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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr


Indiana Jones: Race to Danger Indiana Jones
"Race to Danger"
(Originally TV episode "Princeton, 1916")
(0:00-42:36 on the Spring Break Adventure DVD)
Written by Matthew Jacobs
Directed by Joe Johnston
Bookends directed by Carl Schultz
Original air date: March 20, 1993

Teenage Indy lives through a real-life Tom Swift adventure in New Jersey.


Read the "Late February, 1916" and "February 26, 1916" 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 February 1916.  


Didja Know?


The title of this episode ("Race to Danger") is taken from the title of the junior novelization of the episode.


This is one of a handful of episodes that does not give a story credit to George Lucas, crediting only the teleplay by Matthew Jacobs. However, the junior novelization of this episode states that it is based on the teleplay by Jacobs and story by Lucas.


This episode guest-stars Robyn Lively as Indy's teenage girlfriend, Nancy. Robyn Lively is also known to PopApostle readers as Lana Milford of Twin Peaks.


Notes from the Old Indy bookends of The Young Indiana Chronicles


The gas station seen here was shot at 2039 Carolina Beach Road, Wilmington NC.


The green car Indy drives looks to be a 1950s era Plymouth, possibly a 1950 Special Deluxe.


The blue monster truck is possibly a Chevy, but hard to tell. 


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 journal as published skips over this incident in Indy's life.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode


Indiana Jones

Myrtle (monster truck)

Myrtle's owner

Myrtle (mentioned only, truck owner's wife, deceased)

Henry Jones, Sr.

Nancy Stratemeyer

Edward Stratemeyer




Jewel Williams

Dr. Bowman

Dr. John Thompson

Mrs. Thompson

Thomas Edison

Mrs. Brennan

Mr. Dickinson

police officers

Captain Frank Brady

Mrs. Stratemeyer

John Henderson





Didja Notice?


Edward Stratemeyer's car is a 1921 Bugatti Type 22 Brescia. Of course, this episode takes place in 1916, so this particular car shouldn't exist yet!


    Edward Stratemeyer, the father of Indy's girlfriend Nancy, is an actual historical figure who wrote over a thousand books for juveniles under various pen names. He is best known as the author of the original Tom Swift, Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew novels.

    Although Stratemeyer had two daughters, neither were named Nancy. Presumably, the character was added here to suggest that this daughter was Stratemeyer's inspiration for the later Nancy Drew character and "isn't it cool" that Indy dated Nancy Drew!


The home of Indy and his father seen here in Princeton is the same location seen at the beginning of "My First Adventure", 117 South 4th Street, Wilmington, NC.


The car that drives by at 9:53 on the DVD as Indy and his father are walking along the sidewalk is a 1922 Ford Model T.


The car seen parked on the street at 1:08 on the DVD is a 1913 Ford Model T Tourer.


Indy's high school exterior was shot at Tileston School at 412 Ann Street in Wilmington, NC.


At 1:30 on the DVD, Indy's place of work as a soda jerk is Harper's Pharmacy in Princeton. This appears to be a fictitious establishment. The car that drives past in this shot is a 1923 Ford Model T.


Indy and Nancy are looking forward to attending their high school junior prom. It's unusual for a prom to be held in February, but not completely out of possibility. Proms are usually held close to the end of the school year, in May or June, typically.


    In this episode, Indy reads the 1910 juvenile novel Tom Swift and His Electric Runabout. The text pages from the book seen as Indy is reading are actual pages from the novel.

    A couple of the cars seen as Indy imagines the race he's reading about are a 1920 Miller (designed and built by race car designer Harry Miller) and a 1931 Brisko-Atkinson Special (see the Internet Movie Cars Database).


Butch's car is a 1912 Ford Model T.


Rosie gives Indy looks as if she has a crush on him.


At 3:46 on the DVD, an advertising poster for Sozodont is seen hanging behind the soda bar. Sozodont was an oral hygiene product from 1859 through the early 20th Century.


Nancy reluctantly tells Indy that her father's Bugatti wouldn't start that morning and it's going to have to be taken to New York a week later to be fixed.


At 5:10 on the DVD, a couple of Stratemeyer's books are seen at his writing desk as he types. One is 1911's Tom Swift and His Sky Racer and the other is 1913's The Bobbsey Twins at School. At 6:42, a cover sheet of 1912's Tom Swift in the City of Gold is seen.


