Of all the wonderful archival collections housed here at the Pepperdine University Libraries Special Collections and Archives, one of the crown jewels is the Michael D. “Micky” Moore Papers, generously donated to Pepperdine University by Moore’s daughters, Tricia Newman and Sandra Kastendiek-Drake. Within the collection is one of my personal favorite archival resources here at the Boone Special Collections and Archives: the Indiana Jones Storyboards.
Micky, born Dennis Michael Sheffield, was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 1914 to Thomas William Sheffield and Norah Moore Sheffield. Soon thereafter, Micky’s family moved to Santa Barbara, California and then Hollywood after Micky and his older brother Pat became involved in show business. Micky began as a child actor in silent films during the 1920s and ascended to becoming a prominent second unit director with an eye for action sequences. This eye for action sequences can be seen through his work as the second unit director on the three original Indiana Jones films, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), The Temple of Doom (1984) and The Last Crusade (1989).
One of the more memorable action sequences from the action-packed Indiana Jones films is the tank chase towards the end of Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade (1989). We are fortunate enough to have Micky’s storyboard book that helped him shoot this sequence. By flipping through the physical book during a visit to the archives or by clicking through the Tank Chase Sequence Storyboards for Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade” (1989) in the Micky Moore Digital Collection, Micky’s vision for the action sequence can be seen through his notes and annotations.
In this scene, Indiana Jones on horseback is chased by a Nazi tank that has his father and friend held captive inside. Through a series of clever maneuvers, Indy is able to get aboard the tank and rescue his companions while taking down a fair share of Nazis along the way. One of his clever maneuvers is to jam a rock into one of the tank’s cannon barrels. Micky’s notes (in the image below) provide a suggestion to the director, Steven Spielberg, to include an extra shot through the cannon sight at Indy just before the cannon explodes when the gunner tries to shoot Indy. I fired up a clip of the scene on YouTube and sure enough, Micky’s suggested shot was included!
Little suggestions like Micky’s contribute to the magic we see in movies. Micky’s storyboard book highlights some of the crucial work that was put into one of the most beloved movie franchises of all time. Through archival preservation, the resources and memory of how films came to be can live on and serve as inspiration for future filmmakers. Considering the body of action sequences Micky Moore directed, his collection is a good place to start for any aspiring filmmaker interested in directing the next memorable action sequence. Or for me to flip through when I have a spare moment at work!
The Michael D. “Micky” Moore Papers are available to anyone with an interest in film history. You can check out the finding aid for the collection here, on the Online Archives of California. You can also check out the Micky Moore Digital Collection here, on the Pepperdine University Libraries Digital Collections.