Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones Jr., born on July 1, 1899, led a colorful life full of action, adventure, romance, intrepid archaeological reconnaissance, and perhaps most importantly, avoiding nuclear explosions in refrigerators. The irascible Jones fought in both world wars, battled Nazis, aliens, snakes, rats, and cults, and playfully bickered with every member of his family and friend circle.
It's time to break down all the highlights of this one-of-a-kind adventurer's explorations across his films and TV series, taking him from childhood to old age.
1912: Indiana Jones Battles 'Panama Hat' For The Cross Of Coronado, Develops A Fear Of SnakesPhoto: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade / Paramount Pictures
13-year-old Henry "Indiana" Jones Jr. (River Phoenix) embarked on an early adventure in 1912 when he accidentally stumbled across grave-robbing hooligans while on a Boy Scout cave field trip in Utah. He intercepted their target - a golden crucifix that had been owned by Francisco Vázquez de Coronado - and tried to evade them across a daring chase. A local sheriff ultimately compelled Indy to give the cross back to the thieves, and he was forced to watch helplessly as those thieves in turn handed it off to their employer, a slick man wearing a Panama hat.
Twenty-six years later, Jones finally tracked down and retrieved the cross from "Panama Hat" and his cronies while aboard their ship, near Portugual. He ultimately fulfilled the stated goal of his 13-year-old self, and donated the cross to a museum owned by his friend Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott).
- Photo: The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles / ABC
In 1916, the nine-month Battle of Verdun was waged between France and Germany as France fought to regain the outpost Fort Douaumont, which had been overtaken by the Germans. Guess who was there on the front lines as a runner for the Belgian army, under a fake alias? That's right, "Corporal Henri Defense," AKA 17-year-old Indiana Jones (Sean Patrick Flannery).
Jones worked as a motorcycle courier, transporting messages between Verdun front-liners, commanded by General Henri Philippe Pétain (who had been promoted into the leadership role by General Joseph Joffre), and the 2nd Army Headquarters in Souilly, led by generals Robert Nivelle and Charles Mangin.
When plans were quickly made to un-cancel a doomed attack in the face of two lethal German "Big Bertha" howitzer artillery units in the name of PR, it was up to a certain intrepid motorcycle courier to "lose" the new order reauthorizing the strike. "Corporal Defense" dramatically exploded his written orders in his motorcycle and abandoned his post and alias in the French countryside, saving his side from certain doom.
1920: Indy Learns About Jazz From Pioneering Soloist Sidney BechetPhoto: The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles / ABC
While a student at the University of Chicago, young Indiana Jones (Sean Patrick Flannery) was moonlighting as a waiter to put himself through school. His roommate, Eliot Ness (Frederick Weller), would go on to be a key figure in the fight to enforce Prohibition in Chicago. Jones worked at Colosimo's Restaurant, where he befriended legendary jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, and composer Sidney Bechet (Jeffrey Wright).
Eventually, Bechet discovered that Indy played soprano saxophone as a soldier in the US Army. Bechet gifted Indy with a sax, and they eventually played together. Meanwhile, Indy, Ness and cub reporter Ernest Hemingway (Jay Underwood) uncovered the mystery behind the owner of Colosimo's.
- Photo: Raiders of the Lost Ark / Paramount Pictures
Young Indiana Jones was schooled in the ways of archaeology by brilliant University of Chicago professor Abner Ravenwood. Their collegial friendship was spoiled after a young Indy, guided by his libido more than his head, had an affair with a younger Marion Ravenwood, around 1926, when Jones was 26-27 and Marion was around 18.
Abner was obsessed with determining the existence of the Ark of the Covenant. Their relationship ended acrimoniously, and both remained bitter until reuniting a decade later, when Indy was hot on the trail of the lost Ark at last.