When Indy and Nancy go to talk her father about the malfunctioning Bugatti, Mr. Stratemeyer is working on his latest novel in which Tom Swift is stuck in an Incan tomb, surrounded by rocket rangers, and his stun gun doesn't work. This is a description of events in Tom Swift and His Big Tunnel, which was actually published in the year our story takes place, 1916. Here, Indy gives Stratemeyer an assist with the plot by his description of Hiram Bingham's account of the discovery of ruins in Machu Picchu that he read about in National Geographic. Hiram Bingham III (1875-1956) was an explorer and politician who discovered the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu in 1911. He made return trips to the site for further research through 1915, supported by the National Geographic Society. I'm not sure if Indy's statement that Bingham believed there might be tunnels under the ruins is true; I've found no real indication of that while researching it, but engineers do suspect the visible ruins sit upon an underground drainage and foundation system to support it.


Indy tells Mr. Stratemeyer that the Williams Brothers Garage at the edge of town may be able to fix the Bugatti if anybody can. Williams Brothers Garage appears to be a fictitious business in Princeton. The novelization of this episode states that the garage had been opened by Jack Williams, a friend Indy's father. Jack had died a few years back, but his brother Bert kept the business running, with Jack's daughter Jewel becoming a crackerjack mechanic there as well. The 16-year old Jewell is the friend Indy mentions to Stratemeyer who he thinks can fix the car.


The Williams Brothers Garage was shot at 134 Main Street in Wallace, NC.


At the Williams Brothers Garage, advertising signs for Polarine oils and greases, Buzzell, and Autoline Oil are seen. Polarine was an actual company at the time and Buzzell was a carburetor and auto electric manufacturer founded in 1920.


Indy refers to Butch's Model T as a tin lizzy. "Tin lizzy" was a common nickname for the Model T automobile...but not until 1922!


    Professor Jones' friend Dr. John Thompson has left his research position at Princeton University to work for Thomas Edison's company, designing inventions. At the end of the episode, Thompson turns out to be the guilty party who stole Edison's plans for an automobile electric battery in order to sell it to an oil company. Thompson appears to be a fictitious figure. Thomas Edison (1847-1931), on the other hand, was a world-renown inventor and businessman, producing many electric products, including a low-cost, long-lasting electric light bulb; he also owned a battery manufacturing company.

    It's possible that Professor Jones' comment that a long-lasting automobile battery like the one Edison wants to invent would put the oil companies out of business is what prompted Thompson to pull of his heist of the plans.


Thompson remarks that Henry Ford believes in the Edison battery enough to pay for the research. Henry Ford (1863-1947) was the founder of Ford Motor Company, who helped perfect the assembly line manufacturing process of automobiles. Although Ford and Edison had various business cooperations over the decades, I'm not aware of Ford financing battery research through Edison.


The novelization reveals that the woman who says, "John's a genius," at the dinner party is Thompson's wife.


Dr. Thompson agrees to have one of his assistants fix the Bugatti generator for Indy at Edison's West Orange laboratory. Edison actually did have a laboratory there, now Thomas Edison National Historical Park.


Van Hoecht's Poultry Farms seen through the cabin window on Indy and Nancy's train ride to West Orange appears to be a fictitious business. It plays a role later in the episode as well.


At 12:35 on the DVD, a 1920 Ford Model T is seen on the Edison Laboratories lot.


The racecar Indy sees being tested on the Edison lot is a modified Model T.


The van Dr. Thompson is "kidnapped" in is another Model T.


The novelization reveals that Dr. Thompson's assistant is a Mr. Dickinson.


Dickinson says he heard German being spoken during the kidnapping of Dr. Thompson and one phrase used was something like "Schnell die huhnchen" or "Schnell die bauerchen." If it was "Schnell die bauerchen", the translation is "Quick the babies." If it was "Schnell die huhnchen", it is "Quick the chickens." Despite the translations of given to us by Captain Brady and Indy in the episode, "burping" doesn't seem to have anything to do with the phrase.


Edison remarks that the president will need to be told about the theft (see the notes for the novelization below about the Naval Consulting Board). The president of the U.S. at the time was Woodrow Wilson.


Flut and ebbe are German for high and low tide, as Indy states after Dr. Thompson tells Captain Brady he heard the kidnappers say those words.


During dinner at the Stratemeyer house, Mr. Stratemeyer expresses admiration for Edison, pointing out some more of his inventions, such as the dictation machine (actually the phonograph) and the kinetoscope.


Indy and Nancy go to Bayonne, New Jersey to track down the kidnappers at the coast.


Captain Brady is armed with a Smith & Wesson Model M1917 revolver and his fellow officer at the beach with an unidentified rifle.


The novelization reveals that the book Professor Jones has propped open in front of him at the dinner table at 27:24 on the DVD is The Canterbury Tales. The Canterbury Tales is a 14th Century collection of stories compiled by Geoffrey Chaucer.


