“Christine” (Post 2/3)

Christine 02

[Explanation of Reading Journal Entries/Ratings]

Post 1

Post 3

[25] Reference:

Loads up the Nibroc dispenser with paper towels.



The first properly mass-produced paper towels were Nibroc Paper Towels, first produced in 1922 at the Cascade Mill on the Berlin/Gorham New Hampshire line (I am mentioning this because I have been by this mill a ton of times and I’m delighted to have this piece of trivia). William E. Corbin, the inventor (and later mayor of Berlin, New Hampshire) used his own last name spelled backward for the brand. When he died, he was called “the father of paper towels.”

[26] References:

A couple of times I had gone with him on sunny summer afternoons to marinas along King George Lake and Lake Passeeonkee.


From context, it sounds like Dennis is talking about lakes near the Pittsburgh area. There is a Lake George in New York, but it is an eight-hour drive from Pittsburgh.

Looking up Lake Passeeonkee only brings up references to Christine.

I think King made up both for the book.

[27] References:

Well stocked with such items as Feully [sic] heads, Hurst shifter, and Ram-Jett [sic] superchargers.


According to reference.com:

Fuelly (more commonly “fuelie” or “double-hump”) heads are stock cylinder heads that are very popular for use in Street Stock and Pure Stock racing classes because they can be race ready with minimal modifications. Some variations are also nicknamed “Fuelie” heads because a version appeared on the fuel injected 327 powered Corvette.

An ad in “Popular Mechanics” (Oct. 1977) reads:

Now! New Ram-Jet Supercharger





(Can give you up to 50 extra miles for every tankfull [sic])

[28] Reference:

Even the Black Hole of Calcutta would have been an improvement.



The Black Hole of Calcutta was a small dungeon in Fort William in Calcutta, India where troops of Siraj ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal, held British prisoners of war after the Bengali army captured the fort in 1756. John Zephaniah Holwell, one of the British prisoners, said that the prisoners were imprisoned overnight in conditions so cramped that 123 of 146 died from suffocation and heat exhaustion.

[29] Reference:

He reminded me a little bit of Moloch, the god we read about in my Origins of Literature class – he was the one who was supposed to be able to see everywhere with his one red eye.



Moloch is the Biblical name relating to a Canaanite god associated with child sacrifice. Moloch has been used figuratively in English literature from John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667) to Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” (1955), to refer to a person or thing demanding or requiring a very costly sacrifice.

I can’t find a reference to Moloch having one red eye. I’m not up on my mythology, though.

[30] Great description of a room:

His office was done in Early American Carburetor – it was every scuzzy garage office from coast to coast in a country that runs on rubber and amber gold. There was a greasy calendar with a pin-up of a blond goddess in short-shorts and on open blouse climbing over a fence in the country. There were unreadable plaques from half a dozen companies which sold auto parts. Stacks of ledgers. An ancient adding machine. There was a photograph, God save us, of Will Darnell wearing a shriner’s fez and mounted on a miniature motorcycle that looked about to collapse under his bulk. And there was the smell of long-departed cigars and sweat.

(p.117 – 118)

[31] Weird sentence. Is a typo involved?

By halftime I was morally sure that I was going to have cleat-mark scars all over my back for the rest of my life.


Did he mean “mortally”? Even that doesn’t make much sense.

[32] Continuing my confusion with Dennis’s use of tenses (see Post 1, note [15]):

Arnie had gone beat-read; he always does when a teacher speaks to him.


Arnie is dead by the time Dennis is recounting his story, so why is Dennis referring to him in the present tense (and as though he’s still in school)?

[33] Reference:

Back in the days when (…) the biggest teen idol in the country was Edd “Kookie” Byrnes.



Edd Byrnes (b.1933) is an American actor best known for his starring role as “Kookie” in the television series 77 Sunset Strip (1958 – 1964). He was also featured in the 1978 film Grease as television teen-dance show host Vince Fontaine, and was a charting recording artist with 1959’s “Kookie, Kookie – Lend Me Your Comb” (with Connie Stevens).

[34] This is a YA book in “adult” horror make-up. Nothing wrong with that; just know what you’re walking in to:

Arnie started to laugh, spraying out little wads of munched-up fig bars. I know how obnoxious that must sound but it was really funny.


[35] Each chapter begins with a lyric, attributed not always to the writer but to the performer King most associates with the song. Several of the artists I had to look up:

Moon Martin (p.169)

John David “Moon” Martin (b.1950) is an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist who gained recognition in the 1970s. His most famous song is probably “Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)”, made famous by Robert Palmer.


Jonathan Richmond [sic] and the Modern Lovers (p.179)

Jonathan Richman (b.1951) is an American singer, songwriter and guitarist. In 1970 he founded the Modern Lovers, an influential proto-punk band.


Ellas McDaniel (p.235)

Bo Diddley’s birth name. (I wonder why King went with this name for him?)


Charlie Ryan (p.303)

Charlie Ryan (1915 – 2008) was an American singer and songwriter, best known for co-writing and first recording the rockabilly hit single “Hot Rod Lincoln” (1955).

[36] Reference:

“Those shitting insurance companies are all as rich as Croesus.”



Croesus (595 BC – ~546 BC) was the king of Lydia who, according to Herodotus, reigned for 14 years until his defeat by the Persian king Cyrus the Great. Croesus was renowned for his wealth.

[37] Reference:

Sylvester Stallone strode across the night in a costume of a young labor leader from the 1930s. (…) Maybe she thought he had really brought them here so they could watch F*I*S*T free.



