2018 A to Z: T… All About Nancy Drew
In 2016 I learned of the first annual April A to Z… it immediately intrigued me and I began racking my brain for a theme. After much reading, and thinking… I finally came up with the theme of Southern Foods and Memories… it said to write what you know! When April of 2017 rolled around, I decided to share Conversations with Mama to the world… the best of my on-going blog post that has generated from nightly talks to my mother. It’s now 2018 and as Nancy Drew has been on my mind… since I began re-building my collection back… well, I hope you will join me in celebrating All about Nancy Drew during the April A to Z Blog Hop!
T is for… Travel, TV Series, Trivia, and Taboo
Nancy, a young girl of 16 (18 in later books) has probably traveled more than most young girls her age… either alone or with friends. She never seemed to lack money, or problems in buying anything… and never a problem with writing checks for car repairs! What teenager can freely write checks like that?
Foreign travel has had Nancy traveling to… Kenya, Canada, Caribbean, Mexico, Europe, London, India, Scotland, France, Turkey, Hong Kong, Japan, Argentina, Mexico, and Colombia. Remind me if I’ve missed one… only from the first 56 volumes!
Her travels weren’t just limited either to foreign lands… in the United States, she has traveled to Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Louisiana, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Maryland, Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York. Too bad she never traveled to my home state of Georgia… she could have visited Stone Mountain. For a more detailed list of Nancy’s travels in the states and abroad, click HERE…
- In April of 1957, Desilu & CBS developed a pilot for a Nancy Drew Detective show based on the 1930 movies. Roberta Shore played Nancy Drew with Tim Considine as Ted Nickerson, and Carson Drew was played by Frankie Thomas Jr. Unfortunately the series was never picked up by any sponsors, which made Harriet S. Adams happy… as she never approved of the series. Somehow, there were legal troubles in trying to bring the show to TV… CBS eventually abandoned it.
- Pamela Sue Martin debuted as Nancy Drew (later Janet Louise Johnson) with The Hardy Boys in 1977-1979 on ABC in The Sunday Night Mysteries Hour; Nancy Drew alternated with The Hardy Boys on every other Sunday night. Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy portrayed the Hardy Boys. Wonder why they kept her as a brunette? They could have added some red highlights to her hair!
- In 1989 a Canadian Company began filming for a 13-week Nancy Drew series called Nancy Drew & Daughter. Margot Kidder played an adult Nancy Drew with a daughter… also named Nancy. After Margot was injured during the filming of the 1st episode when the brakes failed on the car she drove, the series canceled production the following month. Actually, I liked the idea of Nancy Drew having a daughter named Nancy. Can’t you just picture her daughter, right alongside her, helping to solve cases; I think someone should revive that idea!
- 2015: CBS, once again, tried to revive Nancy Drew in a series to be called “Drew”… which would feature Nancy as a non-caucasian (not sure why they felt the need to change her race, and that might have been the downfall of the series.) NYPD detective… fast-forwarded into her 30’s; big change from our 18-year-old Nancy. The pilot was to have Nancy investigating the death of Bess Marvin – who died 6 months prior. (I definitely don’t like that idea… I think Nancy Drew fans would like to see all the girls, somehow… reunited, or at least staying in touch ever so often. They cast Sarah Shahi as Nancy Drew, Anthony Edwards as Carson Drew, Vanessa Ferlito as George Fayne, Steve Kazee as Ned Nickerson, and Debra Monk as Hannah Gruen. CBS passed on the pilot because there was another pilot in competition at the same time; there might have been more to that, as even the Nancy Drew character was quoted as saying “it wasn’t good.” Characters usually have a feeling, and she must have felt that this storyline just wasn’t “Nancy Drew” worthy.
- 2017: Nancy Drew fans were excited to hear on October 16, 2017, that… once again Nancy Drew might be revised on TV. The same writers from the last pilot will be headlining this pilot also… but taking it in a different direction. This new TV series will feature Nancy reuniting with her both of her best girlfriends, Bess and George… now in their 40s to 50s; they strive to overcome any bad bloodshed since Nancy has found fame, and somehow had lost her best friends along the way. They now come together and pull their strengths to once again solve mysteries as the famous trio we all remember and loved. (Has anyone heard what happened to this series?)
- In The Sign of the Twisted Candles (OT)… the term “few rods ahead” is mentioned in describing where lightning hit a tree… and means… measurements used by surveyors and equals to 5.5 yards.
- Nancy Drew was originally 16 years old when the series began in 1930. In the 1950’s they changed her age to 18… to better work with the driving laws.
- Nancy Drew’s roadster/convertible have not always been blue… they have also been maroon, yellow and green.
- Nancy Drew has been translated into several languages, with each country often changing her name.
- In France, our Nancy Drew is known as Alice Roy, she is known as Kitty Drew in Sweden, and Paula Drew in Finland. In Norway, they called the book Miss Detective, but she’s still referred to as Nancy, and in Germany, Nancy is a law student known as Susanne Langen.
- The Bungalow Mystery is the 3rd book in the Nancy Drew Mysteries and the last volume that Edward Stratemeyer edited before he died; his daughter revised the books in 1959.
