The Twelve Viewings of Christmas

Here is a diverse and fun viewing list of 12 movies and TV shows to watch during the TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS. The traditional 12 DAYS start on Christmas day and runs to Jan. 5 – Christmas to Epiphany. But, choose your own time frame, and for twelve consecutive nights here is your viewing list.

Day One: A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS

charlie brown xmasThis never gets old and never fails to charm. Just listening to the music of the great Vince Guaraldi makes it feel like Christmas.

Day Two: A MIDNIGHT CLEAR

a midnight clearAn obscure film, which should be a holiday tradition. Set in 1944 France, an American Intelligence squad locates a German Platoon in the Ardennes wishing to surrender rather than die in Germany’s final war offensive. The two groups of men, isolated from the war at present, put aside their differences and spend Christmas together before the surrender plan turns bad and both sides are forced to fight each other. Sad, but powerful.

Day Three: RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER

rudolphCome on, we all love it. The Snowman (Burl Ives) sings one of the greatest Christmas songs of all time “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” in a show based on one of the greatest Christmas songs of all time.

Day Four: THE SANTA CLAUSE

To me, one of the better modern Christmas movies. Funny and sweet. Tim Allen is wonderful as the befuddled new Santa. 

shop around the cornerDay Five: THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER

The great pairing of Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan in a quirky romantic comedy set in Budapest during Christmas season. This was the basis of the Tom Hanks / Meg Ryan remake You’ve Got Mail, which is an excellent update. If you’ve never seen it, you’ve missed one of the great Jimmy Stewart performances.

Day Six: HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS

how the grinchNOT the Jim Carrey / Ron Howard-directed disaster, but the REAL Grinch narrated by Boris Karloff.

Day Seven: HOW THE GHOSTS STOLE CHRISTMAS, X-Files Episode

x-files season 6Mulder and Scully visit a rumored haunted house on Christmas Eve and get more than they bargained for. One of the all-time great episodes of a great TV show. Funny, scary and romantic at the same time.

Day Eight: THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS

nightmare_before_christmas_posterTim Burton’s ingeniously dark romantic view of the Yuletide.

Day Nine: THE BISHOP’S WIFE

bishops wifeNOT the Whitney Houston remake, but the original 1947 Cary Grant classic. Funny and irreverent while being very mainstream traditional. Grant is sparkling!

Day Ten: CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945)

ChristmasInConnecticutBarbara Stanwyck stars as Elizabeth Lane, a single New Yorker, employed as a food writer. Her articles about her fictitious Connecticut farm, husband, and baby are admired by housewives across the country. Her publisher, Alexander Yardley, is unaware of the charade and insists that Elizabeth host a Christmas dinner for returning war hero Jefferson Jones, who read all of her recipes while in the hospital and is so fond of her that his nurse, Mary Lee, wrote a letter to the publisher. Facing a career-ending scandal, not only for herself but for her editor,  Lane is forced to comply. In desperation, Elizabeth agrees to marry her friend, John Sloan, who has a farm in Connecticut. She also enlists the help of her uncle, chef Felix Bassenak, who has been providing her with the recipes for her articles. And of course, Lane falls in the love with the returning soldier, and comic chaos ensues! 

Day Eleven: LOVE ACTUALLY (2003)

love_actuallyRichard Curtis’ character-rich, sexy and romantic R-rated ensemble rom-com divided critics when it first arrived in theaters. But it was a huge hit with audiences from the outset, grossing about five times its budget on its way to becoming a modern classic. So many great little storylines: Colin Frissell so desperate for love he leaves London for Wisconsin; The Prime Minister falling immediately and hopelessly in love with his “chubby” staff member, Natalie;  John and “Just Judy” falling in love while filming a porn movie; Jamie and Aurelia’s non-verbal romance; and of course, Billy Mack’s quest to have the #1 Christmas song in England. 

