Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nancy Drew Blog Party Day 27: 1970s Nancy Drew

1970s Nancy Drew

The 1970s rounded our our era of classic Nancy Drew ending with volume #56 in 1979. The series continued with a new style with publisher Simon & Schuster starting with #57 in paperback and would run for another 24 years through #175.

1970s Nancy Drew kept up the traveling schedule but this era ushered in some unusual stories and some wilder/brighter covers--like this one for #48 The Crooked Banister:

The mysteries in this decade were unusual at times and elements could be a bit bizarre. Crooked Banister involved a weird robot and a villain on the lam with a very odd home that had a moat that caught on fire and a room full of poison. Mirror Bay involved faux sorcerers covering up weird experiments involving mushrooms. Double Jinx involved jinxes and "specters". Glowing Eye involved a light that could paralyze victims and a strange villain called Cyclops. Sky Phantom involved a revolutionary gang running arms with weird magnetized clouds. Strange Message in the Parchment utilized a strange villain tactic--flocks of mechanical birds that could attack at will! Thirteenth Pearl involved a strange pearl cult with its leaders really jewel thieves. I would call this decade the Creepy and Weird Decade of Drew! Still a fun one though, don't get me wrong, but definitely unusual!

By the 1970s, sleuthing was very much group effort--with Burt and Dave appearing more along with Ned. They might as well have been driving around in the Mystery Machine. Some of these themes were similar to Scooby Doo. Nancy relied more and more on her friends and delegated a lot of tasks to them. She could call up the local police and just rattle off a list of things for them to do and they of course would get right on it!



MK said...

These were the 'new ones' coming out when I was a child, so I was excited about them for that, but even then I found them rather flat and formulaic compared to the earlier NDs. Nancy didn't have much personality anymore.


Nancy Lauzon said...

I didn't read this far into the series (by then I was married and working full time) but I do find it funny that anytime Nancy calls the police they do her bidding, no questions asked!


Jan said...

These came out during my really brief disinterested period, but I read them later. And I have to agree that they were too predictable to me - and sometimes just too weird. Of course, I never liked these covers much, either. To me, they're just as if possible elements, along with an image of Nancy, were just thrown down and left where they fell. They never seem to have any depth and interest, and never really help in any way to tell a part of the story - much the way the two Blackwood Hall covers were last week. The older one (the one that was on my mom's wrap-around jacket - and the last one she had) calls to mind the spooky hall immediately, where, with the newer artwork, you think, oh, a ghost must play a piano sometime during the story. But there is nothing that directly relates to the "main character" - Blackwood Hall!
Jan Rader

Troi kett said...

I believe the first of this era that I read was the Ivory charm, and I was sorely dissapointed! The Double Jinx just seemed to be a bit disconnected story-wise. Really all the one's I recall from the 70's are SO far from my fav's!
Troi Hackett

Mike G said...

I certainly agree that overall, this decade of Nancy Drew books was the biggest disappointment in the Grosset & Dunlap series. However, I did REALLY enjoy the Secret of Mirror Bay. I enjoyed a lot of the elements in the story, plus having Aunt Eloise along was always a plus. I enjoyed the backstory about the young girl who died and the parents, in the grief, put the carriage into the Bay. The artwork internally was still of a better quality compared to the stick figure drawings which were coming in the next books. The next book, the Double Jinx Mystery, was a big disappointment --in the end Nancy is kidnapped and the captor, Merv Marvel LEAPED away thru a farm field while carrying Nancy. Yikes (in a bad way)!!

Did anyone else enjoy Mirror Bay, at least??


Mike G said...

I did like the Nappi Double Jinx Mystery artwork. It was nice to see Ned on the cover with Nancy. I think he only made it onto the front cover about 3 times, Phantom Hill, Invisible Intruder, and Double Jinx. Did I miss any??


LuAnn Sgrecci O'Connell said...

Ditto--these titles are my least favorite, though I do have good memories of Mirror Bay (maybe it helps being from upstate New York--I even like that cover). Crooked Bannister, Double Jinx and Glowing Eye just too weird and then I was done with Nancy, though later bought Phantom, Parchment, Crocodile Island & Pearl though I've never read them--I'll get to them sometime as I read through the series.
Without having read it for a couple decades, I'd say Double Jinx is my least favorite of the classic Nancy's. I also disliked the sketchy internal illustrations more than the poorly done line drawings of Glowing Eye, and that scene with Merv Marvel and Nancy leaping through the fields was too unbelievable, even for Nancy!

Troi kett said...

you made me get it out and check myself,Mike!
There were some parts I enjoyed: the 'buried treasures' under the water,the way the whole group worked together. But, the whole Cooperstown/destination I didnt really understand, or the green glow, or yet another Nancy look alike;)

Jennifer said...

Quickly reviewing what I think of these last books of the original 56, Mirror Bay is the best one. I have always enjoyed it.

Invisible Intruder is slightly before the 1970s, but I feel like it can be mentioned with this last group of books. I have also always really enjoyed the idea of visiting places to ghost hunt, although the book does have significant flaws such as way too many characters that are unnecessary to the plot.

I really enjoyed Glowing Eye as a child, but less so as an adult. Forgotten City is kind of neat with Nancy and her friends searching for artifacts.

I have never liked Thirteenth Pearl at all. Sky Phantom is a bit stupid, and as others mentioned, the last part of Double Jinx is quite stupid. I did enjoy parts of that book, however.

Anonymous said...

Mirror Bay does stand out from this bunch. I loved the old fashioned valentines.

I like Burt and Dave and miss having them in the series, but six characters really is a lot to handle all at once. The series has a different feel with the whole gang.

Jewel Divas said...

I LOVE the hot pink of Bannister. But the main thing is, I miss Burt and Dave! Guess they had to make way for Bess' many men that were to come.