For the Adherent of Pop Culture
Adventures of Jack Burton ] Back to the Future ] Battlestar Galactica ] Buckaroo Banzai ] Cliffhangers! ] Earth 2 ] The Expendables ] Firefly/Serenity ] The Fly ] Galaxy Quest ] Indiana Jones ] Jurassic Park ] Land of the Lost ] Lost in Space ] The Matrix ] The Mummy/The Scorpion King ] The Prisoner ] Sapphire & Steel ] Snake Plissken Chronicles ] Star Trek ] Terminator ] The Thing ] Total Recall ] Tron ] Twin Peaks ] UFO ] V the series ] Valley of the Dinosaurs ] Waterworld ] PopApostle Home ] Links ] Privacy ]

Episode Studies by Clayton Barr


Indiana Jones: The Metropolitan Violin Indiana Jones
The Metropolitan Violin
Written by Jèrôme Jacobs
Illustrations by d’Erik Juszezak
September 1997

Indy gets caught in the middle between a stolen violin and the New York Mafia!


Notes from the Indiana Jones chronology


The opening chapter of this book states that it takes place in September 1913. 


Didja Know?


To my knowledge, this junior novel was published only in France as Indiana Jones Jr et le Violon du Metropolitan. A series of junior novels was published in this series, some original stories and some French translations of the American Young Indiana Jones junior novels. For some reason, the French versions are all titled beginning with "Indiana Jones Jr" instead of the French translation of "Young Indiana Jones", "Jeune Indiana Jones".


Indy visits the Metropolitan Museum of Art in this novel. He will briefly visit it again in Curse of the Ruby Cross.


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 time in Indy's life. In fact, it goes from August 5, 1912 to March 9, 1916...a period of about 3.5 years! Are we to believe that Indy made no journal entries that entire time? Perhaps the entries were excised by the Russians for some reason when it was in their possession?


Characters appearing or mentioned in this story


Henry Jones, Sr.

Indiana Jones


Indiana (dog)

Anna Jones (mentioned only, deceased)

Herman Mueller

Enzo Vitelli

Ernesto Carloni

Al Capone

Arturo Vitelli

Enzo Vitelli's cousin

cattle breeder

Norma Bellini

Adam Chinook (mentioned only)

Helen Seymour (mentioned only)

Toullio Giordano (mentioned only)




Didja Notice?


Chapter 1: A Spectacular Turn of Events


As the novel opens, Indy's father announces they are leaving their Utah home to attend the inauguration of the south wing of the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The curator has invited them due to Henry, Sr.'s contributions of medieval art to the museum's collection.


Indy doesn't want to go to New York and actually seems to be looking forward to returning to school, having already had a hectic summer of facing an evil gemstone and escaping the bubonic plague in Egypt, and rescuing Princess Tamar from the clutches of multiple enemies in the country of Georgia. This refers to the events of Tomb of Terror and Princess of Peril. Unmentioned is that he also had an adventure in Tibet in The Child Lama and, before all that, a busy spring, being in the Far North in The Sacred Meteorite, Arizona in "The Mountains of Superstition", and South Carolina in The Plantation Treasure.


Henry, Sr. plans to study a 10th Century manuscript at the Pierpont Morgan Library while he is in New York. The Pierpont Morgan Library is now known as the Morgan Library & Museum. "Pierpont Morgan" refers to John Pierpont "Jack" Morgan Jr. (1867-1943), an American financier and philanthropist who founded the library in his father's name as a public research library and endowed a collection of rare books and manuscripts to it...but it was not until 1924, 11 years after this novel takes place! The library existed as a private library for the Morgan family before then and was not officially known as the Pierpont Morgan Library.


Henry, Sr. remarks that the financier Mr. Morgan is an exceptional man who knows how to preserve some of the greatest treasures of this world, "Nothing to do with those Wall Street sharks!" Wall Street is a street in New York City housing the city's main financial district and is generally considered to be the financial capital of the world.