Day Twelve: A CHRISTMAS STORY

christmas storyTHE Christmas movie. The story of a young boy’s epic quest to get his hands on a Red Ryder BB gun provides the hilarious backdrop for a timeless tale rife with family hijinks, frozen tongues and, of course, sex-oozing leg lamps.

Today In Charleston History: December 12

NATIONAL POINSETTIA DAY

1851

Joel Roberts Poinsett died, a Master Mason of Solomon’s Lodge, Charleston.

poinsettPoinsett was one of the most interesting men in South Carolina history. Born in Charleston in 1779, he studied law under Henry William DeSaussure. Poinsett, however, was not interested in becoming a lawyer, and convinced his parents to allow him to go on an extended tour of Europe in 1801.  For the next several years, Poinsett traveled the European continent, from France to Italy traveling through the Alps and Switzerland. He hiked up Mount Etna on the island of Sicily.

In October 1803, Poinsett left Switzerland for Vienna, Austria, and from there journeyed to Munich. In December he received word that his father was dead, and that his sister, Susan, was seriously ill. He immediately secured passage back to Charleston. Poinsett arrived in Charleston early in 1804, months after his father had been laid to rest. Hoping to save his sister’s life, Poinsett took her on a voyage to New York, remembering how his earlier voyage to Lisbon had intensified his recovery. Yet, upon arriving in New York City, Susan Poinsett died. As the sole remaining heir, Poinsett inherited a small fortune in town houses and lots, plantations, bank stock, and “English funds.” The entire Poinsett estate was valued at a hundred thousand dollars or more.

Poinsett traveled to the Russian capital of St. Petersburg in November 1806. Levett Harris, consul of the United States at St. Petersburg, and the highest American official in the country, hoped to introduce Poinsett at court to Czar Alexander. Learning that Poinsett was from South Carolina, the Empress asked him if he would inspect the cotton factories under her patronage. Poinsett and Consul Harris traveled by sleigh to Cronstadt to see the factories. Poinsett made some suggestions on improvement, which the Dowager Empress accepted.

In January, 1807, Czar Alexander and Poinsett dined at the Palace. Czar Alexander attempted to entice Poinsett into the Russian civil or military service. Poinsett was hesitant, which prompted Alexander to advise him to “see the Empire, acquire the language, study the people”, and then decide. Always interested in travel, Poinsett accepted the invitation and left St. Petersburg in March 1807 on a journey through southern Russia. He was accompanied by his English friend Lord Royston and eight others.

JRP-SoW,_SPoinsett and Royston were among the last westerners to see Moscow before its burning in October 1812 by Napoleon’s forces. Poinsett’s company traveled to Baku on the Caspian Sea. He noted that because of the petroleum pits in the region, it had long been a spot of pilgrimage for fire-worshipers. He became one of the earliest U.S. travelers to the Middle East, where, in 1806, the Persian khan showed him a pool of petroleum, which he speculated might someday be used for fuel.

Upon his return to Moscow, a year later, Czar Alexander’s discussed the details of Poinsett’s trip with him and offered him a position as colonel in the Russian Army. However, news had reached Russia of the attack of the H.M.S. Leopard upon the Chesapeake, and war between the United States and Great Britain seemed certain. Poinsett eagerly sought to return to the United States.

Before leaving Russia, Poinsett met one last time with Czar Alexander, who expressed his approval of the energetic measures by the Congress of the United States to resist the maritime pretensions of Britain. The Czar declared that Russia and the United States should maintain the same policy of respect. Poinsett again met with Foreign Minister Count Romanzoff where the Russian disclosed to Poinsett that the Czar ardently desired to have a minister from the United States at the Russian Court.

 In 1809  Pres. James Madison appointed Poinsett as Consul in General to Chile and Argentina. Poinsett was to investigate the prospects of the revolutionists, in their struggle for independence from Spain. He returned to Charleston on May 28, 1815.

poinsettia

In 1820, Poinsett won a seat in the United States House of Representatives for the Charleston district. As a congressman, Poinsett continued to call for internal improvements, but he also advocated the maintenance of a strong army and navy. He was appointed the first American minister to Mexico in 1825, and became embroiled in the country’s political turmoil until his recall in 1830. It was during this time that he visited the area south of Mexico City around Taxco del Alarcon, where he was introduced to a Mexican plant  called “Flor de Noche Buena” (Christmas Eve flower).  Poinsett, an avid amateur botanist, sent samples of the plant home to the States and by 1836 the plant was most widely known as the “poinsettia.”

