||This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2010)|
|First appearance||The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)|
|Created by||Tim Burton|
|Voiced by||Chris Sarandon
Danny Elfman (singing in film),
Masachika Ichimura (Japanese)
Jack Skellington is a fictional character who first appeared in the 1993 animated film The Nightmare Before Christmas. Jack is the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town and lives in a fantasy world based solely on the Halloween holiday. His usual appearance is a skeleton dressed in a black pin-striped suit and a bow tie resembling a bat, but there are some points in which he dresses as a scarecrow with a pumpkin for a head. His last name is a play on skeleton. He has a pet ghost dog named Zero, who has a small glowing nose that looks like a jack-o'-lantern. His love interest is Sally, a rag doll created by Dr. Finklestein. Jack is voiced by Chris Sarandon, and his singing voice is provided by Danny Elfman. The character is a popular design on bags, hats, clothing, umbrellas, belt buckles, pet collars and other items. According to Ultimate Disney.com's Top 25 Heroes, Jack is #25.
Jack in The Nightmare Before Christmas 
Jack Skellington is the patron spirit of Halloween, portrayed as being on par with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny within his own holiday. As a living skeleton, he is immortal and can remove parts of his body without harm, as is often demonstrated for comic relief. He is the most important of many Halloween spirits, with the implication that their job is to scare people in the real world on Halloween night.
Jack, as the Pumpkin King, is in charge of Halloween Town's Halloween celebration, a role for which he receives respect and admiration from the other residents. However, monologued with himself reveals he is growing tired of celebrating the same holiday endlessly and is very depressed about it. The only one who understands Jack's feelings is a lonely, sweet-hearted, loyal and very pretty ragdoll girl named Sally who is a very close friend of Jack's and she understands him because she is in a very similar situation herself. Jack's sense of adventure is stimulated when he accidentally discovers Christmas Town, driving him to start a Christmas celebration of his own. While his intentions are good, Jack does not understand the true spirit of Christmas, and he and his friends give it a macabre make-over, however it is destined to miserably fail. This failure is predicted by Sally early on in the film and she does try very hard to warn (and later stop) Jack, but he never listens. As the film goes on it is shown that Jack and Sally become very strongly attracted to one another and by the end have completely fallen for each other.
The official film soundtrack CD contains an epilogue not in the film, stating that "many years later" Santa returned to Halloween Town to visit Jack, where he discovered that Jack had "four or five skeleton children at hand" who play together in a xylophone band. By many fans of the movie and of the franchise it is strongly assumed that Jack and Sally married and that the children are theirs.
In video games 
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Jack Skellington is shown to have had a rivalry with Oogie Boogie. Oogie makes plans to turn Halloween Town into a New Bug Day and kidnaps Sally, Dr. Finklestein's creation. After Jack learns of Sally's kidnapping, he takes it upon himself to save Sally (for the first time) and restore Halloween Town. Jack confronts Oogie and defeats him, after which he banishes Oogie to his underground lair. Having defeated Oogie Boogie and saved Sally (thus enticing her love interest in him), the town declares Jack "Pumpkin King"—the king of Halloween and all things scary.
Tired of using the same old themes over and over on Halloween, Jack Skellington goes to Doctor Finkelstein, who gives him the Soul Robber, an invention that changes shape. Jack decided to leave Halloween Town to get new ideas for Halloween frights. When Jack comes back to town, he finds that Oogie Boogie has been resurrected. Now Jack has to set things right again. Jack dances, fights, and sings in this game to attack Oogie Boogie's minions. Jack is portrayed as inept to some degree in this game.
It should be noted that Chris Sarandon did both the speaking and singing voice for Jack in this game. Elfman only provided the singing voice in the original film due to his personal request.
Jack Skellington features in the Nightmare Before Christmas downloadable expansion pack which includes Jack Skellington, Sally, Oogie-Boogie, Dr. Finklestein and the Mayor as in-game playable costumes. The downloadable content can be bought from console stores (e.g. the PlayStation Store). The package included the costumes of which some could be found in the downloaded level. Unlike the worlds originally in the game which all had 3 chapters, the Nightmare Before Christmas world only had 1 chapter called 'Halloween Graveyard'.
