Former Church of God Treasurer
Says Hit Movie Idea was Stolen
by Brian R. Bland
Associated Press Article
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Stanley Rader, the former treasurer of the Worldwide Church of God, filed a $100 million lawsuit Wednesday claiming that the idea for the hit movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was stolen from him and a friend.
In the suit filed in Superior Court against "Raiders" producer George Lucas and director Steven Spielberg and others, Rader claims archaeologist Robert Lawrence Kuhn wrote a movie treatment several years ago and later reworked it into a screenplay and an unpublished novel about an archaeological explorer. The work was called "Ark."
"Raiders" has grossed $46.3 million in 24 days since its release, making it a good bet to become one of the top money-making films of all time.
Rader claims he was developing his own film version of Kuhn's work and that he submitted his project - which he envisioned as a motion picture with a religious theme like the pseudo-documentary "In Search of Noah's Ark" - to International Creative Management talent agency in 1977. ICM also represented Spielberg and had once represented Lucas.
Spielberg and Lucas were not immediately available for comment on the suit.
Both have said they got the idea from the movie while sitting around a swimming pool in Hawaii in 1977.
Thomas Pollock, Lucas' attorney, said, "The charges are ridiculous. Every time you have a successful movie, there'll be people who come forward who claim it's theirs."
Spokesmen for Paramount Pictures, the company that financed the film, and Lucasfilm, Lucas's production company, declined comment. Both are defendants in the suit.
"Never has there been so much secrecy surround a project" as there was arround making "Raiders of the Lost Ark," Rader told a news conference in explaining why he has waited until now to file the suit.
"We didn't learn of the movie until just six weeks ago," he said.
Rader currently serves as executive vice president of the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation and as a personal adviser to Herbert W. Armstrong, 89, patriarch of the Worldwide Church of God, a Pasadena-based fundamentalist group that receives some $100 million annually from its 100,000 members.
Rader said the suit had nothing to do with the church.
Rader's lawsuit outlines the plot of Kuhn's work "Ark." As in "Raiders," the principal character is an American university professor and archaeologist about 40 years old who is "something of a rogue."
Like the character Indiana Jones in the current film, Kuhn's professor first finds his girlfriend of a decade before and then finds the Ark of the Covenant in the Middle East in the ancient "Well of the Souls."
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