In 1830, Poinsett returned to South Carolina  to again serve in the South Carolina state legislature, from 1830 to 1831. An avowed strong Unionist, his correspondence with Pres. Andrew Jackson during the Nullification Crisis kept the president abreast of the evolving situation in their home state, helping Jackson to craft policy. In 1833, Poinsett married the widow Mary Izard Pringle (1780-1857), daughter of Ralph and Elizabeth (Stead) Izard.

Poinsett-statue

Poinsett statue in Greenville, SC

Poinsett served as Secretary of War from March 7, 1837 to March 5, 1841 and presided over the continuing removal of Indians west of the Mississippi and over the Seminole War; reduced the fragmentation of the Army by concentrating elements at central locations; equipped the light batteries of artillery regiments as authorized by the 1821 army organization act.

In 1840 he a co-founder of the National Institute for the Promotion of Science and the Useful Arts in 1840, a group of politicians advocating for the use of the “Smithson bequest” for a national museum that would showcase relics of the country and its leaders, celebrate American technology and document the national resources of North America. The group was defeated in its efforts, as other groups wanted scientists, rather than political leaders, guiding the fortunes of what would become the Smithsonian Institution.

In 1841 he retired to his plantation at Georgetown died of tuberculosis, hastened by an attack of pneumonia, in Stateburg, South Carolina in 1851, and is buried at the Church of the Holy Cross Episcopal Cemetery.

Poinsett Bridge in Traveler's Rest, SC

Poinsett Bridge in Traveler’s Rest, SC

 

Today In Charleston History: December 11

1861 – GREAT FIRE.

A fire started at Russell and Co.’s sash factory at the foot of Hasell Street and East Bay (present-day location of Harris Teeter). It crossed to the south side of Hasell Street and spread to Cameron and Co.’s machine shop.The fire spread quickly, fueled by a windy Nor’easter and an endless supply of wooden buildings. Another factor in the devastation was that most of the men who would have been available to fight the fire had signed up for Confederate military service and were not living in the city. Many people were able to save some of their belongings, but few could stop the fire from destroying their homes.

It left the city of Charleston in shambles and it remained in ruins for the remainder of the War.  Business was suspended and planters sent produce into town for the needy. “Soup houses” were opened to feed those left homeless and relief committees were established to house the homeless and to raise money for the victims. The effects of the fire were long lasting and rebuilding was slow during the economic depression in the decades following the War. The damage caused by the fire became associated with damages from the war.  Photographs of the burned city were often misrepresented as damage caused by Union guns. The Great Fire of 1861 did more damage to Charleston in one night than the Federal blackade and bombardment did over the next four years.

1861 fire path map. From the Post and Courier.

1861 fire path map. From the Post and Courier.

Emma Holmes, 23 –year old described the fire in her diary:

The flames swept on with inconceivable rapidity & fierceness, notwithstanding the almost superhuman efforts of the firemen … Through that awful night, we watched the weary hours at the windows and still the flames leaped madly on with demonic fury … At five a.m. the city was wrapped in a living wall of fire from the Cooper to the Ashley without a single gap t break its dread uniformity. It seemed as if the day would never dawn … when the sun rose, the fire was still raging so fiercely that its glare almost overpowered that of the sun … The wind circled in eddies, driving the flames in every direction & carrying showers of flakes to an immense distance …

1861 fire

Harper’s Weekly reported the fire, including the rampant speculation that the fire may have been started by rebellious slaves.