- Nancy first met Ned Nickerson when Nancy accused Ned of trying to steal her car in The Clue of the Diary.
- Nancy Drew’s name almost became Diana Dare, Stella Strong, Nan Nelson, Helen Hale and even Nan Drew… but they made the best choice with Nancy Drew!
- The “fan favorite” Nancy Drew book is The Hidden Staircase. Is it yours?
- In the 1938 Nancy Drew movies, Ned was known as Ted Nickerson… the writers thought that “Ned” was too lame of a name! Really… I actually like Ned better!
- The first 34 original Nancy Drew books were revised, beginning in 1959. They changed them from a 25 chapter book to a 20 chapter book, erased all stereotype accusations, racial speech, and often rewrote some of the plots.
- Nancy’s father gives her a maroon convertible in the very first book… The Secret of the Old Clock. How cool to get a car for your 16th birthday!
- Carolyn Keene was not a real author… only a pen name used by several ghostwriters.
- Nancy lives in River Heights, a fictional town set in the state of… well, that’s the 64-thousand dollar question! They made the town fictional… so why not set it in a state if it didn’t really exist? Maybe they did it to just drive us fans crazy?
- The typewriter that Mildred W. Benson used to write the Nancy Drew stories was donated to the Smithsonian Institution.
- The first printing and first edition of The Secret of the Old Clock, which is the first volume, is such a rarity that there are only about 5 known first printings with the dust jacket. Is there more, I sure hope so as I’d love to find one! It can command almost $10,000.00!
The Stratemeyer Syndicate had formulas for their ghostwriters to “strictly” follow… subjects that they must adhere to and one such subject was “Taboos.”
We all know that Nancy Drew is listed as a “mystery book”, but they were mysteries for young readers… mostly girls. A murder was definitely a taboo in the books. In their guidelines, “taboos” included… “Murder, Liquor, Excess use of slang, Sensationalism, Narcotics, Brutality, Making fun of physical or mental handicaps, and even Foreign Dialect.“
Let’s look at them… one by one!
- Murder: As of yet, I have not read of any murder in Nancy Drew and seriously doubt I ever will… unless there is one lurking in the original text versions. Do let me know if you know of one… maybe I’ve forgotten!
- Liquor: At the young age of sixteen, I’m happy to have “not” read that our Nancy was a teetotaler! Even when they aged her later to eighteen, she still was not of legal age to drink and never did. There was no mention either of Carson Drew enjoying a drink in the evening, or even Aunt Eloise enjoying an after-dinner libation. Good for them! We didn’t need to read of those activities in a children’s book… but I might enjoy a glass of wine now as I’m reading Nancy Drew in the late night! But that’s Ok – right?
- Excessive use of slang: I’m taking that as they may use a limited amount of slang? Off the top of my head, I’m not remembering any, but hopefully, one of my readers stopping by will know! I searched out a few older slang examples and laughed at “The Cat’s Pajama’s“… which was often used by the flappers of the roaring 1920’s. Gee Whiz – I wonder if my grandparents said that! And who would want to be referred to as a wallflower! I’m sure I’m guilty of “don’t have a cow“… but today it might just be one word, like “whatever“… which drives my husband crazy! I totally became lost in my search for slang, and I might just have to write a post on that word “slang” in the near future… but after the April A to Z is over! I did write a post a couple of years ago on all the southern expressions I’ve heard and said over the years; my mother has said some doozies over the years… it can be found HERE.
- Sensationalism (sex luridness): The definition of sensationalism, especially in journalism means… “the use of exciting, and shocking stories or language at the expense of accuracy in order to provoke interest or excitement.” I believe Nancy Drew was written as an exciting book, encouraging young readers to continue turning those pages and begging their parents for the newest book! And it was all written without shocking stories or language in achieving that… it wasn’t needed! I still enjoy reading those stories today, and while I’m not a young reader any longer… I’m still loving Nancy Drew!
- Narcotics: Nancy never needed any drugs or other substances as she traveled to solve those mysteries. She only needed a “mystery”… that was what kept her going! It was her excitement… she lived for the next mystery to solve… that was her “vice”!
- Brutality: Depending on how you looked at it, there was brutality in the Nancy Drew books… but it was the villains who committed those actions. Remember the robbers who threw our poor Nancy in the cottage closet… and left her to think “they’ve left me here to starve.” And what about all the “many” other times in which Nancy was knocked unconscious, but I suppose the guidelines meant that only Nancy would show no brutality! She was always the one who came to everyone else’s aid… she never contributed to hurting anyone!
- Making fun of physical or mental handicaps: Our Nancy never had or never would make fun of anyone! She was the first one to always come to the aid of anyone being taunted!
- Foreign Dialect: I’m not quite sure if I understand what they meant by this, other than possibly when they wrote in colored dialect in the early original text. Those writings were removed in the later revisions. While a voice can mimic somewhat a foreign dialect… writing it constantly, distracts me from reading. It’s easy enough to imagine their dialect when they wrote of ethnicity… after all some things are better left to the imagination!
Any thoughts on these… do leave me a comment and a Like!
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