Friday, September 30, 2011

Dana Girls Original and Revised Texts

The Dana Girls series was released in two sets.  The first set was published from 1934 through 1968. The following books from the first set were republished in the second set, which was in print from 1972 through 1979.

17. The Ghost in the Gallery, 1955
19. The Winking Ruby Mystery, 1957
20. The Secret of the Swiss Chalet, 1958
21. The Haunted Lagoon, 1959
22. The Mystery of the Bamboo Bird, 1960
23. The Sierra Gold Mystery, 1961
24. The Secret of Lost Lake, 1962
25. The Mystery of the Stone Tiger, 1963
26. The Riddle of the Frozen Fountain, 1964
27. The Secret of the Silver Dolphin, 1965
28. Mystery of the Wax Queen, 1966
29. The Secret of the Minstrel's Guitar, 1967
30. The Phantom Surfer, 1968

I was asked recently about whether the 1955 and 1975 versions of The Ghost in the Gallery are the same story or whether the texts have significant differences.  Specifically, I was asked whether the books are as different as the original and revised texts of The Secret of the Old Clock. I have never paid attention, so I had to carefully compare both books in order to answer the question.  I have probably only read the 1955 version and never cared to read the 1975 version.  I only have the 1975 version because it is from the second set and has different cover art.

The 1955 version of The Ghost in the Gallery has 209 pages and 25 chapters. The 1975 version has 180 pages and 20 chapters. The two books definitely tell the same story, and the main difference appears to be that the text has been rewritten and condensed for the 1975 version.

I would say that the two books are less different than the two versions of Old Clock. The books are different, but more in the way of the later revised text Nancy Drew books, such as #25-34. Here is an excerpt of the same scene from The Ghost in the Gallery from both stories.

1955 text:
Jean took the other two letters from the mailbox. One was addressed to her, the other to Louise. She knew from the handwriting that the letters were from Ken and Chris. Probably an explanation of the boys’ strange actions about the Saturday night dance.

A moment later Jean exclaimed unbelievingly, "Louise, listen to this! Chris was informed that the dance had been called off!"

The letter to Louise said practically the same thing as Jean’s, that they were told the school dance had been called off. Someone deliberately had played a mean joke on the Danas!
Revised 1975 text:
The following afternoon, when the girls returned to their suite to prepare for the dance, they found a telephone message on Jean’s desk. It read:

Ken Scott and Chris Barton called to say they are sorry to miss the dance tonight. They hope to be invited next month.

Stunned by the message from the boys, Louise and Jean flopped on the couch in their study.

"This means we can’t go to the dance!" Jean wailed.

Louise thought, What could have happened to make Ken and Chris change their minds?
The two versions have approximately the same number of words, but the character count has been greatly reduced. The first version has 561 characters while the second version has 494 characters.

The Ghost in the Gallery is the only Dana Girls book that had a significant revision, because it was the only one that was reduced from 25 chapters to 20 chapters. The remaining titles all had extremely minor edits which were mainly made to improve the continuity since the order of the titles was changed for the second set.

Using The Clue of the Stone Tiger as an example, opening the 1963 and 1972 versions to any random page shows the text beginning with the same word at the top of the page and ending with the same word at the bottom. Likely, a few minor edits were made scattered through the texts, but the page count and content of each page remained identical.

The first page of each book begins with the same two paragraphs. The books differ slightly in the third paragraph.

1963 version, first page, third paragraph:
The three Danas, en route home to Oak Falls from a long trip, were in a Chicago hotel room. They had just delivered a valuable German shepherd dog, Baron von Neckar, to its owner who had come to the city from New York on business. The two sisters and their aunt had planned to stay for a little sightseeing.
1972 version, first page, third paragraph:
The three Danas, en route home to Oak Falls from a long trip, were in a Chicago hotel room. The two sisters and their aunt had planned to stay for some sightseeing, but this latest news made them wonder if perhaps they should go directly home. They had been away for some time on a Western trip.
The paragraphs have been changed, but they take up exactly the same amount of space on the page. Some words here and there have also been changed. In the 1963 version, Cora Appel is a "timid, rather harebrained young woman," while in the 1972 version, she is a "timid but faithful young woman."

The revisions are very minor in this book. I have compared some other Dana Girls books that had minor revisions and made the same observations. Readers of either version will enjoy exactly the same story and notice nothing. Only a careful comparison shows that some revisions were made.


keeline said...

This seems like the kinds of minor changes made in the Trixie Belden and Kay Tracey books.

In some other books the changes are more drastic of course. In the boys' series world, books by James A. Braden were split and published as separate stories, one with the original title and another with a new title. Braden apparently participated in editing hos own texts. In other cases this was not true.


Anonymous said...

I'm like a over a year late seeing this. BUt I am reading the Ghost in the Gallery now and when I stumbled across this post I had to go back and check my book. You mentioned for the revised 1975 version there is 180 pages and less chapters. You also said there is a difference in the wording for this particular example with the dance. But I have a 1955 version with 209 pages and it features the second conversation with the telephone message and the girls being stunned and flopping on the couch. Is that odd or what?

Anonymous said...

Actually erase my last thought. I thought they were the same scene, but as I read on I realized it the first example came later in the book. I thought I had a strange copy or something.