The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles

Season 2 Episode 6

The Mystery of the Blues, Chicago, May 1920 (2)

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Mar 13, 1993 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
19 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The Mystery of the Blues, Chicago, May 1920 (2)
While going to college and working in a speakeasy, Indy meets up jazz great Sidney Bechet who teaches him how to play the blues. Unfortunately, Indy also crosses paths with Al Capone and it's only with the assistance of his dorm roommate, Eliot Ness, that Indy is able to solve a vicious murder and prevent himself from ending up dead.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • Indy finds himself running from gangsters!

    Who's behind his boss's death? This is quite a rare story for 'The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles'. Although known as 'Chicago, April 1920' and 'Chicago, May 1920' both parts were originally aired together in a feature length format or as a TV movie called 'The Mystery of the Blues'. What this means for the eventual VHS and DVD versions of this episode is that there aren't any continuity problems. As far as I'm aware there are no edited out bookends or linking footage that fans always raise issues with. 'The Mystery of the Blues' is pretty much identical to what originally aired back in the early 90s even keeping the Harrison Ford bookends. This was explained in my last review.

    It's Chicago May 1920 and Indiana Jones continues to work as a waiter for a restaurant while practising jazz music. When his boss is murdered by gangsters Indy teams up with his roommate Eliot Ness (Frederick Weller) and his old pal Ernest Hemingway (Jay Underwood) to find the culprit. What they don't expect is to find themselves embroiled in a plot to steal and bootleg alcohol throughout Chicago. Can Indy stay one step ahead of the gangsters in order to tell the police who killed his boss or will our hero end up with the fishes? More importantly will Indy ever discover the mystery of the blues?

    The second part of 'The Mystery of the Blues' follows nicely on from the first. Indy is still doing his waiter duties and still trying to understand the blues. If there's any continuity issues it's with the story airings as a whole that gets confusing. One of the main issues with 'The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles' is that it introduces us to recurring characters before the episode Indy actually met them in. This episode is no different. We get to see his old friend Ernest Hemingway again (now working as a journalist) but in terms of airdate viewers weren't introduced to him until some weeks later in 'Northern Italy, June 1918'. It's a similar problem that occurred with Pablo Picasso in the series. The non-linear nature of the show must have really stopped people from watching it. Indy's roommate Eliot Ness gets more to do in Part 2 and we see the makings of an 'Untouchable' in Ness. Initially reluctant at first to join Indy and Hemingway find the culprit Ness goes along anyway and ends up showing confidence and determination to bring the bad guys to justice. Hemingway meanwhile wants a great story, something that will propel him into big time journalism. He of course gets sidelined by famous Ben Hecht (Mark Kiely) at every turn proving to the others that Hemingway isn't quite as fabulous as he thinks he is.

    The episode features a lot of investigation but manages to be light-hearted at the same time. There's a lot of red herrings Jule Selbo incorporates into the script like the bosses girlfriend leaving an earring behind or our three investigators coming to the conclusion that florist gangster O'Banion (Victor Slezak) was behind everything when he was just smuggling alcohol. This of course being the prohibition of the 1920s meaning everyone would do anything for a good drink. Really I gets the impression that Selbo is more interested in the action set pieces and comedy than the actual whodunit. A good example of this is the scene in the alcohol factory where the three are being chased around by O'Banion's goons. It's fun to watch and it's very entertaining although it doesn't add much to the overall plot. Selbo takes the gangster genre and simply tries to have as much fun with it as possible. The second part isn't as thoughtful or reflective as the first but it's definitely more fun. The second part it seems is where most of the budget has gone. The production staff should be commended. Through the use of digital matte paintings as well as a large use of locations and extras director Carl Schultz successfully manages to make all the Wilmington locations look like an actual 1920s Chicago. It's quite an achievement for a television series and it's no surprise this story was Emmy nominated for cinematography. The funeral scene is simply amazing to watch with the amount of real people employed. It's here in fact that the real person behind "Big" Jim Colosimo's murder makes an appearance. It's none other than soon to be famous crime boss Al Capone played here by Nicholas Turturro. With sizable evidence that explains Capone was the one who made the hit Indy, Ernest and Eliot are shocked to discover the police have been bribed to keep shut about it. The three are pretty disappointed by all this. Eliot, now disillusioned by the police's actions vows for real justice while Hemingway decides to give up being a journalist. He's not the only one as Hecht also knows he can't work in a corrupt environment humorously foreshadowing his work as a fiction writer. For Indy, he thought he'd left corruption behind him during the war and decides it's best to quit his job. However, this disappointment by the end is what allows him to understand the blues. Writer Selbo comes full circle with the script finally answering what makes this special type of jazz tick. Indy begins to realize that disappointment can be turned into soulful blues music, as Bechet pointed out what he needed was a disappointing experience to justify playing it. It's a nice end to the story.

