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2021 marks the 40th anniversary of Indiana Jones’ cinematic debut in 1981. Join us as we celebrate one of the great Hollywood adventure heroes of all time with this lively program, a globe-trotting quest in which a real archaeologist tracks down the intriguing real history behind the movie clssic Raiders of the Lost Ark. New York Times #1 best-selling writer Dr. David West Reynolds pursued Indy’s trail around the world with sketchbook in hand, tracking down not only original Raiders filming sites in places like Tunisia and Hawaii but also locations where the “real” Indiana Jones of 1936 was supposed to have been, in Peru and Egypt.
To his surprise Reynolds found that there is more historical authenticity packed into Indy’s first cinematic outing than any action-adventure moviegoer would ever suspect. Extremely unusual circumstances filled the production not with typical Hollywood fantasy, but well-researched material based again and again on real historical prototypes. Reynolds’ in-depth, first-hand look at the world of Indiana Jones makes Raiders of the Lost Ark a gateway to a colorful and unexpected range of historical subjects, taking us from the real Nazi flying wing to the original Ark of the Covenant prop in the Lucasfilm Archives. You’ll never look at Indiana Jones the same way again.
David West Reynolds
While completing his Ph.D at the University of Michigan, David West Reynolds used his archaeological skills to track down and relocate the lost original filming locations of the first Star Wars film in Tunisia. His discoveries of movie props abandoned for decades in the Sahara got Reynolds hired by Lucasfilm to write a series of globally best-selling books that took an archaeological approach to fleshing out the backstory of director George Lucas’ fictional Star Wars universe. Reynolds went on to write acclaimed NASA histories and was a contributor to the Hammond Atlas of World Religion. He is the founder of Phaeton Group, a multidiscplinary organization that creates highly engaging science media for clients including National Geographic, the BBC, the Discovery Channel, and the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
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