The Series Chronology
Question: We're wondering
if you can clear up the chronology problems of the Freddy books once and
for all .
Answer: I would if I could, but you are looking for a degree of consistency
in the books which simply does not exist. Observe the chart below which uses chronological
references (starting with a definite 1942 date for Football, a 99.9% sure
1943 date for News, and a 1944-1946 date for Baseball) within the
narratives to demonstrate the impossibility of what you ask. One thing seems certain,
though--in the timeframe of the Freddyverse, all the narratives, as chronologically
jumbled as they are, occur between 1935 and 1945. As you will see, you must assume
that the dates of the Spanish-American War and W.W.II in both our so-called "real
world" and the world of the Freddyverse coincide to reach any conclusions at all
about the chronology of the series. If anyone has more information for this
chart or can correct any erroneous information it may contain, e-mail me the particulars,
and I will make adjustments.
Year in the Freddyverse
Establishing Freddyverse Years
11/25/99, 1/31/01, 2/25/01, 3/7/01, 3/18/01, 9/4/03, and 8/31/05)
1944 - 1945
statewide revolt of animals is set "two years earlier" (in Dictator), and
it's "a couple of years ago" that Jimmy Wiggs had his backyard circus (in Perilous).
Dictator and Perilous are separated by a year in the Freddyverse,
hence this last chronological uncertainty in the series.
However, here is something
to consider as pointed out by John C. from the Freddy group at yahoogroups.com:
Subj: [freddy-the-pig] Freddy
chronology: the saga continues
Date: 3/12/01 10:37:08 PM Eastern Standard Time
In "Dragon" there's a reference
to Uncle Ben's atomic station wagon sounding as loud as an intercontinental rocket.
The first atomic reactor was created in 1942 (don't know the month, offhand) by
Enrico Fermi at the Univ. of Chicago (my alma mater), and it certainly wasn't
small enough to fit in a station wagon. Any other story mentioning one of Ben's
inventions that is atomic-powered must have occurred no earlier than 1942. Intercontinental
missiles existed in 1958, when "Dragon" appeared, but the allusion may be an anachronism.
FWIW. Sorry if this has been covered! John C.
To which our friend Michael
from Dry Well, OK, replies:
Subj: Re: [freddy-the-pig]
Freddy chronology: the saga continues
Date: 3/13/01 9:15:48 AM Eastern Standard Time
I, too, thought of Uncle Ben's
atomic car as a chronological indication, but then I thought, "Well, hey, the
guy IS an inventor, and maybe he invented atomic power beFORE the as-we-see-it
advent of same!" --Michael in Oklahoma, who has an army of blooming daffodils
in his yard
I have published these interesting
observations here with the permission of John and Michael and have altered their
e-mail addresses to preserve their privacy. I think their comments regarding atomic
anachronism are quite reasonable. Just look at what Wells and Verne were writing
about decades before the Martians actually visited Earth and submarines like the
Nautilus actually existed.
a reference to trouble with the rats earlier "this year" (Dictator). The
First Animal Bank has been going for "about five years" (Politician), which
would set the date of Saucer at 1945, which we can reject owing to more
consistent evidence from other titles.
events of Spaceship are said to have taken place "last year." It also says
that "Dr. Hopper's" outfit had been borrowed from a scarecrow a year earlier (Perilous).
a reference to the CHS vs. Tushville football game two years earlier (Football)
which would nail the setting of Baseball at 1944, even
though there are references to its having been two years since the Grimby
house burned down in Spaceship and two years passing since the rats
were driven out of the Grimby house in Mars. This would imply that Spaceship
and Mars are set in the same year, but in Mars, it's said
that the events of Spaceship had taken place the previous year.
a reference to last year's forest fire and the failed trip to Mars (Spaceship).
