Jack Finney

Walter Braden "Jack" Finney (born John Finney, October 2, 1911 – November 14, 1995) was an American author. His best-known works are science fiction and thrillers, including The Body Snatchers and Time and Again. The former was the basis for the 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers and its remakes.

Walter Braden (Jack) Finney
BornJohn Finney
October 2, 1911
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
DiedNovember 14, 1995 (aged 84)
Greenbrae, California, United States
OccupationNovelist, short story writer
GenreNoir fiction, science fiction, thrillers, comedy
Subject19th century American history


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 he continued to be known as "Jack" throughout his life. He attended Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, graduating in 1934. 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, at the age of 84.

Writing career

Finney's first article, "Someone Who Knows Told Me …", published in the December 1943 issue of Cosmopolitan, reflects the message of the Office of War Information's (OWI) "Loose Lips Sink Ships" campaign of World War 2. As an advertising copywriter, Finney was doing his part, driving home the point that careless remarks by otherwise patriotic citizens can aid enemy agents, resulting in the death of US servicemen.

His story "The Widow's Walk" won a contest sponsored by Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine in 1946.[1] His first novel, 5 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).

Another novel, Assault on a Queen (1959), became the film Assault on a Queen with Frank Sinatra as the leader of a gang that pulls a daring robbery of the RMS Queen Mary.

Finney's greatest success came with his science fiction novel Time and Again (1970). It involves time travel to the past, a theme he had experimented with previously in short stories. Its protagonist, Simon Morley, is working in advertising in New York City when he is recruited for a secret government project 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 and for the art and photographs supposedly made by Morley during his experiences, which are reproduced in the pages of the novel. 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.[2]

Finney's story "Such Interesting Neighbors" (Collier's, 6 January 1951) was the basis for the second episode of Science Fiction Theatre, entitled "Time Is Just a Place". It was first broadcast on 16 April 1955. It co-starred Don DeFore and Warren Stevens. Later, the story appeared as an episode of the Steven Spielberg–created anthology series Amazing Stories, starring Adam Ant and Marcia Strassman. Spielberg's version was first broadcast on 20 March 1987.

In 1995, twenty-five years after Time and Again, Finney published a 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 in 1959.

The Third Level, Knox College's science fiction and fantasy publication, is named for Finney's short story "The Third Level", published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in October 1952.[3]


Short stories

  • "Someone Who Knows Told Me …", Cosmopolitan (Non-Fiction) (December, 1943)
  • "The Widow's Walk", Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (July, 1947)
  • "Manhattan Idyl", Collier's (April, 1947)
  • "I'm Mad at You", Collier's (December, 1947)
  • "Breakfast in Bed", Collier's (May, 1948)
  • "It Wouldn't Be Fair", Collier's (August, 1948) - Also published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine
  • "You Haven't Changes a Bit", Colliers (April, 1949)
  • "The Little Courtesies", Collier's (June, 1949)
  • "A Dash of Spring", Cosmopolitan (June, 1949)
  • "Week-end genius", Colliers (May, 1950)
  • "I Like It This Way", Collier's (June, 1950)
  • "My Cigarette Loves Your Cigarette", Collier's (September, 1950)
  • "Such Interesting Neighbors", Collier's (January, 1951)
  • "One Man Show", Collier's (June, 1951)
  • "I'm Scared", Collier's (September, 1951)
  • "It Wouldn't be Fair", Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (November, 1951)
  • "Obituary" (co-written with C.J. Durban), Collier's (February, 1952)
  • "The Third Level", The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (October, 1952)
  • "Quit Zoomin' Those Hands Through the Air", The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (December, 1952)
  • "Of Missing Persons" (1955)
  • "Man of Confidence", Good Housekeeping (September, 1955)
  • "Second Chance", Good Housekeeping (April, 1956)
  • "Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket", Good Housekeeping (June, 1956)
  • "The Love Letter", Saturday Evening Post (August 1, 1959) [Also re-published in January/February 1988 issue of Saturday Evening Post]
  • "The U-19’s Last Kill", Saturday Evening Post (six-part series, beginning August 22, 1959 and ending September 26, 1959)
  • "The Other Wife" (also known as "The Coin Collector"), Saturday Evening Post (January 30, 1960)
  • "An Old Tune" (also known as "Home Alone"), McCall's (October, 1961)
  • "Old Enough for Love", McCall's (May, 1962)
  • "The Sunny Side of the Street", McCall's (October, 1962)
  • "Time Has No Boundaries" (also known as "The Face in the Photo"), Saturday Evening Post (October 13, 1962)
  • Hey, Look at Me! (1962)
  • Lunch Hour Magic (1962)
  • Where the Cluetts Are (1962)



