by Jack Fritscher

Blue Marble Line

An Annotated Bibliography

WHAT THEY DID TO THE KID: Confessions of an Altar Boy

From 1958 to 1972, Jack Fritscher (as John J. Fritscher) was an active member of the Catholic Press Association (continuing on past his years at the seminary, The Pontifical College Josephinum, Worthington, Ohio: 1953-1963).

The Pontifical College Josephinum Photo Gallery (photos of and by Jack Fritscher)

His Feature Articles, Short Fiction, and pop-culture reviews appeared in 20 Catholic magazines including:


"Inherit the Wind," movie review, The Josephinum Review, DATE. Jack Fritscher's first published film review.

"Review of The Mission," (PDF) a story of an orphaned Haitian girl, Emmanuel Magazine, July-August 1960, Vol. LXVI, Nos 7-8, p.343. First published fiction book review.

"Review of the nonfiction book, Women, Words and Wisdom, (PDF) by Solange Hertz," Salve Regina Magazine: The Official Organ of the Cistercian Benefactors' Society, May-June 1961, Vol X, No. 7, p. 24 (using pseudonym "Adam Wade" to avoid censor while a seminary student at the Pontifical College Josephinum), published by the Cistercian Monastery, Irving Texas. First published nonfiction book review.

"Father Foschini in the Philippines," The Companion (of Saint Francis and Saint Anthony), First magazine cover shot by Jack Fritscher accompanied and illustrated his first cover story and first feature-interview on missionaries caught in cross-culture, "Father Foschini in the Philippines," September 1961, pp. 5-8, published by the Conventual Franciscan Fathers, 15 Chestnut Park Road, Toronto 5, Ontario, Canada. This was also Fritscher's first foreign publication.

"American Catholic Etiquette," (PDF) Review of Kay Toy Fenner's nonfiction guide, The Josephinum Review, December 13, 1961.

"James Dean: Magnificent Failure," (PDF) Catholic Preview of Entertainment (The Family Entertainment Guide), June 1962, Vol. 6, No. 6., pp 4-10, Carmel NY. First Pop Culture Feature Article Written by Jack Fritscher.

Jack Fritscher says: "To get past the seminary censor, as well as sneak James Dean into the Catholic press, I had to spin James Dean into a bad boy by adding 1% condemnation that read like 100% condemnation of someone I always adored. I knew that C. B. DeMille movies skated by the censors by showing two hours of sin followed by thirty minutes of repentance. Actually, I was writing in this article about myself and all the other lost boys at the Josephinum who were stunted emotionally by seminary codes that froze our emotional development at age fourteen. My identification with James Dean glosses over the then unspeakable question of his private homosexuality, which years later made the triumph of getting this feature article published even greater. Father Alfred Camp, who was the college disciplinarin censor, threw my little typed manuscript back at me, and tried to cut me dead by saying, 'There's nothing objectionable in it, but no one will ever publish it.' The article sold to the first place I sent it. This publication outside the seminary raised a red flag on me; I was suspect, a rebel, and had to be watched. I, however, thought I was grooming myself to be editor of some diocesan newspaper."

(Editor's note: Publishers often fail to pay young writers. This was Jack Fritscher's first experience of non-payment by a publisher. Having not received payment for his James Dean article, and learning that no publisher is ever to be trusted, Jack Fritscher wrote to the head office of Catholic Periodicals, Inc., Seminary Hill, Carmel, NY, and received this letter dated July 23, 1962.

"Dear Mr. Fritscher, Please excuse this delay in answering of your letter of July 12. But, I was on a one week vacation and upon returning I was struck with, of all things, the mumps!"Nevetheless, I am sending, under separate cove,six copies of the June issue of Preview of Entertainment to your Willow Lane address."I submitted a bill for $60, on April 9, to Mr. Saunders, the publisher. Although I have absolutely no authority in the financial end of this magazine--only Mr. Saunders has--I am more than embarrassed over the neglect shown you. I will inform him, most strongly, of this oversight, since I feel that your piece was one of the best examples of writing ever carried by this publication. He is on vacation at the moment but will return on July 30. Signed: Sincerely, Robert Papierowicz, Executive Editor".

"Objectives of the Second Vatican Council," (PDF) major cover feature, The Josephinum Review, October 10, 1962, pp. 8-9, Worthington Ohio. First serious critical analysis of news story.

"Theatre Review of The Tempest," (PDF) The Josephinum Review, March 13, 1963, p. 11.