Let's assume (safely) that the order of Spaceship, Mars, and Baseball
is chronological and that Brooks simply should have kept track of things better
and said in Baseball that the rats had been driven out of the Grimby house
"last year." Then the date in the Freddyverse for Mars is 1943. This date
fits in well with references to Mars
on the reference in Baseball to the Grimby house having been burned down
two years earlier, this title should be set in 1942.
consider the following exchange among some insightful Freddyites and me on the
subject of this date. As per my policy I print their messages with their permission
and have altered their e-mail addresses as a matter of routine privacy preservation.
Subj: Re: [freddy-the-pig]
Freddy Series Chronology
Date: 3/4/01 6:57:02 PM Eastern Standard Time
In a message dated 2/25/01
6:43:27 AM, mreha@???.??? writes:
<< The Freddy Chronology Chart in FAQ #23 has just been updated and revised.
It is evident that all the events of the series must take place between 1935 and
1945--at least in the Freddyverse. >>
This FAQ, which I have just
inspected, is clever in its consideration of references in certain Freddy books
to events reported in others as having been "five years ago" or "two years ago"
and thus deducing from these connections the inferred chronology of the series.
However, and nonetheless, the conclusion that "all events of the series must take
place between 1935 and 1945" is, as it seems to me, unwarrantable on the face
of things, however otherwise it might be "logically" deduced. I am, right now
these days, reading my new Overlook FREDDY AND THE SPACESHIP which, on page 140,
contains these words: "...must take you for a drive in my new flying saucer. These
new nineteen fifty-four models, with supersonic drive, fingertip control, automatic
stardust dodger and all the rest of it...they're something!" Difficult indeed
to consonate an obviously contemporaneous reference to a 1954 model ANYthing with
an assertion that the reference was made no later than 1945. Also, the term "flying
saucer" was not known prior to 1947, when a pilot used it to describe objects
he'd seen from his plane (in what is considered the first modern UFO sighting)--newspapers
picked up on the term and it was after that that the term "flying saucer" became
part of the popular culture. Yet, on page 110 of SPACESHIP we read that "The state
troopers refused to take any stock in the report that a space ship had landed;
they wouldn't even go look for it in the woods north of the farm. 'It's just another
of those flying saucer yarns,' they said..." This indicates that the reported
remark was made, not only after the introduction of the term in 1947, but also
after the deluge of "flying saucer" reports had begun to pour subsequently forth
from all quarters in the first years following the fact. The mere use of the term
"flying saucer" would prove a date later than 1945 for a document including it,
ipso facto, and, again, this seems an insurmountable hurdle to the "1935-1945"
thesis given above, however else the matter might be held forth...
--Michael in Oklahoma, who got SPACESHIP and NORTH POLE for his birthday
To which I replied:
Subj: Re: [freddy-the-pig]
Freddy Series Chronology
Dear Michael and other Freddyites,
You makes an interesting point
with respect to the chronology of the Freddy series. I place the action of Spaceship
in 1942 (A Freddyverse year) rather than in 1954 owing to internal evidence that
connects several titles to an absolutely certain date for Football of 1942. Here's
what Michael says: "I am, right now these days, reading my new Overlook FREDDY
AND THE SPACESHIP which, on page 140, contains these words: '...must take you
for a drive in my new flying saucer. These new nineteen fifty-four models, with
supersonic drive, fingertipcontrol, automatic stardust dodger and all the rest
of it...they're something!' Difficult indeed to consonate an obviously contemporaneous
reference to a 1954 model ANYthing with an assertion that the reference was made
no later than 1945." Michael also notes... "This indicates that the reported remark
was made, not only after the introduction of the term [flying saucer] in 1947,
but also after the deluge of 'flying saucer' reports had begun to pour subsequently
forth from all quarters in the first years following the fact. The mere use of
the term "flying saucer' would prove a date later than 1945 for a document including
it, ipso facto, and, again, this seems an insurmountable hurdle to the '1935-1945'
thesis given above, however else the matter might be held forth..."