  • The Third Level (1957) (short story collection), in England as The Clock of Time (1958)
  • I Love Galesburg in the Springtime (1963) (short story collection)
  • Forgotten News: The Crime of the Century and Other Lost Stories (1983) (Nonfiction)
  • About Time (1986) (short story collection, a subset of only the time stories from The Third Level and I Love Galesburg in the Springtime)
  • Three by Finney (1987) (an omnibus edition of The Woodrow Wilson Dime, Marion's Wall, and The Night People)


  • Telephone Roulette: A Comedy in One Act (1956)
  • This Winter's Hobby: A Play (1966)

Films based on Finney's novels and stories

A 1980 film, Somewhere in Time, was based on the novel Bid Time Return, by Richard Matheson, but used the same time travel technique described by Finney in Time and Again and About Time. The college professor who describes this time travel technique is also named Finney after the author.


  1. ^ "Jack Finney biography". Retrieved June 11, 2007.
  2. ^ "1987 World Fantasy Award Winners and Nominees". Archived from the original on May 19, 2007. Retrieved June 11, 2007.
  3. ^ "FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION: ANTHOLOGIES (by content)". sfsite.com. SF Site. Retrieved 2015-07-21.

External links

5 Against the House

5 Against the House is a 1955 American heist film noir directed by Phil Karlson and starring Guy Madison, Brian Keith, and Kim Novak, in one of her first film appearances. Based on a story by Jack Finney, the film centers on a fictional robbery of what was a real Nevada casino, Harold's Club. The supporting cast includes William Conrad. The screenplay was based on Jack Finney's 1954 novel of the same name, which was later serialized by Good Housekeeping magazine.

Assault on a Queen

Assault on a Queen is a 1966 American action-adventure film, directed by Jack Donohue, starring Frank Sinatra and Virna Lisi. Based on a 1959 novel by Jack Finney, it was adapted for the screen by Rod Serling and released by Paramount Pictures on June 15, 1966.

Body Snatchers (1993 film)

Body Snatchers is a 1993 American science fiction horror film directed by Abel Ferrara and starring Gabrielle Anwar, Billy Wirth, Terry Kinney, Meg Tilly, Christine Elise, R. Lee Ermey and Forest Whitaker. It is loosely based on the 1955 novel The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney, with a screenplay by Nicholas St. John, Stuart Gordon, and Dennis Paoli.

Body Snatchers is the third film adaptation of Finney's novel, the first being Invasion of the Body Snatchers in 1956, followed by a remake of the same name in 1978. The plot revolves around the discovery that people working at a military base in Alabama are being replaced by perfect physical imitations grown from plantlike pods. The duplicates are indistinguishable from normal people except for their utter lack of emotion.

Dead of Night (1977 film)

Dead of Night is a 1977 American made-for-television anthology horror film starring Ed Begley Jr., Anjanette Comer, Patrick Macnee, Horst Buchholz and Joan Hackett. Directed by Dan Curtis, the film consists of three stories written by Richard Matheson (although the first segment, "Second Chance", was adapted from a story by Jack Finney) much like the earlier Trilogy of Terror. The film originally premiered on NBC on March 29, 1977.


