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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr


Indiana Jones: The Phantom of the Klondike Indiana Jones
The Phantom of the Klondike
Written by Jérôme Jacobs
Illustrations by d’Erik Juszezak

Indy and some friends head to the far north to assist a friend of his father's with a ghost problem and a cave full of gold. 


Notes from the Indiana Jones chronology


The opening chapter of this book states that it takes place in July 1912, just minutes after Indy loses the Cross of Coronado to the sheriff, Garth, and Panama Hat in "The Cross of Coronado". However, The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones suggests that the Cross incident was around August 4th or 5th (Indy records an entry and sketches about the incident with the Cross in the journal on August 5). I think the August date works better, allowing another of month time of time to have passed since the death of Mrs. Jones and Indy and his father's move to Utah, so that they are fairly settled in in the Utah town of Moab and Indy is entrenched in the local Boy Scout troop.  


Didja Know?


To my knowledge, this junior novel was published only in France as Indiana Jones Jr et le fantôme du Klondike. A series of junior novels was published in this series, some being original stories and some being French translations of the American Young Indiana Jones junior novels. For some reason, the French versions are all titled beginning with "Indiana Jones Jr" instead of the French translation of "Young Indiana Jones", "Jeune Indiana Jones".


The character of Norma Boutterfly in this novel goes on to appear again in The Metropolitan Violin and The Bermuda Triangle.


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 journal as published skips over this time in Indy's life. In fact, it goes from August 5, 1912 to March 9, 1916...a period of about 3.5 years! Are we to believe that Indy made no journal entries that entire time? Perhaps the entries were excised by the Russians for some reason when it was in their possession?




Characters appearing or mentioned in this story


Henry Jones, Sr.

Indiana Jones

Indiana (dog)


Archibald "Archie" Malloy

Helen Seymour

Alexis Saint Light-Light

Norma Boutterfly

Jack London


Lieutenant Andrew Dawson
Sergeant McPherson

Adam Chinook

hotel manager



John (mentioned only)
Sergeant Rushmore

Brandon Chinook (mentioned only, deceased) 


Didja Notice?


Chapter 1: A Season in Hell


The book opens in Utah, July 1912.


Page 5 states it is 40 degrees Celsius in the shade. 40 Celsius = 102 Fahrenheit.


Professor Jones is said to be wearing a dressing gown and wrinkled night cap at his desk in the study as Indy bursts in (immediately after "The Cross of Coronado") to tell him the sheriff is in cahoots with the treasure hunters. But, in "The Cross of Coronado", the professor was dressed in regular day clothing, including a bow-tie and sweater.


    On page 7, Professor Jones is said to spring from his chair "like a devil from his box." Diable en boîte (literally "devil in a box") is the French term for what is called a "jack in the box" toy.

    Professor Jones thinks he is on the path to solving the mystery of the Holy Grail, having something to do with "the name of the rose." This "rose" clue goes unexplained. It may be a sort of in-joke by the author, as Sean Connery, the actor who portrays Professor Jones in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, also starred in the 1986 historical mystery film The Name of the Rose.


On page 8, Indy's dog is said to be a German Shepherd. But other sources, and visual evidence in "My First Adventure" and "The Cross of Coronado", suggest the dog was an Alaskan Malamute.


On page 9, Hermie apologizes to Indy for bringing the sheriff who had wound up confiscating the Cross of Coronado from Indy and giving it to the treasure hunters. Indy responds that it's all right, he doesn't blame him. As well he shouldn't since he was the one who told Hermie to go get the sheriff in the first place, as seen in "The Cross of Coronado"!


Also on page 9, Indy tells Hermie he will get the Cross back even if it takes him 20 years. It winds up taking him 26 years before he gets it back in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.


Page 9 states that Hermie's classmates had nicknamed him Bouboule. This is French slang for a fat person, essentially "Fatty".


Indy explains to Hermie that the Holy Grail was the cup used by Jesus Christ during the last supper and that it was also used by Joseph of Arimathea to collect the blood of Christ (as he hung on the cross). These are from the canonical gospels included in the Bible.


The letter the Jones' receive from Archibald Malloy seems to be connected to the Klondike Gold Rush of 1896-1899. This was a real world historical event in which about 100,000 prospectors emigrated to the Yukon's Klondike region in search of gold.


As Indy walks into the kitchen on page 12, it says he is flanked by his two most faithful friends (Indiana and Hermie). On page 24, Hermie is called his best friend. But in the "The Cross of Coronado" portion of the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade novelization, it states that Indy did not know Herman well.


Indy remarks that Malloy's gold vein must be worth as much as the Eldorado and Bonanza veins combined. There have been a number of gold mines named Eldorado and Bonanza, including in the Yukon territory.


Indy mentions the town of Whitehorse being important during the gold rush. Whitehorse is the capital and only city in the Yukon territory.


Malloy's letter goes on to say that the cabin he's been living in for the past 15 years is haunted by a manitou, which Indy explains is an Indian spirit. A manitou is a spiritual life force belief of the Algonquian Native American peoples.


