Stephen King: The Long Walk: References

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*** Below are my raw notes which have not been finalized yet ***

Most of the references in The Long Walk

- 1971 Monty Python's Flying Circus, catchphase "And Now for Something Completely Different"
They wanted to see what screwing a dead man felt like.
Now for Something Completely New and Different.
I don't know if Gribble got much out of it, but they sure as shit did.

Official Detective magazine
from 1934 to 1976 named Official Detective Stories then renamed in 1977 to Official Detective, last issue 1995
his next step with that foot left a bloody track, like a photograph in an Official Detective magazine.

John Travolta and Charles Atlas
"Garraty snatched a paper out of the dark and crazy air at random and found himself looking at a Charles Atlas body-building ad. He grabbed another one and was brought face-to-face with John Travolta."
You don't see Charles Atlas ads these days, so it places this time period before the 1980s.  I'm thinking early 1970s at the latest.
John Travolta starred in Carrie in 1976 when he was 22.  He was 13 in 1967. lists his first role was on Emergency! on TV in 1972.
How is it John Travolta was famous enough to get a mention in 1967?  Before 1972, he was in the play Grease! on Broadway in 1972, and later in the movie 1978.
Since "The Long Walk" wasn't published until 1979, my guess is that John Travolta was added in later edits, after he became famous
on TV's Welcome Back, Kotter (1975), Saturday Night Fever (1977), and Grease (1978).
When was there ever a time when there was Charles Atlas ads after John Travolta got famous.
Charles Atlas died 1972.  The ads started in the 1930s.  The comic/magazine ads disappeared late 70s.
Somehow he has a web site:

Ron Howard
"Ron Howard with a hardon" takes a new meaning today.  Ron Howard would be 64 as of 2018.  When the book was published in 1979, Ron Howard was playing a 16 or 17 year old on the TV show Happy Days, so that's what Stephen King was probably referring to.  It's also evidence that King updated the book before publishing since he wrote the bulk of it from 1966 to 1967.
Ron Howard was 12 or 13 from 1966 to 1967, when Stephen King wrote The Long Walk.
It was a comment obviously targeted at the teenage Ron Howard, who was probably best known for his character Opie in The Andy Griffith Show, which aired from 1960 to 1968.
Many things are still tied to 1967, so I would argue The Long Walk occurs in the an alternate universe in the year 1967, where some tech is futuristic.
Ron Howard starred in the TV show happy days from 1974 to 1984.  He was about 20 years old when it started, but he played a teenager of maybe 16 or 17.

* The name Reggie Cotter (the only boy to finish the long walk from Maine) may inspired by the TV show, Welcome Back Kotter, which was popular at the time of publish.
  The connection is that John Travolta starred in this TV show, and in the movie Carrie (1976) by Stephen King.

- What's it all about, Alphie? It's a reference from a Burt Bacharach song named Alphie, off the album Reach Out, which was released Jan 1 1967, right when Stephen King was in the middle of writing the book.
- Most young people reading the book won't get this reference, but it would have been hilarious in 1967.
  "What's it all about?"
  Suddenly Garraty cackled madly. "What's it all about, Alfie?"

Bush League U.S.A.
It was a New York tickertape parade in Bush League U.S.A.

Cornhusker Lotion
put some Cornhusker's Lotion on my blisters.

The French lords and ladies used to screw after the guillotinings

W.C. Fields
"Mind over matter," McVries incanted. "Mind over matter, my young friend." The incantation had become a seamy imitation of W.C. Fields.

I was a night rider for three years.

Jimmy is truck driver slang for a GMC Semi. GMC doesn't make semi's anymore
Stebbins was still walking last. He had no more than passed the truck stop before the burly driver was swinging back up into the cab of his jimmy.

One of them leaned back against the hood of the MG and spread her legs slightly, tilting her hips at him.

hound's tooth jacket
Garraty stared at and through a man in a hound's tooth jacket who was deliriously waving a straw hat with a stringy brim.

Bedlington terrier
The third time he was buggering Sheila, the Bedlington terrier that appeared with him in so many of his press releases.

what Socrates had thought about right after he had tossed off his hemlock cocktail.

Go! Great! Go! Go! Oh, great!" he chanted softly.

Just another litterbug on the great tomato plant of life.

Someone called out: "Hiya, Daddy!"

He got a warning. The other boys split and passed around him, like the Red Sea around the Children of Israel.

he thought about Lot's wife, who had looked back and turned into a pillar of salt.

Full dark had come by six-thirty.,_No_Stars

He was following the trail of Zuck's blood, like Dan'l Boone tracking a wounded Indian.

I would buy a Van Go to put in every room of my manshun

Again the smell of powder smoke, acrid, heavy with cordite.

the stink of carrion that had settled into his nostrils.