Finney is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Albert Finney (1936–2019), English actor

Alex Finney (1902–1982), English association footballer

Ben Finney (born 1934), American anthropologist, co-founder of the Polynesian Voyaging Society

Charles Grandison Finney (1792–1875), American revivalist

Charles G. Finney (1905–1984), American newspaperman and writer

Christopher Finney (born 1984), British soldier

D. J. Finney (1917–2018), British statistician

Ernest A. Finney Jr. (1931–2017), American judge

Hal Finney (baseball) (1905–1991), Major League Baseball catcher

Hal Finney (cypherpunk) (1956–2014), developer for PGP Corporation, the second developer hired after Phil Zimmermann

Harry Anson Finney (1886–1966), American accountancy author

Jack Finney (1911–1995), American author

Karen Finney, American political consultant and commentator

Tom Finney (1922–2014), English association footballer

John Morton-Finney (1889–1998), civil rights activist, lawyer and educator

From Time to Time (novel)

From Time to Time is a 1995 illustrated novel by American writer Jack Finney, the sequel to Time and Again, which tells the story of how Simon Morley, working on a secret government project in 1970, was able to travel back in time to the New York City of 1882.

Good Neighbor Sam

Good Neighbor Sam is a 1964 American Eastman Color comedy film co-written and directed by David Swift and starring Jack Lemmon, Romy Schneider, Edward G. Robinson, Dorothy Provine, and Michael Connors.

It was based on the novel by Jack Finney. The screenplay was the motion picture debut of James Fritzell and Everett Greenbaum, who had written many American television situation comedies including The Andy Griffith Show and Mister Peepers (created by David Swift). Greenbaum also created the mobile sculpture featured in the film.

House of Numbers (1957 film)

House of Numbers is a 1957 American film noir, based on author Jack Finney's 1957 novel of the same name, starring Jack Palance and Barbara Lang.In the film, Palance plays two similar-looking brothers: Bill and his younger brother Arnie Judlow. Bill is a good citizen, trying to help his ex-professional boxer brother, Arnie, convicted of murder, escape from San Quentin State Prison to return to Arnie's wife, Ruth, played by Lang.The movie was filmed on location at San Quentin and set in San Quentin and Mill Valley, California, then the home city of author Finney.

Hunt Regional Medical Center

Hunt Regional Medical Center (or Hunt Regional) is a full-service hospital located at 4215 Joe Ramsey Boulevard in Greenville, Texas. The hospital opened on August 1, 1971 and has since undergone numerous expansions. Hunt Regional serves patients in Hunt County and surrounding areas.

Maxie (film)

Maxie is a 1985 American fantasy-comedy film directed by Paul Aaron, and starring Glenn Close, Mandy Patinkin, Valerie Curtin, Ruth Gordon and Barnard Hughes. The plot is based on the novel Marion's Wall (1973) by Jack Finney about a woman who is possessed by a very outgoing female ghost — a budding actress from the 1920s — named Maxie, who wants to fulfill her destiny.


McCall's was a monthly American women's magazine, published by the McCall Corporation, that enjoyed great popularity through much of the 20th century, peaking at a readership of 8.4 million in the early 1960s. It was established as a small-format magazine called The Queen in 1873. In 1897 it was renamed McCall's Magazine—The Queen of Fashion (later shortened to McCall's) and subsequently grew in size to become a large-format glossy. It was one of the "Seven Sisters" group of women's service magazines.

McCall's published fiction by such well-known authors as Alice Adams, Ray Bradbury, Gelett Burgess, Willa Cather, Jack Finney, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Barbara Garson, John Steinbeck, Tim O'Brien, Anne Tyler and Kurt Vonnegut.

Of Missing Persons

"Of Missing Persons" is a 1955 science fiction short story by American writer Jack Finney, which describes a burned-out bank teller named Charley Ewell living in 1955 New York City who receives a chance to emigrate from Earth to Verna, a lush, earthlike planet light-years away.