Chapter 2: Bad Auspices


Page 22 describes Professor Jones' decision to allow Indy and Miss Seymour to go to the Yukon to help Malloy as a "Trafalgar blow" to Miss Seymour. "Trafalgar blow" is French slang meaning something like "a crushing defeat", a reference to the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 in which the British Royal Navy defeated the combined forces of the French and Spanish navies. As such, it's also odd that "Trafalgar blow" would be an appropriate term to apply to a British citizen such as Miss Seymour!


    On pages 24-25, Indy quotes from The Golden Volcano by Jules Verne. This was a 1906 novel by Verne published posthumously, a story of two Canadian brothers, Ben Raddle and Summy Skim who inherit a mine in the Klondike.

    Indy also remarks that he preferred the novels of Jack London. Jack London (1876-1916) was an American writer who wrote several stories set during the Klondike Gold Rush, most famously, the novels Call of the Wild and White Fang.


On page 26, Indy, Hermie, and Miss Seymour board the ship City of Puebla in Oakland on San Francisco Bay. There was an actual steamship called City of Puebla based in that area at the time. It mostly hauled freight, but was capable of taking passengers.


Page 26 mentions that San Francisco had been devastated by an earthquake six years earlier. This is true. Indy remarks to Hermie that the earthquake was caused by the San Andreas fault, which is correct, but he goes on to say that the fault runs to Colorado. This is not true. It may be that he says this just to pull the leg of the always anxious Hermie, who was worried about whether the fault stretched up to the Yukon, since if the fault actually did run from California to Colorado, it would pass through Utah, and maybe even through Moab where they live!


Chapter 3: Norma


On page 32, Indy quotes two lines from a poem he learned a few weeks before. The lines are from "Christus: A Mystery" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.


Norma and Indy call each other signor and signoria. These are Italian for "Mr." and "Miss".


On page 34, Indy thinks of Norma as a pasionaria. This is an Italian word for which there is no direct translation, but it means a woman who passionately stands by her own values and ideals.


When Indy learns Norma Boutterfly's name came from her father's love of opera, he tells her he's listened to his father's records of the operas of Bellini's Norma and Puccini's Madame Butterfly. He neglects to mention that he met Puccini and saw the opera in Florence, Italy when he was younger (in "Enough is Barely Living"). "Bellini" refers to Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835), an Italian opera composer who wrote the 1831 opera Norma.


Norma tells Indy that in Italy, she is known as the Calabrian Nightingale for her singing. Calabria is a region in the toe to heel region of southern Italy. Nightingales are birds known for their powerful and beautiful songs.


On page 35, Norma sings, "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Bello a me ritoooooo-oooooorna! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Bello a me ritooooooooooooma!" In Italian, this seems to mean something like "Be nice to me and return!"


On page 36, Norma sings, "Chepiù t’arrrrrrrrrestiiiiiiii?" In Italian, this seems to mean something like "What more could you do?"


Chapter 4: Flea in the Ear


On page 40, Norma remarks that after getting off the ship in Seattle, one must take a fishing boat to Gustavus, Alaska, then a road to Skagway, then the train to Whitehorse.


On page 46, Norma sings, "Caaaaaasta diiiiiiva...caaaaasta diiiiiiiva..." This is Italian for "pure goddess", words from the Norma opera.


Chapter 5: Jack London and Jack Daniel's


The title of this chapter comes from the previously-mentioned author named Jack London and the Jack Daniel's brand of whiskey.


On page 50, Indy meets Jack London, thinking of him worshipfully as "the Annapurna of literature." He is probably referring to Annapurna Massif, a massive massif in the Himalayas of Nepal.


On page 54, the pianist in the bar is playing a ragtime song by Scott Joplin. Joplin (1868-1917) was an American composer and pianist who became known as the King of Ragtime.


On page 57, London remarks on all the unprepared parties who have attempted to cross Chilkoot Pass. Chilkoot Pass is a pass through the Boundary Ranges of the Coast Mountains along the southern border of Alaska and British Columbia, often used by prospectors in the Klondike.


The name of the bar Indy's party sits down in with London is the Merry Moose. As far as I can tell, this is a fictitious establishment in Seattle.


    On page 59, London mentions his wife, Charmian. Charmian London (nee Kittridge) was London's second wife, to whom he was married from 1905 until his death in 1916. She was a writer as well.

    He also describes his recent journey around Cape Horn amidst the roaring forties. Cape Horn is the southern tip of South America. The roaring forties are strong winds that tend to prevail westerly over the ocean between 40 and 50 degrees latitude in the southern hemisphere of the planet.


Chapter 6: Beware of Mosquitoes


On page 65, Archie sings the lyrics of a song about a cabin in Canada. As far as I can tell, these are not the lyrics of a real song, but there is a song called "My Cabin in Canada" (see verse below). Copacabana is a tourist-heavy neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with a beautiful and popular beach. Ratafia is a type of sweet liquor.


My cabin in Canada

It's not worth Copacabana

But I make myself good ratafia

In my cabin in Canada.