At 29:09 on the DVD, the train Indy and Nancy debark from back in Bayonne for the night is engine 250. This engine is on display at the Wilmington Railroad Museum.


The New Jersey Fuel & Oil Company seen in this episode appears to be fictitious.


At 29:59 on the DVD, the night watchman at the New Jersey Fuel & Oil refinery says goodnight to a late-working employee who is finally leaving. The guard calls him John. In the novelization, the guard calls him Mr. Henderson, so the man was presumably John Henderson. The truck this man drives is a 1925 Gotfredson. Gotfredson was a truck manufacturer from 1920-1948.


At 32:26 on the DVD, the cover of the Edison automobile battery appears to indicate it would be a nickel-alkaline type battery.


The first car to drive through the refinery grounds at 33:16 on the DVD remains unidentified. The second car appears to be a 1926 Dodge Brothers four-door sedan.


At 34:28 on the DVD, the German agent wields what appears to be a Luger pistol.


The car Indy and Nancy take from the Edison grounds to chase after Dr. Thompson is a 1925 Ford Model T Runabout with New Jersey license plate 25890. Somehow, Indy starts the car with no one turning the hand crank!


    During the car chase, Indy sees the direction in which Dr. Thompson is driving and tells Nancy he knows a shortcut, at which point he drives their borrowed Model T over a rickety bridge and down a short embankment to cut off the doctor. But how would Indy know about a shortcut in West Orange when he lives in Princeton, about 50 miles away??

    In the novelization, Indy just sees a fork in the road and takes the one Dr. Thompson didn't take, hoping it might be a shortcut! Neither version is very logical story-telling!


Although Rosie had said near the beginning of the episode that she wouldn't go out with Butch if he were the last man on Earth, she is seen as his date to the junior prom at the end.



Young Indiana Jones Chronicles: Race to Danger book cover Notes from the junior novelization of this episode, Race to Danger by Stephanie Calmenson

(The page numbers come from the 1st printing, 1993)


Characters appearing or mentioned in this novel, not in the episode


Mr. Harper 

Coach Patterson (mentioned only)

Butch's father (mentioned only)




Jack Williams (mentioned only, deceased)

Bert Williams (mentioned only)

Jewel Williams' mother (mentioned only, deceased)

Anna Jones (mentioned only, deceased)

Dr. Shaw

Miss Seymour (mentioned only)

Officer Ryan

Kurt (alleged German agent)

Herman (alleged German agent)

math teacher 


Didja Notice?


    Page 3 states that the Princeton Press had been running front page stories about the heat wave for the past three days. While there was a local newspaper by that name at the time (1873-1916), it was a weekly, so it could not have run those stories three days in a row!

    I have not been able to find any evidence of a heat wave in Princeton in 1916 historically. A heat wave is not mentioned in the televised episode, though the scenes look reasonably warm. It may be that author Stephanie Calmenson added the heat wave element to explain why the soda fountain/ice cream bar Indy works at should be so busy in February!


In the book, Indy works at Harper's Ice Cream Parlor instead of Harper's Pharmacy as in the televised episode.


On page 4, Mr. Harper hums his favorite song "In the Good Old Summertime". This is a real world song first published in 1902.


Instead of Tom Swift and His Electric Runabout as in the televised episode, Indy is reading Tom Swift and His Amazing Electric Car. There has never been a Tom Swift novel by this title. It seems the author or publisher decided to simplify the title here to make it more understandable to young readers, as the plot described seems to be the same as Tom Swift and His Electric Runabout (though the excerpted dialog from the novel on pages 5 and 6 does not match that from any existing Tom Swift book).


As stated on page 5, Mary Nestor was the girlfriend of Tom Swift in Stratemeyer's novels.


In the book, the dance Indy is planning to take Nancy to is referred to variously as Valentine Dance and the prom. It is simply the junior prom in the televised episode.


Page 8 states that Henry Jones, Sr. is back to being a professor of medieval literature at Princeton University.


Pages 8-9 remark that Indy had been to the ancient pyramids of Egypt and the teeming cities of China and India thanks to his father's lecture tours. Indy saw the pyramids in "My First Adventure" and Tomb of Terror. He was in China for "The Yin-Yang Principle", "The Runaway Adventure", and Face of the Dragon, and in India for "Journey of Radiance" and part of The Child Lama.


Page 9 states that Indy's father's ideas about money were that no one had given the Knights of the Round Table an allowance, so Indy had to earn his own spending money.


Nancy is described as having dark hair, but she was a redhead in the televised episode.


