Indiana Jones, 1957
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Indiana Jones’ 1957: The world beyond crystal skulls

Indiana Jones, 1957
Indiana Jones’ 1957: The world beyond crystal skulls

By Susan King, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

What was going on in 1957 — the year “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” is set?

It was the height of the Cold War, with those evil Commies in the Soviet Union.The Ant Farm and the Frisbee were introduced. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz rung down the curtain on their beloved sitcom, “I Love Lucy,” in the spring, even though it was still No. 1. Rocker Little Richard also abruptly ended his musical career — until 1964 — and enrolled in Bible college.

In “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” Indiana (Harrison Ford) finds himself pitted against Soviet agents. He also gets a new sidekick, Mutt (Shia LeBeouf), a greaser with a cause, and reunites with the love of his life, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen).

So when Indiana wasn’t saving the world or teaching in college, perhaps these were the movies and TV shows he would have watched and songs he listened to during his free moments in 1957. (David James / Lucasfilm)
An Affair to Remember
“An Affair to Remember”

Since Indy and Marion get all cozy in “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” the newly reunited lovebirds definitely would have checked out this ultra-romantic classic starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, probably walking out of the theater arm-in-arm humming the Oscar-nominated theme song sung by Vic Damone. Of course, “Affair” is the perfect movie for the duo because the Leo McCarey-directed tearjerker revolves around two lovers who lose each other only to reunite before the final credits. (Handout)
The Bridge on the River Kwai
“The Bridge on the River Kwai”

Indy was probably first in line to watch David Lean’s multi-Oscar-winning World War II epic based on the novel by French writer Pierre Boulle. Since Indy loves danger and was a major player for the U.S. in the second global conflict, this riveting tale set in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp was right up his alley. Sessue Hayakawa plays the commander of the camp who orders all of his prisoners, regardless of rank, to build a bridge over the river Kwai as part of Japan’s construction of the Burmese Railroad. The film also stars Alec Guinness, pictured, in his Oscar-winning turn as the ramrod Col. Nicholson who ends up becoming obsessed with building the bridge and William Holden in a very Indy-type role as an American Navy enlisted man who escapes from the camp only to go return with the British Special Forces to destroy the bridge. (File Photo)
Jailhouse Rock
“Jailhouse Rock”

Since Mutt is a Brando wannabe, the young man doubtless would have dragged Indy to Elvis Presley’s third — and best — feature. Elvis swivels his hips and flares his nostrils as Vince Everett, an ex-con with a chip on his shoulder who becomes the hottest thing in the recording industry. The black-and-white musical features Elvis’ greatest number — he performs the title tune while dancing with other inmates in a surreal jail block. (File Photo)
Witness for the Prosecution”
“Witness for the Prosecution”

Indy spent a lot of time in England, so a juicy mystery set in London would have been of interest to him. And mysteries don’t get much better than Billy Wilder’s crackling, Oscar-nominated adaptation of the Agatha Christie courtroom thriller. Charles Laughton earned his final lead actor nomination as an aging, ailing barrister who takes on the case of Leonard Vole (Tyrone Power), a married man accused of murdering the rich, older woman enamored of him. Marlene Dietrich plays Vole’s wife, who has an alibi. Laughton’s real-life wife, Elsa Lanchester, also picked up an Oscar nomination as the attorney’s nagging nurse. (Unknown)
“The Adventures of Robin Hood”
“The Adventures of Robin Hood”

This clever, dashing, British-made series, which aired in the U.S. on CBS, would appeal to Indy’s inner child. The dimple-chinned Richard Greene certainly looked good in tights and was mighty with his bow and arrow as the Sherwood Forest resident who robbed from the rich to give to the poor. Among the series’ directors was Lindsay Anderson, who went on to make such films as “This Sporting Life” and “If.” The show also hired several blacklisted writers who wrote under assumed names, including Ring Lardner Jr. and Waldo Salt. (Critic’s Choice / Hepcat)

Indiana’s travels took him all over the world — he even rode with Pancho Villa in Mexico when he was young — so this long-running CBS western almost certainly would have been appointment TV for him. Premiering in 1955 — its last broadcast was Sept. 1, 1975 — the sagebrush saga was the No. 1 show on TV in the fall of 1957. Set in Dodge City, Kan., circa 1873, the “adult” western starred 6-foot-7 James Arness as the heroic Marshall Matt Dillon; Amanda Blake as Kitty Russell, the owner and operator of the Long Branch Saloon and Matt’s main squeeze; and Milburn Stone as the crusty but wise Doc Adams. (File Photo)
“The Adventures of Superman”
“The Adventures of Superman”

Indy would have found a lot in common with the Man of Steel, so doubtless would have been a fan of this early color series. Supie and Indy fought for truth, justice and the American Way. Both also led dual lives. The syndicated action series starring George Reeves as Superman/Clark Kent was just winding down its initial run in 1957. (Courtesy Museum of Radio & Television)
the Everly Brothers
“Wake Up, Little Susie”

Being a gentleman of a certain age, Indy was easing himself into the world of rock ‘n’ roll in 1957. So this catchy tune about a young couple who fall asleep at the drive-in sung by the Everly Brothers wouldn’t have been too taxing to his ears. It was the brothers’ first of four No. 1 hits. Back in 1957, it was considered controversial because the couple are “sleeping” together. In fact, some Boston radio stations even banned it. (Karen Tapia)
Johnny Mathis
“Chances Are”

Radio stations certainly didn’t ban this melodic, haunting love song crooned by Johnny Mathis. And it’s the type of tune that Indy and Marion would have relished slow dancing to. The mellow song was Mathis’ first No. 1 hit. (File Photo)
Sam Cooke
“You Send Me”

Indy and Marion would have gotten their groove on to this sexy Sam Cooke tune, which spent six weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard R&B chart while also gaining mainstream success, spending three weeks atop the Billboard pop chart. (Screen Gems)