Indiana Jones Inspires Fans

Indiana Jones fans take their admiration to the max.

ByMiguel Marquez and Michael Milberger via via logo

May 18, 2008 — -- When Indiana Jones burst onto the silver screen in 1981's "Raiders of the Lost Ark," the adventurer had an instant impact on pop culture. But the character's influence went beyond popularizing his fashionable fedora.

It also sparked interest in archaeology among fans.

"Archaeologists, in general, are very excited whenever a new Indiana Jones film comes along, because usually it provokes a dramatic increase in the enrollment in our courses," said Archaeological Institute of America president Brian Rose.

The franchise has had mass appeal, in part, because fans said the places Indy goes, the objects he hunts and the villains he fights could be real. Indiana Jones' fans are more devoted than almost any other movie franchise's.

In fact, after seeing the first film, young fans Chris Strompolos and Eric Zala made a shot-for-shot recreation of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," beginning in 1982. It took the pair seven years to complete their film, "Raiders: The Adaptation," which they began at age 12 and finished at age 19.

Strompolos and Zala used their middle school classmates to star in the the film, which included a recreation of every scene and piece of dialogue from the original film.

Now, "Raiders: The Adaptation" has been shown across the country, where it has sold out its venues. This week, their Hollywood dreams came true when their feature, whose proceeds go to charity, finally got a Los Angeles premiere at the famed Manns Chinese Theater.

"If someone had told us we'd be standing there, we would have told them they were insane," Zala said.

"Screening our movie at Mann's Chinese — it's too hard to even comprehend," Strompolos added.

Harrison Ford's iconic film depiction has inspired more than film replications.

One Indy fan took his devotion so far that he actually wanted to name his son after the character.

"I actually suggested Indiana at first," said Indiana Jones fan Brandon McClintock.

"I said we'll compromise with Harrison," said Brandon's wife Christine.

Now, the couple has their own little adventurer in Harrison. Over the years, Brandon has amassed a large collection of Indy relics, and his bedroom is filled with movie-related items. His dresser and walls are covered with action figures, DVDs and posters.

"I didn't know until our wedding day [Brandon was such a big fan], and I found an Indiana Jones figure in the pocket of his shirt after the ceremony. That's when I clued in," Christine said.

Like so many other Indiana Jones fans, Brandon plans on seeing the latest installment, "Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," when it opens Memorial Day weekend. Some believe the movie may be the first breakout blockbuster of the summer season.

Whatever the case, one thing is for sure. Thousands of Indiana Jones fans are literally counting down the days to catch a glimpse of their favorite star.

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