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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr


Indiana Jones: Safari Sleuth Indiana Jones
"Safari Sleuth"
(Originally TV episode "British East Africa, September 1909")
(0:00-44:09 on the Passion for Life DVD)
Written by Matthew Jacobs
Story by George Lucas
Directed by Carl Schultz
Bookends directed by Carl Schultz
Original air date: April 10, 1993

Little Indy is on an African safari with his hero, Teddy Roosevelt.


Read the "August 1909" entry of the It’s Not the Years, It’s the Mileage Indiana Jones chronology for a summary of this episode


Notes from the Indiana Jones chronology


This episode takes place in September 1909 in British East Africa (now known as Kenya).


Didja Know?


The title of this episode ("Safari Sleuth") was assigned by me from the title of the junior novel adaptation of this episode.


    Some new introductory and interstitial scenes were filmed in order to turn this Young Indiana Chronicles episode into the second half of the Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Passion for Life TV movie. Actor Lloyd Owen, portraying Henry Jones, Sr. had worn brown contact lenses to cover his own blue eyes in order to match the eye color of actor Sean Connery (1930-2020)who had played the character earlier in 1989's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade during the first season of the TV series, but did not during the second season and for the new material shot in 1996 for Adventures of Young Indiana Jones TV movies. Hence, we see the senior Jones sometimes with brown eyes, but more often with blue!

    New scenes shot with Little Indy actor Corey Carrier are also noticeable for his contradictory heights between scenes due to much the actor had grown! 


Notes from the Old Indy bookends of The Young Indiana Chronicles


Old Indy is attending a charity dinner for the Metropolitan Foundation for Educational Quality at the City Hotel & Conference Center in New York City. This appears to be a fictitious foundation and hotel.


As the bookend segues into the 1909 episode proper, Henry, Sr. exchanges with Medlicot the same verbal/gestured college toast that he will later perform with Marcus Brody in The Last Crusade. The verbal portion of the greeting is "Genius of the Restoration aid our own resuscitation!" In the Indiana Jones universe, this toast is related to Oxford University, which all three men are said to have attended in their youth, but I've been unable to find that Oxford students used this toast in the real world.


Indy's family arrives at Medlicot's coffee plantation in a Ford Model T.


    Old Indy remarks that when he was in Africa he was looking at the Garden of Eden before the fall of man. The Garden of Eden, of course, is the land of paradise created by God for Adam and Eve at the beginning of mankind as described in the holy texts of the Abrahamic religions.

   In the junior novelization of the episode, it is Medlicot who refers to the country as like living in the Garden of Eden.


In the closing bookend, Old Indy says the ridge where he and Meto first saw the fringe-eared oryx was later named Champagne Ridge. This is an actual ridge in Kenya, southeast of Nairobi.




Notes from The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones


The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones is a 2008 publication that purports to be Indy's journal as seen throughout The Young Indiana Chronicles and the big screen Indiana Jones movies. The publication is also annotated with notes from a functionary of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation, the successor agency of the Soviet Union's KGB. The FSB relieved Indy of his journal in 1957 during the events of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The notations imply the journal was released to other governments by the FSB in the early 21st Century. However, some bookend segments of The Young Indiana Chronicles depict Old Indy still in possession of the journal in 1992. The discrepancy has never been resolved. 


The boxed set of DVDs of the complete The Young Indiana Chronicles TV series has notations and drawings in the storage slot for each disk that suggest they are meant to be excerpts from Indy's journal. Most of these notes and drawings do not appear in the The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones book. Here is the slot image for this episode:


In the journal, Indy records his time in British East Africa as occurring at a place called Kirinyaga. The county of Kirinyaga did not exist by name until 1963, though a mountain called Mount Kirinyaga by the native Kikuyu has existed with that name for thousands of years. The area that would become Kirinyaga County seems to be a bit further north than is suggested for the safari territory in the episode, novelization, and comic book.


