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Raiders Story Conference Transcript (DF, LK, PK)

TAPE RECORDING OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN DEBBIE FINE, LARRY KASDAN AND PHIL KAUFMAN

PK I have some notes somewhere which I am still trying to find — we have moved since then and my notes are all packed away somewhere and, I don't know — I an missing a few ideas — I just haven't had the time to go in and find alot of the stuff. In general, I don't know where you're at in terns of what you're writing.

LK Just gearing up, really. I've been waiting for an outline from George.

PK Because the — we were talking, I don't know, I guess pre-World War II, somewhere around the 1930s, starting in South America, you know.

LK Somewhere in 1936.

PK Carmen Miranda, seaplanes – whatever that big thing was and kind of a Middle Eastern adventure based around a similar idea to something like that book "The Spear of Destiny" where the Nazis were into mystical cults and so forth, and they were looking for, in this case, it was a thing that I, you know, have been thinking about for maybe twenty years since a doctor — my mononucleosis doctor — when I was in college, a famous blood specialist – and he had written – with another doctor — an article on the Ark of the Covenant and how he felt it provided a means of communication with some other extra-terrestrial or God-like or whatever – it was in a sense an elaborate radio setup — it contained silk curtains and veils and other things – I've forgotten — it's all in the Bible, Leviticus, Exodus, the second book of the Bible, or whatever – or the beginning of Leviticus or something. A good part of that chapter in the Bible is the detailing of the actual Ark of the Covenant itself and all of the, you know, wood and how much – and gold cherubim and there were other components in there and he was saying that when the gold was rubbed in a certain way, and silk, and so forth, you have the ability to remit radio waves or receive, and in that case, the Levites were the only ones who could go in there and they would have to take their shoes off — I've forgotten if you — if you walk across the rug with your shoes off — but there is a whole electrical charge — it was, in fact, the holy of holies, and it was, in fact, a means of communicating with some other being, that it was a primitive or maybe highly elaborate radio wave that was on the right sensitivity for this kind of communication, and in fact when they use to go into battle there was a cloud that hovered over — they carried the Ark with them in the early days and there was always this cloud that hovered over the Ark and they were always victorious. They never lost whenever they carried it into battle. Then there was some talk that there were two Arks somewhere — I remember reading that, one of which was supposed to be on Mt. Horeb (?). I think, the one that was lost or something like that and they never found it after the, I forgot, what was it —

DF Destruction of the first temple —

PK 54 B.C. or something like that.

DF I was 586 B.C.

LK That's the last time.

DP Yes, that's the last time — and even then in these articles that I got there is some discrepancy about even previous to the destruction of the temple, whether the Ark was still in it at the time that the Babylonians destroyed the temple. There's several different theories in these articles, some of them for Biblical — most of them from later – Biblical sources or legends. But basically there is no – nobody really knows where it is. It's totally just speculation. Most of it from Biblical sources.

PK Never has been found and never — what happened to it has never been fully documented — it's all nebulous, right?

DP That's true — that's true

PK It was – but the idea as that whoever had it was invincible and the Germans being into the mystical thing were looking for it and they believed whatever that it might in fact have — these, you know, contain these powers and maybe in the story they had developed some, you know, mad German something — you know, not only discovered, like in the sword, er "Spear of Destiny", the actual thing — it's like Lord of the Rings, if you have the ring you have all the power and they were looking for all the power on earth and in fact, they — the Germans, with all their cults of golden, whatever that was — the golden rule or something — they were looking all over for ways of capturing all the mystical power on earth and our heroes were racing with them to find this in this area and I told George the other day that there was a thing on "In Search Of" the other night — The Dead Sea Scrolls — and there was, kind of the landscape with similar to what — to where I'd imagine this would happen — the tents in the desert and coming upon — suddenly in the Middle East — all of these Nazis who were out there looking for — tracking down clues to find this thing if they could in fact find it, all power would be there's — they would be invincible, and immune. In gong back over the ancient stories of whoever carried this into battle could not be beaten, or whatever.

DF The only actual explanations that I found any reference to were not successful at all but it was just presumed that it was somewhere in the Jerusalem area buried in the tombs of the Kings of Judah and, you know, that it would be somewhere near the site of the first temple so that the excavations were in Jerusalem itself.

PK There is another thing, I think it was in the Encyclopedia Britanica that just speculated on some of these things — the Americana or Britanica, something about one of the mountains out in the desert that there was a thought — it was two things – there was also the thought that there were two of these around and there were rumored findings somewhere I read of cherubim — you know — like there were these things that had been broken off that might indicate that somewhere in that neighborhood — like with the Dead Sea Scrolls — there was shot where they said one day, you know, an Arab, Mohammed A Fuktu (?), or something, wandered up into the hills and he found this cave and he walked in it and little did we know that that day and that moment was about to change the course of history and he found something that was an artifact and immediately brought it to a guy in Jerusalem who was a — this was 19 — right after the war — 46 or something like that — and this guy began interpreting it and one thing lead to another and suddenly he realized — and the way he checked it was — for authenticity it was a crumbling piece of parchment — was that there were a couple of changes in the document crossed out and corrections that could have only — some logical way — have only been done at the time — that kind of change and, so — finding a fragment of the Ark was the way — almost something like — you know, I mean, those movies with — I don't know — anyway — I am trying to think of some of the movies where somebody has a little piece of something — Sidney Greenstreet would have something and he would say do you realize what this could mean and we have reason — my sources have reason to believe that this is the way — and then you begin tracking down the mystery and finally arriving at a place and seeing that the other guys are already tracking it down — "I know where the black bird is".

