“IT” (Post 8/9)


It Month Introduction

[Explanation of Reading Journal Entries/Ratings]

In this part, we’ll cover:

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 16: Eddie’s Bad Break

[289] Reference:

At first he dismissed it as the twinges of bursitis he sometimes gets when the weather is damp.



Bursitis is the inflammation of one or more bursae (small sacs) of synovial fluid in the body. There are more than 150 bursae in the human body.

[290] Reference:

He remembers standing at the comic rack for awhile, spinning it idly to see if there were any new Batmans or Superboys, or his own favorite, Plastic Man.



Plastic Man (real name Patrick “Eel” O’Brian) is a fictional comic book superhero originally published by Quality Comics and later acquired by DC comics. Created by cartoonist Jack Cole, Plastic Man was one of the first superheroes to incorporate humor into mainstream action storytelling.

[291] Reference:

A bottle of Dr. Swett’s Elixir for Children.


I can’t find a Dr. Swett’s Elixir but there was a “Dr. Swett’s Root Beer.” Swett-Genealogy.com says:

Dr. Swett’s Root Beer was originated by Dr. George W. Swett (1834-1924). (…) His root beer was first sold in little packets of dry ingredients, and as a fountain drink in his pharmacies; then it was shipped to other pharmacies as a syrup to be mixed with soda water; and later it was pre-mixed and sold in bottles. (…) It was produced by franchised bottling companies until the 1950’s.

[292] References:

A fan of such Western writers as Max Brand and Archie Joceylen [sic].



Frederick Schiller Faust (1892-1944) was an American author known primarily for his thoughtful and literary Westerns under the pen name Max Brand. He also created the popular fictional character of young medical intern Dr. James Kildare (referenced in Rosemary’s Baby note [55]) in a series of pulp fiction stories.

Archie Joceyln doesn’t have a Wikipedia page, but judging by the books listed under his name on Amazon (a story in Western Action, El valle del peligro) and abebooks.com (Hoot Owl Canyon, The Golden Bowl), he was active in the late 1930s through the 1950s.

[293] References:

Stuttering Bill had replaced Jock Mahoney, who played the Range Rider on TV Saturday mornings, as the great hero in Eddie’s life.



Jock Mahoney (1919-1989) was an American actor and stuntman. He starred in two western television series, The Range Rider and Yancy Derringer. He also played Tarzan in two feature films. The Range Rider aired in syndication from 1951 to 1953.

[294] Reference:

The picture on the calendar showed more pills. It said SQUIBB.



Bristol-Myers Squibb, often referred to as BMS, is an American pharmaceutical company, headquartered in New York City. The Squibb corporation was founded in 1858 by Edward Robinson Squibb in Brooklyn, New York. Squibb was known as a vigorous advocate of quality control and high purity standards within the fledgling pharmaceutical industry of his time. Squibb merged with Bristol-Myers in 1989.

[295] References:

Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking or Dr. Jarvis’s Vermont Folk Medicine [sic].



Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993) was an American minister and author known for his work in popularizing the concept of positive thinking, especially through his best-selling book The Power of Positive Thinking (1952). He served as the pastor of Marble Collegiate Church, New York, from 1932 until his death. Peale was a personal friend of President Nixon and Donald Trump attended Peale’s church while growing up, as well as marrying his first wife Ivana there. Peale received frequent criticism both from church figures and from the psychiatric profession.

One major criticism of The Power of Positive Thinking is that the book is full of anecdotes that are hard to substantiate. Almost all of the experts and many of the testimonials that Peale quotes as supporting his philosophy are unnamed, unknown and unsourced.

DeForest Clinton Jarvis (1881-1996) was an American physician from Vermont. He is best known for his writings on folk medicine. He recommended a mixture of whole, raw apple cider vinegar and honey that have variously been called switchel or honegar, as a health tonic. Jarvis’ 1958 book Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor’s Guide to Good Health was on The New York Times Best Seller list for two years, ultimately selling over one million copies.


How could you fight a grownup who said it wasn’t going to hurt when you knew it was? (…)

And almost idly, in a kind of side-thought, Eddie discovered one of his childhood’s great truths. Grownups are the real monsters, he thought. It was no big deal, not a thought that came in a revelatory flash or announced itself with trumpets and bells. It just came and was gone.


[297] Reference (real? Or Stephen King’s usual BS? This refers to placebo tests)

“In 1954, a series of medical tests on ulcer patients was run at DePaul university.”