Bataan March


No rest for the wicked

I think, therefore I am.
- Latin philosophical proposition by René Descartes,_ergo_sum

I exist, therefore I am.

McVries laughed. "I got the time if you got the money, honey."

I think King is referencing the song Camptown Races, doo-dah, doo-dah, day
I don't care, his legs answered back. Don't care if I do die, do die, do die.

- what is Giant Step?
But the guns didn't produce little red flags with BANG written on them. It wasn't baseball or Giant Step; it was all real.

Fred Astaire

Just go on dancing with me like this forever, Garraty, and I'll never tire. We'll scrape our shoe on the stars and hang upside down from the moon.

a little man wearing stained white <- what is stained white?

"It's your mind," McVries said, "using the old escape hatch. Don't you wish your feet could?"
"I use Dial," Pearson said, pulling an idiotic face. "Don't you wish everybody did?"
Ad: Aren't you glad you used Dial? Don't you wish everybody did?

pedal pushers
calf-length trousers that were popular during the 1950s and the early 1960s.
A pretty girl of about sixteen in a white blouse and red-checked pedal pushers

A nuthatch perched atop a rust flaking flagholder left over from some patriotic holiday and looked them over perkily.

grassy knoll
They were passing a graveyard situated atop a small grassy knoll.

His kidneys contracted.

"Another boy has gone ober to dat Silver City, lawd, lawd," Barkovitch intoned.
Silver City

I was the original Korny Kid, Moon-June was my middle name.
Korny Kid

"I'm John Carter," Olson said. "My home is Barsoom, Mars."

He ran a hand up his side and played the xylophone on his ribs.

It had been a neat removal. Odorless, sanitized, pasteurized, sanforized, and dandruff-free.

Paddington Bear
It had Paddington Bear on it.

land of Dussettes and Aubuchons and Lavesques, the land of Nous parlons francais ici.
Dussettes, Aubuchons, and Lavesques are Last names
"Nous parlons francais ici" is French for "French is spoken here"

Hopis and the Navajos and kachina dolls
kachina dolls
Hopi Indians
Navajo Indians

They looked and saw a boy in a blue sweater and dirty white clamdiggers lying facedown in a puddle of water.

"I get Marilyn Monroe," McVries said.

"You can have Eleanor Roosevelt, Abe old buddy."

The thought pounded in his mind like a big kettledrum.

Carbon Copy Machines
He saw a carbon copy of his horror on the faces of all about him.

"And she's got the clap," Collie Parker added tiredly.

The Whore of Babylon
wormwood - something bitter or grievous
gall - something bitter to endure

Foreign Legion
I got into this Long Walk shit the same way that guys used to get into the Foreign Legion.
Nothing much about its culture has changed since the German recruit Erwin Rosen, quoted by Adrian Gilbert in Voices of the Foreign Legion, wrote in the early 1900s:
It is always being drummed into the legionnaire that he is intended for nothing else in this world except for marching. If the pangs of hunger are gnawing at his stomach or thirst parches his tongue, that is so much the worse for him, but it is no reason for his not marching on! He may be tired, dead tired, completely exhausted-but he must not stop marching. If his feet are bleeding and the soles burn like fire, that is very sad-but the marching pace must not be slackened. The sun may burn till his senses are all awhirl, he must go on.
In its first version, the Legion was seen as a rough mercenary force that guaranteed immunity from criminal prosecution, as well as a new life and French citizenship.
Young men still queue to join up in great numbers. Several thousand apply per year, and some 80 per cent are rejected
death is close to the heart of the Legion's attraction.

Garraty's head seemed to be playing jazz. Dave Brubeck, Thelonius Monk, Cannonball Adderly-the Banned Noisemakers that everybody kept under the table and played when the party got noisy and drunk.
Dave Brubeck
Thelonious Monk
Cannonball Adderley

Hainesville Woods
"This might be what they call the Hainesville Woods," Garraty said, not too sure. "Truckers' graveyard. Hell in the wintertime."
The song Tombstone Every Mile sings about the Hainesville Woods, also spelled Haynesville.

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter and General Omar Torrijos of Panama signed treaties that transferred control of the canal to Panama in 1999 but gave the United States the right to use military force to defend the waterway against any threat to its neutrality. Despite opposition by a number of politicians who didn't want their country to give up its authority over the canal, the U.S. Senate ratified the Torrijos-Carter Treaties by a narrow margin in 1978. Control of the canal was transferred peacefully to Panama in December 1999, and the Panamanians have been responsible for it ever since.

pegged jeans
A teenager in pegged jeans raced a middle-aged housewife for McVries's empty tube
This style was extremely popular in the 1950s and 1980s.

