Sunday, July 27, 2008
"Let us take a second look at our hero as he sits on the elegant divan chatting with the Chief of Police. He has an open countenance, a flashing eye and a determined look. such is the youth who at the age of nine has made himself a most celebrated detective in the great city of Chicago, the terror of all criminals."
Our master of disguise is the ever-popular Eddie Parks, the Newsboy Detective. Eddie was nine years old, (ten in the second story) smoked cigars, carried a revolver, and helped the Chicago police solve the most perplexing cases. One of his disguises was -- you guessed it -- an old man.
Eddie was written by George Ade (1866-1944) , in humour columns for the Chicago Record, and published in book form as Bang! Bang! A Collection of Stories Intended to Recall Memories of the Nickel Library Days When Boys Were Supermen and Murder a Fine Art. They were funnily Illustrated by his friend and compatriot, cartoonist John T. McCutcheon. (New York: J. H. Sears & Co., Inc., Publishers, [1928.] 147p.) Cartoonists Mcutcheon, H. T. Webster and J.R. Williams were all "ruined" by the dime novels.
Here is the introduction ;
These stories were first printed in the Chicago Record in the late nineties. They are boiled-down imitations of the haymow literature which was denounced by parents and encouraged by boys from the time of Horace Greeley up to the golden age ushered in by the comic strip. the nickel library came after the yellow-back novel, which dealt mostly with smoking tepees, crouching savages and trappers who were deadly with the rifle and wore fringe on their buckskin suits. One reason for the enduring popularity of the nickel library was that it could be spread open inside of a school geography and entirely concealed from any teacher who did not approach from the rear.
For the first time Eddie Parks, Cyril Smith, Clarence Allen and their brave colleagues are being put into a book. Because these narratives are a reminder of thirty years ago, they have not been revised or brought up to date. The allusions to the Spanish-American War, the Klondike, William McKinley and the League of American Wheelmen have been retained because of their historical flavor.
These stories will mean nothing to juveniles who have been pampered with the roadsters and fed up on movies - who never heard of Oliver Optic, Horatio Alger, Jr., and Jack Harkaway, to say nothing of "Shorty," "Silver Star, the Boy Knight," "Skinny, The Tin Peddler," and Frank, who ivented the mechanical horse. To some of the older people they may come as a happy reminder of the days when all of us were ruined by reading books which could not be obtained at the Public Library.
Handsome Cyril; or, The Messenger Boy with the Warm Feet.
The Glendon Mystery; or, Eddie Parks, the Newsboy Detective.
Eddie Parks to the Rescue; or, The National Bank Robbery.
Clarence Allen, the Hypnotic Boy Journalist; or, The Mysterious Disappearance of the United States Government Bonds.
The Steel Box; or, The Robbers of Rattlesnake Gulch.
Rollo Johnson the Boy Inventor; or, The Demon Bicycle and Its Daring Rider.
The Boy Champion; or, America's Fair Name Defended.
The Great Street-car Robbery; or, The Newsboy Detective on the Trail.
The Klondike Rescue; or, The Mysterious Guide.
The Goodlot Murder Case; or, Solving the Mystery.
The Avenger and General Bolero; or, The Spanish Plot Foiled.
Three tales were issued individually in a series called "The Strenuous Lad's Library,"
Handsome Cyril; or, The Messenger Boy With the Warm Feet, by George Ade. Author of "Eddie Parks, the Newsboy Detective," Etc. [Phoenix, Arizona: The Bandar Log Press,] Copyright 1903 by George Ade. 28p. (The Strenuous Lad's Library, No. 1)
Clarence Allen, the Hypnotic Boy Journalist; or, The Mysterious Disappearance of the United States Government Bonds, by George Ade. Author of "Eddie Parks, the Newsboy Detective," Etc. [Phoenix, Arizona: The Bandar Log Press,] Copyright 1903 by George Ade. 28p. (The Strenuous Lad's Library, No. 2)
Rollo Johnson, the Boy Inventor; or, The Demon Bicycle and Its Daring Rider, by George Ade. Author of "Eddie Parks, the Newsboy Detective," Etc. [Phoenix, Arizona: The Bandar Log Press,] Copyright 1903 by George Ade. 24p. (The Strenuous Lad's Library, No. 3)
More about Ade can be found at Illinois, Illinois ;