I can’t find a reference to this testing. Doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, but the internet isn’t giving it up.


Grownups could be so hateful in their power sometimes. So hateful.



But why would he lie? (It was only years later, in the library, that Eddie asked himself the more terrible question: Why would he tell me the truth?)


[300] Reference:

He couldn’t remember if the soles of his P.F. Flyers had touched the sidewalk or not.



PF Flyers is a brand of athletic shoes that are currently manufactured by New Balance. In 1933, canvas pioneer BF Goodrich patented the Posture Foundation insole, and began adding the new technology to its action shoes. Goodrich shoes with Posture Foundation became known simply as “P-F” in 1937. By the 1960s, PF was one of the most popular shoes in America.

[301] These lifetime-in-a-paragraph bits are pure, premo King. For all my bitching, when he’s good, he’s great:

A little kid on a trike suddenly pedaled out of a driveway and right into Eddie’s path. Eddie tried to swerve, but running full-out as he had been, he might have done better to jump over the kid (the kid’s name, in fact, was Richard Cowan, and he would grow up, marry, and father a son named Frederick Cowan, who would be drowned in a toilet and then be partially eaten by a thing that rose up from the toilet like black smoke and then took an unthinkable shape), or at least to try.



Lars, who was then three and who would die twelve years later in a motorcycle accident, saw something terrible and inhuman in Mr. Marsh’s fate.



The Derry Fire Department rolled for the first time that day at 6:02 A.M. and arrived at Tracker Brothers’ at 6:09. One of the first firemen off the truck was Calvin Clark, one or the Clark twins with whom Ben, Beverly, Richie, and Bill had gone to school. His third step away from the truck brought the sole of his leather boot down on the live line. Calvin was electrocuted almost instantly. His tongue popped out of his mouth and his rubber fireman’s coat began to smolder. He smelled like burning tires at the town dump.


[302] Reference (also used in The Last Picture Show, note [25]):

Mr. Nell (…) [was] reading a paperback called I the Jury.



I, the Jury (1947) is the debut novel of American crime-fiction writer Mickey Spillane, the first work to feature private investigator Mike Hammer. It was adapted into a film in 1953. The novel’s reputation for raciness and violence has outlasted the popularity of the book itself.

[303] Reference:

The clown (…) with a copy of Look magazine.



Look was a bi-weekly, general-interest magazine published in Des Moines, Iowa, from 1937 to 1971, with more of an emphasis on photographs than articles. It was generally considered a competitor to Life magazine and is known for helping launch the career of Stanley Kubrick, who was a staff photographer.

[304] Reference:

She wondered what would happen to her if Eddie didn’t want to go to Derry Business College or the University of Maine in Orono of Husson in Bangor.



Husson University is a private university located in Bangor, Maine. Husson University is the only university in Bangor. It was founded in 1898 as Shaw School of Business.


No good friend. No bad friends. Only people you want, need to be with; people who build their houses in your heart.


Chapter 17: Another One of the Missing: The Death of Patrick Hockstetter

[306] Reference:

An S’OK soda bottle crawling with bugs.


A vintage Maine brand of soda (spelled S & OK on the bottle).

[307] Bev, even child-Bev, is always seen through the eyes of male lust. It’s uncomfortable to read about this kid’s clothing in sexualized terms:

Really too short, they come only to just below the hem of her panties.


Her legs are described as “coltish” at least a half-dozen times (the only one I noted was p.825), her lips always described as full, her father’s growing lust for her is said to be something Beverly and her father are helpless to stop or control (p.821), as though the responsibility/blame is as much on her as him. Several times, when the Loser’s Club is together, King refers to only “the boys,” subliminally excluding Beverly from the thoughts, emotions, and experiences of the others:

A version of the same thought went through all the boys’ minds: they had, at some point between getting up this morning and lunchtime, simply become ghosts.



In that moment, Beverly looked every inch the lovely woman she was going to become. (…)

Her posture was one of total attention and concentration; it was feline, lynxlike (…) the legs of her faded shorts had pulled up enough to show the edging on her yellow cotton panties. Below them, her legs were already smoothly muscled, beautiful in spite of the scabs, bruises, and smutches of dirt.


