Reading, for me, is entertainment and an escape from the real world. But it can also inform and stretch the boundaries of the life I live.
1930 Chs 22-25 vs 1960 Ch 18-20
Both versions conclude the events with a bang. Literally.
1930 Nancy just happens to meet up with her father as she’s racing to catch up to Stumpy and Mr. Drew and Laura are racing to find Nancy. After syncing their stories, the chase continues with Mr. Drew instructing Laura to get in the roadster with Nancy, saying, “If it comes to a battle, you girls can drop back and be out of range of the bullets.” (me: !!!!!)
Nancy takes off ahead of her father like the speed demon that she is. The next few paragraphs are an ode to the power of Nancy‘s little roadster and the skill of her driving. Nancy Drew gives no f***s for your speed limit; she drives as fast as she thinks she can without wrecking.
“Her eyes focused upon the road, Nancy Drew clung grimly to the wheel. The little figured ribbon in the speedometer crept higher and higher until the car wavered in the road. Reducing the speed slightly, she held her foot steady on the gasoline pedal.”
They catch up to Stumpy and Nancy drops back to let Mr. Drew engage him in a gun fight while still driving at top speed.
“Nancy sensed that the end was drawing near, for it was apparent that the racing car had reached its maximum speed. Stumpy was making his last stand, and knew it. He looked back over his shoulder frequently now. Nancy had never seen such reckless driving. Where would the mad race end?”
They come up on a sharp curve and a cliff. Nancy and her father see it in enough time that with their skillful driving they’re able to stop, but Stumpy Dowd, being a villain and a reckless driver, goes right over the barrier and over the cliff.
Scrambling down into the ravine, they find Stumpy alive but pinned beneath the wreck. They’re able to drag him free as the car catches fire. Nancy, knowing that Laura’s fortune is in the burning car, dives back in and retrieves two suitcases. Her father yanks her back just before the car explodes.
The 1960 chase and capture is more convoluted and not nearly as exciting, partly due to the added embezzlement subplot and related characters. They drive around to more places, Mr. Drew gets conked on the head by one of the baddies, so Nancy is driving for the chase scene, but it ends the same way, with the crash and explosion.
The last couple of chapters wrap up the story, with the villains surviving so they can go to jail for a satisfactorily long time, Laura and her fortune reunited with her real guardian and his fortune, and everyone praises Nancy’s cleverness and courage, while Nancy wonders what her next adventure will be.
Considerations – Violence and risk:
I guess the 1960 revision might have been exciting for readers who had never experienced the glorious original. But there’s no way the 1960 sanitized versions were going to include a complete disregard for speed limits, a Bonnie and Clyde style gun battle, the contemplation of finding gruesomely injured people in the wrecked car, or sensible Nancy crawling into a burning car for money. 1960 Nancy can’t even be considered even peripherally responsible for the wreck, since she had just caught sight of Stumpy’s car before it went over the cliff. Technically speaking, there wasn’t even a car chase.
One side note: in keeping with her impulsive and non-law-abiding nature, 1930 Nancy actually withholds the information about Jacob Aborn’s kidnapping from the police, just because Laura is present. She wants to surprise Laura by introducing her directly to her real guardian, and doesn’t want it spoiled by the police report.
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