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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr


Indiana Jones: Oganga, The Giver and Taker of Life Indiana Jones
"Oganga, The Giver and Taker of Life"
(Originally TV episode "Congo, January 1917")
(46:08-end on the Oganga, the Giver and Taker of Life DVD)
Written by Frank Darabont
Story by George Lucas
Directed by Simon Wincer
Bookends directed by Carl Schultz
Original air date: April 8, 1992

In the heart of Africa, Indy’s platoon meets Dr. Albert Schweitzer.


Read the "January 1917" entry 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 the Congo, January 1917.


Didja Know?


The title I've used for this episode ("Oganga, The Giver and Taker of Life") is taken from the title of the DVD movie, The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Oganga, The Giver and Taker of Life. This episode originally aired as "Congo, January 1917". 


Notes from the Old Indy bookends of The Young Indiana Chronicles


The bookends of this episode are a continuation of the ones begun in "Trek of Doom", with Old Indy continuing his African Congo story of WWI in a conversation with his doctor.


Dr. Jeffers remarks to Indy that with the number of young people shooting each other and being brought to the hospital for treatment, he feels like the little Dutch boy trying to plug holes with his fingers while the whole dam collapses around him. This is a reference to a short story that appears within the 1865 novel Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates by American author Mary Mapes Dodge. The story has a Dutch boy plugging a hole in a dyke with his finger and remaining there all night to prevent flooding to his village until his fellow villagers find him in the morning and fix the dyke.


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 boxed set of DVDs of the complete The Young Indiana Jones 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:


The events of this episode are not covered in the journal as published. The pages jump from August 1916 ("Trenches of Hell") to November 1918 and the end of the war (The Treasure of the Peacock’s Eye). 


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode


Indiana Jones

Dr. Ernest Jeffers

wounded little girl

Remy Baudouin

Colonel Pernod

Private Zimu

Colonel Mathieu (mentioned only)

Major Boucher (mentioned only, deceased)

French Army gendarme

Zachariah Sloat

Private Juba (dies in this episode)

Joseph Azowani

Dr. Albert Schweitzer

Helene Schweitzer

Pahouin Chief
Pahouin Chief's son

Louis Schweitzer (Dr. Schweitzer's father, mentioned only)

Captain Emile Rostand

French Sergeant


wounded little girl's parents 




Didja Notice?


As in "Trek of Doom", the scenes in Port Gentil were shot at Lamu, Kenya and Lamu Fort.


The sign on the exterior wall of the French building Indy and Remy walk out of at 47:06 on the DVD reads "QUARTIER GÉNÉRAL, PORT GENTIL." Quartier général is French for "headquarters".


The tricolor blue, white, and red flag of France is seen outside the French Army headquarters in Port Gentil at 47:13 on the DVD. It is also seen on Sloat's steamer.


Arguing with Remy about going back up the river to deliver the newly-acquired guns to the Belgian Army in East Africa, Indy tells him that Colonel Mathieu and Major Boucher put their faith in him to get those guns delivered. This occurred in "Trek of Doom".


Indy's boat is taken in by the men at Albert Schweitzer Hospital on the Ogooué river (first glimpsed in "Trek of Doom"). Dr. Schweitzer's assistant Joseph Azowani was also a real life figure, though very little is known about him. Albert Schweitzer Hospital opened in 1913. The primitive hospital village seen here was a set built for shooting the two episodes on the bank of the Tana River in Kenya.


As the camera approaches Indy's hospital bed at 54:21 on the DVD, notice that the water in the glass sitting on top of a crate next to the bed quivers. Then it stops when the camera stops. It seems the water was intercepting the vibrations of the camera operator's footsteps!


    When Dr. Schweitzer comes upon him trying to rewire the detonator on the boat, Indy grabs up a rifle and says, "Back away, Fritz, I'm taking this boat and leaving." "Fritz" was a common derogative nickname given to German troops by the Entente powers during WWI.

    The rifle Indy picks up appears to be a Mauser Gewehr 1898. 


When Indy tells him he's staying on the boat, Schweitzer exclaims, "Mein Gott, was fur idiot! So ein holzkopf!" This is German for "My God, what an idiot! Such a blockhead!"


Dr. Schweitzer's wife was Helene Schweitzer (1879-1957), a medical missionary, nurse, social worker, sociologist, and feminist.


Helene greets Indy with "Guten abend," and tea. "Guten abend," is German for "Good evening."


Dr. Schweitzer jokingly gives Indy a couple new nicknames, "Captain Dynamite" and "Scourge of the Kaiser". Kaiser, of course, is the German word for "emperor".


Remy loses two toes due to jiggers in this episode. Jiggers are a very tiny species of flea whose female members burrow under the skin.


When Indy apologizes to Remy for making his remaining men begin the deadly return trek to Belgian East Africa, Remy says, "C'est la vie." This is French for "That's life."


    During Indy's dinner with the Schweitzers, Dr. Schweitzer plays a Bach piece on piano and his wife boasts that he was a renowned recitalist and lecturer and held degrees in philosophy, theology, and medicine and had written books on all those subjects. This is true.

    Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was a renowned German composer. The bust on Schweitzer's piano appears to be of Bach. The piece Schweitzer plays here is "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring"; versions of this piece are heard intermittently throughout the rest of the episode.


The three books Indy spies on the Schweitzers' bookshelf, J.S. Bach, Bach: Musician and Poet, and Paul and his Interpreters are all actual books written by Dr. Schweitzer.


Explaining why he's in Africa doing what he's doing, Dr. Schweitzer tells Indy that one's talents must be applied " the service of humanity. God gives us talents for that very purpose. Not to use them is the gravest sin of all." Indy rejoins, "Moses must have left that one out." He is referring, of course, to the ten commandments given by God to Moses at Mt. Sinai in the Old Testament of the Bible.