This sort of thing disturbed me more than any scene of child or animal death. There’s so much unnecessary sexualizing of Beverly. After the group fights the werewolf in the house on Neibolt Street:

Beverly was standing near the drain. She looked down at herself and that coldness disappeared in a flush that seemed to turn all her skin into one warm stocking. It must have been a deep breath indeed. The dim popping sounds had been the buttons on her blouse. They were gone, every single one of them. The blouse hung open and her small breasts were clearly revealed. She snatched the blouse closed.



She nodded, bit her full underlip, a girl of eleven who was tall for her age and simply beautiful.


There’s no reason for this. While Bill’s handsomeness is occasionally commented on and Ben’s largeness constantly pointed out, they are not sexualized. The boys don’t lose their pants and flash their small dicks, you know? Only in the child orgy scene. Oh, what’s that? You got this far in life without knowing about the child orgy scene in It? (see Post 9, note [355]).

[308] References:

Beverly thought of a movie she had seen on TV. Jon Hall had been in it. It was about this jungle tribe, they had a secret rite, and if you saw it, you got sacrificed to their god, which was this big stone idol.



Jon Hall (1915-1979) was an American film actor known for playing a variety of adventurous roles. He was known to 1950s fans as the creator and star of the Ramar of the Jungle television series which ran from 1952 to 1954.

I am going to assume the “movie” Beverly saw was an episode of Ramar.

[309] Reference:

Mopping up bean juice with a piece of Sonny [sic] Boy bread.


Sunny Boy is a food brand. According to their site:

The Sunny Boy story began on Alberta’s golden prairies in 1926.

[310] Just after Patrick kills his baby brother:

Patrick went downstairs and got himself a plate of cookies and poured himself a glass of milk. His mother came down half an hour later and said she hadn’t even heard him come in, she had been that tired (you won’t be anymore, mom, Patrick thought, don’t worry, I fixed it.)


As much as I think It could have been edited down, I wouldn’t want to lose any of the stories about Derry or its citizens; I would vote to cut the spouse side-plots (Post 9, note [341]), but not Patrick Hockstetter. His chapter is my favorite in the last quarter of the book and the last thing to really engage me.

[311] References:

Patrick was watching Crusader Rabbit on their seven-inch TV, and he went on watching TV through all the uproar that followed. Whirlybirds was on when Mrs. Henley arrived from next door. (…)

By the time the doctor arrived, Science Fiction Theater [sic], with Your Host Truman Bradley, was just coming on.



Crusader Rabbit is the first animated series produced specifically for television. The stories were 4-minute-long satirical cliffhangers. The program was syndicated from 1950 to 1952, then was revived in 1959 for 260 color episodes.

See Post 3, note [95] for Whirlybirds.

Science Fiction Theatre is an American science fiction anthology series that was syndicated and broadcast from 1955 to 1957. It was produced by Ivan Tors and Maurice Ziv. There were a total of 78 episodes. It was hosted by Truman Bradley (1905-1974), a radio/tv announcer and 1940s movie actor. Each episode introduced stories which had an extrapolated scientific, or pseudo-scientific emphasis based on actual scientific data available at the time


Patrick tried to scream again. He didn’t want to die; as the only “real” person, he wasn’t supposed to die. If he did, everyone else in the world would die with him.


Chapter 18: The Bullseye 

[313] Reference:

Just time for one more story, he thinks. One more story before twelve. Just to keep us warm. What should it be? But that, of course is only a joke and not a very good one.


A quote from the 1980 film The Fog. According to imdb quotes:

Mr. Machen: 11:55, almost midnight. Enough time for one more story. One more story before 12:00, just to keep us warm.

[314] In two scenes mothers are afraid of their children and the scenes play almost exactly the same (tipping toward melodramatic). They are so similar I think King must have been doing a purposeful call-back. But it’s a weird call-back:

“Richie!” Mrs. Tozier screamed, shocked. She nearly dropped her glass of iced tea. But both Richie and Bill Denbrough were laughing hysterically, totally cracked up. She looked from her son to Bill and back to her son again, touched by wonder that was mostly simple perplexity but partly a fear so thin and sharp that it found its way deep into her inner heart and vibrated there like a tuning-fork made of clear ice.

I don’t understand either of them, she thought. Where they go, what they do, what they want… or what will become of them. Sometimes, oh sometimes their eyes are wild and sometimes I’m afraid for them and sometimes I’m afraid of them….