McVries seemed not to have heard. "These things, they don't even bear the weight of conversation," he said. "J. D. Salinger ... John Knowles ... even James Kirkwood and that guy Don Bredes ... they've destroyed being an adolescent, Garraty. If you're a sixteen-year-old boy, you can't discuss the pains of adolescent love with any decency anymore. You just come off sounding like fucking Ron Howard with a hardon."

He remembered his mother singing him an Irish lullaby when he was very small ... something about cockles and mussels, alive, alive-o.
Shhh, it isn't a tiger, love, only your teddy bear, see? ... Cockles and mussels, alive, alive-o ... Mother loves her boy ... Shhh ... Go to sleep ...
Cockles and Mussels a.k.a. Molly Malone

Flying Dutchman - legendary ghost ship that can never make port and is doomed to sail the oceans forever.
Just that Olson reminded him of the Flying Dutchman, sailing on and on after the whole crew had disappeared.

The pines that had lined the road last night had given way to Dairy Queens and gas stations and little cracker-box ranchos. A great many of the ranchos were FOR SALE.

martial airs - not finding reference
Competing brass bands played martial airs.

- Pavloved refers to Ivan Pavlov
and his experiments with dogs involving classic conditioning
Guns to shoulders, pointed skyward above them in a steely arch. Everyone instinctively huddled together against the crash which meant death-it had been Pavloved into them.

- Is this a reference?
I gave her my heart, she tore it apart

- The think the meaning of "I should have read her Swinburne when the wind was wrong", is that I should have read her poetry that would have turned her off, when the air smelled like cowshit.
I even took to reading Keats to her out in back of the house, when the wind was right. Her old man kept cows, and the smell of cowshit goes, to put it in the most delicate way, in a peculiar fashion with the works of John Keats. Maybe I should have read her Swinburne when the wind was wrong." McVries laughed.
Poet: Algernon Charles Swinburne
Swinburne wrote about many taboo topics, such as lesbianism, cannibalism, sado-masochism, and anti-theism.
John Keats
The poetry of Keats is characterized by sensual imagery.

plank bridge

news-reel ciné camera

It sounded a little like Old Black Joe, Garraty thought. Down in de cornfiel', here dat mournful soun'. All de darkies am aweeping, Ewing's in de cole, cole groun'.
No, that wasn't Old Black Joe, that tune was some other Stephen Foster racist classic. Good old Stephen Foster.
Song: Massa's in de Cold cold Ground
All de darkeys am a weeping
Massa's in de cold, cold ground.

He had also taught her how to rhumba and cha cha
Cha Cha

tatting of doilies

Cracker (pejorative)
"Keep it in mind, cracker."
"Ask your cracker friend, Art Baker.

And goin' right for my eyes like they was jujubes.

Hello Joe, what do you know?
"Hello, Joe," McVries said, and Garraty had an hysterical urge to add, whaddaya know?

Mother Mc-Cree
Collie Parker was waving and smiling, and it was not until Garraty closed up with him a little that he could hear him calling in his flat Midwestern accent: "Glad to seeya, ya goddam bunch of fools!" A grin and a wave. "Howaya, Mother Mc-Cree, you goddam bag. Your face and my ass, what a match. Howaya, howaya?"

Marching to Pretoria
Sousa marches
A small, evil-sounding high school band struck up the National Anthem, then a medley of Sousa marches, and then, with taste so bad it was almost grisly, Marching to Pretoria.

Tenpenny nails
"You tell'em Garraty!" someone else yelled, and it was Barkovitch, grinning like a mouthful of tenpenny nails and shaking both of his fists at the State Troopers.

wiffle haircut

The two of them together would have been a subject for Michelangelo

* matching dimes
  "You're cheating, you fuck!" Abraham shouted.
  "I'm not cheating," Baker said calmly. "That's a dollar forty you owe me, turkey."
  "I don't pay cheaters." Abraham clutched the dime he had been flipping tightly in his hand.
  "And I usually don't match dimes with guys that call me that," Baker said grimly, and then smiled.

* Eddie Cochran's song "Ain't No Cure for the Summertime Blues" was released 1968.
  "Those look like good shoes, Abe."
  "Yeah. But they're too goddam heavy. You buy for distance, you gain the weight."
  "Just ain't no cure for the summertime blues, is there?"

