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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr


Indiana Jones: The Radioactive Flask Indiana Jones
The Radioactive Light Bulb
Written by Richard Beugné
Illustrations by d’Erik Juszezak
May 1997

Indy attempts to track down a radioactive radium light bulb stolen from the institute of Madam Curie.


Notes from the Indiana Jones chronology


The opening chapter of this book states that it takes place in Paris, France, November 1912.


Didja Know?


To my knowledge, this junior novel was published only in France as Indiana Jones Jr et L'ampoule Radioactive. 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".


In this book, Indy's father actually deigns to call him "Indiana" or "Indy" a few times, but mostly still uses "Junior".


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


Professor Cassegraine

Triphon Héricard

Gilbert de Bury/Colonel Artüg


Marie Curie (mentioned only)

Professor Mazda

Herman "Hermie" Mueller (mentioned only)







Didja Notice?


Chapter 1: A Gratin Lunch!


On page 7, Indy's father seems to say that the family dog named Indiana is dead, but according to Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide, the dog did not die until April 1916, while Indy was in Europe fighting in WWI.


Also on page 7, Indy's father mentions the Gauls. The Gauls were Celtic peoples living on the European mainland from 5th Century BC to the 5th Century AD, with a particular concentration in the area of present-day France.


Indy and his father are staying at the Hotel du Cherche-Midi in Paris. This is a fictitious hotel on the Rue du Cherche-Midi as far as I can tell.


On page 8, Indy thinks of his hat as a Weston. A Weston is a hat of a tall, tapered tear-drop shape, usually applied to western cowboy hats, but could be applied to Indy's fedora if one were feeling generous.


    On page 11, Indy's father lays out the program of the day to Indy. They are to visit the Roman baths of Cluny and the arenas of Lutecia. The history of the region he tells Indy is correct.

    The legend of Attila the Hun eating raw meat tenderized under the saddle of his horse is also true, more-or-less. Actually, it was a habit of the Huns in general. The raw meat was placed between the leg of the rider and the horse and kept there all day as they rode, so the meat became "cooked" from the body heat of the man and beast, tenderized by the buffeting between the man's leg and horse's flank, and the sweat would "cure" the meat, making it salty. Yum!


On page 13, Indy is disappointed his father has not allotted time for them to visit the Eiffel Tower. His father prefers the Museum of Natural History and the Jardin des plantes.


On page 18, Héricard explains that he is the president of the Amateur Archaeologists Club of Bégon-les-Gonesses. As far as I can tell, Bégon-les-Gonesses is a fictitious town in France.


On page 20, Héricard refers to himself as "bibi". This is a French term meaning "yours truly".


Also on page 20, Héricard remarks that the subsurface of Paris is so riddled with caves, that the city is built on "a real Gruyère cheese." Gruyère cheese is a type of Swiss cheese, so I suppose he is referring to the holes found in Emmental type Swiss cheeses, but Gruyère cheese generally has no holes, or only very small, widely placed ones.


Chapter 2: Mustaches and Yellow Shoes


Indy now carries his whip with him. This is the first time he is seen with it, not counting the lion tamer's whip he tried to use in "The Cross of Coronado".


On page 28, after reading bleak news in the paper, Professor Jones remarks that there is war in the Balkans and that there is an arms race that he fears will lead to more wars, including in France. The First Balkan War started in October 1912 and lasted through to May 1913. The professor's concerns are a harbinger of WWI, which will engulf many of the nations of the world in 1914-1918. Indy will become a soldier in that war in 1916.


On page 32, Indy muses that Héricard was lying "like a tooth-picker". In France the phrase "lying like a tooth-picker" refers to someone who will say anything. In centuries past, a tooth-picker was someone who pulled out bad teeth for a fee and the term "tooth-picker" has come to mean a "bad dentist" in modern times.


On page 36, de Bury remarks that no one is working in the underground quarries this day because it is a holiday. The holiday is not named, but the only French public holiday in November in 1912 seems to be La Toussaint (All Saints' Day), which falls on November 1 every year. But the current day of our story is seemingly November 2, being the next morning from the opening chapter which was said to be "November 1912", so Chapter 1 must have been November 1st and now, the next morning, it is November 2! I suppose we must take it that "November 1912" heading of Chapter 1 was either a mistake or just a generalization and that Chapter 1 actually took place on October 31.


On page 36, Héricard uses the phrase "name a dog" in exasperation. In France, it is a somewhat more polite (and old-fashioned)way of saying "In God's name" when exasperated.