On page 67, Indy tells Archie that Norma is there to meet with her cousins in the Athapaskan tribe. From my understanding, "Athapaskan" (or Athabaskan) is not the name of an Amerindian tribe, but a term used to describe a family of languages used by many of the indigenous peoples of North America. Despite this, the term is sometimes used to describe the groups who use it as well.


Chapter 7: Drums in the Night


On page 72, Indy thinks of Miss Seymour's squirming movements in her seat as St. Vitus dance. The term "St. Vitus Dance" refers to a neurological disorder also known as Sydenham's chorea. It usually strikes those under 18 years of age and causes uncontrolled rapid jerking movements of face, hands, and feet. In her conversation with Indy, Miss Seymour seems to imply, without quite saying it, that she has a case of diarrhea.


The stanza of a song Archie sings on page 77 appears to be fictitious. It goes something like:


I am only a poor prospector
I don’t care about those who mock
They’re no more than scrap dealers
I could not live anyway else


On page 78, Norma sings pieces from Trouvère, by Giuseppe Verdi, A'Alcina, by Handel, and Cenerentola by Rossini. These are all real operas by these composers. The line from Trouvère translates from Italian as "The placid night is silent..." The line from A'Alcina translates from Italian as "I still have tears..." The line from Cenerentola translates from Italian as "No longer sad by the fire..."


Chapter 8: A Stunning Manitou


While searching for the alleged manitou, page 83 has Indy thinking that he doesn't believe in monsters or ghosts of any kind. Yet, he encountered what seemed to be an actual ghost just a couple of months ago in The Pirates' Loot.


On pages 90-91, Indy and his friends visit the local office of the Canadian Mounted Police.


On page 92, Indy exclaims, "Bigre!" This is a French exclamation with no true definition. It might be thought of as similar to the English "Dang!"


Chapter 9: Weird Blizzard


No notes.


Chapter 10: "Bald" Who Can!


   Page 105 refers to Archie Malloy as "Ali Baba". Ali Baba was the protagonist of the story "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" from the Arabic story collection One Thousand and One Nights, believed to have originated around the 8th Century AD. In the story, Ali Baba discovers the treasure cave of a group of thieves.

   Indy also uses the phrase "open sesame" when he sees Malloy's treasure. The phrase "open sesame" as a magical command originates from the English translation of "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves."


Malloy's work of having hauled all the gold he's hoarded is referred to as a real labor of Hercules. The Twelve Labors of Hercules in Greek and Roman mythology were a penance the demigod Hercules had to complete after killing his wife and children due to having been driven temporarily mad by the queen of the gods, Hera.


Chapter 11: Two Indians Are Better Than One


On page 116, Archie mentions the California Gold Rush. The California Gold Rush lasted from 1848-1855 in the northern part of the state.


On page 120, the Indian who bursts into Archie's cabin calls the old prospector a cheechako. Cheechako is a Chinook term for a newly-arrived person in the Alaskan or Yukon mining districts; essentially, a tenderfoot.


On page 122, Archie, threatened by the intruding Indian, is described as standing as motionless as the trees of the Petrified Forest. A petrified forest is a location where many examples of wood and fallen trees have become fossilized over millions of years. Since the term is capitalized as a proper name here, it probably refers to Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, though a few other locations around the world have also taken on the name Petrified Forest.


Chapter 12: Story Without Words


No notes.


Chapter 13: An Explosive Situation


No notes.


Chapter 14: The Last Five Minutes


On page 144, the Indian gives the date of August 17, 1896 as the exact day of the start of the Klondike Gold Rush when three members of the Tagish tribe discovered gold nuggets in the Bonanza River. However, it was actually on August 16 of that year and the gold was discovered in Bonanza Creek, not Bonanza River (Bonanza River is in Alaska and not connected to Bonanza Creek).


Chapter 15: One Ghost Can Hide Another


On page 149, Lieutenant Dawson proposes searching the areas of Crimson Creek and Chipmunk Creek of the Whitehorse Valley for the missing youngsters. As far as I can tell, these are fictitious creeks.


Also on page 149, the mounted police's horseback search is described as having precision worthy of West Point. "West Point" is the popular name for the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.


On page 152, Indy is referred to as Tom Thumb, having scattered pieces of Herman's candy along their route to Archie's cave. Tom Thumb is a fictional character of English folklore, a boy who is no bigger than his father's thumb. I'm not sure what the connection is meant to be though.


On page 156, Miss Seymour remarks that Norma is so well-gifted for bel canto. Bel canto is a style of Italian opera singing.


    Near the end of the book, it is revealed that the so-called "ghost" or "manitou" haunting Archie Malloy was just the quite-living brother (Adam) of the Indian man Archie had killed years ago (Brandon) in order to get the gold that was hidden for the use of the Tagish tribe. But, it is left unexplained how Archie and youngsters were terrorized in his cabin by an unseen force pounding on the outside of the walls, leaving no footprints in the snow, and even knocking Indy out cold with an unseen hand when he went out to investigate. Possibly, there was also a real haunting by the deceased brother, Brandon, going on unbeknownst to the group.

    If so, this would be Indy's second known encounter with the supernatural after the ghost of The Pirates' Loot. 


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