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To celebrate the anniversary of Raiders of the Lost Ark, we're sharing postings from a thread on our forum in which members share their experiences of first seeing our favorite legendary hero.


...The very first time you saw Indy? As I write this, I'm watching Raiders of the Lost Ark for the 1,236th time (An aproximation, since I'm sure I have watched it more times than that!) And I was remembering exactly how it was... The very first time I saw my favorite hero of all time. I must have been no older than 7 or 8, And By the time I was born all the movies from the original trilogy were already on video. We had a BetaMax at that time, and I remember it was my favorite toy. My Dad took me to the video rental store (It was called VideoCentro, way before Blockbuster came to where we lived) and he showed me that movie. I remember he didn't tell me anything about it, just that I was going to love it. And I did, Oh, I DID! Now, that time has passed and I'm no longer 7 years old, I realize that my love for this saga and the character hasn't vanished one bit, and maybe it's starting to grow even more.

The first time that I watched Indy was around June of 1989. I thought we were buying tickets to see Batman, which had just been released, because I couldn't care less about some guy running around in a weird hat. After all, some guy running around in a bat mask seemed much more interesting at the time. Sadly, I was overruled...

Needless to say, my feelings have changed in the last twenty-two years. I still enjoy Batman, but Last Crusade will always rank above 89 Batman for me now.

I would have been 10 years old in 1982 (so I guess I was 9 when Raiders was released). The first time I "saw" Indy was in a comic book adaptation of Raiders that I had borrowed from a friend (kinda sorry I ever gave it back now). The story gripped me so hard that I had to read it over and over and over. For some reason, the scene of Indy hanging on to the submarine sticks in my head. I suppose the boulder scene just didn't play as well in print as on the screen.
I can't honestly remember the first time I watched Raiders, it was probably on HBO back in the early days of cable, long after the theatrical release, but I remember that I was completely jazzed to finally see it in action.

I was just a kid - and I looooooved it!!!

In 1981, I was 7 years old. My neighbour, who was a frequent moviegoer, used to come over on the weekends for tea with my Mom. She told my Mom that she saw this movie called Raiders of the Lost Ark and that I needed to go to my room - so, of course I hid around the corner and listened in. What I could make out was a story of an archaeologist who had a bullwhip and there were mummies, snakes, a plane and a guy getting chopped up by its' propeller...and I knew I had to see this movie. So I looked in the paper at the movie section and saw an add for the film, which I've never seen since. It had the logo and a picture of Jock's plane. But I still didn't know what Indiana Jones looked like, much less who he was.

A bit of backstory here is that my parents took us to see pretty much everything that any kid could possibly want, meaning I saw Star Wars and Empire multiple times during their initial run. Raiders was right in our wheelhouse.

On the way to my grandparent house was this little convenience store that had amazing ice cream flavours (like Tiger Tail) that you couldn't get anywhere else. About a day or two after the neighbour opening my mind to seeing Raiders, my Dad stopped at this store and gave my sister and I a few bucks to go in for ice cream while he gassed up the car. There, sitting on the counter was this majestic green box with a picture of a beat up guy in a fedora with a week's worth of stubble, full of wax packed bubblegum cards...and I recognized the Raiders logo, so immediately all of my ice cream money went to buying these cards, I think, maybe three or four packs.

I opened them feverishly in the car and saw things like "The Agony of Toht" and "Where there's smoke, there's Indy." I must've looked at those cards over and over without sleep...

So after about a week or so of me visualizing this movie in my head, based on what I'd heard and those bubblegum cards, my Dad took me to see the movie and it totally changed my life. I was blown away.

So, yeah, the first time I saw Indiana Jones was on a bubblegum card box and it had a huge impact on me.

In the beginning of '81 at the ripe old age of 10, I was in full-blown Star Wars fandom. By then, we were exposed to toys from Star Wars and Empire and I was a proud member of the Star Wars Fan Club. Well one morning, I get an envelope with a club logo on it. Upon opening it, I see an ad slick for something called "Raiders of the Lost Ark." It had what looked like a picture of Han Solo wearing a hat…why would Han be wearing a hat? So I read on. It had photos of explosions, fights and text that spoke of the guy who made Jaws but more importantly (to my Star Wars addled mind—and because I hadn't seen Jaws at that point) George Lucas. As I read on, I noticed in a photo of a sunset that it was opening on my 11th birthday!