IT matters little, in effect, whether the burning of the city of Charleston was the fruit of accident or of negro incendiarism. The rebels are sure to ascribe the disaster to the latter cause. Secret terrors are the price of despotism : in slave countries, every noise, every cry, every unusual movement of a slave, carries apprehension to the heart of his master. At the time of the John Brown affair, Governor Wise told us that Virginia matrons living miles and miles away were beside themselves with terror. We know that so terrible was the alarm created by that trumpery attempt, that down on the Gulf shore negroes whose behavior had attracted attention were imprisoned, whipped, and even shot by scores. In the language of Southern members of Congress who talked secession in those days, life was not worth having, if accompanied by the agonies which such events implanted in every Southern breast.
It is by the light of these memories that we must read the tale of the burning of Charleston. The burning of 600 houses, including every public building in the city, and property valued at $7,000,000, is an astounding event. Whatever the politicians and the papers may say, the Southern people from Norfolk to Galveston are sure to conclude that the negroes did the dread deed, and each man and woman is now quaking in terror lest his or her house should be the next to go. Nor is this opinion likely to be confined to the whites. The slaves, too, will hear of the fire, and will hear simultaneously—for we know that news does spread among the slaves, hard as their masters try to keep them in ignorance—that between eight and ten thousand slaves, till lately the overworked laborers on Carolina cotton plantations, are now free men, getting eight and ten dollars a month. It will not exceed the negro’s power of combination to connect the two events together. When he does, beware the result.

 

Fire path, from Frank Leslie's Illutrated

Fire path, from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated

Meeting Street damage, Harper's Weekly

Meeting Street damage, Harper’s Weekly. Looking east from the roof of the Mills House. Circular Church ruins to the left … St. Philips to the right. Harper’s Weekly.

1900
At a public gathering, ground was broken for the construction of the South Carolina West Indian Exposition. Mayor Smythe and Gov. M.B. McSweeney spoke at ceremony. More than seven thousand people attended, arriving on trolleys, carriages and bicycles.

Today In Charleston History: December 10

1698

Affra Harleston donated 17 acres of land south of George Street to St. Philips Church, known as the “Glebe Lands,” or lands belonging to the church.

1718 – Piracy.

Stede Bonnet, Gentleman Pirate, was hanged, supervised by Col. Rhett. Bonnet stood clutching a posey of wild flowers. He was “swung off” the cart and died “the agonizing death of strangulation.” During one month’s time, the province of South Carolina executed forty-nine pirates, an unparalleled event. 

Stede Bonnet execution

Stede Bonnet execution

1719 – Bloodless Revolution.

Angry Carolinians met in Charles Town and formed a Revolutionary Assembly. They refused to recognize the Proprietors’ vetoes and asked Governor Johnson to:

hold the reins of government for the King till his Majesty’s pleasure be known, for the people are determined to get rid of the oppression and arbitrary dealings of the Lords Proprietors.

Governor Johnson refused the Assembly’s request, supported the Proprietors and ordered the Assembly dissolved.

1740

In response to the catastrophic November fire, The Assembly passed an Act for Rebuilding which required all buildings to be made of brick or stone and fixed the prices of building materials.

1812

Joseph Alston was elected governor of South Carolina.

1843 – Marriage.
Mary Baker Eddy, 1850

Mary Baker Eddy, 1850

Mary Baker Eddy married George Washington Glover, a Charleston businessman, in her family’s home in Boston. They moved to Charleston for a short period, living in his home at 51 Hasell Street.   In June 1844, after six months of marriage, Glover died of yellow fever during a business trip to Wilmington. Eddy who was with him in Wilmington was six months pregnant and had to make her way back to New Hampshire, 1,400 miles by train and steamboat, where her only child, George Washington II, was born on 12 September in her father’s home. In the 1860s Eddy founded the Christian Science religion. 

 

Today In Charleston History: December 9

1773 – Charleston Firsts. Chamber of Commerce

On December 9, 1773, the Charlestown Chamber of Commerce was organized at Mrs. Swallows’ Tavern on Broad Street.

