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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr


Indiana Jones: Mystery of the Blues Indiana Jones
"Mystery of the Blues"
(48:37-1:32:42 on the Mystery of the Blues DVD)
TV episode
Written by Jule Delbo
From a story by George Lucas
Directed by Carl Schultz
Original air date: March 13, 1993

Indy and his buddies Eliot Ness and Ernest Hemingway take it upon themselves to investigate the murder of Big Jim Colosimo. 


Read the "May 11, 1920" and "Mid-May, 1920" entries of the It’s Not the Years, It’s the Mileage Indiana Jones chronology for a summary of this episode


Notes from the Indiana Jones chronology


This episode takes place in Chicago, May 1920.


Didja Know?


    In the United States, this episode only aired as part of a special 2-hour movie event, Young Indiana Jones and the Mystery of the Blues, combining two episodes shot for the second season of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, "Chicago, April 1920" and "Chicago, May 1920", with bookends featuring actor Harrison Ford as a middle-aged Indy in 1950 (in an attempt to boost the series' ratings with the stunt casting). The two episodes only aired individually in the United Kingdom at the time, with the originally-shot Old Indy bookends. As usual for the PopApostle chronology, we have done the studies as two individual episodes. The Harrison Ford bookends are studied separately in the chronology as a mini-adventure in its specified date of 1950.

    The title I've used for this episode, "Mystery of the Blues", is borrowed from the "Mystery of the Blues" title of the TV movie since this episode deals with Indy learning the difference between the musical arts of jazz and the blues, while the first half of the movie ("Mystery of Jazz") deals with Indy learning to play jazz musical stylings.


Notes from the Old Indy bookends of The Young Indiana Chronicles


The Old Indy bookends of this episode take place on Staten Island, presumably around the same time as the bookends of the previous episode, "Mystery of Jazz", March 1993.


When the neighbors complain about the loud music made by the hard rock band of Indy's grandson Spike, Indy pulls the fuse out of the circuit breaker box on the garage where they are practicing. Spike complains, "You don't understand what we're trying to do. Grandpa, we're pushing the envelope," and Indy responds, "I know, I know. Don't think I don't understand. I had some friends in Chicago, 1920 who were licking the gum off envelopes, too." Spike's statement of "pushing the envelope" makes sense from his bands point of view, but I don't know what Indy's "licking the gum off envelopes" is supposed to mean. The hardworking editors at PopApostle have not been able to track down an idiom that matches it.


Old Indy's first few statements of the closing bookend are also the same ones used by Harrison Ford's middle-aged Indy in the bookends of the Mystery of the Blues TV movie version.


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 events of this episode are not covered in the journal as published. It is possible additional pages from this time were excised from the journal by the FSB for some reason when it was in their possession. 


The boxed set of DVDs of the complete The Young Indiana Chronicles TV series has notations and drawings in the storage slot for each disk that suggest they are meant to be excerpts from Indy's journal. Most of these notes and drawings do not appear in the The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones book. Here is the slot image for this episode:



Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode


Old Indy's neighbors

Indiana Jones


Spike's band

Big Jim Colosimo (dies in this episode)

Colosimo's Restaurant waiters


Mike the Pike (mentioned only)

Ceasarino (chef at Colosimo's)

Johnny Torrio

Sidney Bechet

Sidney Bechet's band

Colosimo's Restaurant patrons

Dale Winter

Mickey (mentioned only)

Bix Beiderbecke

University of Chicago professor

hit man


Frank Camilla

Chief of Police John J. Garrity

Chicago police officers


Ernest Hemingway

Ben Hecht

Eliot Ness

Victoria Moresco

Al Capone (aka Al Brown)

Albert Francis "Sonny" Capone

Bill Thompson



Assistant State's Attorney

Dean O'Banion



cafe patrons

cafe employee

Susie Hilton

Susie's friend

Aunt Bessie


wrestling students

wrestling coach

Chicago Examiner Research Library curator

Earl "Hymie" Weiss (mentioned only)

Mr. Sculli





Didja Notice?


As he did in the previous episode ("Mystery of Jazz"), Indy is working as a waiter at Colosimo's Restaurant as he puts himself through college at the University of Chicago. This was a real restaurant at the time, owned by Big Jim Colosimo (1878-1920), who was a real world Italian-American Mafia crime boss in Chicago.


Johnny Torrio is introduced in this episode as the nephew (by marriage) of Colosimo. Torrio (1882-1957) was an Italian-American mobster who helped build the Chicago mob of the '20s and who mentored the soon-to-be notorious Al Capone. Torrio was also the originator of the National Crime Syndicate in 1929, a loosely connected federation of city mobs throughout the United States. Al "Scarface" Capone (1899-1947) shows up later in the episode under the alias Al Brown, which was an alias he actually did use many times during his crime career. Indy previously met Capone (but doesn't seem to remember it here!) in The Metropolitan Violin.


Colosimo introduces the patrons of his restaurant to his new wife, Dale Winter. Dale Winter (1890-1985) was a minor actress and singer who married Colosimo in May 1920. They were married for only a week before Big Jim was assassinated on May 11, as depicted in this episode.


