top of page

August, 1920 "Hollywood Follies"

[Depicted in Hollywood Follies, a made-for-television movie based on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles series, intended for the third season of the show before it was canceled. It was ultimately released on October 15th, 1994 as the 22nd and final chapter of The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones]

  • As the summer continued Indiana was ultimately stuck in New York without a job, until his friend George Gershwin told him that his previous employer George White had a potential opening at Universal Studios.

  • Indiana was soon hired by Carl Laemmle to go to Hollywood and give director and star actor Erich Von Stroheim an ultimatum, that he either finish his latest production in ten days or he shuts down the picture for being grossly over budget. 

  • Once he arrives he’s met by producer Irving Thalberg, who warns Indy about Von Stroheim’s intensity for his work and his eccentricities within his personality. Sure enough, Von Stroheim dismisses Indy without hesitation likening him to no more than an errand boy.

  • Indiana is then introduced by a screenwriter named Claire, whom he almost immediately sparks a romance with. Along with director John Ford, they decide together that several scenes need to be cut in order for the film to work. Before long however more complications arise and Indiana realizes he needs to cut Von Stroheim’s influence on the film altogether, thus he recruits actors Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford to help derail the picture further. 

  • Ultimately within ten days Indiana is able save the film through much creativity and improvisation, yet despite getting Von Stroheim’s respect in return Indiana soon finds out that once again his new job was only temporary.  Dead broke and out of work, Indiana is lucky to tag along with the aforementioned John Ford as he set out to make his next Western film. 

  • On set Indiana is introduced to Ford’s star actor Harry Carey, whom together work to rewrite the lousy script. Indiana is later tasked to find famous lawmen and gunfighter Wyatt Earp to help provide inspiration on the script, who told him stories of the Old West that helped shape the new direction of the film. 

  • Later on during filming an actor is killed in his sleep by a poisonous snake, thus Indy is asked to step in to the role despite no acting experience. Furthermore, with all the stuntmen injured on set Indy is asked to perform the most dangerous role of movie making, and thanks to effects of Claire’s presence and some extra compensation, Indy miraculously performs the stunt at no cost more than a broken leg. 

  • Thus during this adventure in Hollywood, Indiana has close encounters with:

  • Carl Laemmle - German filmmaker who emigrated to the United States in 1884, and actually worked in Chicago as a bookkeeper for twenty years before entering the film industry. After finding success through buying nickelodeons (small theatres based out of storefronts) Laemmie started his own movie industry and became an American film pioneer. He was ultimately one of the founders of Universal Studios who produced and worked on over 400 films, including the Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925) to name a few. In later years he helped financially support hundreds of Jewish immigrants who were fleeing Nazi Germany, paying fees and contacting authorities to help spare them from the Holocaust.

  • Erich von Stroheim - Austrian-American director, actor, and producer, he was a film star and visionary mastermind of the silent era. His adaptation of Frank Norris’ novel McTeague is thought to be one of the most important films ever made (Greed - 1924), yet after clashing with Hollywood executives over his immovable and expensive dedication towards authenticity, von Stroheim was ostracized and banished from the role of director indefinitely. His acting career continued, however, and he became a well respected character actor particularly in French cinema. 

  • Irving Thalberg - American film producer who was born in Brooklyn in 1899 with a congenital heart disease that put his life expectancy at age 30. Sure enough Thalberg did the very most with his time, becoming known as “The Boy Wonder” for his production of successful films, which included a 12 year run at MGM Studios in which he produced over 400 pictures that all put great emphasis on quality - The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923), Ben Hur (1925) & Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) to name a few. A year later he passed away at the age of 37 after complications with pneumonia, which led President Franklin D Roosevelt to say "the world of art is poorer with the passing of Irving Thalberg. His high ideals, insight, and imagination went into the production of his masterpieces.” 

  • John Ford - American film director whose career spanned over 50 years, he directed more than 140 films and is widely regarded as one of the most influential filmmakers of all time. He’s renowned for both Westerns (Stagecoach - 1939) as well as 20th century American classics (The Grapes of Wrath - 1940), and has won the Academy Award for Best Director on four different occasions - still a record to this day.

  • Douglas Fairbanks - American actor, screenwriter, director, & producer and one of the biggest stars of the silent film era, most remembered from The Mark of Zorro (1920),  Robin Hood (1922), and The Thief of Bagdad (1924) to name a few. In 1920, Fairbanks married fellow actress Mary Pickford and together they became Hollywood royalty, emphasized by Fairbanks hosting the first annual Oscars Ceremony in ‘29 as well as being coined “The King of Hollywood” - a title that would later be passed on to Clark Gable

  • Mary Pickford - Canadian born actress and producer, she was one of Hollywood’s earliest stars in the 1910’s & ‘20’s, known in her prime as “America’s Sweetheart,” the “Girl with the Curls,” as well as the “Queen of the Movies,” in which her marriage to fellow star Douglas Fairbanks made them Hollywood’s first celebrity couple. Pickford was one of the original 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, and she was also a recipient of the second Best Actress award ever presented. 

  • Harry Carey - American actor and one of silent film’s earliest superstars, in addition to becoming prominent in Western films including John Ford’s debut Straight Shooting (1917). His most memorable role however was many years later when he played alongside Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939), of which he was nominated for an Academy Award. His son, Harry Carey Jr., would also become a character actor in many of John Ford’s Westerns. 

  • Wyatt Earp - American Old West gambler, deputy sheriff, and deputy marshal who took part in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, during which lawmen took down three outlaw cowboys. Prior to this, Earp was a man of many different occupations, and was often on the wrong side of the law which garnered him a reputation as an “old offender.” By 1874, however, he moved to Kansas with his brother James and started a new life for himself, in which he got his first taste of law enforcement that would soon take him to the historic city of Tombstone, Arizona were his legend began to grow. After the infamous gunfight Earp continued to move all across the United States to either join the Gold Rush or start up numerous ventures of his own (mostly salons), yet his reputation took a major hit when he was rumored to have fixed a heavyweight boxing match in San Francisco. It was only after his posthumous biography Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal came out in 1931 that he achieved international fame, whereas today he is remembered as one of the Old West’s “toughest and deadliest gunman of his day.” 

  • Locations and events depicted in this adventure are the following:

  • Universal Studios - originally Universal Pictures - an American film studio founded in 1912, originally located in Fort Lee, New Jersey before ultimately becoming a major enterprise out in Hollywood, California. 

  • Foolish Wives - American silent film released in 1922, directed by Erich von Stroheim and known as the first million dollar movie, the original run time was somewhere between 6 to 10 hours, yet Universal cut the film dramatically before its release date. 


bottom of page