Jack Finney

Jack Finney

Infobox Writer
name = Walter Braden (Jack) Finney

imagesize =
caption =
pseudonym =
birthdate = birth date|1911|10|2|mf=y
birthplace = Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
deathdate = death date and age|1995|11|14|1911|10|2|mf=y
deathplace = Greenbrae, California, United States
occupation = Novelist, short story writer
nationality = American
period = 1946–1995
genre = Noir fiction, science fiction, thrillers, comedy
subject = 19th century American history

Jack Finney (October 2, 1911November 14, 1995) was an American author. His best-known works are science fiction and thrillers, including "The Body Snatchers" and "Time and Again".

Finney was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and given the name John Finney. After his father died when he was three years old, he was renamed Walter Braden Finney in honor of his father, but continued to be known as "Jack" throughout his life. He attended Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. He married Marguerite Guest and they had two children, Kenneth and Marguerite. After living in New York City and working for an advertising agency there, he moved with his family to California in the early 1950s. He lived in Mill Valley, California, and died of pneumonia and emphysema in Greenbrae, California.

Writing career

Finney's first short story, "The Widow's Walk", won a contest sponsored by "Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine" in 1946. [ [http://members.aol.com/leahj/finney.htm Jack Finney biography] , accessed June 11, 2007] His first novel, "Five Against the House," was published in 1954. It was made into a movie the following year.

Finney's novel "The Body Snatchers" (1955) was the basis for the 1956 movie "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (and its remakes). It tells the story of aliens who invade Earth by emerging from pods and taking over the bodies of humans.

Finney's greatest success came with his science fiction novel "Time and Again" (1970). Its protagonist, Simon Morley, is working in advertising in New York City when he is recruited for a secret government project trying to achieve time travel. Instead of using a physical machine, the participants steep themselves in the history and culture of a particular time and place, then travel there through hypnosis or self-hypnosis. Morley travels to the New York City of 1882. The novel is notable for Finney's vivid and detailed picture of life in the city at that time. Morley sees many actual historical sites, some now gone (e.g., the post office that, until 1939, stood in what is now the southern tip of City Hall Park) and some still existing (e.g., St. Patrick's Cathedral, then the tallest building in its Fifth Avenue neighborhood).

In 1987, Finney was given the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement at the World Fantasy Convention, held in Nashville, Tennessee. [ [http://www.worldfantasy.org/awards/1987.html 1987 World Fantasy Award Winners and Nominees] , accessed June 11, 2007]

Finney's story "Such Interesting Neighbors" was made into an episode of the Spielberg-created anthology series Amazing Stories and starred Adam Ant and Marcia Strassman.

In 1995, twenty-five years after "Time and Again", Finney published a well-received sequel called "From Time to Time" featuring the further adventures of Morley, this time centering on Manhattan in 1912. Finney died at the age of 84 not long after finishing the book.

The 1998 television movie "The Love Letter", starring Campbell Scott and Jennifer Jason Leigh, is based on Finney's short story of the same name, which appeared in "The Saturday Evening Post" (1959).

[http://quiver.knox.edu/thethirdlevel/ "The Third Level"] , Knox College's science fiction and fantasy publication, is named for Finney's short story and collection.


* "The Widow's Walk", "Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine" (1946)
* "The Third Level" (1948) (short story collection)
* "I'm Scared" (1950)
* "Such Interesting Neighbors" (1951)
* "Five Against the House" (1954)
* "Of Missing Persons" (1955)
* "The Body Snatchers" (1955)
* "Second Chance" (1956)
* "Telephone Roulette: A Comedy in One Act" (1956)
* "The House of Numbers" (1957)
* "The Clock of Time" (1958)
* "Assault on a Queen" (1959)
* "The Coin Collector (aka The Other Wife)" (1960)
* "Home Alone" (1961)
* "Hey, Look at Me!" (1962)
* "Lunch Hour Magic" (1962)
* "The Face in the Photo (aka Time Has No Boundaries)" (1962)
* "Where the Cluetts Are" (1962)
* "Good Neighbor Sam" (1963)
* "I Love Galesburg in the Springtime" (1963) (short story collection)
* "This Winter's Hobby: A Play" (1966)
* "The Woodrow Wilson Dime" (1968)
* "Time and Again" (1970)
* "Marion's Wall" (1973)
* "The Night People" (1977)
* "Forgotten News: The Crime of the Century and Other Lost Stories" (1983) (nonfiction)
* "About Time" (1986) (short story collection)
* "Three by Finney" (1987) (an omnibus edition of "The Woodrow Wilson Dime", "Marion's Wall", and "The Night People")
* "From Time to Time" (1995)

Films based on Finney's novels and stories

* "5 Against the House" (1955 Phil Karlson film starring Guy Madison, Kim Novak, and Brian Keith)
* "Assault on a Queen" (1956 Jack Donohue film starring Frank Sinatra, Virna Lisi, and Anthony Franciosa)
* "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1956)
* "The House of Numbers" (1957 Russell Rouse film noir starring Jack Palance)
* "Good Neighbor Sam" (1964 David Swift film starring Jack Lemmon, Romy Schneider, and Dorothy Provine)
* "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1978 remake)
* "Maxie" (1985 Paul Aaron film starring Glenn Close, Mandy Patinkin, and Ruth Gordon; based on "Marion's Wall")
* "Body Snatchers" (1993 remake of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers")
* "The Love Letter" (1998 Dan Curtis TV movie starring Campbell Scott, Jennifer Jason Leigh, David Dukes, and Estelle Parsons; based on the story of the same name)
* "The Invasion" (2007 remake of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers")

Notes and references

External links

* [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0278277/ Jack Finney in the IMDb]
* [http://members.aol.com/leahj/finney.htm Little-Known Literaries] - a fan site with additional information about Finney
* [http://www.alteich.com/tidbits/nycphotos.htm Sites in "Time and Again", as they are today] - photos from December 2003
* [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C06EFDC1139F934A25752C1A963958260 "Jack Finney, 84, Sci-Fi Author Of Time-Travel Tales, Dies"] , obituary by William Grimes in "The New York Times", November 17, 1995
* [http://www.gwillick.com/Spacelight/obit/finneyo.html Obituaries from "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette," "San Francisco Examiner," "Dayton Daily News," and "The New York Times"]

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