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Retro Scans - 1984 Indiana Jones Temple of Doom Wax Pack by Topps

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was the 1984 follow-up to the 1981 hit action-adventure film Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Directed by Steven Spielberg and based on a story by George Lucas, this second installment in the Indiana Jones series was actually a prequel to the first film.  Harrison Ford reprises his role as the titular character, but this second film adds Kate Capshaw as the new leading lady, Willie Scott.  The film also included Ke Huy Quan in his debut as Indy's sidekick, Short Round.  

Temple of Doom has always felt like two films to me.  At first, there is the suave Indy at a ritzy Chinese nightclub.  Indy and Willie then find themselves on a doomed airplane and arrive at a palace in British-controlled India with mysterious hallways and midnight assassins.  Then, the second half of the movie (which very well could be its own movie) sees Indiana Jones tasked by desperate villagers to find a mystical stone and rescue their children from a cult that practices child slavery, black magic, and ritual sacrifices in honor of the goddess Kali. 

Lucas and Spielberg said they both weren't eager to again feature Nazis as the villain, so Lucas chose to place the movie earlier in Indiana Jones' history, effectively making it a prequel to Raiders.  Three stories were rejected by the team of Lucas and Speilberg before arriving at the final plot.  Lawrence Kasdan, the collaborator and co-writer of Raiders of the Lost Ark, turned down the offer to write this script, calling the plot "horrible" and "mean" with "nothing pleasant about it."  So, Lucas turned to Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, whom he'd worked with on American Graffiti in 1973.  

Temple of Doom, originally called Temple of Death, was released on May 23, 1984, to a financial success of $333.1 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film of 1984.  Initial critical reviews were mixed, with criticisms of the intense violence and gore compared to the original Raiders.  

After complaints about Temple of Doom and Gremlins (which Spielberg produced and was released two weeks after Temple), Spielberg suggested the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) alter its rating system.  Within two months of the movie's release, the MPAA debuted a new age rating:  PG-13.  

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score and won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.  

A third movie in the franchise and a sequel to Raiders, titled Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, followed in 1989.  Spielberg later said that when approached to direct Raiders of the Lost Ark, Lucas had told him that if he agreed to do one, he'd have to do the trilogy.  However, at the time, unknown to Spielberg, George Lucas didn't have three different stories in mind, and they were forced to make them up as they went.  

In subsequent years, both George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have attributed the much darker tone of Temple of Doom to their own moods at the time following difficulties in their personal life.  Also, Spielberg insisted that Temple should have been a darker film anyway, in the way that Empire Strikes Back was the darker second act of the Star Wars trilogy.  

In developing the story, Spielberg wanted to bring Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) back and possibly use her father, Abner Ravenwood, who was mentioned in the first film.  Lucas' first idea included an opening chase scene with Indiana Jones on a motorcycle atop the Great Wall of China, followed by discovering a "Lost World" with a hidden valley still inhabited by dinosaurs.  

A second idea was to feature the Monkey King (from the 16th-century novel "Journey to the West").  However, Chinese authorities refused permission to film in the country, which required a different setting and plot.  Lucas also reportedly also had an idea that included a haunted old castle in Scotland, but Spielberg felt it was too similar to other horror films, so the film was moved to a demonic temple in India.  

George Lucas also reportedly wanted Indiana's sidekick in the film to be a young virginal princess, but both writers and Spielberg vetoed the idea.  When Short Round was created, he was named after writer Willard Huyck's dog, much like Indiana Jones was named after Lucas's Alaskan Malamute.  Willie's character was named after Spielberg's Cocker Spaniel.

As a child, this movie terrified me.  The heart-stealing scene was enough to make me sleep with the lights on for several days!  In ranking the films, this would be my third favorite, with Raiders in the top spot, followed by Crusade.  Dial of Destiny would be fourth, and Crystal Skull would be last. 

Please enjoy these images of 40-year-old trading cards!  As always, feel free to click on each image for a larger version.


  1. Wow, we’re up to 40 years now. Feeling so old…

    Are the pics of the cards from your personal collection?

  2. Yep. I have a giant Rubbermaid bin full of old wax packs and other trading cards that I occasionally rummage through and pull out a few to open and see what I find.

  3. That is impressive. I saw the one with the stick of gum and was like… no way.

    As for Indy, my dad was a huge fan. I liked the movies, but preferred Star Wars over Indy.

    I agree with your assessment of the movies, though - how Temple feels like two separate movies rolled into one, and the order you ranked them (except for the most recent film - I haven’t seen that one yet, so can’t really rank it myself).