On page 11, Nancy is reading her father's latest book, Tom Swift and His Great Oil Gusher. This is an actual Tom Swift book, but it was not published until 1924!


Page 15 states that Jewel Williams' mother died when the girl was 10.


Page 16 states that the cover of Stratemeyer's first Tom Swift book, Tom Swift and His Motor Cycle, hung above his bookcase. This was, indeed, the first Tom Swift book, published in 1910.


The Moving Picture Girls, mentioned on page 16, was another of Stratemeyer's book series under the pen name Laura Lee Hope. The pseudonym was also used for the Bobbsey Twins books.


As stated on page 16, Roy Rockwood, Jack Lancer, and Margaret Penrose were other pen names (among many others) used by Stratemeyer and his writing syndicate. The final pen name, Captain Quincey Adams, is one I am not able to confirm. It may be a confusion between the authentic pen names of Captain Quincy Allen and Harrison Adams.


The details on pages 17-18 of how Stratemeyer became a writer are essentially accurate.


The brief description of the start of WWI currently raging in Europe on pages 17-18 is accurate.


In the novel, the horse that tows the Bugatti to the garage seems to be Indy's and he drops Nancy off at her home. In the televised episode, the horse seems to be Nancy's and it is her dropping him off. Here in the novel, Indy even stables the horse and gives it its feed behind the house before he goes inside for his father's dinner party. In the episode, the Jones house does not appear to be in a neighborhood that would be zoned for horse keeping. Page 81 reveals that the house's old carriage house served as the garage and stable.


Page 26 states that Princeton University, with its medieval style buildings draped with ivy and a dining hall with stained glass windows that told the story of the search for the Holy Grail was the perfect place for Professor Jones. The description of the university is accurate.


On page 31, Professor Jones is said to have gotten into a disagreement with one of his guests about a detail on the left portal of Chartres Cathedral in France. Chartres Cathedral is a real world Catholic cathedral in Chartres, France built in the late 12th and early 13th centuries. It is famed for housing the Sancta Camisa (the alleged tunic of Virgin Mary worn during Christ's birth) and its Black Madonna statue.


On page 32, Indy reflects on the time when he was in Paris and had planned to meet up with a friend to explore Paris, but Miss Seymour made him read up on Thomas Edison instead. This presumably was during the events of "Passion for Life" in 1908 and the friend he had made there was a young Norman Rockwell.


The mini-biography of Thomas Edison on pages 32-33 is roughly accurate.


The description of how an internal combustion engine works on page 37 is simple, but accurate.


On page 45, Dickinson says that the kidnappers also stole the Naval Consulting Board research files. The Naval Consulting Board was formed by the U.S. Secretary of the Navy in 1915 at the suggestion of Edison to research new weapons for the U.S. and for the Allies in Europe fighting the war (WWI). Edison was the first chairman of the board. Among the technology the board worked on was submarine and torpedo detection, as stated on page 46.


As Indy and Nancy ride their bikes to Van Hoecht's Poultry Farms, Nancy starts talking about how their lives are going to go, with Indy attending Princeton University while she goes to maybe Radcliffe or Vassar, then they'll get married and have Henry Jones III and, two years later, Sally. Radcliffe and Vassar were both women's college at the time, now both coeducational.


On page 61, Indy states that President Wilson wants to keep the U.S. out of the war in Europe, but Teddy Roosevelt was pushing for the country to enter it. This was true. Teddy Roosevelt (1858-1919) was the 26th president of the United States, from 1901-1909.


On page 67, Nancy tells Indy that she was up all night thinking about things, like winding up a Victrola and playing the same song over and over again. Victrola was a model of phonograph manufactured by the Victor Talking Machine Company from 1906 into the 1960s.


On page 81, Indy rides his bike down his street, then turns on Nassau Street and later onto Railroad Avenue. The book left out a few streets and a bridge to trek between these two real world roads in Princeton.


In the novelization, Dr. Thompson's shoes that give his identity away to Nancy and Indy are tan and black. In the televised episode, they are brown and white.


On page 107, in a scene that does not occur in the televised episode, Indy and Nancy's car just barely dodges an Acme Dynamite truck while they are chasing Dr. Thompson. Acme is the name of a fictitious company that has been used in a number of movies, cartoons, comic strips, etc. It is most well-known for its use in Warner Brothers' Road Runner cartoons.


Memorable Dialog


if you were the last man on Earth.mp3

one sewer water, hold the foam.mp3

stuck in an Incan tomb.mp3

you're not taking Butch to the prom, you're taking me.mp3

you're always starving.mp3

you're such a ninny.mp3

I knew you'd see things my way.mp3 


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