    The cast all round are great with Flanery, Underwood, Weller and Kiely making the best impression as does Ford in the bookend. Ford gets to do a bit of action that links to this story and it wouldn't be Harrison Ford Indiana Jones without a cue from iconic John Williams theme music. It's an enjoyable story and everyone is firing on all cylinders. Probably the most remarkable thing about Part 2 is how big it feels. It has a huge cast, lots of locations, sets and some digital matte paintings that don't stick out. That's quite rare for this series. It's all well directed, acted and contains some nice location work. In all this second part is a whole lot of fun as the show should be.moreless
Corey Carrier

Corey Carrier

Young Henry "Indiana" Jones, Jr. at age 8-10

Sean Patrick Flanery

Sean Patrick Flanery

Young Henry "Indiana" Jones, Jr. at age 16-20

George Hall

George Hall

Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones, Jr. at age 93

Frederick Weller

Frederick Weller

Eliot Ness

Guest Star

Mark Kiely

Mark Kiely

Ben Hecht

Guest Star

David Arnott

David Arnott


Guest Star

Jay Underwood

Jay Underwood

Ernest Hemingway

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Colosimo's wife, Dale, was originally the prime suspect in his murder. In the end, no one was ever arrested for the murder of James Colosimo.

    • Jim Colosimo was murdered on May 11, 1920. He immigrated to Chicago from Italy in 1895 and married Victoria Moresco, an established madame in 1905. Within years, Diamond Jim's businesses had expanded to nearly 200 brothels and had gotten into gambling and racketeering. In 1909, he brought his nephew, John Torrio, in from New York to help with threats from a rival gang (it was at this time that Torrio brought Al Capone to help him as Capone had been his lieutenant in Brooklyn). When Prohibition took hold in Chicago, Torrio pushed for their operation to get into bootlegging, but Colosimo didn't want to. After his murder, Colosimo's gang was controlled first by Torrio then by Capone, eventually becoming the Chicago Outfit.

    • The white cornet player in the scene when Sidney starts teaching Indy about the blues is Bix Beiderbecke, an American jazz cornet player and composer, as well as a skilled classical and jazz pianist. In the Twenties, he was one of a few horn players considered to be in the caliber of Louis Armstrong, although their differences were very different. He grew up on in Iowa on the banks of the Mississippi where he listened to music on the riverboats coming up from the south. He died at age 28 from chronic health problems exacerbated by alcoholism.

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (2)

    • This episode is included on Volume 3 Disc 6 of the DVD collection. The companion documentaries are on Disc 7, and they include:
      -Jazz - Rhythms of Freedom
      -Al "Scarface" Capone - The Original Gangster
      -Prohibition - America on the Rocks
      -On the Trail of Eliot Ness
      -Louis Armstrong - Ambassador of Jazz
      -Ben Hecht - The Shakespeare of Hollywood
      -Hellfighters - Harlem's Heroes of World War One

    • Part 2 of the video Mystery of the Blues with The Mystery of the Blues, Chicago, May 1920 (1).