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What’s the connection between 12 year-old Chris Strompolos and 39 year-old Harrison Ford? They both played Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark… or in Chris’s case, Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation.
In 1982, Chris and his friend Eric Zala embarked on what would turn out to be a seven year mission to remake, scene for scene, line for line, the movie that hooked them both and this mission is now recorded in Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made by Alan Eisenstock. Eisenstock’s account is snortingly funny: whether it’s the boys’ four attempts to make The Boulder or the time the police were called in as they were suspected of making a porno movie. Using their ingenuity, imagination and all their pocket money, they recreated the bar scene (including setting fire to Eric’s basement), the Well of Souls (using just three live snakes) and even the opening of the Ark itself (using a polystyrene head filled with red jello). And at the same time they were growing up and going through all the travails of being teenagers.
Steven Spielberg called their movie a “very loving and detailed tribute” and you can see some of it for yourself in this book trailer or watch the full version here – though the quality is not great. To really appreciate their masterpiece, however, you need to read about its creation and you can start here with this excerpt.