On May 13, 1991 shooting
began on The Young Indiana
Jones Chronicles, in Almeria, Spain, the
same location used for the tank chase in Last
Crusade. Almeria was very famous in the
European film industry since many of the so-called
spaghetti westerns had been shot there, including
The Good, the Bad and
the Ugly. Despite how attractive the site
was the crew had a difficult time there because
of the heat and the dust. The location would serve
as Mexico for the pilot episode and it would mark
the beginning of Young Indy’s adventures.
It was there that Flanery discovered for the first
time what meant to be part of the Indiana Jones
Flanery on Hurricane.
"There’ve been some scary
moments," asserted the actor. "I guess
the first scary moment I had was when we were
shooting the Movie-of-the-Week, the Mexico
episode, and I was doing a tracking shot. I was
on a horse, Hurricane, the black horse that was
Harrison Ford’s horse. He rode it in all
the Indiana Jones movies. It’s really a
famous horse. I’m at full-speed gallop behind
this tracking vehicle, and I’m reaching
out with my right hand, holding the reins with
my left hand, trying to grab these dresses that
one of Pancho Villa’s Villistas stole from
a seamstress. So I’m chasing after them
trying to get these dresses back and well, I got
Hurricane a little too close to the back of the
tracking vehicle. His hoof clipped the back bumper
and his front hoof just went under his belly.
He nosed down into the sand. I flew over his head,
the tracking vehicle kept going, but it was really
scary. I landed on my feet. Never even slid down,
never got a scrape, but my heart was thumping."
The first episode of the Chronicles
was set in England. England was the home of most
of the production crew. Some of the scenes in
the China episode
and interiors from the Egyptian
episode were shot in England as well.
From England the production traveled
to Spain and Barcelona and from there to the exotic
China and the Great Wall, completed in the third
century B.C. and stretching over two thousand
Africa proved to be the most powerful
experience for the cast and crew of the Chronicles.
Filming took place in the Maasai Mora and in the
Tana River. To facilitate the basic crew of twenty-five
people, plus the local crew of sixty, the production
had to create a town in the middle of the Tana
River. They had to build their own roads, set
up an efficient system for bringing in materials;
they had to build a landing strip, dock for boats,
and dams to prevent flooding from where they were.
They had to set up a base camp, construction mill
and bring in electricity. Also, they had to create
their own water sanitation plants, their own toilets
and everybody lived in tents for about eight weeks.
The water’s volume made it hard to treat
which resulted to salmonella poisoning, diarrhea
and stomach cramps that posed many problems. Twelve
people got seriously ill, it was very, very hot
and everybody was drinking about six or seven
pints a day. Plus, they were very close to the
Somalia border, which at the time was in civil
war, so they had to setup a security force with
trenches and barbed wire. Flanery found himself
in real jeopardy when his boat hit a sandbar and
capsized on a very dangerous curve of the Tana
River where there are usually fourteen or fifteen
crocodiles. "The most challenging thing I
had to do was swim down the Tana River in Africa
and not die," remembered the actor. "There
were no alligators, but there were crocodiles.
The water’s the color of chocolate milk.
It’s the most vile, disgusting, revolting
fluid you’ve ever looked at, and I’m
swimming in this stuff. The whole time everybody’s
been talking about parasites in the water that
can kill you in thirty seconds… the next
I know, I’m under it. I’ve got a six-pound
revolver around my waist in a holster. I’ve
got leather gaiters, leather boots on, a big helmet
strapped on my head, and I’m swimming down
this river, thinking, ‘Oh my God, what bank
am I gonna swim to? Which one looks like it has
less trees or shrubbery? My heart’s going
a hundred and sixty miles a minute, and then,
finally, a boat came and picked me up!"
From Africa the crew traveled to
Prague, which at the time was the capital of Czechoslovakia,
the country that was parted in two a few years
later. During their seventeen weeks stay there
the crew faced a climate the exact opposite of
Africa. Due to it’s hard cold the food in
Czechoslovakia was very heavy and there wasn’t
a lot of choice. Vegetables were very rare. The
production actually had to send a truck to Germany
once a week to load up on vegetables because many
crew members were getting vitamin deficiencies
and gum disease. As McCallum himself said to The
Young Indiana Jones Chronicles On the Set and
Behind the Scenes book, "It’s
amazing how sensitive and how spoiled Western
stomachs are compared with the rest of the world."
Although the country was in enormous financial
problems the city of Prague voluntarily ripped
up some of the streets and put back some of the
original cobblestones in order to help the production
capture some of the city’s past sense.
Soviet Union, Austria,
France and Egypt came next. The last stop was
Egypt with extraordinary heat. The temperature
was a hundred and forty degrees every day in the
middle of the desert.
crew on location
Just like Indiana Jones
most of the cast members had the chance to see
the world. "I won’t forget all the
wonderful places I went with this show,"
stated Margaret Tyzack. "I would say this
is an actor’s dream come true!" Looking
back at her filming on location in Egypt remembered
the difficulty she had climbing on the ancient
pyramids. "There was such an intense heat
there at the pyramids, and they seemed to pulse
with the midday sun. I was very surprised to see
the height of each step of the pyramids. They’re
very, very high. There’s no way you can
think of them as steps! It wasn’t easy to
climb them! And everything I had to do was in
my Edwardian costume, which is very uncomfortable.
That’s what women wore in that day."
While cast and crew
were traveling the world a second unit crew was
filming Old Indy’s short appearances, called
bookends, at the former Carolco studios and on
location in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Each episode of the
a cost of $1.5 million and took up to three weeks
to shoot, with Carrier’s taking a bit longer,
in order to accommodate laws limiting the number
of hours he could spent on the set. Beside his
limited working schedule Carrier had to spend
three hours a day studying. For this reason he
was required to have a tutor throughout the production.
Since all the members of the Carrier family were
following the production, Corey’s mother,
who was a certified schoolteacher, was assigned
with the educative duties of her son.
Lucas visited the sets
on location about every two or three weeks to
meet personally with each of the director and
managed to appear to almost all the locations.
He tried to get on location in between episodes,
so that when one director was finishing another
was starting, hoping that he could deal with two
directors at once.
McCallum on the set.
"The secret is
hiring good people," said Lucas. "I
work with the directors and get them to agree
with what we want to do, and then they go out
and do it. I show up periodically. Every few weeks
I go out and check on everything, but the truth
of it is, there’s nothing you can do even
if you’re standing there. I mean, it’s
the director’s medium, and he’s going
to do what he wants to do. I have the opportunity,
when it comes back here, to have a great deal
of control over how it’s finished, which
I think is also where quality comes into it, but
I’m taking more time to finish these shows
than most people spend on television. An extremely
important part of quality filmmaking is the postproduction
schedule, and we’re spending extra time
and money on the postproduction schedule to make
sure it comes out right."
McCallum worked closely
with Lucas all through the production, even on
location, talking with him four or five times
a week. Together they made the important decisions
that have to be made to keep the series running
along on schedule.
Once shooting was finished
the footage was sent back to Lucas in the States
to cut and add special effects.