The Hardy Boys vs. Nancy Drew
When I first started reading on my own as a child, my favorite author was Franklin W. Dixon. I loved the Hardy Boys mysteries, and I remember asking my mom while stopped on a dark night while she was filling the car with gas if she would wait a couple minutes. There were no book reading lights at the time, and I wanted to finish the book under the lights at the gas station. And yes, mom being who she was, granted my request.
Shortly after I started working at the library, I wanted to know if we still did have many of these books in our MORE System, and yes, we do! A quick search indicates we have 291 books listed by that author, as well as access to 118 eBooks, 20 Graphic Novels, and 8 large print editions.
A few months ago, I was talking to a gentleman, about my age, of his reading preferences, many of which we share. I then asked him if he also read the Hardy Boys as a kid, and he certainly did. He then asked me how many of these books were published, and when I researched this, I discovered that the first Hardy Boys books came out in 1927, and ended their run after 190 titles in 2005.
Expanding my research (because that is what we do in reference), I discovered that there was no real person named Franklin W. Dixon. This was a pen name for a variety of different authors who were part of a team that wrote The Hardy Boys mysteries. Canadian author Charles Leslie McFarlane is believed to have written the first sixteen Hardy Boys books, but worked to a detailed plot and character outline for each story. Other writers were often recruited to revise some of the outlines, and update to more current texts, in the 1950s.
This concept was started by the publisher at the time, Stratemeyer Syndicate, which is now Simon & Schuster. It was so successful for young boys, that three years later, in 1930, they created the same concept for girls, starring Nancy Drew. So, was Carolyn Keene the author of the Nancy Drew books? No; again, there were a number of ghostwriters that contributed through the years. This series ran until 2003, after a total of 175 books.
In 1977, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries ran on television for 2 years. There was also another series in 1995, plus a number of films as well for both Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, who have had 6 different film adaptations. A series of Super Mystery books combine the detective talents of both Nancy Drew, and also Frank and Joe Hardy.
For parents of young children looking for reading options for their kids, I highly recommend these. Great stories, villains, Heroes and Sheroes, but never any sort of sex or graphic violence. Since over 80 million of each series has sold worldwide, they both have given pure reading enjoyment for almost 100 years.
Available at the Library
Looking for other reading options? For any age? We are here for you at Information & Reference: email@example.com | (715) 839-5004, or Youth Services: firstname.lastname@example.org | 715-839-5007.
Thanks for sharing the memory, Charlie, for your research and your excellent advice ;0)