His name is Indiana but he was born in a different state.
His nickname may be Indiana, but Doctor Jones originated in a different state altogether: Hawaii! Longtime pals George Lucas and Steven Spielberg were on vacation when they kicked around the idea for Raiders of the Lost Ark, a swashbuckling homage to the old movie serials that also inspired Star Wars. Spielberg was thinking of maybe directing a Bond film, but made Raiders instead.
Who else could have worn that fedora?
Steven Spielberg wanted Harrison Ford pretty early in the process, but Lucas was hesitant about casting someone he'd just used in Star Wars. A number of actors were considered for the film's lead, including Nick Nolte, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Tim Matheson, Chevy Chase, Nick Mancuso, Jack Nicholson, Peter Coyote, John Shea, and most famously, Tom Selleck, who was handed the role. Due to his commitment to TV's Magnum P.I., he had to drop out. Ford was finally cast just three weeks before shooting began.
We named the dog Indiana.
There's a great joke about the origin of the name Indiana in The Last Crusade. Indiana was an Alaskan malamute shared by George Lucas and his then-wife, Marcia Lucas, herself an Academy Award winning film editor who worked on American Graffiti, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Taxi Driver, and the first Star Wars trilogy. George and Marcia's dog Indy was also the inspiration for Han's best friend, Chewbacca.
Indiana, phone home.
Harrison Ford was married to late screenwriter Melissa Mathison from 1983 to 2004, a union that produced two children. It was during filming breaks on the Raiders of the Lost Ark set when Spielberg and Mathison worked on the story for what became the director's next film. That movie, of course, was E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Sadly, Mathison succumbed to cancer the year before before the release of her final collaboration with Spielberg, 2016's The BFG, which was dedicated to her memory.
The Well of Easter eggs.
E.T. isn't the only space faring movie character with a connection to Raiders of the Lost Ark. George Lucas and Spielberg have a long tradition of planting Easter Eggs for each other's amusement. R2D2 can be seen in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom features a Club Obi-Wan. The list goes on and on, including the appearance of a trio of E.T.s in the Galactic Senate in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. And of course, as many eagle eyed obsessive fans have observed, engraved images of C3PO and R2D2 can be seen in the Well of Souls.
Greetings from the Overlook Hotel.
Speaking of the Well of Souls, that place was plenty spooky well before it was filled with snakes. The tomb was constructed on the same British Elstreet Studios stage as the "Colorado Lounge" set built as the foyer of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining.
I hate snakes.
The production grabbed all of the snakes they could find in the pet shops of London, which explains why there are so many different types of snakes native to different parts of the world. But there simply were not enough snakes. So legless reptiles were added into the mix along with several pieces of chopped up hoses. The movie's first A.D. was bit by a python during filming. Indy's terrifyingly close staring contest with a cobra was filmed with a nearly invisible piece of glass between them. Those cobras were of course super dangerous - one of them bit and killed a python.
Unlike the snakes, there were plenty of tarantulas on-hand to do the job for the scene where Alfred Molina's back is covered in them. Unfortunately, they were just standing still. Spielberg wanted them to be crawling, so the animal wranglers inserted a single female into the otherwise all male pack of crawlers, sending them into a tizzy. Of course it wasn't the actor's final brush with arachnids. Decades later, Molina would play Otto "Dr. Octopus" Octavius, the primary villain of Spider-Man 2.
That monkey was just hungry.
It also took some animal wrangler ingenuity to get a monkey to cooperate. After several unsuccessful attempts to get the monkey to throw a comically evil Nazi salute, a fishing pole dangling a grape just out of frame did the job. Sorry, monkey. We know you didn't mean it!
Just shoot the sucker.
Several members of the Raiders of the Lost Ark production became ill with fever and food poisoning during the hot and arduous shooting days in Tunisia. In the script, Indy was supposed to use his whip to disarm the expert swordsman who flashily challenges him to a duel. After several failed attempts to get it right, Ford asked the director, "Can't I just shoot the sucker?" And it became a massively beloved scene.