Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rick Brant

The Rick Brant Science Electronic Adventures are my favorite classic juvenile series books. The characters are exceptional:
  • Rick himself: an electronics wizard and all around nosy fellow;
  • Scotty: the husky former Marine, Rick's foremost pal;
  • Barby, Rick's sister;
  • Jan, daughter of a scientist, Barby's best friend, and Rick's crush;
  • Dismal the dog;
  • Chahda: the Hindu boy, mastermind, and good friend of Rick and Scotty;
  • Dr. Zircon: the barrel of a scientist;
  • Julius, the mathematician;
  • Steve Ames, JANIG agent;
  • Hartson Brant, chief scientist at Spindrift Island, and Rick's dad;
And there are more I can't remember. I haven't read any other series from the time period (1947 - 1969, primarily) with so many recurring, well-done characters, in such interesting stories as the Pirates of Shan (featuring a PT Boat and a cannon firing tacks), the Whispering Box Mystery (with ultrasonic weapons and countermeasures), the Ruby Ray Mystery (all about lasers, the Cold War, and the best chase scene ever), the Lost City (uranium ore and the guardians of the secret burial city of the great Khan), and more.

Hal Goodwin, under the pseudonym John Blaine, wrote most of the stories. Hal was a rocket enthusiast, and that showed up in several stories, such as the Rocket's Shadow (hitting the moon with a rocket, in 1947), the Scarlet Lake Mystery (rocket building in the desert), and the Flying Stingaree (UFOs and seafood on the east coast).

The stories are well done, and I heartily recommend them. They are mostly stand-alone, but every now and again something from a previous plot will show up.

Incidentally, the first books in the series are fairly easy to find, because so many were printed. Grosset and Dunlap kept reprinting the first ones as new volumes came out. There were few printings of the last books in the series, however. Those stories are rare and can fetch several hundred dollars (or more) if in excellent condition.

Also interesting is that the Rick Brant stories largely inspired the classic Johnny Quest cartoon adventure series, and those are a lot of fun too.

No comments:

Post a Comment