“Bill!” She cried, horrified and blushing… and then she looked around at all of them, amazed, as they roared with laughter, Stan included. Amazement turned to something like fear (although she said nothing of this to her husband later, in bed). There was a feeling in the air, like static electricity, only somehow much more powerful, much more scary. She felt that if she touched any of them, she would receive a walloping shock. What’s happened to them? she thought, dismayed, and perhaps she even opened her mouth to say something like that. (…)

She felt relieved when the children were gone and her own puzzling, stuttering son had gone to his room and turned off the light.


[315] Reference:

He carried the book with him almost everywhere – it was M.K. Handey’s Guide to North American Birds.


I think King might have invented Handey.

[316] References:

Same with Rick Brant’s dad Hartson in the Rick Brant Science Adventures.



Rick Brant is the central character in a series of 24 adventure and mystery novels by John Blaine, a pseudonym for authors Harold L. Goodwin and Peter J. Harkins. The series was published between 1947 and 1968. Rick’s father, Hartson Brant, heads the Spindrift Foundation, a group of scientists.

[317] The rest of the Losers freak out at Stan for saying movement in a photo from Mike’s photo album isn’t real:

Stan snatched the album from [Bill’s] hands and slammed it shut (…) He looked around at the others with eyes that were nearly insane. “No,” he said rapidly. “No, no, no.”

And suddenly Bill found he was more concerned with Stan’s repeated denials than with the clown (…)

He grabbed Stan and shook him twice, hard, holding onto his shoulders. (…)

“No,” Stan said softly.

“Yes,” Bill said.

“No,” Stan said again.

Yes. We a-a-all-”


“-a-a-all suh-haw it, Stan,” Bill said. He looked at the others.

“Yes,” Ben said.

“Yes,” Richie said.

“Yes,” Mike said. “Oh my God, yes.”

“Yes,” Bev said.

“Yes,” Eddie managed, gasping it out of his rapidly closing throat.

Bill looked at Stan, demanding with his eyes that Stan look back at him. “Duh-don’t let it g-g-get y-you, man,” Bill said. “Yuh-you suh-saw it, t-t-too.” (…)

Stan looked at the others, one by one. He ran his hands through his short hair and fetched up a great, shuddering sigh.


But then, in the house on Neibolt Street, Bill flips out on Stan for thinking an illusion is real:

Abruptly the corridor seemed to elongate. The ceiling rose and then began to diminish above them like some weird rocket. (…)

Stan shrieked and clapped his hands to his eyes.

“Ih-Ih-hit’s not ruh-ruh-ruh-REAL!” Bill screamed.

“It is!” Stan screamed back, his small closed fists plugging his eyes. “It’s real, you know it is, God, I’m going crazy, this is crazy, this is crazy-” (…)

“N-N-Not ruh-ruh-real,” [Bill] said to Stan, to all of them. “Just a f-f-false f-fuh-face. Like a Huh-Huh-Huh-Halloween muh-muh-hask.”


What the hell, guys? Stop changing the rules on Stan.

[318] References:

Like something from a movie where radiation made all the bugs get big – The Beginning of the End, maybe, or The Black Scorpion, or that one about the ants in the Los Angeles stormdrains.



Beginning of the End is a 1957 American science fiction film directed by Bert I. Gordon starring Peter Graves, Peggie Castle and Morris Ankrum. The film is about an agricultural scientist (Graves) who has successfully grown gigantic vegetables using radiation. Unfortunately, the vegetables are then eaten by locusts, which grow to gigantic size and attack the nearby city of Chicago.

The Black Scorpion is a 1957 black-and-white Mexican-American giant insect horror film directed by Edward Ludwig and starring Richard Denning, Mara Corday, Carlos Rivas and Mario Navarro.

Them! Is a 1954 American black-and-white science fiction monster film directed by Gordon Douglas, starring James Whitmore and James Arness. Them! is one of the first of the 1950s “nuclear monster” films, and the first “big bug” feature. The film culminates in a battle with giant ants in the sewers of Los Angeles.

[319] Reference:

Time to sit on the back porch reading Lucky Starr and the Moons of Mercury [sic].



Lucky Starr is the hero of a series of science fiction books by Isaac Asimov, using the pen name “Paul French” and intended for juveniles. Some of the titles include Lucky Starr and the Big Sun of Mercury (1956) and Lucky Starr and the Moons of Jupiter (1957).

Post 9



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