Hmmm, and yet the 1954 date
does not jibe with the 1942 date of Football--an equally certain date--and cannot
be made to do so. My thought on all this is that the activities in the world
of the Freddy series (a.k.a. the Freddyverse) must occur in some kind
of continuum which now and then intersects our own and whose years vary in their
length relative to ours. Sometimes the universes match-up timewise, and sometimes
they just don't. How else could we account for Freddy's lifespan which certainly
exceeds that of any ordinary pig (15 to 20 years). If the narratives of the all
the titles spanned, oh, say, 30 of our years or so, Freddy would have to be superannuated
by Dragon...and he isn't. And Jinx--why, he'd be a regular feline Methuselah!
I still like the idea of a ten-year Freddyverse time period for the series, although
I'm not completely convinced by even my own arguments. Does anyone else want to
(BTW, I wonder if Michael would
mind if I copied and posted this exchange on the Chronology Chart?)
BFN, Your friend Mr. Eha
And then Lyn made an interesting
Subj: RE: [freddy-the-pig]
Freddy Series Chronology
Date: 3/6/01 11:13:47 AM Eastern Standard Time
Re: Chronology and Relativity
If you actually grew up among
the villages of Central New York, you probably know more about time warping than
Steven Hawking. With the exceptions of a few pesky technological details, in the
context of, say, the space between Booneville, Johnstown, Cherry Valley, Norwich
and Cazenovia, I think the Freddy series can be firmly set somewhere between 1900
and 2000--the dates being more precisely triangulated as "back in Dad's time,"
"back when the West Winfield drugstore still served the '$100,000 milkshake."
"back when the old town league still played down in the hollow." (But "long after
the Loomis gang got hanged over in Sangerfield")
I thank Michael and Lyn for
their contributions. I still stand by 1942, nonetheless.
date is based on a reference to Freddy's having had his pilot's license for two
years in Saucer Plans.
1943 or 1944
says "a year or so ago" Alice and Emma would have defended Wesley against Jinx's
insults; they had admired him until they saw him try to cheat a squirrel (Perilous).
1943 or 1944
dates are based on Rides Again's setting being later the same summer as
have convincingly established the date of events in this narrative as 1942 in
the Freddyverse, even though it comes later in the series than News, which
is set in 1943. In
Football, we learn that the real Aaron Doty, Mrs. Bean's older brother
by 5 years, was two years old when the Spanish-American War began. As any educated
person knows, that would be in 1898. Aaron had left home, so the story goes, 30
years before when Mrs. Bean (Martha Doty) was 11 and he 16. Therefore, the math
establishes the time setting of Football as 1942. I must report that Forrest
Bede raises an an objection to my conclusion. He believes the year for Football
cannot be 1942, but 1943 instead. Why? Because on page 142, Freddy tells Weedly
to stay home from school on a Friday and to hang out at the Busy Bee for a couple
of hours. (This, of course, establishes a phony alibi for Freddy later on when
he stands trial for stealing the $5,000 from Mr. Bean.) At the trial, the date
of October 15 is mentioned (p. 243) as the day when Freddy had feloniously
obtained Mr. Bean's money from Mr. Weezer--at the same time when the identically-dressed
Weedly was at the Busy Bee creating an alibi for Freddy. Mr. Bede says that a
quick look at a calendar for 1942 reveals that October 15 falls on a Thursday,
not a Friday. But, he points out, that October 15 does fall on a Friday in 1943!
Therefore, he concludes, Football is set in 1943. I reply that Mr. Bede
makes an interesting case, but I think 1942 fits in better overall with the rest
of the dates established in this chart, even though the publication order of the
canon places five stories between Football and News, and News
is almost certainly set in 1943. Had Mr. Brooks kept track of his settings better,
there would be no problem at all with dating any of the titles.
1941 or 1942
1944 or 1945
had attacked H. Garble in his office "a year or so ago" (Bean Home News),
so the setting could be 1944 or 1945...but in Dictator, there's mention
of Camphor, Freddy, and Bannister's having gone camping at Jones's Bay across
the lake "a couple of summers earlier," which would put Camping in 1941
or 1942. Hmmmm. This complicates not only the establishment of the timeframe of
Camping, but also that of Camphor.