So from there the parental begging began and I was taken to see Raiders with some friends for my party. From the moment the silhouette of the man in the hat stalked through jungle shadows, eventually coming out to whip the gun out of the bad guy, I was transfixed. No more thinking of Han Solo. Indy was a new hero who was afraid of snakes like I was (thanks to a traumatizing encounter with Rattlers) and a new hero for me to play through the back yards and decks of my neighborhood and through the woods of our cabin. Finding "treasured" rocks and escaping natives through the woods of Pennsylvania and Maryland.

On a chance finding in a knickknack store, I came across a "dime store" whip. I didn't know you could just by these things! And as I wanted to be Indy for Halloween that year, I begged my parents for it, promising to do all my chores and being good. One day coming home from school, they had a joke with me, telling me I didn't make my bed. Knowing full well I did, for any chance of not would mean I wouldn't obtain a whip, they sent me up to my room to check. Low and behold there it lay on my bed (that was indeed made) and I guess you could say my gear collecting began at age 11. I got a brown fedora from an uncle, stuffed with newspaper for fit, wore a white shirt and tan Toughskin jeans and a converted canvas backpack for a shoulder bag and I was Indy for Halloween and on. Dressed for success through many imaginary adventures.

The topper of 1981 would be getting Sears' Big Book and finding out that, unlike the first year of Star Wars, there would be Indy toys out for Christmas! It was a grand morning when, mixed among Star Wars toys were bright yellow packaging of Indy figures, games, and a 12" action figure.

Life was good.

Ooh, where to begin? You would have thought as I was born in 1973 I would have been there right from the beginning, but I guess that my parents thought that an eight year old girl might find Raiders just a bit too intense.

I'm pretty sure that my first memory of Indiana Jones was on a black an white tv where I saw a clip of Indy running from the boulder and then crashing through the giant cobwebs. I'm pretty sure that I gasped at the cobwebs as I have a dislike for spiders, even from an early age.

My next exposure would have been on Saturday 22nd December 1984, at the tender age of 11. I know the exact date, thanks to a copy of a British kids magazine called Look In. I remember, me, my sister and her friend all having a blast and thinking, well, that, Harrison was, ahem, I think that 'nice' was the term that was used.

I believe that I saw Temple of Doom, a couple of years after that, which I did, of course, enjoy, but nothing could prepare me for seeing Last Crusade in the theatre. It changed my life an made me an overnight Indy fan.

Where I lived at the time, the only local cinema was a one screen, and so by the time I saw Last Crusade it was early August (the movie did not come out in the UK until June 30th!!!|)

In the summer of 1981, my older brother was in England for the Charles and Diana wedding, and while there, in May got to see a rough cut screening of Raiders. He called me right away and told me about the film from start to finish, so in my mind, I had already seen the whole movie before it was even released.

I was only 9 at the time, so dragged a few of my friends to opening night. I knew that the propellor scene was coming up, thanks to my brother, and it was the only scene that I covered my eyes for. My father bought me a 'Fonzie' faux-leather jacket that summer, and I lived in it. I wanted a fedora more than anything, but the best that we could find was a brown fur-felt cowboy hat

So Halloween that year, I had on brown chorderoy pants, a white dress shirt, the jacket, a binoculars case with plastic strap for the bag, a strip of speaker wire tied to a stick as a whip, and my cowboy hat. So naturally, EVERY house said I was a cute cowboy!

I saw Raiders every single weekend, and it played for 2.5 years straight, a record only broken by The Gods Must Be Crazy, which ran for 2 years, 8 months here. I would go with any friend who would go with me, and when they all got sick of it, I would go by myself. My friend, Shawn, eventually found a fedora and bought it, so when I would go to his place, we would sit in his basement and listen to 45's (the records, not the guns, kids!) and I would wear the hat. Then had to take it off to go home. When Shawn moved away in '86, he gave me the fedor as a going-away gift. I still have it. I also still have the leather jacket that served as my Indy jacket from the age of 11, until high school. It is a collarless biker-style jacket, that eventually got replaced with a bomber-style in HS, but I hope that one day my daughter will wear it with pride. It still has the blood stain from where I elbowed Jerry Pearson in the nose during a fight on the school playground.