Indy has a drawing of Gazella dama ruficollis, an addra gazelle instead of a fringe-eared oryx as in the episode.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode


Indiana Jones



Selina Mazzario


Henry Jones, Sr.

Anna Jones

Helen Seymour

Richard Medlicot

Theodore Roosevelt

Dr. Edmund Heller


Frederick Selous

Kermit Roosevelt

Johnson (mentioned only, deceased)

Maasai woman



Didja Notice?


Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th president of the United States from 1901-1909. By the time of this story, he had been out of office for about 7 months. The expedition depicted in this episode was part of the actual Smithsonian–Roosevelt African Expedition of March 1909 to 1910.


As Medlicot takes the Jones' into Nairobi via train to meet up with the safari, Medlicot, Indy, and his father ride on a padded seat bolted onto the very front of the engine. In the junior novelization, Medlicot explains that the seat was specially built for Roosevelt and his party.


Medlicot describes some of Roosevelt's favorite dishes prepared by the camp chefs, like elephant trunk soup, ostrich liver, and giraffe heart. These are all actual dishes that have been prepared in Africa. I am not aware of Roosevelt having ever tried them, though he may have.


Dr. Edmund Heller (1875-1939), the taxidermist of Roosevelt's safari, was a real world taxidermist for the Smithsonian Institution.


Here, Indy is introduced to the British hunter Frederick Selous. Selous (1851-1917) was a real world hunter and army captain in WWI who was the inspiration for H. Rider Haggard's popular adventure character Allan Quatermain appearing in a series of novels and short stories from 1885-1927, who in turn was one of the inspirations for George Lucas' character of Indiana Jones. Selous will meet up with Indy again in "The Phantom Train of Doom". The actor portraying Selous, Paul Freeman, also plays Belloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark.


Kermit Roosevelt (1889-1943), the son of Teddy Roosevelt, was the official photographer of the expedition as depicted here.


Roosevelt remarks that he read Henry Sr.'s book on medieval armory.


The book Heller shows Roosevelt at 8:04 on the DVD is Records of Big Game, with the Distribution, Characteristics, Dimensions, Weights, and Horn & Tusk Measurements of the Different Species by Rowland Ward, first published in 1892. (In the novelization, the book is called just African Mammals, but the text seen on screen here is from Ward's book.)


Notice that Roosevelt uses a rifle cartridge as a pointer while he's looking at the book.


The fringe-eared oryx that Roosevelt hopes to find is known to inhabit southeastern Kenya, as implied here.


Roosevelt gives Indy a pair of binoculars. At the end of the episode, it seems that Indy has given them to Meto as a gesture of their friendship.


Roosevelt mentions to Indy his founding of some national parks. Under his presidential administration, 5 new national parks and 18 national monuments were created in the U.S. Roosevelt created the concept of national monuments with the signing of the  Antiquities Act of 1906.


The snake seen hanging down from the rocks at 25:15 on the DVD appears to be a python, a snake native to Africa. Another python is seen at 25:37 along with a different species of snake I'm unable to identify. In both the junior novelization and the comic book adaptation, the snake is some kind of viper and the encounter more threatening.


As he and Meto flee from the snakes, Indy exclaims, "I hate snakes!" He restates his hatred for snakes later in The Pirates' Loot. But the later prologue of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade indicates that he was not fearful of snakes until the incident in a circus train car full of them when he was 13 in that film.


At 26:19 on the DVD, something is seen moving in the upper-left corner of the screen, possibly a production shade or reflecting panel.


The old Maasai man who instructs Indy on how to find the oryx is called "Liabon" in the closing credits of the DVD, but the proper Maasai term is Laibon, "medicine man". He is named correctly in the junior novelization and comic book adaptation.


When the Maasai man finds the missing Indy at 32:00 on the DVD, the man says, "Young bwana Indy." Bwana is Swahili for "master".