LK Right.

DF You could also — well, among the different theories — one that it was carried off by the Babylonians in the destruction of Jerusalem — so it could be somewhere in the old Babylon area, or, also another theory was that an Egyptian pharoah named Shushak (?) or something raided Jerusalem and took it at that time.

LK That gets us to the way we are going.

DF I could possibly be an Egyptian.

LK That could be good for it.

DF But the most likely theories are that Solomon in foreseeing the destruction of the temple had somebody take it and hide it in a secret place in what was then the Kingdom of Judah which was the old Jerusalem and that it’s very close to the old sites there. But you could conceivably do it in Egypt.

LK We've been talking (blank) Cairo 1936 — so we are talking about outside of Cairo and if there is at least one rumor — you know — an Egyptian raid — I would stick with that, I think, you know, if it's not a big problem. There's something better, I think, about Cairo in 1936 than Jerusalem. I mean, Peter Lorre would be more comfortable in Cairo.

PK Right, there's more characters in there. Yeah, you're into your Casablanca type of setting.

LK You don't remember where the article is that this doctor wrote.

PK I wouldn't know, I mean it would be —

DF Because I got —

PK 1950, somewhere in the early — let's see, somewhere around 1955.

DF I got everything I could find on the subject.

LK Nothing by a blood specialist?

DP Nothing by a blood specialist — that doesn't sound (laughs) that doesn't mean it doesn't exist, I just —

PK Well, you found that thing that VonDanaken mentioned something.

LK Yeah, he covers about two pages briefly, real briefly.

PK Yeah, but that's essentially the same kind of thing. I was surprised to see it. I am sure these articles, whenever somebody writes anything –

DF I did find reference to —

PK Somewhat occult all the occultists run out and say "did you hear this latest thing"?

DF Did find reference to the whole electrical charge business and all these theories in another article, I didn't find the one that you mentioned.

PK I mean I forgot all the details. Other than that, I don't know.

LK So basically, it was your doctor, and his article and VanDanaken, and the Bible, and nothing else that we know anything about.

PK No, that's all I can think of, that "Spear of Destiny", reading a lot of that kind of stuff to find out what the Germans — I think it was the "Spear of Destiny", it may be another book also, just detailing the journey, the mysticism of Hitler. I think there's another book out about that and just how the Germans were in fact — really another kind of mentality. We've always approached them on a political level and in fact they were approaching things on another kind of Wagnerian, mystical level and that we just — we tend to explain Hitler away in terms of just a madman — he was just a bad guy — and he was, in fact, the guy who was obsessed with the whole ancient I don't know what, manakaim (?) — there's something, a whole dark side of —

DF The interesting thing I found is the bulk of the sources are in German and that just might be an incredible coincidence and because alot of Biblical research — it's not necessarily a Nazi kind of a thing — it's just that most of the articles in books are in German.

PK Well the mystical thing wasn't necessarily a Nazi but it was that they picked up on it so much, you know, it was one of the strange things — you get so highly involved in mysticism or with the occult that somehow conventional morality no longer has any meaning and you get into even Charles Manson kind of stuff where they are all babbling seemingly incoherently but they have a little unified occult thing that they're talking, you know, that transcends morality. They are working in Egypt out there, somewhere, might be a good idea — or out of Egypt.

LK Outside of Cairo — you know that place.

DF Valley of the Kings. Well this electrical charge business would really work well dramatically because it's like the curse of when they would open up tombs. It has the same feeling. Well there is a couple of things here — that were —

PK Nobody else wandered into the tombs —

DF That are reported that in the Middle Ages someone thought they found the tomb of David and they opened it up and there was a flash of lightening and were knocked unconscious, supposedly, from the electrical discharge.

PK And they woke up singed —

DF There's a couple of like recorded incidents like that although they really aren't documented but they are legend. I mean there is enough of that sort of stuff that you can get away with it, I guess.

PK Yeah, all those movies are great; all those mummy movies of those times; all the curses and all of the prohibitions; if you do any kind of serial thing, I mean they always have, you have a forecast of doom and then you have something that looks like the doom strikes and then you find out that the doom itself wasn't exactly — when you replay your last scene from another angle things were – and they manage to escape somehow miraculously, (blank). That's all I can think of right now unless I can find uh —

DF The thing that struck me about this tomb, what's fantastic about it is if it were ever found, when you think of the significance of it in terms of making people believers — I mean if the original tablets were ever found that sort of thing, I mean there's a terrific symbolic thing to it.

