Well, volume three is cut down to a more manageable 10 discs, of death-defying adventure in exotic locations, propitious meetings with interesting or soon-to-be famous people, and enough short informational features about historic people and events to satisfy anyone’s History Channel jones. After watching all three sets and dimly recalling the series as it aired, though, I still have doubts about the wisdom of cobbling together two episodes to make one movie-length sequence. This results in some very odd pairings and often a pronounced hiccup at about mid-point, where suddenly the story lurches off in another direction entirely. And omitting the poignant ‘bookend’ character of ‘Old Indy’ entirely?

At least this package included a guest appearance by Harrison Ford himself, as ‘somewhat middle-aged Indy’, as well as some other nifty guest appearances; Anne Heche comes to mind almost at once (in the Scandal of 1920 episode). This series wraps up the last dying twitches of World War One (including an encounter with a still quite twitching Dracula – kind of an icky episode, that one. I wouldn’t allow young children to watch it) and young Indy’s attendance at the Paris Peace conference. Then, he returns home to pick up something of his old life again, scrounging summer jobs in Chicago, playing the blues, on Broadway and in Hollywood in the silent-movie era. As far as flamboyant and outsized characters went, Hollywood of that time would have been well worth a season of its own. As it is, Indy only scratches the surface, hanging out with young John Ford, Irving Thalberg and Erich von Stroheim.

The extras are lavish, and perhaps more than a strict fan of the series would really want to pay for – but as far as introducing children painlessly to events of the early 20th century, there is none better: where else could you find informational shorts on Edith Wharton, the French Foreign Legion, Dracula, Gertrude Bell, Ben Hecht, Tin Pan Alley, Elliott Ness and the Ottoman Empire?

Young Indiana Jones – 3 – The Years of Change is available at various online and bring and mortar outlets, including Barnes and Noble.

Sgt. Mom is a free-lance writer and member of the Independent Authors Guild who lives in San Antonio and blogs at The Daily Brief. Her current book “To Truckee’s Trail” is available here. More about her books is at her website www.celiahayes.com

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