Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Ghost of Jerry Bundler  -  1908
William Wymark Jacobs
32 pages
genre  -  play
my rating  -  3 out of 5 stars

This one-act play was first performed in London, 1899 at the St. James Theatre. It was revived in 1902 where it was performed 138 times at two different theaters.

The play is adapted from a short story called 'Jerry Bundler', which was published in a book by Jacobs called Light Freights in 1901.

Six gentlemen are spending the night at a hotel in a small country town. At the beginning of the play, the men have just heard a story about a supposed ghost inhabiting the hotel. One of the travelers loves theatricals, and when a few of the others are out of the room, he wagers that he can scare someone if he dresses up as the ghost.

The stage directions are quite thorough. You know exactly where each actor is to move, sit and stand, and what he is to do. There are two endings to the play, in case "the above tragic termination would be too serious."

About the author  -

William Wymark Jacobs was born in Wapping, London on the 8th of September, 1863. His father was wharf manager at the South Devon wharf at Lower East Smithfield. The Jacobs were a large family and poor. W.W. (as he came to be called by his friends) was shy and quiet with a fair complexion.

Jacobs was educated at a private school in London and later at Birkbeck College.

In 1879, Jacobs began work as a clerk in the Post Office Savings Bank, and by 1885 he had his first short story published. The majority of his output was humorous in tone. By 1899 Jacobs was confident enough to resign from the civil service to devote his full time to writing.

Jacobs is now remembered for his macabre tale 'The Monkey's Paw'.  Numerous movie adaptations have been made of this short story.  In fact, there is one scheduled for release this October, which stars Stephen Lang, Corbin Bleu, and Charles S. Dutton.

In 1900 Jacobs married suffragette Agnes Eleanor Williams, with whom he had two sons and three daughters.  He died on Sept. 1, 1943 in London.

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