indy tells this story to his Native American friend, Greycloud (Saginaw Grant), while they’re on the run from gangsters and take refuge in an old shack that belongs to Dr. Jones. Indy discovers an old relic, his saxophone, which prompts Jones to tell Greycloud about his time in Chicago. The episode ends with gangsters tracking Indy and Greycloud to steal a sacred pipe, but Dr. Jones outsmarts the bad guys and gets the last laugh.
A striking change in Harrison Ford’s appearance in Young Indy is that Dr. Jones is sporting a beard. This is because the actor was concurrently filming The Fugitive, in which he starred playing the eponymous role of Dr. Richard Kimble opposite Tommy Lee Jones. Ford shot his Young Indy scenes in Jackson Hole, Wyoming in December 1992, in between filming the early scenes of The Fugitive. Since Dr. Kimble had a beard, Ford kept it for Young Indy, which was appropriate since he was playing Indiana Jones at 50 years old and they were in the snowy wilds of Wyoming.
Ford’s cameo in Young Indy was the only time he played his iconic role in the 1990s as he, along with audiences, waited for George Lucas and Steven Spielberg to come up with an idea for a fourth Indiana Jones movie, which finally arrived in 2008. Since Young Indy is canonical, Ford’s appearance in 1950 can even be considered an unofficial sequel to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and his adventure in Wyoming happens sevens years before Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Ford’s appearance in Young Indy also revealed Dr. Jones is a jazz lover who plays the saxophone, a musical talent he never got to show in any of the Indiana Jones movies.
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