* White Knight and Gathering Gloom
  "Once upon a time," Garraty began, "there was a white knight that went out into the world on a Sacred Quest.
  "The king wasn't digging it, thinking no one was good enough for his daughter Gwen, the world-famous Lady Fair, but the Lady Fair loved the White Knight so much that she threatened to run away into the Wildwoods if ... if ..."
  gathering gloom, from Moody Blues, Late Lament, from Days of Future Past, 1967
  They dropped back a little at a time, eventually leaving the sinister-faced Harold Quince to lead the parade. They knew they were back with their own people when Abraham, out of the gathering gloom, asked: "You finally decide to come back and visit the po' folks?"
  Moody Blue, Knights in White Satin, released 1967
  Nights in white satin
  Never reaching the end
  Letters I've written
  Never meaning to send

Judgment Trump
"Wouldn't never rot then, not till Judgment Trump, when we are as we were. Clothed in flesh incorruptible."
1 Corinthians 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Alice in Wonderland
His body was that of a plump Cheshire cat.
He looked back and the Cheshire cat with Freaky's head had disappeared-all but the grin
he was grinning like the Cheshire cat in Garraty's dream.
"Jesus, you remind me of the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland, sometimes," Garraty said.
"I'm not the caterpillar, anyway," Stebbins said with a small, somehow secretive smile. "I'm more the white rabbit type, don't you think? Except I left my gold watch at home and no one has invited me to tea.
He changed me into a rabbit. Remember, the one in Alice in Wonderland?

Over hill, over dale, over stile and mountain. Over ridge and under bridge and past my lady's fountain.
Maybe inspired by William Shakespeare's "Over Hill, Over Dale" From "Midsummer Night's Dream", which is similar.

Corn Huskers Lotion

- He is referencing the story of The Little Mermaid.  He wrote the book 1966/1967, published 1979 but the animated Disney movie came out 1989 and live action 2018.  They removed the part about the knives.
It made him think of a story his mother had read him when he was small. It was about a mermaid who wanted to be a woman. Only she had a tail and a good fairy or someone said she could have legs if she wanted them badly enough. Every step she took on dry land would be like walking on knives, but she could have them if she wanted them, and she said yeah, okay, and that was the Long Walk. In a nutshell-

Old Black Joe: It sounded a little like Old Black Joe
Stephen Foster: Good old Stephen Foster

Grant Wood: "All he needs ... is a pitchfork," McVries told Garraty breathlessly. Sweat was streaming down McVries's face. "And ... Grant Wood ... to paint him."

Garraty could see a faint lightness on the horizon that was probably the twin cities of Lewiston and Auburn, the land of Dussettes and Aubuchons and Lavesques, the land of Nous parlons francais ici. Suddenly Garraty had a nearly obsessive craving for a stick of gum.
- Nous parlons francais ici -> We speak french here
- the land of Dussettes and Aubuchons and Lavesques <-- I don't get the reference
- why did he having a craving for gum?

The first time I read The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins

Three Muskateers,_omnes_pro_uno
One for all, all for one

"Onward, ever onward," McVries said. "Christian soldiers, marching as to war. Ever hear that one, Ray?"
Onward, Christian Soldiers,_Christian_Soldiers

Once, a long time ago, he had been frightened into a long night of wakefulness by a movie starring-who? It had been Robert Mitchum, hadn't it? He had been playing the role of an implacable Southern revival minister who had also been a compulsive murderer.
The Night of the Hunter (1955)

NOTE: I don't get this reference?
Abraham ... what price stovepipe hat, audience?
- Abraham Lincoln wore a stovepipe hat.  What does this sentence mean?

Over hill, over dale, over stile and mountain. Over ridge and under bridge and past my lady's fountain.

Ding-dong-bell-pussy's-down-the-well. Who pushed her in? Little Jackie Flynn.
- variation on this poem

In what book did they fire guns over the water to bring the body of a drowned man to the surface?
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Chapter 8
You see, they was firing cannon over the water, trying to make my carcass come to the top.

"What's wrong with graveyards, Henry, old buddy? A fine and private place, as the poet said. A nice watertight casket-"
To His Coy Mistress
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.

Once, in the eighth grade, he had read a story by a man named Ray Bradbury, and this story was about the crowds that gather at the scenes of fatal accidents, about how these crowds always have the same faces, and about how they seem to know whether the wounded will live or die.

For no reason Garraty could put a finger on, he felt as if he had just walked through a Shirley Jackson short story.

Into the valley of death rode the four hundred
The Charge of the Light Brigade
Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.

The farmer and the farmer's wife and the farmer's children said nothing. The cheese stands alone, Garraty thought crazily. Hi-ho the dairy-o, the cheese stands alone

Mother McCree
Parker - "Glad to seeya, ya goddam bunch of fools!" A grin and a wave. "Howaya, Mother McCree, you goddam bag. Your face and my ass, what a match. Howaya, howaya?"
Parker is referencing a 1928 silent film Mother Machree.

Date Created November 11, 2018
Last Updated July 3, 2022