- Books, Literature, and Writing
Trixie Belden Versus Nancy Drew
So we have all heard of Nancy Drew, right?
Everyone has heard of Nancy Drew, right? She is the young female literary detective who is best known in her most recent movie as portrayed by Emma Roberts (left - niece of Julia Roberts).
But in this day and age, (21st century) most young people have never heard of Trixie Belden. Like Nancy, Trixie was also a young female literary detective. And as of March 2011, there are no lenses on Squidoo about Trixie Belden whatsoever.
So I wrote this lens to compare these two girls, state my preference between these two girls, and to maybe hazard a guess as to why Nancy is more famous than Trixie.
So who was Trixie Belden?
Back in the 1970s and 1980s when I was a teenager (and yes I am dating myself but *shrugs* who cares) I was an avid reader of Girls boarding school stories as well as adventure and detective novels. My two favourite literary detectives were Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew. They were as different as could be.
Trixie Belden was described as a 14 year old tomboy with short blonde (or strawberry blonde) hair and who hated doing her regular chores. She lived on a farm in upper new York state with her parents and 3 brothers. Her best friend was Honey Wheeler and her boyfriend was Jim Frayne Wheeler - Honey's adopted brother. Trixie, her brothers and their friends called themselves Bobwhites of the Glen - named after the road they all lived on - Glen Road. A bobwhite is a bird from the Quail family.
There are 39 books in the Trixie Belden series- the first one was written in 1948 and the last in 1986. The author Kathryn Kenny is a psuedonym.
Trixie's brothers are Brian, Martin and Bobby. Brian is 16, Martin is 14 and young Bobby is 6. Their parents are Peter and Helen. Peter Belden works in the local bank. Helen is a SAHM - stay-at-home-mom.
The BobWhites of the Glen (or BWG for short) are a group of friends who live on or close to Glen Road. The members include Trixie, Brian and Martin Belden, Honey Wheeler and her adopted brother Jim Frayne (aged 15). And the last 2 members are Diana Lynch and Dan Mangan. Honey and Brian are sweet on each other, Jim and Trixie are also sweet on each other as well.
Since Trixie and Honey stayed as 13 and 14 years old for the entire series, the books could not mention anything in the way of a physical relationship. So they were just described as having a beau and made to be "Sweet on each other" which means the girls liked each others brothers and could consider themselves to be boyfriend & girlfriend.
More about Trixie Belden
Who is Nancy Drew?
Nancy Drew on the other hand, is more mature. She is older than Trixie and more independent. Everything about her is perfect. Nancy is described as being 16 years old with a boyfriend named Ned Nickerson. Nancy also has 2 best friends - Bess and George (Short for Georgina). Nancy Drew lives with her father, Carson Drew, a lawyer, in the town of River Heights. The state is not identified.
The Nancy Drew Books first appeared in 1930 and while the author was named as Carolyn Keene, she was just a psuedonym, In fact there are several authors who wrote the Nancy Drew books. In 1959 the books were revised and reprinted with anything pertaining to the genteel south (former slaves states) and to non-caucasian characters being removed. From 1930 to 2003 some 170 books were published. In 1980 a new series of books was published. These were the Nancy Drew Mystery stories and 124 books in this series was published. Through the entire series, Nancy Drew never had any birthdays and stays at age 16.
Finally in 2003 the original Nancy Drew series was discontinued and an entirely new series of books was published. This new series is called Girl Detective and stars Nancy Drew as an 18 year old amateur detective.
At sixteen [Nancy] 'had studied psychology in school and was familiar with the power of suggestion and association.' Nancy was a fine painter, spoke French, and had frequently run motor boats. She was a skilled driver who at sixteen 'flashed into the garage with a skill born of long practice.' The prodigy was a sure shot, an excellent swimmer, skillful oarsman, expert seamstress, gourmet cook, and a fine bridge player. Nancy brilliantly played tennis and golf, and rode like a cowboy. Nancy danced like Ginger Rogers and could administer first aid like the Mayo brothers.
[Jones, James (1973). "Nancy Drew, WASP Supergirl of the 1930s". Journal of Popular Culture 6: 707-717. doi:10.1111/j.0022-3840.1973.00707.x]
More about Nancy Drew
My preference for Trixie Belden
As to my personal preference, I was always partial to Trixie Belden. Mainly because she had brothers and friends. She grumbled about doing chores and she was an NORMAL kid. She also lived in on a small farm just outside of town.
I myself grew up with two sisters, no brothers and very few friends. I have always lived in towns and cities, In fact every time my family moved to a new place - it was always to a bigger city.
I would have preferred to have grown up in a rural area. I would also currently like to be living a slower paced life style in a rural area, instead of the large city that I do live in.
I think that this is why Trixie Belden was never able to make it big in the movies like Nancy Drew did. Because Trixie was portrayed as being too normal and Nancy was portrayed as being just too perfect. And for some reason the studios seem to think that the public wants to see perfection rather than reality. Not me though. I always go for the underdog.
Has anyone even tried to make Trixie Belden into a movie?
So which detective is your preference? - Trixie Belden or Nancy Drew
So which of these two young detectives do you like, admire or prefer?
Nancy Drew in the movies
In 2006 when the new Nancy Drew was being filmed, Emma Roberts was still only 15 years old. She did not have a drivers license yet. How could she even look like she knew how to drive? Max Theriot who played her boyfriend Ned was aged 18 when the movie was being filmed. But his character Ned Nickerson was protrayed as a high school student, not a college student.
Nancy too is a new student when she moves away from River Heights to Los Angeles. There is no mention in the books of Nancy ever being a student. Apparently back in the 1930s kids were legally able to leave school at age 16.
The Books have Nancy as age 16 (1930-2003) and age 18 (2003 onwards). However in the movies - both 1938 and 2007 - the actresses playing Nancy Drew are most definitely NOT 16 or 18 years old. Ned is also identified in the books as being a college student and not a high school student.
The only time I have ever seen Nancy Drew on screen looking as mature as she is supposed to be, was the 1977-78 TV series of Hardy Boys & Nancy Drew Mysteries starring Pamela Sue Martin as Nancy Drew and Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson as the Hardy Boys.
Bonita Granville was born in 1923 and was aged 15 in 1938 when the first Nancy Drew movie was filmed and released. She certainly does not look or act as a mature 16 year old. One of the movies has her wildly shooting a gun and not know how to hold or aim it correctly. This goes against other bits of information about Nancy Drew that has been gleaned from the books.
Trixie Belden as a character has been around since 1948. Plenty of time for a movie to be made about her - but none has ever been made. One reason could be that any movie about Trixie would have to be an ensemble movie - with several starring roles. There have been any number of young adult ensemble movies made. The Breakfast Club, The Goonies and The Outsiders are three that I can think of. So it is not unheard of.
Nancy Drew - 1938 movie
In 1938 the first of 4 movies starring Bonita Granville as Nancy Drew was released. These 4 movies have now been re-released on DVD. These movies were called - in order -
Nancy Drew - Detective
Nancy Drew - Reporter
Nancy Drew - Troubleshooter
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase
These movies can also been seen on Youtube
Nancy Drew Movie Trailer
2007 Nancy Drew Movie Starring
Tate Donovan as Carson Drew
Emma Roberts as Nancy Drew
Max Thieriot as Ned Nickerson
So did you know about both girls?
Did you read the books when you were younger?
Do you have any preference for one or the other?
If yes, which do you like better and why?
Have you seen any of the movies? (1930s or 2007)