The song Ms. Winter sings on the stage at Colosimo's is "Pretty Baby", written by Tony Jackson around 1912.


At 50:09 on the DVD, Indy tells Bechet and his band members that the Sox won the second game against the Yankees, 3-2, and one of the members remarks, "Don't believe it. The Black Sox couldn't win a foot race with a turtle." "Black Sox" actually refers to the Chicago White Sox Major League baseball team, which was then involved in a scandal accusing eight of the team members of having thrown the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds, becoming known as the "Black Sox Scandal." I have not been able to find a game in the Major League statistics for 1920 (or the bracketing years 1919 and 1921) where the White Sox won a game against the New York Yankees 3-2, let alone in a doubleheader. Also, it is presumably May 11, 1920, as that was the day of Colosimo's murder in history; the White Sox did play the Yankees that day, but not in a doubleheader and the score was 5-6, Yankees!


At the Four Deuces speakeasy, Indy and Bechet bump into Bix Beiderbecke. Beiderbecke (1903-1931) was a jazz cornetist and pianist. His contributions to the art form were important considering his short life and career.


The first tune Bechet's band plays at the Four Deuces this night is "St. Louis Blues". This is a 1914 blues song by African-American composer W. C. Handy, who is considered by some to be the "Father of the Blues".


One of Indy's University of Chicago professors lectures that Pythagoras believed that music was a mathematical exercise. Pythagoras was a Greek philosopher in the 5th Century BC; he believed that mathematics and music went hand-in-hand.


The police car seen outside of Colosimo's Restaurant at 54:49 on the DVD is a 1924 Ford Model T Tudor Sedan.


The Chicago police chief seen here during the Colosimo murder investigation is John J. Garrity. He was the actual chief of police at the time, known for being corrupt. In November 1920 he resigned his position under pressure from Chicago's mayor, Bill Thompson.


Indy's war-time friend Ernest Hemingway (last seen in "To Have and Have Not") shows up as a reporter to get the story on Colosimo's murder, telling Indy he freelances for the "Chicago Trib" now. This is the Chicago Tribune newspaper. Hemingway (1899-1961) was a journalist and later an extremely renowned fiction writer. As far as I can tell, Hemingway never worked for the Tribune though.


Another reporter Indy meets at the scene of the crime is Ben Hecht of the Chicago Daily News. Hecht (1894-1964) was a real world journalist and later went on to become a popular novelist, screenwriter, and playwright. The Chicago Daily News was an actual newspaper of time, from 1875-1978.


As in the previous episode ("Mystery of Jazz"), Indy's dormitory roommate is Eliot Ness, who will go on to become a famed and incorruptible agent of the U.S. Bureau of Prohibition in 1926, leading the team of agents popularly known as the Untouchables. He actually did attend the University of Chicago at this time.


Indy tells Ernest and Eliot that Colosimo's first wife was a madam who convinced Colosimo to get into the brothel business, as they didn't think bootlegging would last because Prohibition would end sooner or later. Colosimo's first wife was Victoria Moresco; she puts in a brief appearance as the grieving and angry divorcee at the wake at Colosimo's Restaurant.


Hemingway calls Ness "Sherlock". This is, of course, a reference to Sherlock Holmes, the legendary fictional detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930).


Ness remarks to Hemingway that he'd like to be majoring in criminology, but he's studying business administration due to his father's pressure. Ness did graduate from the University of Chicago with degrees in political science and business administration in 1925. He returned in 1929 to take a graduate course in criminology.


    At 58:58 on the DVD, an advertising sign for both Thompson's Grocery and Fontella Cigars are seen. As far as I can tell, Thompson's is a fictitious business, but Fontella Cigars was a real world brand at the time (a similar sign for Fontella was seen in "Mystery of Jazz").

    Also in this shot, a sign mounted on the side of a building reads simply, "THX1138"! THX 1138 was a 1971 science-fiction film co-written and directed by George Lucas. Lucas, or those working with him, have often found ways to stick references to the film into his other projects.


At 59:02 on the DVD, the funeral procession drives past Altobellis Bros. Cafe, a fictitious business that was seen in "Mystery of Jazz".


The lead car of the funeral procession carrying a papier-mâché sculpture of Colosimo is a 1918 Paige. Paige was an American manufacturer of luxury automobiles from 1908-1927.


The most well-known funeral march, Chopin's "Marche Funèbre", is played during the procession.


    Indy introduces Hemingway and Ness to Al Brown (Capone), telling them Al is the bartender at Colosimo's speakeasy (the Four Deuces). Capone actually did work as a bartender and bouncer there for a time.

    The boy Capone is holding during the procession is presumably is son Albert Francis "Sonny" Capone (1918–2004).


Among the marchers in the procession are Dean O'Banion and Enrico Caruso. O'Banion (1892-1924) was a Chicago mobster who also owned Schofield's Flowers, as seen later in the episode. Caruso (1873-1921) was an Italian opera performer.