On page 7, Indy muses that his father was critical of the Bolsheviks in Russia and the capitalists in the U.S. The Bolsheviks were a radical Marxist faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. The Bolsheviks would go on to become the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during the October Revolution of 1917. Presumably, Indy is referring to things his father said about the Bolsheviks when the two of them were in Russia earlier that summer in Princess of Peril, but, if so, those remarks were not recorded for the reader in that book.


Indy's father predicts that the Wall Street sharks will fall victim to a crash one day not so far away. This is the author placing a foreshadowing of the Wall Street Crash of 1929 that led to the Great Depression that lasted through most of the 1930s.


Chapter 2: Best Friends in the World


Page 11 states that Herman had just gotten over a case of the measles. He was said to have had measles in Princess of Peril.


Page 12 states that Hermie's classmates had nicknamed him Bouboule. This is French slang for a fat person, essentially "fatty". This was also mentioned in The Phantom of the Klondike, written by the same author.


On page 14, Indy asks Herman if he's ever seen the Statue of Liberty.


Page 15 states that Herman's eyes are hidden behind filthy glasses. But the illustration on page 13 depicts him without glasses! And the boy was not seen to wear glasses in his first appearance in "The Cross of Coronado". The author, Jèrôme Jacobs, was clearly paralleling Herman and Indy's conversation here with Indy's earlier argument with his father in Chapter 1, and it seems Jacobs got a little carried away with it, making eyeglasses part of Herman's accoutrements.


On page 17, Indy attributes a quote similar to "You shall not abuse your authority over others," to Confucius, but his father implies it was said by Napoleon. Confucius (551-479 BCE) was a Chinese philosopher, now widely considered to be one of the most influential individuals in history. "Napoleon" refers to Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) who became the high general, First Consul, and Emperor of France from 1799-1814 after a military coup. As far as I can find, neither individual said anything quite like this statement.


Chapter 3: "Cover That Breast..."


On page 18, the Jones' and Herman arrive at their modest New York hotel on 36th Street near the Pierpont Morgan Library. Indeed, the Pierpont Morgan Library lies on Madison Avenue between 36th and 37th streets.


The New York temperature is said to be 35° C (95 F) in the shade when the Jones party arrives with their clothing sticking to their skin, like survivors of the Sahara. The Sahara is a desert in northern Africa, the largest hot desert in the world (only the frozen deserts of Antarctica and the Arctic being larger).


Page 19 states that the small room off of Professor Jones' hotel room in which was set two camp beds for Indy and Herman left not enough room between the beds to do the java. This is a reference to the French waltz dance called java which was designed to be performed in a relatively small space with the dancers holding each other closely.


On page 19, Indy sees that his father is back to his old self and whispers to Herman, "Chase the natural, he's galloping back." This is a French colloquialism that means that one's character does not really change.


    Henry, Sr. remarks that he can't wait for Grand Central Terminal to be completed. However, the terminal was essentially complete and open already as of February 1913 (this story takes place in September of that year)! Grand Central Terminal is now a railroad terminal in Manhattan, popularly known as one of the busiest commuter stations in the world.

   The Jones party also visits the Armory Show (a.k.a. the International Exhibition of Modern Art). This was a real world art exhibition housed at the 69th Regiment Armory, but it was open February 17 - March 15, 1913...again months before the events of this story! It seems as if the author originally planned for this story to take place at the beginning of that year, but he (or the publisher) changed it. The book's early description that New York was 95° F when the Jones' arrive does suggest summer weather instead of the winter that the terminal opening and art show took place. 


At the Armory Show, Henry, Sr. sees several works of art that do not particularly appeal to him: a sculpture of an iron, a painting of small squares of color, and the cubist painting Nude Descending a Staircase by a Marcel Duchamp. Nude Descending a Staircase is an actual painting by the French artist Duchamp (1887-1968) which was a part of the Armory exhibition. I don't know what the sculpture of an iron is, but the painting of small squares of color may be the color study Squares with Concentric Circles by the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944), which painting actually was also a part of the Armory exhibition.
Nude Descending a Staircase Squares with Concentric Circles
Nude Descending a Staircase Squares with Concentric Circles


Chapter 4: A Retro Metro


Page 29 states that the Manhattan subway line was put into service in 1904 and quickly became comparable to Paris' subway established nine years earlier. The 1904 date for the Manhattan subway is correct, but the Paris subway was established about 5 years earlier (not nine), in 1900.