When Indy is returned to the safari camp, he tries to explain to Roosevelt that he just lost track of the time while trying to find the Burton's oryx. I've been unable to identify the fringe-eared oryx with a previous use of a "Burton's" identifier.


When Indy shows the camp residents the root melon that the fringe-eared oryx likes to eat, Selous says the melons are what they call "elephants footballs". I've been unable to confirm such a nickname for any African melons.


At 37:48 on the DVD, when Indy shows Roosevelt what he has written down in his journal about the oryx, he opens the journal to almost the halfway point of the pages. Yet, in The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones, his pages about the safari are only a few pages in. And the words about the oryx Roosevelt reads from the journal are not found in it.


The Young Indiana Chronicles: Safari Sleuth Notes from the junior novelization of this episode, Safari Sleuth by A.L. Singer

(The page numbers come from the 1st printing, 1992)


The map on page 2 shows that the Smithsonian–Roosevelt African Expedition as seen in this story was located on the Kapiti Plains of the Southern Game Reserve. These were actual areas of British East Africa (Kenya).


The book opens with a scene not in the TV episode, of the Jones family on the boat coming into Mombasa. Indy reads a newspaper account of Roosevelt's ongoing safari and wishes he could take part in it. A description of the animals that had been bagged by the expedition so far includes a saddle-backed lechwe, which neither Indy or his father was aware of the existence of. A lechwe is an antelope of south central Africa.


On page 7, Henry Sr. asks his son if he had not been excited to visit Egypt, Paris, and Vienna. This refers to the past episodes "My First Adventure", "Passion for Life", and "The Perils of Cupid".


Also on page 7, Indy sees a fortress on a tree-covered hillside looming over the harbor of Mombasa. This is the old Portuguese fortress called Fort Jesus, built on Mombasa Island in the harbor in 1593-1596.


On page 15, the train to Nairobi stops at a small station in the Rift Valley where Medlicot and his guests disembark. Rift Valley is a province in Kenya encompassing Nairobi.


On page 20, Medlicot tells Indy that the animals on which Heller is performing taxidermy will be at the National Museum in Washington. This would be the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.


On page 22, it is Miss Seymour who calls Indy back from his first chance meeting with Meto to tell him that Roosevelt's hunting party is back instead of Indy's father as in the TV episode.


On page 25, Medlicot remarks that Roosevelt pulled his son, 20-year old Kermit, out of Harvard to go on this expedition with him.


On page 27, both Kermit and Theodore misspeak Miss Seymour's name, Kermit calling her Helga instead of Helen and Theodore calling her Miss Seaford instead of Miss Seymour.


On page 29, Roosevelt tells of the different Swahili laborers hired for the expedition, including askaris (soldiers) and saises (horse handlers). These are actual Swahili terms.


The Thomson's gazelle and Grant's gazelle named on page 29 are named for the European explorers Joseph Thomson (1858-1895) and Lieutenant-Colonel James Augustus Grant (1827-1892).


On page 31, Roosevelt says he's brought along a personal library of books on the safari which anyone is welcome to use. He mentions the authors (William) Shakespeare, Homer (author of Ancient Greek literature), (Percy Bysshe) Shelley, (Henry Wadsworth) Longfellow, (Edgar Allen) Poe, Euripides (ancient Greek tragedian author), (Charles) Dickens, Bret Harte, and Mark Twain. Roosevelt looks at Indy as he mentions the last two, possibly because he thinks the boy would have more interest in them, being more modern writers of adventure (among other topics).


Also on page 31, Henry, Sr. tells Roosevelt that his current lecture tour is related to two of his own recent publications, one on medieval chivalric code and another on the Holy Grail. This is the only time that it has been said that a book on the Holy Grail has anything to do with the lecture tour; we've only been made aware of the book on medieval chivalry before this. Possibly, this Grail book was published after he'd started the tour and he's pumping it while he has the audience? (Of course, Singer, the author of this novelization, probably wanted to bring in the Grail connection to Indy's father because of its prominence in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, set in 1938.)