Shawn's dad had a top-loader VHS, and Summer of '83, when his family went to the cottage, my sister and I would go over to their house and take turns. I would watch Raiders, she would watch Annie. Every day for the entire summer. It was a 'bootleg' recorded at a drivethru, so no dowloaded screeners for us. But at the time, it was what we had, and it was good enough.

How did I feel? Surprised.

I had absolutely no interest in seeing the film. I liked the aspect of it being in the 30's, and wanted to eventually go see it before it left the theaters, but it was one of those 'if I see it or not, what ever'.

It was my sister and my best friend who showed up at my house after seeing it themselves, demanding that I go, stating they would buy my ticket and popcorn if I'd go. It was a film that was made for ME!

I was puzzled at their insistance, but heck, for a free movie ticket (home VCR's were a novelty at the time) and popcorn, heck, why not?

Well, needless to say, I was totally pulled in.....and it must have been a monumental moment for me. It so dovetailed with all my other active interests.... I'm still involved in the hobby after 30 years.

Heck, I had two hours to kill and the timing worked out. I was 16 and in-between job at a construction site. I went in not having a clue. After the first fifteen minutes I was hooked. I said to myself this is the best dang movie ever and it just started. It was great. I lost the edges of the screen for what almost two hours. Not many movies can do that for me.

I remember in 1981 that there was a double feature playing of "Outland" and a sneak preview of "Raiders of the Lost Ark", which would not be released until another week or so. My friend's dad had broken his leg and was in a cast and crutches. He was bored and asked us if we wanted to go to the movies and see "Outland"? We were psyched because we were in 8th grade and it was "R" rated AND Sci-Fi! When we got there we saw that it was a double feature and "Raiders" played after. We really weren't interested in a movie about an Archeologist, "Oh boy!" The only thing appealing was that it was made by the guys who made "Star Wars" and "Jaws" and had the guy who played Han Solo.

Anyway, finished "Outland and had a blast! What fun. We got up and it was around 9 or 10pm but it was a weekend. My friend's dad asked if we wanted to stay and check out the other movie since we were already pumped and wide awake. We said, "Sure, why not".

I think for the next two hours we forgot all about "Outland" and sat there with our mouths open through the entire movie with many moments of my friend and I looking at each other going "WHOA!"

We walked out stunned after such a great adventure. At that point I felt it was probably the greatest adventure movie ever made.

The really crummy part about it? You could not explain the movie to anyone and have them understand why they should be interested... They just smiled and nodded their heads. ARGH! Also, it was another week or two before it actually opened! Talk about torture.

I remember seeing it for the first time when I was in my early teens. A school teacher of mine made some offhanded comment that something I'd done (grabbing my backpack from inside the room right before the door shut on my hand and locked for the day) was "just like Indiana Jones."

Indiana who? What?

So he goes: "Wait, you've never seen Indiana Jones?"

I stated that I had not. He told me he'd bring the VHS tapes he had, and let me borrow them. I said I didn't have a VCR at the time (I didn't, even though this was the mid 90s), so he said that with my dad's permission, he would stay after school and let me watch them on the room's TV that was primarily used for any audio/visual aids that whatever lesson for the day may have needed, because it had a VCR on it. One each Friday, as long as I wasn't a disruption to the class or some such. So I came back that Friday (my dad said it was ok), and watched Raiders of the Lost Ark. I remember saying: "Oh, wow. That was really cool!" So I came back two other Fridays and watched Temple of Doom and Last Crusade. While watching Temple of Doom, he pointed out to me that Indy grabbing his hat out from the closing trap door is what my "backpack incident" reminded him of. We had a laugh and he went to the vending machine and got us a couple sodas (back when a school campus could still have a soda vending machine onsite). This was before the days that a teacher taking more than a passing interest in a student was considered suspicious; it was a more innocent time, I guess, if only slightly.