When Dr. Schweitzer gives his pebble analogy, he ends with, "I save you. Nicht wahr?" Nicht wahr is German for "Is that not true?"


When Dr. Schweitzer asks Indy if he plays piano, Indy responds that he had lessons but he was not very good and they proceed to play "Chopsticks" (from 1877, by Euphemia Allen). In "Enough is Barely Living", Indy told Giacomo Puccini that he'd had lessons from a Mrs. Schwartz.


As Schweitzer and Indy get into playing piano, Schweitzer announces to his observing wife, "And now, meine Damen und Herren, we present the finest duet recital in the whole province of Gabon." Meine Damen und Herren is German for "ladies and gentlemen." Gabon was a province of French Equatorial Africa; in 1960, it became an independent republic.


Indy volunteers Sloat's steamboat, the Collette, to take Dr. Schweitzer upriver to tend to the son of the chief of the Pahouin tribe. The Pahouin are an actual tribe in Central Africa. They engage in the practice of sharpening their teeth into points as seen here.


At 1:07:37 on the DVD, the Collette takes off upriver (against the flow) as it should to travel to the Pahouin village. But, at 1:07:48, the boat is shown moving downriver (with the flow). It could be that this sequence was meant to take place originally on the return trip to the hospital but was moved in post-production to tighten up the story flow. In the comic book adaptation, this scene and the later "Reverence for Life" scene are together, during the boat's return trip.


Dr. Schweitzer tells Indy that his father (Louis Schweitzer, a Lutheran pastor) wrote to him recently of a French effort to capture a German position in the Lingenkopf, which is a mountain nearby. There were several battles around the Lingenkopf area.


The "Reverence for Life" philosophy Dr. Schweitzer tells Indy he's formulated is one that won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952. He wrote about this philosophy in the 1923 book Civilization and Ethics. A basic understanding of "Reverence for Life" is that good consists in maintaining, assisting, and enhancing life (evil is that which seeks to destroy, to harm, or to hinder life). As he tells Indy here, he actually did become inspired by this "Reverence for Life" concept while travelling down the Ogooué River in 1915.


    Captain Rostand informs the Schweitzers and Indy that all German nationals in French territory are to be deported back to Europe by order of Senator Clemenceau. Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929) was an influential senator of the town of Draguignan, France and was a former (and future) prime minister of France.

    Although the forced evacuation of the Schweitzers actually did take place, it was not until November 1917, not January as seen here.


Indy tells Captain Rostand that the Collette is filled with weapons bound for Lake Tanganyika and which are desperately needed for the assault on Tabora and he wants Rostand's men to provide an escort east. Lake Tanganyika is a large lake covering parts of Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, and Zambia. Indy has his men cross going westward to pick up the weapons in "Trek of Doom" (the then-upcoming assault on Tabora was also mentioned in that episode). In the real world, the actual assault on Tabora took place in September.


It's hard to read, but it looks like the name on the front of the French patrol boat that arrives at the hospital dock to take the Schweitzer's away is La Vaillante (The Valiant). 


Notes from the comic book adaptation of this episode

The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles #8
Dark Horse Comics
Script by Dan Barry
Pencils by Gordon Purcell
Inks by Ian Akin
Letters by Gail Beckett
Colors by Rachelle Menashe
September 1992


Didja Notice?


On page 3, Remy says "Mon Dieu!" This is French for "My God!"


On page 5, Remy shouts at imaginary enemies, "Salauds!" This is French for "Bastards!"


On page 6, Indy says, "Adieu, Remy...bon ami...adi...?!!" This is French for "Farewell, Remy...good friend...(farewell)...?!!"


On page 6, Joseph says, "Hiemand bewegt sich. Ich glaube sie sind alle tot!" This is German for "No one moves. I think they're all dead!"


On page 8, Dr. Schweitzer says, "Bringt die lebenden den hugel hinauf. Verbrennt die toten!" This is German for "Bring the living up the hill. Burn the dead!"


On page 9, Indy hears piano music in the hospital and recognizes it as Bach's "Sheep Shall Safely Graze". This is a 1713 soprano aria by Johann Sebastian Bach set to words by Salomon Franck. On page 11, Indy hears another Bach piece on piano, "Partita in a A Minor".


Page 17 reveals that Dr. Schweitzer's pastor father lives in Gunsbach. Gunsbach is a village in north-eastern France. Dr. Schweitzer grew up there when the region was still part of the German Empire.


On page 23, after Indy is told that the weapons are now needed back in France instead, Old Indy's narration reflects on the lives lost on the expedition to get the guns in the first place, such as a hundred Askari, Barthelemy, Boucher, and Lafleur. These deaths took place in "Trek of Doom".


On page 24, Dr. Schweitzer says, "Auf wiedersehen, soldier." Auf wiedersehen is German for "goodbye".


Memorable Dialog


a Belgian salute.mp3

I didn't want my feet accused of desertion.mp3

back away, Fritz.mp3

the explosion would wake up my wife.mp3

he hates to brag and so I must do it for him.mp3

because it's needed.mp3

Moses must have left that one out.mp3

gathering pebbles on a beach.mp3

your sacred duty in this life (edited).mp3

the war in Europe.mp3

a currency value on human life.mp3

life which wills to live.mp3

most of all.mp3

reverence is a state of mind.mp3

I don't have to take orders from a Belgian.mp3

I thought I was becoming a person I could respect.mp3

a little subversion is good for the soul.mp3

the deepest thanks.mp3

it was a great pleasure meeting you, Mr. Jones.mp3


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