Dr. Finkelstein is a resident of Halloween Town, the wheelchair-bound mad scientist and the creator of Sally. He was voiced by the late William Hickey in the film and by Jess Harnell in the video game spin-offs.
Finkelstein is a pale-as-a-sheet mad scientist with a duckbill-like mouth and a hinged skullcap that he can open up to reveal his brain. For unknown reasons, he uses a motorized wheelchair. Finkelstein is only referred to as the 'Evil Scientist' in the credits. His true name is only mentioned in the movie when the Mayor calls him up to the front of the line for his Christmas assignment.
Dr. Finkelstein lives in a large science laboratory with his living ragdoll creation, Sally, and his hunchbacked assistant, as many mad scientists have, Igor. James Whale's Frankenstein is quoted in Finklestein's line "I made you with my own hands".
Finklestein also has a hand in helping Jack Skellington (of whom he seems to be very fond) with his plan to take over Christmas by bringing to life several skeletal reindeer to pull Jack's sleigh. He also refers to Jack as "my boy" in both the movie and The Pumpkin King Game.
At the end of the film, Finklestein, deciding that Sally is too much of a handful, creates a wife for himself using a portion of his own brain which he names Jewel.
Finklestein is an overbearing and antagonistic father/husband figure for Sally to overcome. He takes full responsibility over her and acts as an over-protective father, and in some ways an overbearing husband (thus explaining Sally's attempts to run away) by keeping her under lock and key under the pretext of sheltering her from the world. He insists she isn't ready yet for the Halloween celebrations and locks her in her room in the Tower using a gigantic piece of wood that can only be released from the outside, thus resulting Sally to leave through the window. He only releases her once she "promises to be behave", and remarks her being foolish and wretched, as well as her owing her life to him.
Despite being very hostile with Sally, he also appears understanding and somewhat sympathetic with her while stitching her back up in his Lab. He insists her restlessness is a phase and that it will pass, saying that they both need to patient. It is possible that he only craved companionship when creating Sally, as when he is seen replacing her with Jewel, he remarks that they will have "conversations worth having". He may also have wanted someone to share his similarities with, as he uses part of his own brain for Jewel.
The Doctor is first seen trying to tear away Sally from the Halloween celebrations, referring to her poisoning him and trying to take her back to the Tower. When she fights back, he insists she's coming with him before she breaks away and sends the Doctor onto the ground. He angrily calls after her before her hand starts punching his head, to which he painfully groans.
He catches Sally back in the Tower when she fills back the deadly nightshade up, coming down the ramps.
He shows her the dismembered arm she left him with and leads her back into the laboratory to sew it back on. While fixing her up, he remarks it's the second time she's poisoned him in the month, and gets angry when she corrects him. He compliments himself for creating her but gets offended when she says he can make others. He assures her while fixing her up, sending her off from the lab.
He is later seen observing X-Rays in his Lab while opening the hatch to his head and scratching at his brain. He's interrupted when Sally comes in with lunch, and happily goes for the soup. He becomes very skeptical of it after smelling Frog's Breath in the Worm's Wart. He insists Sally to try it first in order for him to eat it, only to get the spoon knocked out of his hand. While Sally goes to "retrieve" it, he attempts to guilt trip her insisting that a poor old man like him barely has any strength. Sally pretends to drink it, fooling the Doctor to chug the rest. He is soon passed out on the table afterwards, and is draped over by a blanket while he sleeps.
He soon catches Sally, holding an ice pack to his head and saying that she's poisoned him for the last time and locks her in her bedroom. After hearing the doorbell ring, he moans and calls to the visitor that the door is open. After seeing that it is Jack Skellington, his demeanor changes as he is very welcoming and insists for him to come up. After Jack informs him of his plans of experimenting, he remarks "curiosity killed the cat, you know!" and brings him back into his Lab to get him all "fixed up", lending him his scientific supplies, such as microscopes and tools.
Finklestein is later called into the Town Hall to retrieve his Christmas task. While coming inside, he angrily searches for Sally, who hides behind the town's fountain. After coming inside, he approaches Jack, who quickly asks for him to construct some reindeer for his sleigh. The Doctor comments that their structure should be "exceedingly simple", and gets to work on it after constructing Jewel's body. Igor comes and gives him the plans and Finklestein awards him with a Bone Biscuit. He is later seen bringing the skeletal reindeer to life with electricity, watching with joy as they move. He falls on the table and goes to polishing a small replica of a human skull.
The Doctor is last seen coming into Town with his new creation, Jewel, by his side. He calls her his "precious jewel" and joins the rest of the town celebrating the snow.
The Doctor is first mentioned when Jack goes to check on him in his lab, where he finds the bat boomerang that the doctor had just invented, with a note saying this invention would win him the "ghastly gadget" award again. He is found not a moment later in the game being held hostage by a giant snake. Jack at first thinks the reptile is the doctor's new pet, but the doctor tells him otherwise and Jack quickly defeats it. Afterwards, he explains that he was doing some research until a snake appeared and held him hostage. He tells him to use the bat boomerang to save Sally, who has been abducted by Oogie's henchmen. He also informs him that he Corpse Kid ran off when the snake came and wagers he went to the Pumpkin Patch. He then leaves to do some more research.
Later, when Jack returns to his lab, He tells Jack that his security system has gone haywire, and Igor is trapped inside. To help him get in, The Doctor upgrades his frog gun so it can be fired continuously. After Igor is freed, Jack goes back to the Doctor and lets him back in the lab. He reappears at the end as Jack returns with Sally, expressing his worry but getting agitated that she's paying more attention to Jack.
In Oogie's Revenge, when Jack longs for a more frightening Halloween, Finkelstein helps him by giving him the Soul Robber, a gooey, shape-changing weapon. Jack leaves the Doctor in charge of Halloween Town while he's gone. After Oogie Boogie's revival, Finkelstein was then put under Oogie's control by switching his brain to a different one, and created monsters for Oogie to control. Fortunately, Jack was able to put Finkelstein's original brain back in place, breaking Finkelstein from Oogie's sway.
Finklestein can be met at the end of the game before Oogie Boogie's final fight, where he says he's counting on Jack and encourages him to defeat Oogie.
In October 2003, Doctor Finklestein optionally accompanied the rest of
the cast singing Broadway Songs to celebrate the third celebration of the Haunted Mansion Holiday. His segment was to sing "If I had a Brain" from the Wizard of Oz with Sally, and joined the rest of the cast for other songs. His character never made another appearance, as well as the other Halloween Town Citizens. He may not have been present for other performances, given the difficulties of the wheelchair for the actors.
Click here to view the gallery for Dr. Finkelstein.
- It is implied that he was not always intended to be bound to a wheelchair, as early drawings of Finkelstein depict him standing freely, as well as his original action figure.
- In the game spin-offs, Finkelstein's name is pronounced "steen" instead of "stein".
- In a deleted scene, it was revealed that Finkelstein was originally supposed to be Oogie Boogie in disguise, who planned to get revenge on Jack after Sally fell in love with him. This idea was scrapped due to the outrage from Tim Burton.
- While being Halloween-Town's stock-mad scientist, Finkelstein's name and habit of creating the dead from pieces of corpse is taken from the gothic character of Dr. Victor Frankenstein.