The formation of the Chamber can be traced back to the economic stress the British Empire suffered after the Seven Years’ War (the French and Indian War). The victory over the French had come at a high cost, so Parliament passed the 1764 Sugar Acts and the 1765 Stamp Act in an attempt to pay the debt run up during the war. The Stamp Act required that most printed materials in the colonies be produced on “stamped paper” – an embossed revenue mark. Those included newspapers, legal documents, playing cards and magazines.

It was within this volatile atmosphere of political upheaval and business uncertainty that a group of Charleston businessmen met at Mrs. Swallows Tavern and organized the Chamber of Commerce. Today it is called the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce.

1777 – American Revolution.

Henry Laurens’ term as President of the Continental Congress ended. He was elected after John Hancock’s retirement due to ill health. During his term, Laurens dealt with the conspiracy to replace George Washington as commander-in-chief, perpetuated by several members of Congress and the military.

1806 – Elections

Charles Pinckney was elected to his third term as governor.

1911

John Olmsted delivered a set of plans for Hampton Park.

John Charles Olmsted was the nephew and adopted son of Frederick Law Olmsted, was an American landscape architect. With his brother, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., he founded Olmsted Brothers, a landscape design firm in Brookline, Massachusetts. The firm is famous for designing many urban parks, college campuses, and other public places. John Olmsted’s body of work from over 40 years

John Olmsted

John Olmsted

as a landscape architect has left its mark on the American urban landscape, carrying his design philosophy of integrated park systems into new cities such as Portland, Maine; Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Spokane, Dayton, and, f course, Charleston. In these cities, he pioneered his comprehensive planning philosophy of integrating civic buildings, roads, parks, and greenspaces into livable urban areas.

Olmsted also designed individual parks in New Orleans; Watertown, New York; and Chicago. His work in park design led to commissions for numerous institutions such as school campuses, civic buildings, and state capitols, as well as designs for large residential areas, including roads and schools. His work in comprehensive planning for the communities surrounding industrial plants and factories is considered especially noteworthy.

Today In Charleston History: December 8

1769 England  – John Wilkes Affair.

The South Carolina Assembly voted to send to £1500 sterling to help pay the debts of John Wilkes “for the support of the just and constitutional rights and liberties of the people of Great Britain and America.”  (See November 21 post for explanation of the John Wilkes affair.)

The Sons of Liberty, who met at the Liberty Tree, considered this part of “their resistance to the arbitrary rule by the same Parliament that had imposed unconstitutional taxes on America.” At the behest of Christopher Gadsden, the Assembly ordered Jacob Motte, the public Treasurer, to send £10,500 provincial currency to the John Wilkes Fund in London “for assisting in the support of the just and constitutional rights of the People of Great Britain and America.” Only seven members of the Assembly voted against the measure, including Speaker Peter Manigault. This action shocked and infuriated government officials in both London and Charlestown, as it undermined official authority over the financial purse-strings of the colony.

1808
Langdon Cheves

Langdon Cheves

Langdon Cheves was elected Attorney General of South Carolina. He would later be elected to the House of Representatives and served as Speaker of the House 1814-15.

1817

John C. Calhoun took the oath of office as Secretary of War under Pres. James Monroe.

1822 – Slavery.

Intendent (Mayor) James Hamilton introduced a bill to grant “compensation [to] those persons whose slaves have been executed” associated with the Denmark Vesey Rebellion – $122.40 for each slave. 

1864 – Bombardment of Charleston. 
Gen. John G. Foster

Gen. John G. Foster

Gen. John G. Foster, in command of the Department of the South, acknowledged the Federal order to discontinue the bombardment of Charleston … two weeks after receiving it.

Today In Charleston History: December 7

1785
Dr. David Ramsay

Dr. David Ramsay

Dr. David Ramsay published his two-volume History of the Revolution of South Carolina. In an attempt to gain maximum profits, he paid for the printing himself – 3200 copies printed by Issac Collins of Trenton, New Jersey. It was also the first book to receive a copyright in the United States. 