Jack Skellington appears in four installments of the Kingdom Hearts video game series. He inhabits the world of Halloween Town, where the evil Heartless threatens its denizens. The games' main protagonists, Sora, Donald Duck and Goofy, befriend Jack and together they battle the Heartless and also Oogie Boogie. In combat, Jack uses some of his scary powers with demonstrations of some magic, making him a formidable sorcerer.
Chris Sarandon reprises his role for the English version, and Masachika Ichimura provides Jack's Japanese voice.
Jack Skellington introduces himself to Sora, Goofy, and Donald Duck as the ruler of Halloween Town. Jack plans to use the heart that Finklestein created to control the seemingly docile Heartless to make a festival called "Heartless Halloween" so that Halloween can be frightening, but the idea fails when not only the first experiment cause the Heartless to go berserk, but Oogie Boogie steals the finished heart, and plans to use it to take over Halloween Town. At Oogie's manor, Jack, Sora, and the gang confront him. After Oogie is defeated, Jack finds out that Oogie uses dark orbs as his source of life, which Oogie combines himself with his manor to become a giant boss. Once the gang defeats Oogie once again, and his manor crumbles, revealing Halloween Town's keyhole. Jack is considerably shorter in this game than as he appeared in the movie, though he is still rather tall when compared to the game's main protagonists.
"Created" from Sora's memories of Halloween Town, when Jack Skellington wanted to ask Doctor Finkelstein what happened when he sniffs the potion that can bring "true memories", Heartless appeared. When Jack Skellington had found out that Oogie Boogie had stolen the Doc's potion, he must stop him before Oogie drinks the whole potion. They fail to reach him before he does, but they defeat him, as Oogie becomes overwhelmed with fear as a side effect of the potion. Sora becomes worried about what will happen when he discovers his true memories, but Jack reassures him that fear is a sign of a strong heart.
In this game, Roxas arrives at Halloween Town while Jack is in the middle of a brainstorming for Halloween. Jack is having trouble with thinking of things but gets inspiration when he sees Roxas leaving through a Dark Corridor. Time after time, Roxas' adventures through Halloween Town inspire Jack to create such things as balloons filled with spiders, exploding frost pumpkins, and Halloween lanterns. When Roxas is sent to find the source of a terrible drop in heartless population, he finds the town overrun with monsters called Tentaclaws. After seeing Roxas defeating the source of the Tentaclaws, the cannibalistic Leechgrave, Jack invents a terrifying scarecrowish version of Roxas as his centerpiece for that Halloween.
Following the film loosely to some degree, out of reference, Jack tries to take Santa Claus's place again. To that end, Jack asks Sora and gang to help him be Santa's bodyguards. But after fighting the Heartless and Oogie Boogie, who has been resurrected by Maleficent, Santa explains to Jack that they each have a job to do with their respective holidays. Despite this, he begins to wear a Santa suit Sally sewed together for him. In the second trip to Halloween Town, Jack still wears the Santa suit, as he still longs to deliver Christmas presents and feels that it would be rude not to wear the suit Sally worked so hard on. Along with Sora and the gang, he helps defeat Doctor Finkelstein's experiment, who stole Christmas presents from Santa in search of a heart. As a reward for all his hard work and assistance, Santa brings Jack on a ride-along with him in his sleigh for a while. After Santa drops Jack off at Halloween Town, Jack learns the true meaning of Christmas by understanding the act of giving. He dances with Sally in the end, finally realizing all of the gifts she had given to him were all from the heart and wishes to give her something in return. She tells him that the nicest present she could ever ask for is just to be with Jack. Jack responds telling her that she does not even have to ask for that, meaning Jack feels the same way for her. During a cut scene in the end credits, he is shown to be wearing his original suit, suggesting he has taken Santa's previous advice to heart completely, and apparently begins presenting new ideas for next Halloween.