1940 or 1941
These dates are based on the
date for Spaceship, in which it says Freddy acquired Zingo the magician's
gun two years earlier.
Other references that would
seem to make it possible to exactly date Magician in a way similar to Football
do not pan out upon investigation. It says, for example, that magic shows by Freddy
and Zingo are scheduled for Tuesday, August 25, and Tuesday, September 2, respectively.
One doesn't need to consult a perpetual calendar to see that no year in the twentieth
century could possibly work for these dates. If August 25 were a Tuesday, September
2 would always have to be on a Wednesday.
On the first page of the book,
mention is made of the "tail end of a hurricane" having "whipped
across the Bean farm." Magician, published in 1947, may have been
referring to either of two intense and deadly hurricanes (of which Brooks could
scarcely have been unaware) that affected the Northeast in 1938 and 1944. Since
Magician precedes Football in the canon, the hurricane mentioned
therein would have to have been the one of 1938. Of course, this date does not
fit very well into other established dates of the canon, so we probably should
conclude that Brooks referred not to a hurricane on the records in the "real
world," but a fictitious storm concocted for the story.
Finally, reference is made
to a silk hat Freddy had borrowed from a scarecrow "a year or so before"
and is now using in his magic show. The hat referred to is the one Freddy dons
as part of a disguise in Perilous. If one interprets "a year or so
before" as "one or two years ago," then according to this reference,
Magician could be set in 1943 or 1944, which would place it after the 1942
Freddyverse action of Spaceship. It would seem, therefore, that the best
(i.e., least contradictory) dates for Magician are 1940 or 1941.
1941-1945, possibly after 1943
Yancey, a former owner of the house in Virginia now occupied by Mr. Boomschmidt,
is said to have hidden money and left for the war (the Civil War, of course, from
which he never returns) eighty years ago back in the sixties. Since the war ran
from 1861 to 1865, that would place the action of Piper somewhere between
1941 and 1945. There is also a reference to Col. Yancey's "treasure" (actually
money Freddy has raised to help Mr. Boomschmidt get his circus back on the road)
consisting of 1934 series U.S. currency which would place Piper after that
date, which we already know. Since the action of News is most likely set
in 1943, and Camphor and Popinjay stand between News and
Piper, it seems sensible to conclude that Piper is set after 1943,
though that would place it out of order with respect to the next three titles
in the series. But then, Mr. Brooks is careless with details of setting, so that
is hardly surprising. (Also, on the first page of the story, it does mention that
Piper opens on Feb. 14 which cannot be a Sunday because the mail is delivered
to the farm that day and Freddy goes to Centerboro and meets with Mr. Weezer--i.e.,
the bank is open--but this isn't much to go on to establish an exact year for
Piper.) In any case, with Piper we have a rare example of the Freddyverse's
timeline coinciding with that of the real world in which Piper has a copyright
date of 1946.
led the charge on the Grimby house "several years ago" (Ignormus). "Two
summers ago" Byram and Adoniram captained water polo teams. There is a reference
in Popinjay to the movie Bird of Paradise which is to be released.
Such a film actually exists, directed by King Vidor and released in 1932. But
doesn't 1932 seem a most unlikely year for the setting of Popinjay, given
its position in the canon?
1940 or 1941
1943 or 1944
The Florida trip occurred five
years ago (Florida)
In Camping, Freddy had
been a caretaker on Mr. Camphor's estate "last summer" and had driven Simon out
of Camphor's attic "the summer before."
