Monday, March 20, 2006

A Tribute to Jack Wild, R.I.P.

As a child I faithfully watched Pufnstuf every Saturday morning. My favorite character was Jimmy, played by Jack Wild. I was so enthralled by the show, that I talked my parents into ordering the Pufnstuf soundtrack from the back of a Kelloggs cereal box.
My six year old eyes were so dreamy over Jack that I also convinced my parents to get a back issue of a teen mag featuring Jack on the cover. I really wanted to buy all the back issues showing Jack's picture, but my parents weren't insane so I had to narrow it down to just one.

This issue featured the exciting article, "Jack and Arthur's Brother Feud!" Good god! I wish I had a career writing lines for the front of teen magazines. I'd up the excitement level by going a step further with blurbs like, "Jack and Arthur - you are no longer my brother" or "Jack and Arthur's Battle of Blood."

Rivals? Oh no! Jack thought Arthur was avoiding him since he'd gotten back from filming Pufnstuf. But it turned out Arthur was with a girlfriend who insisted that they spend all their time alone. With her noose of affection ever tightening around his neck, Arthur decided to dump her. Brotherhood saved, rivals no more! A collective sigh of relief was breathed by all. I'm sure as a child, I was pleased that Jack and Arthur were getting along, but as an adult, I am more of the train of thought of "uhhhh... okay."

I ripped out this pinup and hung it on my wall. My guess is I stared at it dreamily, but I really don't remember.

Here a reader said she would cherish anything Jack gave her. So lucky Debbie Campbell got a gift of a locket and Jack's first single - from Jack (aaaaiiiiieeee!!!). The puzzler is, where are these items now? Does Debbie still have them? Does she hang onto them as a memento of her innocent youth? When she got older, did she forget where she got them? Or did she just callously throw them out thinking they were kids stuff?

Damn, when the teenage stars you liked when you were a small child die, it makes you feel not only old, but sort of like part of your childhood is gone.


Booksteve said...

Welcome back, Chris. Hope all is well. All of us in the blogosphere missed you.

MrBaliHai said...

I'm sad about Jack, but happy you're back!

Chris Jart said...

Thanks for the nice words! It's been a rough couple of months and I just didn't have the energy. Now I've got to start digging stuff out of my closet and bookshelves again!

Skinny Robbie said...

I know I'm late on replying, but good lord, WELCOME BACK!!! Your piece on Jack Wild is a treasured memento already.

Thanks, Chris, for returning!

Riley said...

She's back!! That was a long Christmas vacation. Welcome back!

Phillip said...

I had a feeling it was just the extended holidays blahs, I still checked every day! Welcome back!

Chris Jart said...

Thanks for the welcome back, everyone! Nice to see everyone is still here.

Angela said...

Thanks for all the cute photos and stories on the "Love Of My Life"..hehe. I'm really sad about his passing tho. When I was 12,13, and 14 I lived and breathed JACK WILD!!!! But I remember his record very well and I never missed his show on Saturday mornings either! I did order his personally picked photo album..I was so excited to get it. I would write to him faithfully every week, and finally received a postcard (photocopied of course)one summer. I carried it around with me until it fell apart and showed it to all my friends a million times. Sweet Jack, you were so cute and funny and I would have given my eye teeth to be Engish!!! I even remember his "FAV" thing to eat...Frenchfries with Chocolate syrup!!! I feel so old right now..haha! I carried all of those posters and stuff around with me in my hope chest and when my father was transfered overseas I left them with my grandmother. She passed away and then someone (WHO OBVIOUSLY DIDN"T HAVE A CLUE ABOUT THE TREASURE THEY WERE IN POSSESSION OF!!!!!)threw them away.I wish I still had all of those wonderful things. I have been trying for years to find his 45 but with no luck. Jack, I will love and miss you forever even tho I am grown up now and my heart still skips a beat when I see your face after all this time!!!!

Chris Jart said...

Aaaarrrggghhh!!! I would be so angry if someone had thrown out all my teen magazines and other childhood items. (Although my brother did cut all the Kristy McNichol pictures out of all my mags, which really ticked me off!)

Chocolate syrup and fries sound scary. I'm not sure I'd want to try that. You were definitely dedicated, writing to him each week. That's cool.

Anonymous said...

I was (still am) a huge fan of Jack. Wow, it was heartbreaking when he passed away, just so sad.
Can someone tell me though, what did his brother Arthur ever do? Did he act or sing?

Kathy said...

These memoirials and links have made me feel a little less alone in mourning Jack's death which i just found out about 2 weeks ago and was astonished at the information at my fingertips. I thought he had become so obscure I would never find info on him but there's tons. Everyday I come to see if there's any new information or just another beautiful tribute. It warms my heart to know his fan base is huge and a new generation of fans has also emerged. Jack will always live on in our hearts and minds 'cause he's certainly a part of mine.

Chris Jart said...

I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Jack. I just thought he was the greatest when I was a kid.

Anonymous said...

In response to Carmen, I read in my source at the time, "Tiger Beat Magazine", that Arthur was on stage in London. I think he played Oliver, and then ironically his brother played the Artful Dodger in the movie. My 50+ year old memory might be shaky on the subject.

I actually found this site when I Googled "Arthur Wild Jack's brother" because I was curious whatever happened to Arthur.


Jeannie said...

I feel the same way as the other reader who commented "my heart still skips a beat." When I look at some of his photos, I feel such a joy and happiness (innocent love)! My room was covered with every shape and size Jack Wild poster. I had his album and played it to death. I wrote to him and received a post card which I just about went over the moon over! I was only 10, and I knew it wasn't a grown up kind of love, but it was a strong love nevertheless. I watched the movie "Melody" recently on Google video and fell in love again. That sweet face of his, the songs. RIP dear Jack!

Leonie said...

Finely , today, i found Jack back, to find out he passed away a year ago...
i never new he became so famous after Oliver Twist/the artfull dodger... i saw the movie when i was around 5 years old, felt in deep love, my first hudge love ! i was so sad to find out that he was "much to old for me" (i saw the movie around mid '70's , about then years after the release.)
After him all my hudge loves* were Jack look a likes... and not only his looks but also the role he played as the Artfull dodger was the only character that realy could fascinate me. i realized and told people often and wrote in my diary's that he and his role in the (book and) film were the destiny makers, role-model, bleu-print of my live ! not an easy live, but very fascinating and moving... just like the film. gave me a lot of experiences and inspiration, also for my Art ; paintings and writings.
i always hope to watch a Oliver Twist movie on television around Christmas, waiting to catch a glimpse of my litle Jack, and to figure out what it was what atracted me so much in him and the whole picture. i always had the wish (still) to collect all Oliver Twist releases.just now,today, i know that there's a lot more to collect ; his other films, his albums, his brother Arthur ;-) Yeah, does somebody know how His live went and how he's doing ?
...i read a moving letter of him , i like to answer... maybe also to late... i think he's got the answer already and i'm curious and hope to hear it...
*even (the history and looks of) my partner (and so our beautiful and sweet, smart and charming ; Artfull children, i proposed to name our children jack, he refused for other reasons (his brothers name is jack, its to painfull since he hasn't seen him in 22 years..) is looking much like him... i'm curious, my question for you ; did he affect also your lives in certain ,deep meaningfull and important ways ?

Anonymous said...


I'm fourteen + I think that Jack Wild is a total legend!!

I watch Oliver! all the time, + I love him as Artful Dodger.

He was perfect for it. I can't believe he was fifteen when it was filmed, he looks waaaay younger.

RIP Jack x

judith said...

yes its hard to believe jack was so young looking when he did pufnstuf when i found out about him. then to find out he died, and how it could of been prevented. ficle business. Athur did sing, sounds a bit like jack. he died in 2000. i dont know what of. its all very strange. i know it was a lonly life for jack, but must of been hard for Athur as well.

judith said...

have you heard about the autobiography that came out about jack,by jack and david porter in the 90s?, it was a paperback, dont know if any more will be available. does any one know any more about it?. ive written to clare, but with australian post, it will take 3 weeks there, and 3 weeks to get back to me. judith

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, I guess Jack had heaps of fans back in the day~
I'm currently seventeen years old so, yeah. Didn't even exist back in the 70's, unfortunately.

But although I absolutely adore idols like Taylor Swift, AKMU and EXO, I'm also quite a vintage movie fanatic (I'm a HUUUGE fan of people like Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Julie Andrews, Gene Kelly, Cary Grant, Grace Kelly...the list rolls on xD) and I first watched Oliver! when I was about...four or five...? And my favorite character was The Artful Dodger (of course).

AAAAGES after I first watched that, I thought I'd research on the actors of Oliver! to see how they were doing and if they were even alive. I figured Mark Lester and Jack Wild at least HAD to be alive, even if they'd be older...(duh) but found out that Jack had died, and I felt awful TT__TT (my inner fan was very upset = ^ =;)

I later discovered other movies and stuff that Jack was in, like Melody, Flight of the Doves and of course HR Pufnstuf (which I found absolutely adorable) and I still watch them sometimes. Aaand that is how I became a Jack Wild fan.

I think I want to try eating some french fries with chocolate syrup now, since according to another commenter, that was Jack's favourite thing to eat...? It sounds quite tasty actually~

It's nice to find posts like this after all these years though (this was posted in 2006 omfg @_____@ I was still around nine years old or something back then LOOOL). I googled Jack Wild on a whim and found this blog, and thought it was very sweet //> v <//