Time Capsule: May 1, 1983

May 1, 1983: We’re celebrating thirty years of evil charms, disappearing priests, strange spiders, and – of course – the ushabti.  Dial Books published The Curse of the Blue Figurine on May 1, 1983 – thirty years ago today – and ushered in a whole new slew of characters and locations of John’s.

There was Johnny Dixon, the timid, bespectacled blond-haired boy who has just moved to a new town to live with his grandparents. There was Duston Heights, Massachusetts, an industrial town situated along the powerful Merrimack River and within same-day driving distance of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Plus Father Baart and St. Michael's Church.  Then there were Johnny’s grandparents, too, and then their loud, obnoxious, neighbor....

We suppose that, by extension, we’re also celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the debut of the long-time fan favorite, Professor Roderick R. Childermass. It's no wonder we learn he has a Fuss Closet where he blows off steam by punching padded walls and was nicknamed The Crab in WWI. However, as irritable as he comes across, Childermass also has a compassionate side just as noteworthy and if he likes you, as he does with Johnny, he can become a great friend indeed. Plus the man really likes creating various chocolate-themed deserts. How bad a fellow can this guy really be?

This would be the first of eight adventures John wrote during the 1980s about Johnny and the professor. Brad Strickland completed an additional title and wrote three more of his own in the 1990s. All said, a dozen books over a sixteen year period.

...more coming later this year...plus take the Curse quiz.

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