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Merriwell, Frank and Dick. Frank and Dick Merriwell were created by “Burt L. Standish,” a pseudonym used in this case William Gilbert Patten (Bainbridge, Bob Hunter (I)), and appeared in over a thousand stories and novels from 1896 to 1930, beginning with “Frank Merriwell; or, First Days at Fardale” (Tip Top Weekly #1, April 18, 1896); the Merriwell stories were reprinted across Europe and Scandinavia through the 1920s.
Frank Merriwell is the epitome of clean-cut, honest, moral, and adventurous American youth. He is aggressively devoted to fair play and decency. He is an all-sport star at Yale, always sticking up for the Yale Bulldogs and for his parents and friends. He has a “frank, open, and winning face,” and “a merry light usually dwelt in his eyes.” He is remarkably muscular, with unusually large chest and arms. Strongest of all are his morals. He does not smoke or drink, he does not cheat, whether in school or at athletics, and he always keeps himself in the best possible physical shape through intensive daily exercise. For Merriwell mens sana in corpore sana is not simply a motto but a moral dictum. He refrains from smoking and drinking not so much because of any moral compunctions but because smoking and drinking would impair his physical abilities. He rises up from an earnest and capable student at prestigious Fardale Academy to a triumphant student-athlete at Yale and then has an unusually varied set of adventures: bullfights in Spain, fighting gauchos in Argentina and Thugs in India, being shipwrecked on a desert island, discovering a gold mine in Mexico, working on the railroad, discovering his half-brother Dick, playing semi-professional baseball, and fighting outlaws around his mine in Colorado.
Frank is an accomplished ventriloquist and hypnotist, fluent in Spanish, an excellent mechanic and talented at everything he tries, “the perfect union of brain and brawn.” Frank is remarkably humble for someone who knocked out the Irish heavyweight champion, broke the course record at St. Andrews, and settled a railroad strike. Frank is also dedicated to helping the weak and persecuted, once even shaking hands with and complimenting a black jockey, despite the jeers of the onlookers. Frank and Dick are also friendly toward Native Americans. Dick always treats Shangowah as his father, and Shangowah's biological grandson, Wind-that-roars-in-the-night, a.k.a. “Young Joe Crowfoot,” enrolls in Frank's School of Athletic Development, attends Fardale Academy, graduates from Yale, and becomes a recurring character and sidekick in the Merriwell stories. Frank and Dick are helped by Owen Clancy. He helps Frank and eventually opened the Square-deal Garage in Phoenix, Arizona. Later still he returns East to help Chip Merriwell in several of his adventures.
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