Those who know me, know I love movies. Those who know me well, know I love Raiders of the Lost Ark. Those who know me best, know I used run around the house wearing nothing but my underwear and blanket tied around my neck, cascading down my back, and answered to the name Super Ginch. But enough about last month.
My love affair with Raiders started at an early age. Let me just add something quickly. I am talking about Raiders of the Lost Ark, not Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark as it’s been re-titled for various recent releases. Anyhow, the first time I saw Raiders was when it was first released on VHS. I was 8, and I saw it was at school on the last day before Christmas break. There was no PG-13 rating yet so there wasn’t any issue with showing a bunch of elementary schoolers melting faces without parental consent.
One of the things I remember during my first viewing was just a simple giving of misinformation from one of the teachers. There’s the scene when the villain with the eye batch poisons the dates. The Capuchin monkey then steals one from the bowl and is later found dead right before Indy consumes the date he had. I remember Mr. Wong stating that the monkey had eaten a bad olive. I recall thinking, “Hey stupid, those aren’t olives. The guy just said they were dates”. Nothing earth-shattering. I was 8, what do you want from me? I enjoyed the movie well enough and after school I went home only to discover that my parents had rented the movie for us to view that same night. I watched it again and I was hooked.
Six months later or so, my folks decided to buy our first VCR. We had been renting one up to that point because that’s what you did back then. We ventured to the local Radio Shack to peruse the selections. It was finally decided that we’d get a front-loading VHS player with a corded remote for the reasonable price of only $800.
We set it up as soon as we got home. Upon providing it with some power, I noticed that the tape-in light was on. I hit the eject button and out popped a blank VHS tape with the word “Raiders” written on the front label. We were a tad surprised and my mother was a tad skeptical that it really was the movie. I asked her if it was the movie, could I watch it? She said sure thinking that it couldn’t be the movie and it was a nice day out so she would have preferred me to be playing outside. We put the tape back in, pressed play and low and behold, it was indeed Raiders. It has been a factory-sealed box and inside was possibly one of the first pirated copies of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Please, I implore you. Don’t rat me out to INTERPOL. That became the first movie we ever owned and I watched the hell out of it.
I don’t watch it as frequently anymore. I try to pop it in every couple of years. And every time I’m reminded of its greatness. It’s still fresh, my favourite scenes still resonate and it’s still pure entertainment. I know I have since seen better movies in my lifetime, but Raiders will forever be at the top of my list.