On page 30, Henry, Sr. says that New York's Central Park was constructed between 1857-1870. It was actually 1857-1876. He also talks about the ancient obelisk that was erected there, originally raised in Heliopolis in 1500 BCE by pharaoh Thutmosis III and donated to the city of New York by Khedive Ismail Pasha in 1877. This is all basically true, though historians say it was originally raised in the Egyptian city of Heliopolis in 1475 BCE. The obelisk is popularly known as Cleopatra's Needle, having been moved to a temple built by Cleopatra during her reign of Egypt, the Caesarian in Alexandria in 12 BCE.


On pages 30-31, both Indy and Herman are astounded that Henry, Sr. has just referred to his son as "Indy" instead of "Junior." But, Indy's father has used that name with him on occasion in the past, even a few times previously in this very novel!


Edwards warns Henry, Sr. not to mention Nude Descending a Staircase to the mayor because he's already furious about not being consulted about the exhibition of the painting. The mayor of New York at this time was either William Jay Gaynor, who died in office, or his replacement, the acting mayor Ardolph L. Kline, who served in the role from September 10, 1913 – December 31, 1913. I have not been able to determine if Mayor Gaynor (who was the mayor when the real world Armory Show was open in February-March) had any opinion at all about the painting.


On page 34, a Mozart sonata is said to be playing during the museum wing opening. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) was, of course, a music composer during the Classical period.


Chapter 5: Panic in Central Park


The violin that is stolen from the Metropolitan Museum is a Stradivarius. The Stradivari family of Italy made hundreds of string instruments by hand in the 17th and 18th centuries and all surviving specimens are immensely valuable collectibles.


Page 42 refers to Central Park as the green lung of New York. "The Green Lung" is an actual nickname of the park.


Chapter 6: I Can't Lie


The thief and his hostage, Herman, take the subway to Little Italy. There are several neighborhoods known as Little Italy in greater New York City.


Chapter 7: The "Highest" Price


The younger of the two Italian thugs who follow Indy and his father in their quest to save Herman turns out to be a 14-year old Al Capone. Al "Scarface" Capone (1899-1947) was an Italian-American gangster during the Prohibition era of the United States.


Chapter 8: Madre Padrone


Indy's description of padrones as unsavory types who arrange jobs and housing for poor immigrants is accurate.


The footnote on page 64 about Ellis Island is correct. Ellis Island was a famous gateway to the United States for millions of immigrants from 1892-1954.


Chapter 9: Scout's Word


Vitelli has hidden his son from the Mafia in the city of Niagara Falls.


Edwards loans the Jones party his Isotta Fraschini car. Isotta Fraschini was an Italian luxury automaker from 1900-1999.


On page 75, Edwards tells Henry, Sr. that the automobile handbrake was invented by the Isotta Fraschini factory the previous year. I've not been able to confirm if this is true.


Chapter 10: Hunger Strike


Page 79 states that the car horn was not invented until 1914, but my sources say otherwise. It was invented in 1908.


On page 79, the cattle breeder shouts, "Name of a pig!" in French and, on page 80, "Name of a little man!". These are yet other, more polite, ways of saying, "In God's name!" in French (as seen in previous studies of the French Young Indy novels).


Chapter 11: Memories, Memories...


Page 87 states that Indy is wearing his Stetson hat. Since he gave his original Stetson to Dentsen in The Child Lama, this must be a new one.


On page 87, Indy sees two lovebirds cooing at each other in a hotel diner and it causes him to reflect on his two past crushes, Norma Bellini in Phantom of the Klondike and Lizzie Ravenall in The Plantation Treasure. But he also had Princess Sophie in "The Perils of Cupid" and Manuminiaq in The Sacred Meteorite.


