Some children’s classics, unearthed

Spin and Marty etc.

My latest vintage kids-series finds. But who, pray tell, is Polly French?

Thanks to reader Ruth, I have managed to get my hands on a copy of the Hardy Boys classic The House on the Cliff. (Ruth tipped me off that there was a copy for sale at a Madoc shop that Raymond and I love, Country Treasures. There are always some good vintage finds in there.)

Why did I want The House on the Cliff? Because another reader, Sash, had mentioned that it was a (sorry, can’t resist) cliffhanger that had been a particular favourite of his when he used to check out mystery books for kids from the Madoc Public Library in his Madoc youth. I read a fair number of Hardy Boys books myself once upon a time, but can’t for the life of me recall anything about The House on the Cliff, so I think it’s time I looked into it. I trust Sash’s recommendation.

But of course, bibliophiles that we are, Raymond and I did not manage to get out of Country Treasures with just The House on the Cliff. No, we succeeded in digging up books from three other series written for early teens way back in the day. Raymond’s find was Spin and Marty, which I have to admit I had never heard of. Apparently Spin and Marty were two lads who lived – and doubtless had many adventures – on a ranch, and Raymond used to read the books (which ended up as a Disney TV series) back in his youth. “Hadn’t thought of Spin and Marty in decades,” he announced. All the more reason why getting one of the books for $6 (less the 10-per-cent discount that’s in effect on the antiques at Country Treasures till the end of February) seemed like an exceptionally good idea.

As for me, I found one from a series I loved as a kid, the Vicki Barr books – about a young woman who becomes a stewardess (as they called the job in those days), and had all manner of adventures in that line of work.

And finally, I found Polly French Takes Charge, which intrigued me because it looks like yet another series – and I know nothing about it. I’m kind of guessing, from the cover and inside-cover illustrations, that it takes place in a high school. Could Polly French be a plucky young starting-out teacher, just as Vicki Barr was a plucky young starting-out air hostess and Cherry Ames a plucky young starting-out nurse? And Nancy Drew a plucky young amateur sleuth?

If so, call me crazy, but – I think it rather likely that Polly will be having some adventures!

10 thoughts on “Some children’s classics, unearthed

  1. Ha! Four books I haven’t read. I do recall Spin and Marty. Must tell you – last weekend a dear old friend entrusted me with a huge collection of Little Golden Books – remember them? His deceased partner had been a collector, and my friend hoped to have the set kept intact. So last Sunday, over coffee, I read 130 new little books “designed for children to handle.” If you and Raymond are ever short of reading material…
    Incidentally, I am looking for collectors of old sheet music, and movie lobby cards from the 30’s to the ’60’s, as well as a large collection of Playbills, should you know of anyone who would value any of those newly inherited collections. Happy weekend!

    • Wow, you hit the jackpot, Lindi! I will indeed keep those collections in mind if/when I run into fellow collectors of midcentury stuff. I sure do remember Little Golden Books – and you probably won’t be surprised to learn that Henry’s Corner (named for Raymond’s grandson, of course) at the Manse already has quite a few of them.

  2. Love these so much! I was more the Sweet Valley High generation (when I was growing up in small-town Ontario), but I had quite the collection of Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Cherry Ames and the Bobbsey Twins. Gosh, remember how the books smelled? Like summer and dust and adventure …

  3. Reading the words summer, dust and adventure make me feel like I’m 11 years old again – but I would have to add the adjectives hot and sticky in front of summer – because we had no air conditioning back then and I would throw myself across the bed on the 2nd floor of our home and read a whole book in an afternoon and become overheated. After the Bobbsey Twins, Cherry Ames and Nancy Drew were my favorites. Before the Spin and Marty series, the boys were both members of the Mickey Mouse Club. See if Ray remembers that fact, Katherine!

  4. for bibliophiles like us, we never have enough books… it’s place to put them in that we run out of ;o)) – I was able to put my hands on some very good art and photography books at the Concordia annual sale in October and I never miss the few library and church book sales organized yearly around Hudson ;o))

  5. There’s a fat stash — 1930s editions — of Bobsey twins at the thrift store in the odd mall at Moira and Sydney streets — where the Atlantic fish shop is in Belleville. Nancy Drew, too, as I recall.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s