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The first Nancy Drew books were action-packed adventure stories ghostwritten by the first woman ever to receive a masters of journalism from the University of Iowa in Mildred Wirt Benson under the pen name "Carolyn Keane" still remains an unsolved mystery, but it's obvious that she lived in a different world. And though she didn't write Password to Larkspur Laneshe is responsible for the The Mystery at Lilac Innwhich is often cited for another unfortunate anachronism in the original Nancy Drew series - racism.
In fact, the book's first three chapters are all about Nancy trying to find a substitute housekeeper when her maid goes out of town, with Benson writing that there's a "slovenly colored woman" who Nancy rejects along with an "Irish woman," and a "Scotch lassie. When Nancy sneaks in through the cellar window - and accidentally makes a noise - she brings the villain's maid downstairs to investigate. And then the maid says I hears noises dat sounds like dey was in de basement and dey was only in my haid.
Yes, Benson writes the maid's dialogue with the same dialect throughout the book.
Later Nancy sneaks into a room in the hallway, and the villain's pet parrot starts squawking. The maid comes running, and Nancy hides in the closet. And when the cops finally come, the maid holds them off with a shotgun. To be fair, it was a long time ago. Nancy drew naked Applewood Books ultimately republished these original texts inthey added a preface with some soul-searching, acknowledging that "Much has changed" in America.
No matter how ugly these scenes are, the preface concludes, "These books are part of our heritage. They are a window on our real past. By the s Mary Mason's simple getaway car had become an elaborate two-man submarine, and jewel thief Mary was transformed into a spy for a massive foreign espionage ring - presumably reflecting anti-communist Cold War tensions. But the changes also stripped away much of the gritty personality from the characters, reducing them to the bland action-hero stand-ins we know today, and making them more suitable for an ongoing series of massively-franchised children's books.
In the original books, the Nancy Drew character was much more realistic, which explains the impact she had on earlier generations. But now the updated characters are so insistently good, they almost dare readers to invent their own sexy subtexts. In one episode of That 70s ShowJackie insists on reading a Nancy Drew mystery out loud during a sleep-over with her boyfriend. The world's changed a lot, even if Nancy Drew hasn't. Inwhen she was 25, the TV actress who'd played Nancy Drew in the s did a naked pictorial in the prototypical men's magazine Playboy. I want to believe modern Nancy Drew writers understood this secret intrigue when they created a TV version.
Its last episode ends with Nancy abruptly breaking things off. Our relationship is a mystery. But it's the one mystery I can't seem to solve This year marks the 80th anniversary of the very first Nancy Drew books. But it's important to remember that no matter how quaint she started out, every once in a while, even those original old-fashioned Nancy books would still blurt out something so surprisingly progressive and modern, it'd make you want to cheer.
For example, in the book Password to Larkspur LaneNancy tells her friend Helen to wear hiking clothes, since they're sneaking through the woods. I think this should be hung over the arch at the Nancy Drew School of Business. Don't let anyone tell you how to behave - no matter what decade it is! This post originally appeared on the blog 10 Zen Monkeys. Republished with permission. Wait, what? There's so much wrong with this I don't know where to start. So, I'll just leave it at that. The A. By Anna Holmes. This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.
Inwhen she was 25, the TV actress who'd played Nancy Drew in the s did a naked pictorial in the prototypical men's magazine Playboy Wait, what?Nancy drew naked
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