Chapter 3: A Very Wet Crypt


Page 45 states that Indy has had many adventures underground. It's a bit of a stretch to say he's had many "adventures" underground, but he has had adventures that involved underground settings in some way before now. These occurred in "My First Adventure" (an Egyptian tomb), The Pirates’ Loot (trapped in a lighthouse cellar), "The Cross of Coronado" (cave), The Phantom of the Klondike (mine), and The Lost Gold of Durango (Pueblo ruins in cliff hollows).


On page 56, de Bury exclaims, "Tataratata!" I've been unable to find that word in French dictionaries. I think it's a misspelling of taratata, a French exclamation similar to an English exclamation of "Nonsense!" or "Rubbish!".


    On page 62, de Bury remarks that a large pile of cat skulls was once found at the bottom of one of the ventilation shafts of the underground quarries and the shaft originated on the surface at a restaurant famous for its lapin en gibelotte, i.e. rabbit in wine.

    De Bury also remarks on the fact that many Parisians had to eat rats during the Prussian siege of the city. This is a reference to circumstances and shortages of food in the city during the Franco-Prussian War of July 1870 - January 1871.


On page 63, de Bury drives along the Boulevard Saint-Michel towards the Seine. Boulevard Saint-Michel is an actual road in Paris. The Seine is a river running through north-western France, passing through Paris.


Chapter 4: A Message That's Worth Gold


On page 74, Charles calls the stranger with the yellow shoes an Ostrogoth. The Ostrogoths were a Germanic people who ruled a kingdom covering a significant portion of Europe in the 4th and 5th Centuries AD. I'm not really sure though, why Charles would refer to the stranger by that epithet.


On page 75, the newspaper Indy's father is reading has a headline of "RADIUM THEFT AT CURIE INSTITUTE". But the Curie Institute was not founded until 1920! At the time of 1912, it was the Institut du Radium. However, the Institut du Radium was run by Marie Curie, so it's possible the newspaper was using a popular, if unofficial name for it in its headline. Madame (Marie) Curie (1867-1934) was a Polish-French chemist and physicist known for her work with radiation.


Chapter 5: The Unexpected Guide


Indy and his father visit the Louvre, the world's largest art museum, in the Saint-Honoré suburb of Paris. He had previously visited it with Miss Seymour in "Passion for Life".


On page 84, Indy and his father walk along the Quai de Seine. This is the wharf along the Seine River.


In the Louvre, Indy sees the Venus de Milo. Venus de Milo means "Aphrodite of Milos", a Greek statue of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty (Venus to the later Romans), carved in the 2nd Century BC by Alexandros of Antioch, permanently on display at the Louvre. Page 84 states that the statue is about 4,500 years old...nope, not even close! It's only about 2,150 years old.


On page 85, Indy's father notes that the French are quite strict about schedules and that they have a saying, "Before the hour, it's not the hour. After the hour, it's over." There is such a similar saying used in France.


On page 87, Indy thinks of his school chum Herman, who had shared "many of his many adventures". Herman appeared in "The Cross of Coronado" and The Phantom of the Klondike.


Indy's father receives an invitation from Professor Mazda to attend a conference on the Knights of the Round Table at the University of the Sorbonne. In Arthurian legend, the Knights of the Round Table were responsible for the protection of the kingdom of Camelot. The University of Paris is often known colloquially as simply the Sorbonne (for the building there that originally housed the College of Sorbonne from 1253-1882). There is now a separate, related university called Sorbonne University.


The Paris guidebook Indy and his father have been using mentions the Innocents cemetery which had been reserved for children. As far as I can tell, this is a fictitious cemetery, its name possibly inspired by the Holy Innocents' Cemetery that once existed in Paris from the Middle Ages to 1780 and was not reserved for children.


Charles tells Indy he practices savate. This is a French kick-boxing sport.


Chapter 6: In the Belly of Paris


On page 111, La Plage is French for "The Beach".


On page 114, La Piscine is French for "The Swimming Pool" and La Mare aux Canards means "The Duck Pond".


Chapter 7: Tibias, Femurs and Shoulder Blades


On page 121, Indy reflects on words once said to him by an old Hindu wise man on one of his travels. This may have been an occurrence in Benares, India in "Journey of Radiance".


Chapter 9: The Bulb in Danger


On page 168, Indy threatens to kill the rat that's been chewing on his boot and make hachis Parmentier out it. This is a French term for shepherd's pie.


On page 173, Héricard mentions Pasteur in regards to milk and wine. Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) was a French biochemist and micrologist who invented the process for pasteurization for milk and wine to stop bacterial contamination.


Page 185 states that Colonel Artüg's car crashed through the guardrail of the Pont au Change. The Pont au Change is a bridge over the River Seine in Paris.




No notes.


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