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Always, Nancy Drew

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Who exactly is Nancy Drew? To some, she was the escape from poverty during the Great Depression. To others she became an imaginative way to get away from the war times of the 1940s. Or she might have been the center of a 1950’s book club with dozens of chatty girls. In recent times, people seem to have lost interest, but an infinite legend never dies. We just have to make her the example of our generation. What do you say?

Forever Fashionable
From her birth in the 1930s through her 78th year, Nancy’s presence is genuine. Every new fashion period she gets a new appearance. In the 1930’s, extravagant was the name of the game. Long, formal dresses were worn in style and hats were considered a must. Don’t worry, Nancy made sure that her debut was fascinating. On the 1932 cover of “The Secret of the Old Clock” Nancy sported a bell-shaped cloche hat, strapped heels, and a flippy blue dress that any flapper would be proud to wear.
Right in the heart of the 1940s, also known as the “war time era” fashion took a completely different route. Because of the shortage in fabric and other materials, dresses were shorter and made to last. Square shoulders were also made popular during this time period and hair was worn longer. Nancy’s ‘30’s bob was no more. Now she wore her hair in a medium length wave, and her ruby red dress and matching pumps was a big hit on the cover of 1944 “The Secret in the Old Attic”.
The 50s and 60s brought poodle skirts, saddle shoes, cardigans, and Capri pants to the American crowd, breezy summer afternoons listening to Elvis or The Beatles on your Globe-Transistor Radio set. Nancy wears a bright belted dress on both the covers of 1954 “The Ringmaster’s Secret” and 1961s “The Mystery of the Fire Dragon”. Nancy stays modest, but is always elegant.
Upon the 1970’s conclusion to the Nancy Drew Mystery Series, she shows no impression of ending the stories and with the final book, “The Thirteenth Pearl”. Nancy’s fashion still has no flaws. Isn’t it amazing how her career still flows? I think that it’s obvious; Nancy Drew is the star of any decade!

Marvelous Creation

All of that fashion didn’t come from simply a poof or wave of a magic wand; Nancy Drew had many brilliant creators that made a simple vision come to life. The whole phenomenon started with Edward Stratemeyer who was born in 1862 in Elizabeth, New Jersey to Henry and Anna Stratemeyer. From the time he was a child, Edward loved writing and reading stories. So, it’s not a big surprise that he published his own newspaper for boys that was called “The Young American” when he was only 15 years old. Nancy Drew was created by the Stratemeyer Syndicate which was the name of his company.

Mildred A. Wirt Benson was the author of books 1-7, 11-25, and 30. She was a lively and spirited author and is the most well known of all the original writers. Mildred also wrote around 20 other mystery series for girls in her time. Books numbered 8, 9, and 10 were written by Walter Karig. Mr. Karig was a naval captain and other than the Nancy Drew books wrote many books on military history. Books 26-29 and 32 were written by various authors.

Nearly all of the books entered Harriet Stratemeyer Adam’s hands at one time or another. She was the daughter of Edward Stratemeyer, and she followed in his footsteps. Harriet revised books 1-34 and wrote books numbered 31 and 33-56 herself. No matter who actually wrote each book, the author’s name was always the same; Carolyn Keene. This was considered a “ghost name” and was just as mysterious as the books themselves.

Beyond the Books

For all of those “I’d rather not” readers, I’d like to inform you that it doesn’t stop there! Nancy’s not all books. I’d bet you can understand why Nancy’s charming personality and edge-of seat suspense was quickly grabbed up by the media. Between 1938 and 1939, four Nancy Drew movies were released by Warner Bros. The next time she would appear would be 1977 when The Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series aired for the very first time. Finally, Nancy made her most recent debut with “Nancy Drew: The Mystery in Hollywood Hills” the movie, released by Warner Bros. in 2007.

Not only has Nancy Drew hit the big screen in recent years, but she fit the role for the perfect PC mystery games too. In 1997, HerInteractive released its first Nancy Drew computer game, “Secret’s Can Kill”, and many followed. Nancy was changed into a cell-phone carrying, sports car driving, high-tech teen of today. Now, in 2009, there are currently 19 computer mysteries out, and hopefully more on the way.

Fall from Fame?

In modern times, many people think that Nancy is old-fashioned and out-dated. They say that she is a thing of the past. If there is anything that I’m able to convince you, I would like to see you stand up for our detective; the one that has been there through it all. You see, Nancy Drew is something more than just a detective character. Her words have influenced generations. We can transform her to fit our times, but she will remain girl detective, role model, hero, just Nancy Drew, always.



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