Most likely 1943
title was published in 1943. The references to blackouts, to rationing (which
started with the rationing of new tires), and to scrap collecting (aluminum, for
example, was one of the very first things collected--for warplanes. I remember
turning in old toothpaste tubes and flattened tin cans) all go back historically
to December of 1941. So, this book could be set anywhere from 1943 to the
end of the war, despite the evidence in Camping which suggests 1939 or
1940--clearly out of whack with real history. Why 1943? It's mentioned in News
that there had already been a big scrap drive for the war effort the previous
year--and that could be no earlier than 1942. There would not have been time to
organize a big drive between December 7 and Dec. 31, 1941. So the previous drive
mentioned in News probably did not occur earlier than 1942. If so, that
would make 1943 the likely setting of the story. After all, why would Brooks have
set the story one or two years in his future--1944 or 1945? So here's another
example of a story in which the chronologies of the Freddyverse and the real world
coincide, and we can establish the time of the setting with a very high degree
Also, in Camphor, there
is mention of Jerry Peters' megaphone having been made "the summer before,"
so if one can buy Camphor's being set in 1944, then the 1943 date for News
works just fine..
News, Mrs. Bean mentions, "They tried to arrest Freddy last year, when
they thought he'd stolen a balloon."
Perilous, which is reliably set in 1943, it states that Freddy has taken
two years to save $7.00 in the First Animal Bank, which was instituted in Politician.
Also, Grover's letter to Mr. Weezer in Politician includes a reference
to a proposed meeting between them on Friday, May 3. In our space-time continuum,
May 3rd is on a Friday in 1940. Here is a splendid example of a perfect intersection
of the chronologies of the Freddyverse and our world! Mention is made in Politician
of the Centerboro area's having been settled for 150 years, but this does not
help date the book. Nearby Rome and Utica were most likely settled around 1700,
which would indicate a time of about 1850 or so for Politician. This is
of course clearly erroneous owing to Mr. Brooks's inattentiveness to details.
References to past Presidents of the United States in Politician do not
help date it, either.
Politician, mention is made of Freddy's having gone "to the orphan asylum
last year," referring to his visit to the orphange in Dutch Flats to make inquiries
about Byram Jones in Twin. Also in Politician, Bertram is said to
be "...a year old now, and good and dry from sitting month after month up
in the loft." Clearly then, the action of The Clockwork Twin must
take place in 1939.
is a reference in "The Trial" chapter to the "...old phaeton, which the animals
had brought back from Florida two years before...," which suggests, therefore,
the year 1937 for Detective.
story opens with a reference to the Florida trip's having ended in spring. Let's
agree on 1935 for that (see below). Another Florida trip is planned for that winter
and the animals return the following spring (1936). That summer the expedition
to the North Pole leaves. The winter comes and goes and so does the following
spring and summer. The rescue party leaves after August and all of them return
that winter. The animals leave the North Pole on December 28 and arrive at the
Bean farm some time between 4 and 5 PM on December 29, 1937. (However,
Forrest Bede, a careful reader of the Freddy books and Mr. Eha's Place,
points out that in North Pole there is a comment about "advertising appropriate
for 1931" in a discussion between Mr. Hooker and Mr. Pomeroy at a board meeting
with Santa Claus. Well, this date, of course, does not fit the chronology
we have been able to deduce from other passages in the series based on the 1942
setting of Football and jumbles the timeframe of the works just as much.
Although it might make sense to accept 1931 as the time of the animals'
visit to the North Pole given the publication date of the book (1930), if we do,
then Florida would have to be set in 1931 and, working forward from this
date, no more sense or order can be made of the chronology than before. All
Mr. Brooks would have to have done to avoid this temporal mishmash was to have kept
a timeline on a big piece of paper that he could have affixed to the wall above
his typewriter. But noooo!)
Camphor, it states that the Florida trip took place "five years ago," so
based on the earlier dates for Camphor, that would set Florida in
1935 at the earliest, although (absurdly) the trip could have taken place as late
as 1940 based on the Brooksian mess-up of dates for Camping and Camphor.
Based on the cock-eyed internal time references from the series, I guess 1935
seems to be a reasonable Freddyverse date, doesn't it--despite its publication
date of 1927.
Question: You have suggested
that Martians visited the earth in prehistoric as well as historic times. Do you
have any real proof of this or is this just some weird idea you have?
Of course I have proof. I am not one to make things up. One of my main
objectives in publishing this site, after all, is the advancement of The Truth.