"Story for School's End: The Long Last Days before the Priesthood," a 2-page story-board photo spread shot by Jack Fritscher (film developing credited to John Boltz); includes 12 original black-and-white photographs (including photo of a Nigerian prince and a hairy-chested blond man with nude chest floating face-like-water-lily in swimming pool) designed around a 60-line poem written by Jack Fritscher, The Josephinum Review, May 22, 1963, pp. 4-5. "To think my body will yet move like a man. To think I will eat and breathe and grow old in the human humiliation..." First interior photo-spread feature.

"Josephinum: The Fire This Time," (PDF) The Josephinum Review, October 23, 1963, p. 11.

"John Schlesinger's Darling: What to Do at a Dirty Movie," (PDF) feature article regarding film and culture interpretation versus censorship, TODAY May 1966

Jack Fritscher says: "When I was a graduate student at Loyola University, I took my mother in 1965 to see Darling. Afterwards, in a coffee shop, I asked her how she liked it, and she said, 'It was good...for a dirty movie' Three hours of explanation later, she said, 'You should write an article about this, because no one I know at my parish could ever figure all that out.' Of course, I toned down all the Hollywood show-business I knew, in order to focus the article on the moral concerns of the Catholic press, which at the time was surprisingly open and trying to understand the fast-moving youth culture of the 60's. Additionally, I kept the focus on the heterosexual relationships in this wildly gay-themed film by the acclaimed gay director John Schlesinger, who was already in pre-production on Midnight Cowboy, which won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director despite its raw free love, drugs, homosexuality, and very adult rating. When my father, raised on a farm in Minnesota, read this Darling article of analytic film interpretation, he said, 'I love you, and I love that you write, but I've never understood a thing that you've written. Keep on writing.' Two years after this feature article was published, I became in 1968 one of that first generation of American university professors who introduced 'film interpretation' as a valid coordinate with 'literary interpretation' into the curricula of English departments. One of the documents I offered to make a case at Western Michigan University for including film as the fourth genre after fiction, drama, and poetry, was this intense little article on Darling, which remains one of my favorite films of all time."

Today Magazine, 6 feature articles, "TV Today," encompassing entire issue focused on popular media and television and censorship, February 1971, Volume 26, No. 2., pp. 1-64, Claretian Publications, 221 West Madison Street, Chicago IL 60606. The Muppets were featured on the cover. The first Catholic magazine to consider popular culture without censorship.

"Critical Essay on J. D. Salinger: Odysseus in a Field of Rye," (PDF) Cadence Magazine (Cadence in Loyola Thought), May 1964, Summer Vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 26-30. Loyola Student Quarterly Magazine, 820 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago IL. First published literary essay.

"The Church Mid-Decade and the Negro," (PDF) first-person feature of African-American cross-cultural experience featuring Mayor Richard Daley, the Reverend Martin Luther King, and labor organizer Saul Alinsky, The Torch Magazine, February 1965, pp. 10-14, published by The Third Order of St. Dominic/The Dominican Fathers, 141 East 65th Street, New York 21 NY. First race, politics, and class feature article.

During 1970, Jack Fritscher, as Dr. John J. Fritscher, wrote his first continuing media column for the Catholic newspaper, Dateline Colorado, Colorado Springs, edited by Reverend James Kane. Sample topics:

"The Eyes Have It! Not All 'G-Rated' Films Are for the Kids," (PDF) Movies and TV for the Catholic Family, January 23, 1970

"Popular Culture: You Are in the Midst of the 2nd American Revolution," (PDF) March 27, 1970, regarding the Trial of the Chicago 7 and in Protest of the Vietnam War

"All Job's Children," (PDF) A short story expecially for this Christmas


"Timothy and the Shamrocks," (PDF) The Josephinum Review, March 12, 1958, pp. 8-9, Worthington Ohio.

"Juicy Fruit Was Down That Day," (PDF) The Josephinum Review, November 12, 1958, pp 8-9.

"The Odyssey of Bobby Joad," (PDF) The Torch Magazine, August-September 1961, pp. 16-18.

"The Good-Timing Pinkhams of Chowder Lane: A Reverse Valentine Story," (PDF) The Josephinum Review, February 13, 1963, pp 8-9.

"Father and Son," The Torch Magazine, August-September 1963, featured as lead story, pp 1-2 & 32, Volume XLVII, Number 7, published by The Third Order of St. Dominic/The Dominican Fathers, 141 East 65th Street, New York 21 NY.

"Hurry to Your King: The Martyrs of Uganda," (PDF) Aim Higher Magazine: Ideals for Boys and Girls, November 1963, pp 3-8, fictionalized true history of martyrs in Uganda, Vol. 2, No. 2, Catechetical Guild Education Society, St. Paul MN.