 

1808
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney

James Madison defeated the Federalist candidate Charles Cotesworth Pinckney for the Presidency of the United States. Madison received 122 electoral votes to Pinckney’s forty-seven. Once again, Pinckney did not carry his home state of South Carolina.

Today In Charleston History: December 6

1765 – American Revolution – Foundations, The Stamp Act

The Sons of Liberty was organized in Charlestown, directed by Christopher Gadsden. Many of “the richer folks were terrified at the spirit which themselves had conjurered up.” To restore order, the “Liberty Boys … suppressed them [the stamp mob] instantly and committed the leaders to Gaol.”

1804

John Gaillard was elected to the U.S. Senate where he served until his death in 1826.He was elected to the United States Senate in place of Pierce Butler, who resigned.  He served as President pro tempore of the Senate in the part of the 11th Congress and at least part of every Congress from the 13th to the 18th. He was also the “Acting Vice President”, or next in line to the presidency, from November 25, 1814, two days after the death of Vice President Elbridge Gerry, to March 4, 1817.

John Gaillard

John Gaillard

1818

Sixty-one year old Charles Pinckney was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

1949

A new headstone for Charles Pinckney was dedicated at St. Philip’s Church. Donated by novelist Dr. Thornwell Jacobs, the ceremony was attended by Emma Pinckney (great-great-granddaughter) and Charles Pinckney Roberts (great-great-great grandson.)

pinckney headstone

Today In Charleston History: December 5

1769 – Population.  

Lt. Gov. William Bull reported that there were 45,000 white inhabitants and 80,000 Negroes in South Carolina. Charlestown contained 5.030 whites and 5,831 Negroes. During the year 5,438 slaves were imported and sold for £200,000 sterling. Bull also reported:

We have thirty lawyers … several earned from £1000 to £1200 sterling annually. Literature is but in its infancy here. We have not one good grammar school … our gentlemen, who have anything of a learned education, have acquired it in England, and it is to be lamented they are not more numerous.

Exports were listed to value £402,000 sterling and included:

  • Hemp: 526,131 pounds
  • Rice: 123,317 barrels
  • Pork: 2170 barrels
  • Pitch & tar: 7752 barrels
  • Lumber: 678,350 feet
  • Shingles: 1,987,000
  • Bricks: 42,800
  • Indigo: 309,570
  • Tobacco: 214,210
  • Deerskins: 183,221
1775

The commander-in-chief of the Navy, Commodore Esek Hopkins, received a yellow rattlesnake flag from Christopher Gadsden to serve as the distinctive personal standard of his flagship. It was displayed at the mainmast. Gadsden, representing South Carolina in the Continental Congress, was one of seven members of the Marine Committee who were outfitting the first naval mission.

900px-Gadsden_flag.svg

The Gadsden Flag

The first American naval ships were used to intercept incoming British ships carrying war supplies to the British troops in the colonies. One ship captured had 30,000 pairs of shoes on it, but the admiralty agent demanded his 2 1/2 per cent commission before he would release the cargo for Washington’s army, so many soldiers marched barefoot in the snow. The Second Continental Congress authorized the mustering of five companies of Marines to accompany the Navy on their first mission. The first Marines enlisted in the city of Philadelphia, and they carried drums painted yellow, depicting a coiled rattlesnake with thirteen rattles, and the motto “Don’t Tread on Me.” This is the first recorded mention of the future Gadsden flag’s symbolism.

The timber rattlesnake and eastern diamondback rattlesnake both populate the geographical areas of the original thirteen colonies. Their use as a symbol of the American colonies can be traced back to the publications of Benjamin Franklin. In 1751, he made the first reference to the rattlesnake in a satirical commentary published in his Pennsylvania Gazette. It had been the policy of Britain to send convicted criminals to America, so Franklin suggested that they thank the British by sending rattlesnakes to England.