On page 37, Roosevelt teaches Indy to shoot with a Fox Number Twelve shotgun, saying, "No better gun was ever made." As far as I can tell, this is a fictitious gun.


Here in the novelization, Indy draws the picture of the fringe-eared oryx in his journal. In the TV episode, he drew it on a stray sheet of paper. In The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones, a drawing of an antelope can be found in Indy's entries concerning the safari, but it does not appear to be a fringe-eared oryx.


At the end of the book, Indy sees that the smitten Miss Seymour is allowing Roosevelt to teach her how to shoot, a scene that does not occur in the televised episode.


The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles #3 (Dark Horse) Notes from the comic book adaptation of this episode

The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles #'s 3 and 4
Dark Horse Comics
Script by Dan Barry
Artwork by Gray Morrow
Letters by Gail Beckett
Colors by Chris Chalenor & Rachelle Menashe
April 1992


The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles #3


Here in the comic, the opening Old Indy bookend has Indy arriving at a benefit luncheon for the New York Chapter Multi-Racial Educational Trust Fund at a dining hall that seems to be called 69 West. In the TV episode, it is a dinner for the Metropolitan Foundation for Educational Quality at City Hotel & Conference Center. We also see that Indy has arrived in his own car, a "classic" as he says, roadster; we don't get a close enough look at it to identify the make and model.


In panel 1 of page 1, we see a Rolls-Royce luxury vehicle parked in the valet lot, possibly a Phantom VI.


The map in panel 2 of page 3, identifies the area of British East Africa (now known as Kenya) and also British Central Africa (now Malawi), Bechuanaland (now the Republic of Botswana), and Cape Colony (now South Africa).


Not in the TV version, Old Indy mentions that he and his family took a boat to Mombasa and stayed there a few days before heading out to Medlicot's coffee plantation.


Little Indy is excited to meet Teddy Roosevelt, "the Rough Rider". Colonel Theodore Roosevelt became the second leader of the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry of the Spanish-American War which came to be celebrated as Roosevelt's Rough Riders.


Indy and his family and entourage meet up with Roosevelt in Nairobi for the safari. Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya.


    On page 5, Medlicot finishes up a story he was telling with, " Queen Victoria said, 'Oh, let the kaiser have his blessed mountain!' And that is why Mount Kilimanjaro is in German hands." Queen Victoria was the ruler of the United Kingdom from 1837-1901. "Kaiser" (German for "emperor") refers to Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941) of Germany. Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and lies in what was, at the time, German East Africa (now Tanzania) on the edge of the northeastern border with British East Africa.

    I have not been able to find any evidence that Queen Victoria made a statement like this. Likely, it is here meant to imply that the British Medlicot has confabulated the story to explain away why such a fabulous peak as Kilimanjaro was not incorporated into British East Africa.


On page 12, Roosevelt names several of the guns he's brought on the safari to Indy. A Winchester 405, a double-barreled 500-450 Holland, and a Fox No. 12 shotgun. The first two are real rifles. The Fox No. 12, as stated in the novelization notes above, is a fictitious gun as far as I can tell.


As stated on page 14, the Maasai people, of whom Meto is one, speak the Maa language.


On page 16, a male lion takes down a gazelle. In the TV episode, it was a female lion taking down a wildebeest.


The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles #4


At the end of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles #4, the Old Indy bookend goes beyond what was seen in the TV episode to show that the valet saw the "Indiana Jones" name on Indy's keychain and recognized that he must be Dr. Henry Jones (Jr.). The valet says that archaeology is his passion, especially Indy's books. This is the first indication that Indy has written books about his specialty.


Memorable Dialog


an act of conservation.mp3

elephant trunk soup.mp3

I hate snakes.mp3

bully for you.mp3 


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