Once a year at Disneyland during the holidays, Haunted Mansion is taken over by the cast of The Nightmare Before Christmas and is turned into Haunted Mansion Holiday. Jack and other characters appear throughout the ride wearing Christmas attire. Additionally, Jack hosts the Anaheim version of the Halloween Screams fireworks show. Again, Sarandon supplied his voice for the character in each instance.
- During the opening scene of Sleepy Hollow, Jack's scarecrow outfit can be seen.
- In Alice in Wonderland Jack's face can be found on the Mad Hatter's scarf.
- In James and the Giant Peach, Jack appears as the captain, in the pirate scene. Upon seeing him, the Centipede even says "A skellington?". An interesting factor is that in the scene Jack is with a dead skeletal version of Donald Duck wearing his hat and a band of skeletal pirates and that the scene itself is underwater deep in the arctic.
- A silhouette of Jack is shown in The Princess and the Frog as one of the shadows Dr. Facilier summons.
- Jack Skellington's face made a cameo appearance on a doormat in the first volume of the graphic novel series Lenore created by Roman Dirge.
- Jack appears in an episode of The Critic in a short parody called "The Nightmare before Chanukka", done in the same puppet style as the original movie. In this parody, Jack wears a red suit rather than his usual black and white striped one.
- Jack also appears in Adult Swim's show Robot Chicken finding "Chanukka Town" and watches children open up presents, but finding out that it is just socks and pencils for their first day of Chanukka, he says to himself: "Wow, This Sucks..."
- Jack appears in the background of a South Park made-for-TV movie called "Imaginationland"
- Jack also appears in the movie Coraline in the scene where the other mother cracks open an egg, Jacks head is the egg yolk.
- Jack appears in the MAD episode "Kitchen Nightmares Before Christmas". He also makes a cameo appearance in the short it was paired with, "How I Met Your Mummy".
- A parody of Jack Skellington appears in Tiny Toons' Night Ghoulery.
- Jack appears in the movie Beetlejuice when Betelguese comes out of the city model with a carousel on his head. Jack's is at the top of the carousel. This may have been a coincidence, though, as Beetlejuice came out in 1988 and Jack first appeared in 1993.
- Jack also made an appearance on the anime Panty and Stocking.
- Jack is included as one of many characters featured in Disney On Ice's production Let's Celebrate!. Mickey Mouse calls upon him to throw a Halloween party, which a number of Disney Villains find their way into. During his appearance a medley of "Jack's Lament" and "What's This?" are performed, along with the film's opening number "This Is Halloween".
Jack Skellington has been made into a Bendies figure. He appeared in the Kingdom Hearts action figure collections, and was also released in Japan's REVOLTECH Sci-fi line in 2010, along with the Japanese monsters, Gamera and Gyaos.
Pop culture 
- Lyrics in the Blink 182 song "I Miss You": "We can live like Jack and Sally if we want, Where you can always find me, And we'll have Halloween on Christmas, ..."
- Lyrics in Blood On The Dance Floor Song "Fallen Star": "Like Jack And Sally On Top Of Death Valley Or Below In Southern Cali We Lived Our Grand Finale"
- All Time Low guitarist Jack Barakat has a tattoo of Jack Skellington playing a guitar on his chest, and also has been known to use a guitar pick with a printed image of Skellington giving the middle finger.
Jamie Frater adds, "Jack is perfectly realized as the 'town hero' who seeks more in his life (or death, as it may be), a place we all find ourselves time to time." UGO Networks listed Jack as one of their best heroes of all time.
- Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra, Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide: The Experts Guide to the Best Recordings (Backbeat Books, 2001), 997.
- Frederick J. Augustyn, Dictionary of Toys and Games in American Popular Culture (Haworth Press, 2004), 18.
- Jamie Frater, "Top Ten Kids' Movies Adults Will Love," The Ultimate Book of Top 10 Lists: A Mind-Boggling Collection of Fun, Fascinating and Bizarre Facts on Movies, Music, Sports, Crime, Celebrities, History, Trivia and More (Berkeley: Ulysses Press, 2010), 380.
- UGO Team (January 21, 2010). "Best Heroes of All Time". UGO Networks. Retrieved April 3, 2011.