Jack Fritscher says, "I employed the tools of fiction to re-create the feel of this actual African history aimed at grammar-school readers, particularly African-American grade-schoolers with whom I had gained some familiarity after spending a summer working with a few other seminarians on Chicago's South Side, with Father O'Farrell, at Holy Cross Parish, near 63rd and Cottage Grove, where we went door-to-door in the tenements introducing Blacks new to the North to the programs at Holy Cross as well as to community services. The activist-writer Frank Fortkamp, now a married Episcopal priest, was another seminarian very "there" during that summer of great social change in Chicago and in civil rights. The great labor-organizer, Saul Alinsky, often came to supper, and fueled my rather French fantasy of becoming a "worker priest" rather than one of those clerics living in the only mansion in the neighborhood, waited on by housekeepers and gardners. Once, Fortkamp and I went to see James Earl Jones in the touring production of Jean Genet's "The Blacks," which, like our experience at Holy Cross, I wrote about in my novel, "What They Did to the Kid." That same summer, we few white seminarians marched out of the South Side of Chicago with the men, women, and children of the Woodland Organization (TWO), walking with Martin Luther King, right into the downtown office of Mayor Richard Daley whose police, after a couple of hours of us sitting on the marble floor, carried us bodily back out. Five summers later, when I had become a hippie, those same police again appeared in Lincoln Park during the police riot at the 1968 Democratic Convention. That summer at 63rd and Cottage Grove was a life-changing and very informative experience that allowed my emotional life, stunted by the cloistered seminary, to catch up in maturation to my intellectual life and my chronological age."

"It Came upon a Midnight, Dear," (PDF) The Josephinum Review, December 25, 1963, pp. 6-7, presented as the fourth of a special Christmas quartet of short fiction by Frank E. Fortkamp, Gloria Eileen Muller, and Edward Turner.

"Nobody Knows What Sorrow," (PDF) The Torch Magazine, December 1964, a young black man moves from the south to the north, pp. 11-12 & 32.


Writers in Roman Collars: Freelancing for Catholics, Henry F. Unger, Academy Guild Press, Fresno CA, 193 pp., 1959

Nuclear War, by James lawler, 323 pages, The Newman Press, Westminster MD, August 1965.

Toward a Theory of Nursing, by Dr. Imogene King, M.D., Loyola University, 1964.


The Josephinum Review, 1959-1963: various editorial jobs continuing for four years on this 15,000 circulation slick tabloid-size magazine published every two weeks, Worthington Ohio, Monsignor Leonard J. Fick, editor.


The Law of Christ Volume 1: General Moral Theology for Priests and Laity, written in German by Bernard Haring, co-translated with Edwin G. Kaiser, re-written by Jack Fritscher, 616 pages, The Newman Press, Westminster MD, 1961.

The Law of Christ Volume 2: Special Moral Theology for Priests and Laity, written in German by Bernard Haring, co-translated with Edwin G. Kaiser, re-written by Jack Fritscher, 623 pages, The Newman Press, Westminster MD, 1963.

The Law of Christ Volume 3: Fraternal Moral Theology for Priests and Laity, written in German by Bernard Haring, co-translated with Edwin G. Kaiser, re-written by Jack Fritscher, 657 pages, The Newman Press, Westminster MD, 1966.


On October 31, 1960, Jack Fritscher (as John J. Fritscher) published, as the founding editor, the college department magazine, PULSE, which he named precisely that. Until that autumn, the college department had no student magazine.* From its inception in 1961, Fritscher helmed the quarterly to its fourth issue (May 31, 1961), and upon graduation from college handed the large-format magazine, printed on offset, to the succeeding junior-to-senior class. His editorials and writing addressed apathy in the student body, the poetry of Shamus McManus, the politics of Barry Goldwater, the philosophy of Martin Buber, poetry about the fallen Doctor Tom Dooley, reviews of The Quiet Man and PT 109, and short fiction anti-war story: "Our Bones Are Scattered (By The Side of Hell). Copy Editor: Richard Kramer. Staff Consultant: Roger Radloff (ordained 1965; PhD Jungian psychiatry; died of AIDS 1989); Othmar Morman, Charles Mueller, Kevin Axe.

*In the fall of 1961, the college department became a separate four-year unit within the twelve-year course of study for the priesthood. What had been six years of minor seminary followed by six years of major seminary became four years of high school, four years of college, and four years of study in theology. Previous to 1961, the minor seminary student magazine was titled The Ad Rem, for which, from September 1956-May 1957, Jack Fritscher was the high-school senior-class reporter.

Blue Bar
Copyright Jack Fritscher, Ph.D. & Mark Hemry - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED