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Raiders Of The Lost Ark Turns 30

Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Tim Whitby/Getty Images

On this date in 1981, one of the biggest blockbusters (and sequel makers) of all time was released.  I get simply giddy when I think about Raiders of the Lost Ark, however, I didn’t see it in theaters.  Nope, I was too scared; to be fair I was only 5 at the time.  Instead, while my parents went to see it at the old Malco (it became Goldies, then recently, a bigger venue for Theater Workshop of Owensboro) I spent the night with my Mamaw and Papaw in Centertown.  I was scared of that whole guy getting impaled part of the first adventure for the idol.  I wouldn’t see it until we got our first VCR a year or two later (well, it was the second movie I watched on the VCR, the first? Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, why? I don’t know and it’s Gone With The Wind long).  I guess I finally figured out Han Solo was Indiana Jones aka Harrison Ford; I don’t fear the Star Wars franchise and I immediately wanted to be like the archeologist/explorer. 

I tried to find items around the house that would do for the bullwhip, gun, satchel, jacket, and the famous fedora.  What I found were: a jump rope, a toy gun, an old leather purse of Mom’s, my pseudo Members Only jacket, and an old hat I swiped from my Granddaddy.  The whip was the coolest thing; had a movie audience ever seen a hero utilize that type of weapon unless he was a lion tamer?  Probably not.  If this hero did, he looked silly.  We would find out later in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade why Jones used a whip.  And the sequels were some of best ever; today’s filmmakers should really take a lesson from George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. 
Raiders of the Lost Ark would go one to rake in nearly $400 million at the box office and it was nominated for 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.  It won for Sound, Film Editing, Visual Effects, and Art Direction. 
I obviously own the original trilogy minus Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, I don’t know what happened there, but it just wasn’t as good and way too much time had passed to make a good sequel. 
I wonder what happened to my jump rope.

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