On Feb. 9, 1776, Gadsden presented a copy of this flag to the Congress of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, as recorded in the South Carolina Congressional Journal:

Col. Gadsden presented to the Congress an elegant standard, such as is to be used by the commander in chief of the American Navy; being a yellow field, with a lively representation of a rattlesnake in the middle in the attitude of going to strike and these words underneath, “Don’t tread on me.

1829

Plans to build a fort in Charleston harbor were adopted by Congress. The fort was to be named “Sumter” in honor of South Carolina’s hero of the American Revolution, Thomas Sumter, who was still living at that time.

Thank You, Dr. Wilson!

Last week, with mixed emotions, I finished reading  Fear City, the last  Repairman Jack novel. (*sigh*)

It has been a journey of thrills, kills, chills and ultimately, just plain fun! The Jack series is more than genre-bending, it is all-inclusive – incorporating elements of horror, thriller, crime, sci-fi, international conspiracies (Dan Brown is an amateur!) and mysticism.  It is, by any standard, one of the most audacious, and entertaining, fiction series ever composed. For those of you who don’t know Jack,( or F. Paul Wilson)  – SHAME ON YOU!

Fear_City_Final_sm

 I first discovered Wilson when I read his classic horror novel, The Keep, in 1981. The book was later turned into a truly awful movie several years later – avoid! Then, in 1984, I read The Tomb, which introduced us to one of the coolest, baddest and most complex action heroes ever created, Repairman Jack. Jack is part Travis McGee, part Rambo, part Indiana Jones and pure entertainment. He is a mercenary who  “lives off the grid” and “repairs” situations for people who hire him, often through violence, but just as often through clever scams. Some of Jack’s adventures have a mystical, supernatural element in them, but mostly, they are pure adventure. If you are looking for a great beach book look no further than The Tomb. And then you’ll have about 20 more Jack books to get you through the rest of the year. 

CLICK HERE to see a list of Wilson’s novels.

Unfortunately, for the next fourteen years, Wilson did not write another Jack novel, even though he continued to write some of the best contemporary fiction of the 80s and 90s – medical thrillers, horror novels and science fiction. In the early 90s he published three connected novels titled Reborn, Reprisal and Nightworld. In those books, the evil entity called Rasalom, supposedly destroyed in The Keep, manages to have its essence stored as the soul of a cloned human, Jim Stevens. When Jim marries and has a child, Rasalom transfers its essence into the soul of Jim’s son, who is born preternaturally aware and feeds off human misery and fear. Rasalom has been reborn! The last book, Nightworld, is literally the end of the world, as Rasalom transforms earth into a world of a perpetual hellish night. Wilson himself has claimed that he will never write another novel that takes place after Nightworld, since in his fictional universe, nothing exists after that timeline.

Original editions of The Adversary Cycle

In 1998, Wilson finally published Legacies, a second full blown Repairman Jack novel. And he kept writing them, fifteen in all. He also managed to crank out three Repairman Jack Young Adult novels, letting us meet Jack as an adolescent, learning how and why Jack the kid developed into Jack the adult and finally Repairman Jack.  And with each subsequent book, the story of Rasalom’s emergence in the world creeps into Jack’s world. Which led us to a new edition of Nightworld  in 2012, completely rewritten to incorporate the entire Jack storyline. The conclusion of Jack’s story in Nightworld was mind-boggling, epic, bittersweet, and completely appropriate …  not the end of the world, just the end of the world as we know it, with Jack and his partner Gia facing a new, devastated and transformed world. 

But after Nightworld, Wilson (thankfully) decided he was not finished with Jack. He agreed to write three more novels, a series called Repairman Jack: The Early Years, which covers Jack’s first years in NYC, his initial adventures with the underworld, illegal cigarette smuggling and nasty Muslim terrorists. We also learn how Jack became “Repairman Jack.” 

Repairman Jack: The Early Years trilogy

Repairman Jack: The Early Years trilogy

So, thank you Dr. Wilson for making the reading of Fear City such a bittersweet experience, and thank you for creating such an amazing story and characterLONG LIVE JACK!

img_1196-fpaul-wilson