It was Friday night and a bunch of Young Life people were going. I had a major crush on a girl. I bought her the popcorn and she broke my heart. But I was hooked on the jacket before the spider scene. We saw it at the Tacoma Mall Twin Cinema's. I was 17, she was 16. We went to Shakey's Pizza afterwards.

Arca Perdida
Saw it in Rio with some friends in '81. With Portuguese subtitles, of course.
We were so thrilled by the end of it that we ended up staying and watching it again. No multiplexes back then, just the one nice, big screen, so at the end of a showing, the lights came on, a sweeper would come in to clean the floors and a few minutes later it was on to the next showing. I think we ended up seeing it 3 times that afternoon and nothing was ever the same since.

I went to see Raiders on it's first release in the UK. I'd seen trailers and thought, 'yeah, might be fun' then forgot about it. On a day trip to London I didn't want to head home after the museums closed but I had nowt to do. Raiders happened to still be on at one of the huge state-of-the-art cimenas in London Leicester square - where UK premieres are often held - so I thought why not?

I was 19 years old.

I was spellbound. It's one of very few films I have noticed myself re-living in my memory for weeks after. It didn't make me want to be an archæologist but it certainly deepened my facination with the occult and religious history.
Needless to say I made sure I caught all the sequels and for years afterward I would put anything on hold if I knew Indy was going to be shown on TV.

It did effect my dress sense, but subtly. I didn't even know for the longest time where I'd got the idea that broad brimmed hats suited me and were 'good against all weathers'.

The true depth of the film's influence only became clear to me when I saw a trailer for Crystal Skull and thought, "I HAVE to see that!". I did, got the Indy bug all over again and discovered COW.

Honestly, is there anyone, Indy fan or no, who could imagine a world without Indiana Jones now?

I was a kid that time. I was so in awe over the first scenes; the way they revealed Indy, the disarming and swinging using a whip, idol grab and boulder escape. I really loved those parts that they were the only scenes that stuck with me.

I had a brown jacket and used some sort of cable as a whip... no hat, though.

Around the time of LC, a local channel aired Raiders during the weekend. I recorded the whole movie on our betamax; stopping the recording during commercials then resuming as soon as the movie started again. Hehehe. I remember one of the main sponsors for the airing was Ovaltine. There was a local ad that played where there was a kid dressed like Indy. All I could think was, "I want that costume!"

Indiana County Jr.
Gosh... this really takes me back

I remember I was soooo young when I went (hatched in 71). I was still reeling from Star Wars and had the attention span of a fly. My father pushed me to go see it and I agreed but did not know that much about it at the time, only a few commercials that i saw and they were limited. We arrived at the theater and as soon as the first few moments of the temple scene started, I was stunned, even for a little kid, all I could do was just sit there in amazement. My father commented later that I was quiet and sat still for the whole film (apparently that was not the norm for me at the time...) The chase scene, the whip, everything ticked every box that a young boy's imagination could ever want. Matter of fact, my obsession with it led to my father buying me my first 4 plait Mexican swivel whip just to keep me quiet (here, now go play outside...). He thought I would outgrow all of it one day... BOY, was he wrong!!!

I can't remember exactly the first time I saw Raiders, but I do remember what inspired it.

There is a museum near me called the Center of Science and Industry, it's a children's museum. They host scout overnights there where you get to check out the museum after hours and there are special events and you get to sleep over. My girl scout troop went one year and I remember having a lot of fun in their Oceans and Space exhibits. Toward the end of the day my sister found me and said that her troop had spent an hour or two in this awesome exhibit I needed to check out. It was called Adventure, and you were checking out a mysterious excavation site where you got to "wake up" the gods that were found there with codes and unlock an even more mysterious observatory. There was also some secret levels if you broke the codes. Needless to say, I spent the rest of that night and the next day in that exhibit and my parents told me there was a movie I needed to see. (I think they hadn't seen Raiders in awhile and mixed it up with something else, because what I remember them describing intrigued me but was not at all related to Raiders.)

So we went home, rented it, and I was instantly hooked. I do remember being SO EXCITED after it was over and I found out there were two sequels, though.