Chapter 12: The Thunder of Water and Divine Grace


On page 94, Vitelli's cousin is found to live at No. 7 Downpour Street in the city of Niagara Falls. As far as I can tell, Downpour Street is a fictitious road.


Page 95 states that Indy first met Norma in July 1912 (in the aforementioned Phantom of the Klondike). And that is the date given in that book, opening immediately after the events of "The Cross of Coronado". However, the PopApostle study of that book instead accepts the August 1912 date for "The Cross of Coronado", as given in The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones, allowing another month of time to have passed since the death of Mrs. Jones and Indy and his father's move to Utah, so that they are more settled in in Moab and Indy is entrenched in the local Boy Scout troop.


On page 97, Norma tells Indy that after he left the Klondike, she spent some months living with her cousin Adam's family. This is Adam Chinook, whom we met in Phantom of the Klondike.


The legend of the Indian of the Native American girl who drowned under the Niagara Falls and whose spirit is supposedly seen at times in the hidden caves behind the falls, as told by Enzo on page 97, is roughly accurate. It is popularly known as the legend of the Maid of the Mist.


On page 98, Henry, Sr.'s brief lecture on the historic Iroquois inhabitants of the Niagara area and the coming of French navigator Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) in 1535 is correct. His statement that "Niagara" is an Indian term meaning "water thunder" is one of many theories as to how the falls got its name.


Chapter 13: The Strategist's Ploy


On page 109, Indy recalls how he had come to think of Norma as a pasionaria. This occurred in Phantom of the Klondike. It is an Italian word for which there is no direct translation, but it means a woman who passionately stands by her own values and ideals.


Chapter 14: The Harder the Fall


On page 113, Henry, Sr.'s statement of the length of the Niagara River is roughly accurate, but his statement of the height of the falls is almost twice the actual height.


Also on page 113, Indy accuses his father of being a walking Baedeker guide. Baedeker guides are travel books for countries all around the world that have been published since the 1830s.


Chapter 15: A Funny Hiding Place


On page 121, Indy makes a promise to Arturo not to reveal Arturo's possession of the violin or where he keeps it, saying, "wooden cross, iron cross, if I lie I'll go to hell." This is a French oath for making a promise, similar to "cross my heart and hope to die" in the English world.


Chapter 16: The Crazy People Behind the Wheel


On page 133, Enzo is driving the Model T and Indy tells him they are entering Madison Square and to turn onto Broadway. Madison Square is the intersection of 5th Avenue and Broadway at 23rd Street in Manhattan, named for the fourth president of the U.S., James Madison.


The street directions through various New York neighborhoods Indy gives to Enzo as they flee in their vehicle from the Mafia pursuers is more-or-less accurate to the actual layout of the city and its named streets.


Page 135 describes New York as the world's largest city. But it did not achieve this status until 1925. In 1913, the world's largest city was London, England.


Chapter 17: Fiddler on the Roof


Page 137 describes the Woolworth Building as being the world's tallest when it was completed. This is true. It held the record from 1913-1930, when it was supplanted by 40 Wall Street (now known, God help me, as the Trump Building).


On page 138, Norma remarks they may be facing their destiny like Madame Boutterfly in Pouccini's opera. This is a reference to the Italian opera Madame Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini.


On page 141, Norma comments on the clarity of the air at the top of the Woolworth Building, saying it's like that at the top of Everest. Mount Everest is the world's tallest mountain above water, located in the Himalayan Mountain range of Nepal.


Chapter 18: The End of the World


On page 147, when Capone tells Indy that the violin holds a secret, Indy responds, "It's perfectly normal. So don't try to make bladders look like lanterns..." The phrase "make bladders look like lanterns" is a French idiom that means "don't try to claim something is fancy when it's not", similar to the English idiom "make a purse out of a sow's ear."


Indy will meet Capone again in "Mystery of the Blues", but doesn't seem to remember these earlier confrontations with him!




No notes.


Back to Indiana Jones Episode Studies