Pod people

Pod people may refer to:

Pod People (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), a fictional alien species in a novel by Jack Finney and three film adaptations

The Pod People, an unrelated 1983 film

Pod People (band), an Australian doom metal band

Rudolph Fentz

Rudolph Fentz (also spelled as Rudolf Fenz) is the focal character of "I'm Scared", a 1951 science fiction short story by Jack Finney, which was later reported as an urban legend as if the events had truly happened. The story tells of a 19th-century-looking young man possessing items of that period who is found confused in the middle of 1908 Times Square before being hit by a car and killed, suggesting that he had, perhaps involuntarily, time travelled about a century forwards.

The story of Rudolph Fentz became one of the more significant urban legends of the 1980s and has been repeated occasionally since. With the spread of the Internet in the 1990s, it has been reported more often as a reproduction of facts and presented as evidence for the existence of time travel.

Such Interesting Neighbors

Such Interesting Neighbors is a science fiction short story by American writer Jack Finney, first published in 1951. Adapted versions of the story for television aired as episodes of Science Fiction Theatre and Amazing Stories.

The Body Snatchers

The Body Snatchers is a 1955 science fiction novel by American writer Jack Finney, originally serialized in Colliers Magazine in 1954, which describes real-life Mill Valley, California (called in the original film by the fictional name of "Santa Mira") being invaded by seeds that have drifted to Earth from space. The seeds, grown from plantlike pods, replace sleeping people with perfect physical duplicates with all the same knowledge, memories, scars, etc. but are incapable of human emotion or feeling. The human victims disappear forever.

The duplicates live only five years and cannot sexually reproduce; consequently, if unstopped, they will quickly turn Earth into a dead planet and move on to the next world. One of the duplicate invaders claims this is what humans do — use up resources, wipe out indigenous populations, and destroy ecosystems in the name of survival.

The novel has been adapted for the screen four times; the first film, Invasion of the Body Snatchers in 1956, the second in 1978, the third in 1993, and the fourth in 2007.

Unlike the first three film adaptations, which elected for darker, far more dystopian narratives, the novel contains an optimistic ending, with the aliens voluntarily vacating after deciding that they cannot tolerate the type of resistance they see in the main characters.

The Invasion (film)

The Invasion is a 2007 American science fiction horror film directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, with additional scenes written by The Wachowskis and directed by James McTeigue, and starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. Its plot follows a Washington, D.C. psychiatrist (Kidman) who finds those around her turning into emotionless beings shortly after a major space shuttle crash.

Development of the film began in 2004. Warner Bros. hired David Kajganich to write what was intended to be a remake of the 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but Kajganich crafted a different story as an original conception and to reflect contemporary times. Principal photography began in September 2005. The film was released on August 17, 2007, and grossed $40.2 million against a $65-80 million budget.

The Invasion is the fourth film adaptation of the 1955 novel The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney, following Don Siegel's 1956 film, Philip Kaufman's 1978 remake, and Abel Ferrara's 1993 Body Snatchers.

The Love Letter (1998 film)

The Love Letter is a 1998 Hallmark Hall of Fame television film directed by Dan Curtis starring Campbell Scott and Jennifer Jason Leigh. It is based on Jack Finney's short story of the same name, which was first published in The Saturday Evening Post on August 1, 1959, and reprinted in the same magazine in January/February 1988 issue. The story has since appeared in several books.

Time and Again (novel)

Time and Again is a 1970 illustrated novel by American writer Jack Finney. The many illustrations in the book are real, though, as explained in an endnote, not all are from the 1882 period in which the actions of the book take place. It had long been rumored that Robert Redford would adapt the book into a movie. The project has never come to fruition. Though a film of this novel has never been made, a 1980 film, Somewhere in Time features a similar time travel technique. It is based on a 1975 Richard Matheson novel called Bid Time Return. The film concerns a young man unhappy with his life as a playwright. He meets a scientist named Dr. Finney whose time travel theory mimics Jack Finney's idea of self-hypnosis in the exact environment of the desired destination time. In July 2012, it was announced that Lionsgate studios optioned the film rights to the novel, with Doug Liman set to direct and produce.

A sequel, From Time to Time (1995), was published during the final year of the author's life. The book left room for a third novel, apparently never written.

The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney
Related people

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.