I obtained the picture above left from a UFO convention circuit associate of mine
who has asked to remain anonymous. Now before you automatically dismiss him as
a nameless crank, you should know that he has a Ph.D. from a well-known university
(accreditation pending) and sits on the board of directors of several important
businesses and charities (financial reports available upon request). This is someone
you can trust. He has informed me that this is an image of an actual fossil which
used to be kept under lock and key at a famous New York museum. The fossil itself
disappeared in the mid-1950s from the vault in which it was hidden. What has become
of it no one knows--except, of course, whoever or whatever removed it. The code
in the lower right corner of the image ends with the letter M, which certainly
signifies Mars or Of Martian Origin or something like that. My friend
and I are both sure that what you see can be nothing other than the fossilized
remains of a primitive Martian. Just look at it compared to my sketch
of an authentic modern Martian. Go ahead. Note the six appendages.
Note the three eyes and the antennae. The relationship is obvious.
And this fossil was found right here in New York State! I have mentioned
before that perhaps Martians have a common ancestor with Earth insects somehow,
and this image certainly lends credence to my speculation. Perhaps Martians flourished
on Earth long before man made his wretched and unfortunate appearance and have
visited many times since after having migrated to Mars. I hope to find out the
next time I am abducted.
Question: Would you
please sort out the Drs. Wintersip and Winterpool. Were they real Centerboro people?
Are they both M.D.s?
Answer: (1) It's the Rev. Dr. Wintersip, and he was the real pastor
of the real First Methodist Church. He used to live right behind me. (2) Dr. Winterpool
was a real medical doctor who in his later years owing to a failing memory had
to look things up in his old medical books right in front of his patients. He
did not inspire much confidence because of that and also because of a hand tremor,
but I think that I'd still prefer going to him rather than the bean-counting,
penny-pinching, body-processing HMOs. Or maybe it's body-pinching, penny-processing
that I mean.
Question: How's the
Answer: See for yourself. There he is perched in the big fork of the silver
maple in my yard.
Short Answers to Infrequently Asked Questions
- Still no Studebaker; still
don't know who E.T. is for sure; still no winner of Contest 6
- As far as I know, first
it was the Gazette, then the Guardian, and now the Sentinel
- Am I buying the Overlook
reissues? Yes, naturally, for research purposes.
- Yes, the monkey accordionist
did actually work, although it was rather moth-eaten and smelly.
- Boomschmidt's Circus did
hand out little giveaways to kiddies. I happen to have a picture of a school pencil
box they'd pass out at the gate to the first 50 or so children in line.
- Yes, the "back road" has
a real name. It's Clapsaddle Road, and it was also known (unofficially) as "the
timber road" and "the old logging road."
- No, I can't recommend any
herbal remedies for you. Why don't you just eat well, get enough sleep, and take
a daily walk? I will recommend three or four cups of Alvita Chinese Green Tea
every day, though, for its antioxidant properties.
- Mr. Weezer married a Miss
Biles, I believe it was, who was considerably younger than he, and who really
gave him a "run for the money" so to speak with those forget-me-not eyes of hers!
Eventually she settled down, produced a number of little Weezers, and turned into
one of Centerboro's grand matrons. They're both dead now, and their offspring
are scattered all over, none in Centerboro.
- I'm not having a
yard display this year for Hallowe'en. Number one, there are too many destructive
hooligans running amuck nowadays; number two, there were some complaints to
the city council about last year's display which caused them to issue a warning
to me to "cease and desist"; number three and finally, I just don't feel
like it. It wouldn't be much fun under the circumstances.
- Yes, I brush Chloe's teeth.
She enjoys it because I use chicken-flavored toothpaste. It actually doesn't taste
- What do I give out on Hallowe'en?
I give out those little bite-sized candy bars. If you've heard that I passed
out chocolate-covered asphalt balls last year, that is a complete lie that
those miserable children at the end of the block fabricated because I wouldn't
pay them for not waxing my windows.