It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage: 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' turns 30
Thirty years ago, Harrison Ford took one large step away from being typecast as Star Wars' Han Solo for the rest of his career by starring in Raiders of the Lost Ark, which first hit theaters June 12, 1981. (So now, you can basically typecast him as Indy OR Han.)
It was a wise move. One that Tom Selleck, who was originally offered the role of Indiana Jones, couldn't say yes to. (He wanted to but he couldn't get out of his Magnum P.I. contract.) Still, things worked out for Tom, didn't they? Still, you gotta wonder...
"We ended up doing a screen test with Tom Selleck and Sean Young and it was really, really good," writer George Lucas told Fox News this week. "They’re both terrific actors and it turned out really well." (Well, for Selleck and Ford anyway.)
If you're in Tampa Bay, put on your fedora (but leave the bullwhip at home) and head to Clearwater's Capitol Theatre on June 17 for a special screening of the movie. For the rest of you, just break out the DVD (and pray to the Mayan god of forgiveness that the next installment of the film series doesn't suck as much as Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.)
Here are some other Raider trivia treasures to collect:
LET IT GO, MAGNUM: Selleck reportedly pines away for the lost opportunity to play Dr. Jones to this day. An episode of Magnum P.I. was even titled "Raiders of the Lost Art." It parodied the movie from the hats to the whips to the adventure-laden storyline.
OTHER WANNABEES: Selleck wasn't the only one to have a close encounter with Indiana Jones. Other actors considered for the role include Nick Nolte, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Jeff Bridges, Chevy Chase, Tim Matheson and Jack Nicholson.
SNAKES ... WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE SNAKES: Remember the slithering sounds of the deadly asps? That's actually an effect created by sound designer Ben Burtt sticking his fingers into a cheese casserole. Yum.
INDY'S WHIP: Kenny Loggins and Steve Perry "borrowed" the actual prop from the studio to create the bullwhip cracking sound effect in their 1982 song Don't Fight It. The song appears on Loggins' High Adventure album, which featured a Raiders of the Lost Ark themed cover.
ON A ROLL: Much of the movie was filmed in Tunisia, which proved too stressful and hot for Steven Spielberg. To make do, Spielberg compressed the six-week shoot into just 4 1/2 weeks and distracted himself between scenes by writing a script to another movie. It would eventually be called E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial.