Clue Watch: Jack London’s The Sea-Wolf

Here are a bunch of Jack London-related clues that came up in Season 32 of Jeopardy!

*7-26-16 BOOKS BY CHAPTER TITLES ($1000): “The Battle of the Fangs”

*7-12-16 OF BOOKS & BOATS ($800): The sealing schooner Ghost is brutal Captain Wolf Larsen’s ship in a 1904 tale by this man

*5/25/16 GOVERNMENTAL BEFORE & AFTER ($1000): Capitol Hill newspaper that’s also a Jack London novel about a dog

4/7/16 THE FINAL CHAPTER $600: 1903: “The Sounding of the Call”

2/29/16 URBAN LITERATURE $4,000 (Daily Double): He sought his fortune in Yukon gold prospecting, but made it big as the USA’s highest-paid writer

01-20-16 BOOKS, “OF” ALL THINGS $2,000 (Daily Double): Powerful pup reverts to the primitive

*1-11-16 AUTHORS’ LESSER KNOWN WORKS $1600: Along with his doggone novels, he wrote “That Spot” a short story about a faithful dog

9-23-15 LITERATURE OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC $800: He wrote of snowy climes in books like “White Fang”, then traveled to balmy Tahiti & later penned “South Sea Tales”


It’s been a real long time since a Jack London Final Jeopardy! clue showed up. The last one on J-Archive was in this 2008 game

07-08-08 AMERICAN AUTHORS: In 1900 the Atlantic Monthly published his story “An Odyssey of the North”, his literary breakthrough

Everyone got that and it seems like the cluewriters decided Jack London’s stuff was too easy for Final Jeopardy! after that. But actually, looking at some of the older clues on “The Sea-Wolf” on J-Archive, we think material on that one would make a good Final Jeopardy! clue.

Here is a a video from that gives their Top 10 Notes on “The Sea-Wolf.” Now keep in mind that they are talking about the novel in this video, not the 1941 movie “The Sea Wolf” (no hyphen) that they are showing stills from. There is a little message when you first start the video that says “Why read when you can watch?” Well, the fact that there are significant differences between the novel and the Edward G. Robinson film is probably a good reason.

For one thing, Ida Lupino’s character is not a wealthy poet in the film. She doesn’t fall in love with Humphrey Van Weyden and her name’s not even Maud Brewster. It’s Ruth Webster. In the film, she’s not an object of desire for the brute Wolf Larsen either. She’s just another target for abuse.

At age 47, Edward G. Robinson was considered by some to be too old for this role, but we’re not too sure a younger actor could have done as much justice to Wolf Larsen. Edward G. delivers big time, with a great blend of cunning and ruthlessness. There is also insight into why Wolf Larsen was such a twisted dude and thought it was “better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.” There have been enough Little Caesar clues. Tying in Edward G. to Jack London would work swell for a classic film category, a Daily Double, even Final Jeopardy!

If you don’t agree, it can only be because you haven’t seen “The Sea Wolf,” so you are therefore sentenced to watch it. Just joking, of course, but, if you have cable, the film is available right now on TCM on Demand until August 8th. They are going to run it again on September 26th and October 12th.

If you want to read the novel, it is in the public domain and you can find it on the Literature Network.

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