Spielberg Lucas Indy 4

Steven Spielberg has such a great track record that, short of a major crime, very little could tarnish it. That’s probably why, at a recent screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark in Hollywood, the director continued to claim “full responsibility” for the idea of Indiana Jones getting into a refrigerator to survive a nuclear attack in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

The idea, “nuking the fridge,” instantly became a punchline. It’s also another way to say “jumping the shark,” a Happy Days reference long synonymous with the moment a TV show or movie goes from good to bad.

However, while Spielberg can say “nuking the fridge” was his idea, George Lucas says he’s lying. Read both quotes and search for the truth below.

The new quote from the Hollywood screening last night was reported by First Showing:

I know in Indy 4, you didn’t buy the refrigerator and the atomic bomb… I know! I know! But we tried! We tried! I was pushing the envelope! By the way, I take FULL responsibility for that – that was COMPLETELY my idea! Even Harrison said to me: ‘Nobody is going to buy this!’

But, in the New York Times in 2012, Lucas said Spielberg was lying when he made those claims. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

When I [The New York Times writer] told Lucas that Spielberg had accepted the blame for nuking the fridge, he looked stunned. “It’s not true,” he said. “He’s trying to protect me.”

In fact, it was Spielberg who “didn’t believe” the scene. In response to Spielberg’s fears, Lucas put together a whole nuking-the-fridge dossier. It was about six inches thick, he indicated with his hands. Lucas said that if the refrigerator were lead-lined, and if Indy didn’t break his neck when the fridge crashed to earth, and if he were able to get the door open, he could, in fact, survive. “The odds of surviving that refrigerator — from a lot of scientists — are about 50-50,” Lucas said.

So is Spielberg actually responsible for the idea, or is he just protecting his good friend, George Lucas, who has a much less than stellar track record? I tend to believe Lucas, simply because he’d be the victim of more fan venom for the idea than Spielberg. He could very easily have gone along with the story, but instead owned up to it. What do you think?

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