Sunday, October 23, 2011

Nancy Drew Blog Party Day 23: Nancy Drew Consulting - 80th Old Clock

Nancy Drew Consulting:
80th Old Clock

Grosset & Dunlap wanted to do a special edition of the first Nancy Drew book, The Secret of the Old Clock, for the 80th anniversary in 2010. They put out a bookstore kit with a stand-up of Nancy Drew from The Hidden Staircase that included a poster and buttons for bookstore promotions and had a lot of publicity and a press release around the anniversary in April 2010. They contacted me some months before the release of the special edition asking if I would like to write a short page of fun facts about Nancy Drew for the book. It was only one page, so I had to keep it pretty short and sweet. I sent them a list of items they could pick and choose from.

It was a very nice opportunity to be a part of the 80th anniversary celebration. I also got to do some media interviews including one at Media Bistro online and those were a lot of fun.

I have to address an issue with a few people that seemed to come up--one in a review at an online book site--and one who e-mailed me to ask what in the hell was I thinking to associate myself with---wait for it....---the revised text version ;-) Apparently that's a terrible thing? I never really responded to any of that because I thought it was kind of un-Nancy like. But for anyone who did wonder (without resorting to tearing up/burning/and or some other kind of disposal of this book-ha!) why Grosset & Dunlap used the revised text, I would suspect that it's because that's what's currently in print and has been since 1959--51 years now. So, that wasn't really a surprise to me if you understand the original version which does have some racial stereotyping going on--in a chapter or two and it's brief--but it's still there. Grosset & Dunlap doesn't print the original version anymore--and frankly the PC police would probably be all over it if they did--think of what a stir that would have been :) I wouldn't have minded the original being used--that would have been pretty cool--but I didn't lose any sleep over it being the revised version which is what I grew up on and enjoyed as a kid.

Perhaps for the 85th, we'll see more commemorative items. I'd sure love to see a boxed set of the first 3 books--the originals even--with original Tandy illustrations on the box. I think that would be quite lovely!



Nancy Lauzon said...

Beautiful cover here. Is this book still available? I must confess, I heard of the racial stereotyping in the OT, but I never read it, so I don't know what you're referring to.

That's funny, that someone would get so bent out of shape about which version is used.


LuAnn O'Connell said...

I got a copy from ebay, I think, this past year quite cheaply. Except for Jenn's page of interesting notes on Nancy and the cover, there is nothing special about this edition--plain endpapers, no other extras, just the text and interior illustrations of the revised edition :-(

Shell in the City said...

I don't see a problem with the revised being used. I grew up reading the revised and didn't know about the original texts until later on..I love reading the originals now...but the reviseds will always hold a special place in my heart!

Jenn said...

@Nancy - I do think you can still order it at Amazon or B&N.

There are apparently some factions of original vs. revised in the collecting community and it can get nasty sometimes :) I think most of us appreciate all versions even if we prefer one over the other. While I enjoy the original better, I still like the revision.


LuAnn Sgrecci O'Connell said...

You know, revisions just give you more Nancy's to read!

Jan said...

I agree - I'd love to see a set of the first three (or five!), using everything original for the 85th! I love the Tandy illustrations - that's what I grew up with! When I first started reading this, I was calculating if I'd be alive for the 100th (LOL), thinking that would be the next big anniversary - never thinking that, duh, the 85th would be right around the corner!
As for the original early books and the racial stereotyping - my second "career" is as a graduate student in history, specifically American 19th century antebellum and war period history. My advisor, who is African-American, would return things to me half-read (probably with big red "revise" written across it), if I skated around using the language they used at the time, or if I took words out that might be derogatory. I know there were some really zingers in some of the early Nancys - I was rather shocked re-reading them for this party because I didn't remember them from reading the books before. But that's the way people spoke during that time (I'm sure many, many kids reading their new Nancy Drews in the 1930s thought nothing of a lot of this), and for the books to be historically accurate, I really think the original texts need to be used for commemorative editions. First, most of the people purchasing them would most likely be Nancy Drew fans already and know the language is in there. Secondly, the publisher could put a disclaimer somewhere (like they do on television programs) that the book contains offensive language, if they are that worried about it. This, of course, is just my opinion, but I say we should fight for originality the next time around!
Jan Rader