The Real Indy
May 27, 2008 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Did you know that the original Indiana Jones was an openly homosexual, Jewish, Nazi archeologist [more] and Obersturmführer in the party, hunting the Holy Grail? The documentary The Secret Glory chronicles his story (interview with the director: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4).

He wrote two books in the process, Crusade Against The Grail and Lucifer's Court. After realizing the direction in which the country was headed he remarked, "There is much sorrow in my country. Impossible for a tolerant, liberal man like me to live in the nation that my native country has become," and committed suicide.
posted by msaleem (23 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Fascinating story, but he sounds much more like the inspiration for the other archeologist in Raiders of the Lost Ark - the one who was working with the nazis - and not for Indy.
posted by yhbc at 9:21 AM on May 27, 2008

I'm going to read the links, I really am, but, boy, is that new Indiana Jones movie a real bafflelogue of the continuing, muddled journeys of our hero. I hope those involved in its making went home and thought about what they did.

(Sorry, I've been holding that in for days.)
Right, now, to read these links.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:22 AM on May 27, 2008

Best. Lede. Evar.
posted by No Robots at 9:25 AM on May 27, 2008

I look forward to reading these links when I'm not trying to work for a living. Fans of Roy Chapman Andrews claim him as an inspiration for Indy. There is also this dude.

Thanks for the post!
posted by marxchivist at 9:29 AM on May 27, 2008

Other than being an archaeologist in the right time period and wanting to find the Grail, what how is Indy "based on" this guy? They sound nothing alike.

Wikipedia: Otto Rahn is considered by some to be the inspiration behind the Indiana Jones movie[2] Raiders of the Lost Ark, although George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have never mentioned anything about him being an inspiration to their character.

If we restrict ourselves to just that one movie, there's even less to connect them. Plus, you know, there being no evidence in the slightest.
posted by DU at 9:35 AM on May 27, 2008

I have to back Roy Chapman Andrews as the inspiration for Indy... he was from my Alma Mater after all.
posted by Sam.Burdick at 9:41 AM on May 27, 2008

See also Robert Braidwood, James Henry Breasted, and Vendyl Jones, all of whom have been touted (or in the last case, touted themselves) as the Original Indiana Jones.
posted by Iridic at 9:42 AM on May 27, 2008

I thought it was Monty Python's quest for the holy grail that was inspiration to the Indian Jones series. Shows what I know.
posted by furtive at 9:42 AM on May 27, 2008

Those Aryan Nazi anthropologist/historians were all cranks and crackpots in the same league as climate change deniers and other slimy reptilians. Evil is banal and these guys were common, hardly worth the time; unless your into "true crime" stories, which basically sums up most of the groaning shelves of WWII Nazi books.
posted by stbalbach at 10:16 AM on May 27, 2008

I'm just going to use this thread as an opportunity to pronounce the new Indy movie a steaming pile of shit.
posted by empath at 10:28 AM on May 27, 2008

This reminds me of one of the last girls I dated, who would see the words "based on a true story" and then be amazed that all the crazy shit in the movie actually happened in real life.
posted by autodidact at 10:51 AM on May 27, 2008

Those Aryan Nazi anthropologist/historians were all cranks and crackpots in the same league as climate change deniers and other slimy reptilians.

Well, yes. But an Epic Quest against The Forces of Evil for a Long Lost Artefact does make for a damn good yarn.

A dashing meteorologist searching for the truth about global warming? I don't think that one's turning into a summer blockbuster any time soon. Al Gore doesn't count; no bullwhip, for starters.

On the other hand, what's interesting in Rahn's own life is precisely the banality of his encounter with "evil." He didn't struggle valiantly against the forces of darkness or any of that bullshit. He had a good idea, sold out and couldn't handle the consequences. That's a good story in its own right, and one that's more relevant to most of our lives; it just doesn't sell as much popcorn.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:56 AM on May 27, 2008

Hmm. Those scare quotes may have been ill-advised. I meant to suggest that Hitler was no Sauron, not that he was a nice guy....
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:57 AM on May 27, 2008

Ba-pa-da-pa... ba-pa-daaa...

Ba-pa-da-pa.... ba-pa-da-ba-baa.

Ba-pa-da-pa... ba-pa-daaa...

Ba-pa-da-dat de-de-dat...


I was supposed to read what, now?
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 11:25 AM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

I meant to suggest that Hitler was no Sauron, not that he was a nice guy....

"Führer, I served with Sauron, I knew Sauron. Sauron was a friend of mine. And you, Führer, are no Sauron."
posted by weston at 11:30 AM on May 27, 2008

I love Nazi mysticism. I mean, in a "holy shit this stuff is weird" kind of way.

Check out the real-life Castle Wolfenstein, where Heinrich Himmler (who thought he was the reincarnation of Heinrich I) performed Ariosophic rites.

Wikipedia is full of fascinating stuff about this.
posted by greenie2600 at 11:32 AM on May 27, 2008

I'm glad somebody already mentioned Roy Chapman Andrews, or I would have to do it and feel both proud and a little scummy for shilling my old alma-mater, where he was born and educated. Well. Not born in the college, I think. Thankfully Marxchivist already linked to the wiki, so I won't have to! And I learn that Sam.Burdick went there, too. What a day!
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 11:42 AM on May 27, 2008

Also the first time I've ever used the phrase 'alma mater' and I screw it up. I just got so excited :/ please don't think poorly of my alma mater oh god now I can't stop
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 11:49 AM on May 27, 2008

Openly "homosexual"? As long as he wasn't openly negroid.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 3:29 PM on May 27, 2008

Vendyl Jones for the win. I mean, come on - he devoted his life searching for The Ark, and his name is Vendy Jones, for God's sake!
posted by ericbop at 6:49 PM on May 27, 2008

Indiana Jones denied tenure.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:42 AM on May 30, 2008

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