Ness remarks that he saw Caruso do Pagliacci. Pagliacci is an 1892 opera, a tragedy about a comedy troop of clowns composed by Ruggero Leoncavallo. Caruso was famed for his portrayal of Canio in the opera.


Eliot has a chemist friend who works at the Cook County coroner and who gives our heroes some help in their murder investigation. Cook County is the county where Chicago is located in the state of Illinois.


Hemingway asks Hecht and the other reporters gathered at the police station whether Hymie Weiss has an alibi on the day of the murder and Hecht explains that Weiss was at his kid's first communion. Earl "Hymie" Weiss (1898-1926) was a Polish-American mobster who became one of the leaders of the North Side Gang in Chicago. PopApostle has been unable to confirm whether Weiss had any children or was even married. Our private detective is still investigating.


At the cafe at 1:04:49 on the DVD, Indy and Eliot bump into Susie Hilton. She previously appeared in "Mystery of Jazz".


At the cafe, we learn that Eliot's aunt who likes to fix dinner for him and Indy, previously mentioned in "Mystery of Jazz", is "Aunt Bessie". PopApostle has not been able to confirm whether Ness actually had an Aunt Bessie. Again, our private detective is still making inquiries. 


For the investigation, Hemingway visits the Chicago Examiner Research Library. The Chicago Examiner was a Chicago newspaper under a number of different names from 1901-1974.


Hemingway asks the Chicago Examiner Research Library curator to order some back issues of the New York Times. The curator explains that he needs to fill out a form for what he needs and then they will be telegraphed for and put on the 20th Century Limited from New York to Chicago for delivery. The 20th Century Limited was a passenger express train that ran between Grand Central Station in New York City to LaSalle Station in Chicago from 1902-1967.


Indy thinks that the deliverer of a shipment of bootleg that was supposed to arrive at Colosimo's Restaurant is the murderer and Ness remarks that once they find out who that was they can tell the police and he can be arrested for both the murder and violation of the Volstead Act. The Volstead Act was an informal name for the National Prohibition Act, named for the most prominent supporter of the act in Congress, Representative Andrew Volstead.


At 1:11:15 on the DVD, an advertising poster for something called Firno's is seen in Mr. Sculli's office at Colosimo's Restaurant.


In the basement of Colosimo's, Indy finds bootleg Black Fox whisky in crates marked Cristo's Lemonade Co. Cristo's appears to be a fictitious cover name. A couple of online auction sites have sellers who seem to think Black Fox was an actual whiskey brand of the early 20th Century, selling "excellent" and "9+" condition labels of this "antique" brand, but I suspect these are prop labels made for TV and film. PopApostle has found no other evidence of a real world Black Fox Whiskey brand.


About to set out to investigate a hunch about the bootlegging and murder of Colosimo, Hemingway, finding Ness' unremitting forthrightness, honesty, and adherence to law and authority irritating, tells Indy, "Let's go before he starts The Pledge of Allegiance." The Pledge of Allegiance is a short patriotic verse often recited in public schoolrooms in the United States.


Using Aunt Bessie's car (another 1924 Ford Model T) to drive to the alleged bootlegger's warehouse, Eliot tells Indy and Hemingway that he promised her he would have the car back by the next morning so she can go to Junior League. Junior League is a nonprofit women's volunteer organization in existence since 1901 for improving communities and encouraging cultural, social, and political values.


At 1:15:48 on the DVD, the first drawer Ness searches in at the warehouse has a bill lading from the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad Co. This was a real world railroad company from 1882–1946.


At 1:16:10 on the DVD, a mobster at the warehouse fires an M1928 Thompson submachine gun at Indy, Ness, and Hemingway. At 1:16:24, another mobster fires a Winchester Model 1897 shotgun at them.


The Cristo Lemonade Co. truck seen at the warehouse at 1:17:28 on the DVD is yet another Ford Model T.


The shot at 1:22:00 on the DVD is a reused shot from "Winds of Change", with a new background and the "Princeton Hardware" sign removed and replaced with an "O'Banion's" flower shop sign. This building is actually the Roudabush Cafe at 33 South Front Street in Wilmington, NC. The flower shop owned by O'Banion was called Schofield's in the real world, not O'Banion's.


O'Banion remarks that he had worked at McGovern's cabaret as a singer in his youth and was a choir boy at church. It is true that he was a waiter and singer at McGovern's Saloon in Chicago and a former choir boy.


The episode ends with Johnny Torrio seemingly as the most likely suspect as the murderer of Colosimo, but police chief Garrity refuses to pursue it. In reality, the murder was never solved, with the most likely suspects being Torrio, Capone, or Colosimo's ex-wife. 


Memorable Dialog


licking the gum off envelopes.mp3

the "no one appreciates how good I am" sound.mp3

the difference between jazz and the blues.mp3

a mathematical exercise to honor the gods.mp3

you know, you're not very funny.mp3

haven't you ever thought of asking me out?.mp3

let's go before he starts the Pledge of Allegiance.mp3

remind me to kill you.mp3

take this advice, boyos.mp3

time for you to play the blues.mp3 


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