Raiders of the Lost Ark

Film on Friday

Raiders of the Lost Ark.jpg

Okay.  So.  We love movies here at the American Treasure Tour.  We'd like to think we have a healthy interest in them, but we're not so sure it doesn't border on obsessive passion for them. And there's a film franchise out there that has grabbed (most of) us by the heart and hasn't let go since the first movie in the series appeared in movie theaters in 1981. An announcement was made not so long ago that a fifth movie will be released next year dedicated to one of the most memorable, likable film characters ever created for our entertainment.  Of course, we're referring to Indiana Jones, the archaeologist/adventurer unforgettably portrayed by Harrison Ford. 

Raiders of the Lost Ark was an homage to old adventure films, and director Steven Spielberg brought George Lucas' story to life so effectively that Jones has become practically an institution in and of himself. (The last time your favorite blog's author visited the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History and saw Indy's original fedora and whip, he practically gurgled with glee!). There are now four films in the Indiana Jones franchise - and Spielberg, Ford and Lucas have promised we will see a fifth by 2020 - and the American Treasure Tour appreciates this beloved hero as much as the next guy (as well as the movies, to varying degrees. Check out our posters next time you come to see us!

The Wilhelm Scream

Last Thursday, we referenced something called the "Wilhelm Scream."  We're sorry to have made you wait through what must have been a painfully long weekend to discover what we were talking about - but how better to celebrate a return to the office than to learn about an iconic sound!

We call it iconic, but does it merit that distinction? In our humble opinion - absolutely! The 'scream' was first recorded in 1951 for a film called Distant Drums when an unnamed character was dragged into a swamp and eaten by an alligator.  Then, the scream was used again in 1953 for a now all-but-forgotten western called The Charge at Feather River. 

When one of the characters in the film gets shot with an arrow, he screams then falls off his horse. The character is known as Private Wilhelm, which is how it got to be known as the Wilhelm Scream. It became part of stock audio - used and re-used and re-re-used over the years. Then, it was kind of forgotten by the early 1970's.

Screaming Stormtrooper

Screaming Stormtrooper

A sound engineer named Ben Burtt resurrected the Wilhelm Scream for a little movie he was working on called Star Wars. George Lucas, creator of the film, liked Burtt, and hired him for other movies in the franchise, as he also did for a film he called Raiders of the Lost Ark. Now, the Scream is used as an in-joke, and insider's in-joke, and as a straightforward scream in lots of different movies and tv shows.

Didja know:
-   It's believed that the actor/novelty song musician Sheb Wooley, singer of the classic song "Purple People Eater" originally recorded the Wilhelm Scream?