LK The understanding is that the tablets are still in the Ark. They've never been found anywhere.

DF They don't talk about it that much except it is presumed that, of course, the first tablets were — Moses smashed them. Then the second set remained.

PK These were smashed somewhere in Egypt.

DF So if tablets existed in the Ark it would be presumably the second set. Apparently God made them again.

LK He went back up –

DF But they were brought down from the mountain by a prophet not by Moses — someone else went up – another man went up and brought back the second set.

PK Nobody knows who that man was.

DF I don't know who that man was.

PK He was the guy who rewrote them (laughter). You can check with the Writers Guild (laughter).

DF Presumably, it would be that set that would be in it.

LK And that's the assumption, that they are still in there.

DF But there was another — at the building of the second temple another Ark was constructed at that time and then after that they were all just copies or —

LK In building a second tmeple another Ark was constructed.

DF Yeah, and then —

LK But the first one had not been destroyed.

DF There are two Arks. The first one, it just vanished, it's never been confirmed whether it was destroyed or if someone hid it or if someone vandalized it.

LK And the second Ark —

DF The second Ark, well there's alot of Biblical documentation about that, it's called the Solomon Ark or something, as opposed to the Davidic Ark which is the first one, so anyway, it's really interesting. It's fascinating. It really is.

PK The one with the little cloud over its head — like that character in Al Capp. Remember him? There is a guy who would walk around with a cloud over his head in Lil Abner — Joel ? — wherever he walked there was a little dark cloud over his head.

DF The only thing that struck me about this research is that there haven't been a lot of — there is no like serious people writing about — like speculations about it in this century. I mean the stuff that’s speculated is fairly hoaky —

PK It’s all hoaky speculation —

DF There hasn't been any serious excavations or attempts by archaeologists to really find it.

PK You want it to be fun. And it is one of the great undiscovered things, like they are always looking for the Ark, and in search of Noah’s Ark and in search of this and that. Those are just the artifacts but this is a thing that had potency. In its time it was known to have potency — something — and that's

PK That’s —

DF They carried it around in a cart —

PK What you need, that's the "Lord of the Rings". I mean and it's amazing that there isn't a single thing that I can think of in the Bible that has more detailing than that. That is the main thing in the Bible that's talked about. It's half of that book — I mean it's like really alot of talk about the construction of this and that in very elaborate detailing of things.

LK And you have some drawings is that right?

DF Well there is a couple of — they are all just hypotheses, I have a couple and what I didn't bring is all the different arks that had been made down through the ages.

PK Have people tried to make those?

DF Well I mean the arks that have been used in the synagogues ever since, I mean what holds the torah now, is a facsimile, but it's not an exact one. I mean they've changed, like the style in the Middle Ages was different from the style in the 18th century or something. But there are just like two, here are two, us —

PK That's interesting too, the idea of somebody trying to build one out of the, you know that this kind of wood in that time really was another wood, you know yon find those obscure clues — that shittim wood or certain cubics of measurement and you see — it could be really dramatic to see this because you're dealing with lots of devices anyway — Strange seaplanes or whatever, I don't know — and they are trying to build something that has this magical thing with all — out there in a wind-swept desert area with different curtains blowing, and silks and all of the Arab silkmakers, I mean you could have a fabulous, ominous set out there to work with.

DF This was one thing that, it says at the Kalmit (?), which I don't know what that means — this is another one — movable sanctuary (PK) — an ark showing an Egyptian — and some say it was the size of a desk.

PK The Philistines — but the Ark

DF The Philistine thing is earlier than uh –

PK But there was a thing in the thing that contained the Ark where only Aaron and his family, only priests, the Levites, could walk inside the thing. There was a bigger thing too where it finally contained. Where was that? There was a thing about — they were the only ones.

PK See only Aaron — only those guys could talk to God.

DF Yeah. In the Shilo —

LK I think what it is is the tabernacle in the desert – was was a tent, you know, it had to be movable.

PK The tabernacle.

DF The Shiloh was one of the permanent, semi-permanent resting places and they had a fairly big thing there — thing that housed it.

PK Shiloh was where the civil war battle was. See all the, there's alot of the smitten people, people were smitten by fooling with the Ark. One guy got emerauds (?), that is hemmoroids and a plague of mice was sent over the land. The infliction of boils was visited upon. Uh, Philistines on the advice of their diviners returned it to the Israelites. Give it back.

LK That's right and that's one where I found-- and the Etonites carried it in front of their Army and soundly trounced by the Philistines. It didn't always work.

PK Right, it didn't always work but the idea was that it worked it was as close as they could come to the A-bomb – to the bomb, you know, to the big one. I guess that’s

DF There, I'll just [keep this for you?]

LK All right.

PK Ok, well that's all I can do.

LK And thank you.
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