F.I.S.T. is a 1978 American drama film directed by Norman Jewison and starring Sylvester Stallone. The title is an acronym for the “Federation of Inter-State Truckers.”


Again and again on the mostly silent drive back down she opened her mouth to try to clarify how she felt… and then closed it again, afraid of being misunderstood, because she didn’t understand how she felt herself.


[39] References:

Dee Dee Sharp singing “Mashed Potato Time.”



Dee Dee Sharp (b.1945) is an American R&B singer, who began her career as a backing vocalist in 1961. In 1962 she began a string of successful Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 hits, including “Mashed Potato Time.”

The song is pretty much “Please Mr. Postman” with lyrics about the mashed potato dance. Who knew?

[40] Reference:

The disc jockey sounded crazily like Alan Freed.



Albert James “Alan” Freed (1921 – 1965), also known as Moondog, was an American disc jockey. His career was destroyed by the payola scandal that hit the broadcasting industry in the early 1960s.

[41] Reference:

They were feeling pretty much reet and compleat.


According to dictionary.com, “reet and compleat” means Good; proper; excellent; right. The phrase is linked to the “1930s + Jazz musicians.”

[42] Even in the book’s second part, which is told in third-person and focuses mostly on Arnie and Leigh, we get a couple of weird tics to connect it to Dennis; unnecessary taking-me-out-of-the-story tics:

[Michael] had assumed Arnie used that sort of language with his peers (or so he later told Dennis Guilder).



[Leigh] told Dennis Guilder later that it seemed at least at the time – perfectly possible that he might have lost his mind.


Six pages later, King gives us the very scene where Leigh tells Dennis:

She got through most of the story okay, sitting in one of the two visitors’ chairs.


Why tell us that she “told Dennis Guilder later” and then show her telling Dennis later? If we’re in third person, why this Dracula (and Salem’s Lot)-esque recounting of events from character to character? If we’re going to listen to Leigh recount everything to Dennis (even Arnie’s conversation with police, which she wouldn’t know about), why not keep the story in Dennis’s first-person POV?

Basically: The construction of this book is very weird.

[43] Reference/Translate:

He toasted Dennis (…) “Prosit.”

“Live forever,” Dennis responded.



Latin: may it benefit

In general, an exclamation used as a toast when drinking to a person’s health.


“What does that mean?”

“You know damn well. It hardly even bears discussing anymore. We just go around and around the same old mulberry bush. Your entire life is jittering apart and you stand there and ask me what I’m talking about.”


[45] Reference:

B. Dalton, where Arnie wanted to look for a book on toy-making.



Dalton Bookseller (often called B. Dalton or B. Dalton’s) was an American retail bookstore chain founded in 1966 by Bruce Dayton, a member of the same family that operated the Dayton’s department store chain.  He named the chain after himself, but substituted an L for the Y in his surname. It had 798 stores at the peak of success. The last stores were liquidated in 2009.


It was a very good day right up until the moment that Leigh Cabot almost died.

She almost surely would have died, if not for the hitchhiker.


Now, this sequence of Leigh’s near-death is very good. But it would have been tremendously more intense if King hadn’t told us that the hitchhiker will save Leigh. We would have assumed the danger was coming from the hitchhiker, making Christine’s strike even crazier.


Dennis reflected that things could be worse – much, much worse.

Before too long, they were.


A patented King move to give a wink of upcoming doom. And one I quite like. (See “The Raft,” note [2] ; Pet Sematary, notes [6] and [11]; “Big Driver,” note [63].)


The Camaro rolled northeast at sixty-five over two-lane tar that was like a swipe of black paint across a hilly white floor.



On his right, Richie Trelawney sat bolt upright and as pallid as a gravestone, his eyes eating up his face. Richie knew the score, all right.


[50] Reference:

He yanked the wheel all the way around, twirling it with the death-knob that held one bobbing red die in alcohol.



A brodie knob (alternative spelling brody knob) is a knob that attaches to the steering wheel of an automobile or other vehicle or equipment with a steering wheel. Other names for this knob include: suicide, necker, granny, knuckle buster, and wheel spinner. The free rotation is intended to help make steering with one hand less difficult or faster. The Brodie name is a reference to Steve Brodie (1861 – 1901; a stunt man known for jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge) and was meant to describe all manner of reckless stunts. The device is often called a “suicide knob” because of being notoriously useless for controlling the wheel during an emergency.

[51] Reference:

He turned crazily on his hands and knees, like a small child playing I Witness at a birthday party.


I have never heard of this party game and it is really hard with those keywords to find anything on Google about it. Anyone ever play “I Witness”?


Two other facts rolled around uneasily in his mind like pool balls looking for a pocket in which to come to rest. (…)

The two thoughts clicked lazily off each other and rolled in different directions.


[53] Fact Check:

Stuffing transmissions full of sawdust to stifle their death whines and pouring boxes of oatmeal into terminally ill radiators to temporarily plug their leaks.


No idea if this stuff really “works”, but they are reported methods for shifty dealers or people short on cash. Both sound like they would cause far more problems than fix.


Will thought (not for the first time) that most people would accept anything if they saw it happen right before their eyes. In a very real sense there was no supernatural, no abnormal; what happened, happened and that was the end.


[55] Reference:

He had had the lead part in the senior play. His part had been that of the minister who is driven to suicide by his lust for Sadie Thompson, the girl he has set out to save.



“Rain” (1921) is a short story by W. Somerset Maugham. The story is set on a Pacific island: a missionary’s determination to reform a prostitute (Sadie Thompson) leads to tragedy. A play version by John Colton and Clemence Randolph was published in 1922. There have also been several film versions and an opera.

Post 3


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